Here's Why Olympic Skiers Wear Tape On Their Faces

No, they're not treating blackheads.

by Summer Arlexis and Carolyn Steber
Originally Published: 
Why Olympians wear Kinesiology Tape on their faces as they compete.
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As the 2022 Olympic Winter Games continue, all eyes are on the talented athletes competing at their best with the goal of taking home a piece of shiny hardware. But when one of them races by with colorful tape all over their face, you have to wonder what’s going on.

So, why do Olympic athletes wear tape on their face? And what does it do? While the face tape may look like a giant pore strip, Olympians are actually using the tape for protection against the cold. Temperatures have been positively bone-chilling at this year’s games in Beijing. According to the Los Angeles Times, Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China hasn’t gone much above six degrees during the day, with American skier Aaron Blunck saying, “It’s one of the coldest places I’ve ever been on Earth.”

Team USA has been using KT Tape, a Team USA partner, to protect themselves from the elements, a Team USA contact tells Bustle. KT Tape, which is a therapeutic kinesiology tape, is generally used to support muscles and joints, but is now being repurposed in this case. “It creates a bit of a shield from the low temps and wind here,” the contact says. And because the athletes are able to trim and shape the tape to fit their needs, it’s really adaptable.

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Jake Brown, of Team USA, wore tape to protect his face during the Men’s Biathlon 20km Individual at the National Biathlon Centre on Feb. 8. “In Beijing, we are seeing it at the outdoor venues, certainly at the biathlon and XC venues so far, though we assume athletes at snowboard, alpine, etc. may be using it also,” the contact says.


But Americans weren’t the only ones taping up before a competition. France’s Anaïs Chevalier-Bouchet, who took home silver in the Women’s 15 km Individual behind Germany’s Denise Hermann, was spotted with three strips on her face. There was also Tang Jialin from China, who competed in bright pink tape, and Greenland’s Ukaleq Slettemark, who was spotted with three blue pieces on her nose and cheeks. The tape is situated on the parts of the face most exposed to the elements — and potential frostbite.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, athletes have been staying warm by wearing heated socks and hand warmers and moving around to keep their blood pumping while they wait to compete. It definitely sounds cold up there in the mountains, but this is the Winter Games, after all!

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