Let's be honest: while beach volleyball, soccer, basketball and dressage are fun, we all watch the Summer Olympics for the gymnastics. From the nail-biting beam routines and the gravity-defying uneven bars to the dizzying floor exercises, women's gymnastics is the most enthralling, exhilarating sport in the entire the Olympics.*

But in addition to death-defying flips, unbelievable flexibility and unexpected strength, Olympian gymnasts have something else to offer: scrunchies. The hair accessory, anathema in any other context, is a mainstay of gymnastics, functioning as both an efficient hair-securing tool and an adorable reminder of how fun the sport is (and how young these girls are).

Every four years, it's nice to know that someone besides Hillary Clinton is keeping the scrunchie trend going strong. So in honor of the London Olympics kicking off this Friday, here's a look back at our favorite scrunchies from Olympics past. Also, go to OlympicScrunchies.Tumblr.com. Like, right now.

*According to this author, at least -- and she used to do gymnastics as a kid.

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  • 1992: Kim Zmeskal, Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Wendy Bruce & Betty Okino

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  • 1992: Dominique Dawes

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  • 1996: Dominique Moceanu

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  • 1996: Shannon Miller

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  • 1996: Shannon Miller

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  • 1996: Shannon Miller

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  • 1996: Dominique Moceanu

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  • 1996: The US Team

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  • 1996: The US Team

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  • 1996: The US Team

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  • 2004: Carly Patterson

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  • 2004: Courtney McCool

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  • 2004: Hollie Vise

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  • 2004: Mohini Bhardwaj

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  • 2008: Li Shanshan

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  • 2008: Nastia Liukin

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  • 2008: Li Shanshan

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  • 2008: Koko Tsurumi

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  • 2008: Koko Tsurumi

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  • 2008: Nastia Liukin

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  • 2008: Nastia Liukin

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  • 2008: Shawn Johnson & Nastia Liukin

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  • 2012: Janine Berger

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  • Gymnastics - Olympic Scoring in the Uneven Bars and Vault

CORRECTION: Slide 11 previously misidentified Carly Patterson as Shawn Johnson. We regret the error.

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