On your marks… From Olympic rings to mascots and footprints, athletes display their Games tattoos
17:23 GMT, 1 August 2012
While medals carry their weight, it seems that an Olympic tattoo is now the sign of true sporting success.
At least, that seems to be the school of thought among the world's top Olympic heroes who have inked the trademark Olympic Games rings on their fit physiques.
Athletes including the record-breaking U.S. gold medalist Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and swimmer Elizabeth Beisel, who each sport tattoos of the logo on their bodies.
For life: Olympic athletes are branding themselves with tattoos of the trademark Olympic Games rings, seen above on Canadian swimmer Alexa Komarnycky. Other Olympians include Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte
Like something of a right of passage, tattooing oneself with the instantly-recognisable rings often occurs once an athlete has competed successfully at an Olympic Games.
Michael Phelps, who today became the greatest Olympian of all time after winning his 19th medal, a gold, in the men's 2x400m, sports a tattoo on his right hipbone.
America's fellow male swimming star, Ryan Lochte, also sports a tattoo on the inside of his right arm, often seen in the pool when he performs backstroke.
Female Olympic swimmer Elizabeth Beisel, another member of Team USA, has her own version of the rings stamped onto her upper right thigh.
Michael Phelps: The champion swimmer, above, has a colourful tattoo of the Olympic rings on his right hipbone
Ryan Lochte: The extremely marketable U.S. swimmer, above, has a tattoo on the inside of his right arm
Elizabeth Beisel: The U.S. pool star, above, branded her upper right thigh with the Olympic rings as well
U.S. Olympic gymnast Jonathan Horton, who won a silver medal in the high bar at Beijing in 2008, is yet another tattooed sportsman.
His upper back features an image of the rings as well as the letters U.S.A.
Dana Vollmer, a gold medalist, has a tattoo of the Olympic rings on the small of her back.
Several Canadians have also followed the trend, as pointed out by NY Daily News.
Long-distance swimmer Ryan Cochrane has a tattoo of the rings on the left side of his upper back.
Strength: U.S. gymnast Jonathan Horton, seen in the men's team final, also has a similar tattoo on his back
Variation: Mr Horton's tattoo, above, also includes the letters USA written above the popular Olympic rings
Following suit: Dana Vollmer, above, who is a gold medalist, has a tattoo of her own on the small of her back
Julia Wilkinson: The Canadian swimmer, above, has an Olympic rings tattoo on her upper left thigh
He is an Olympics bronze medalist.
swimmer Julia Wilkinson has also been branded on her upper left thigh,
which is noticeable when the sporting star wears high-waisted swimming
She is known for swimming backstroke, freestyle and medleys and broke the Canadian national record in 100m backstroke in 2008.
Australian champion swimmer Stephanie Rice has her own tattoo on the inside of her right arm.
The rings are accompanied by the words Beijing 2008, where Miss Rice won three gold medals in the pool.
Alain Bernard: The French pool star, above, has decorated his own rings with a further design around the logo
Tamas Varga: The Hungarian water polo player, above, inked a 'Beijing 2008' version of the popular tattoo
French swimmer Alain Bernard has interpreted the rings his own way.
buff star, who has won three Olympic medals in the pool, has had a
further design inked on his skin that surrounds the symbolic logo.
Tamas Varga, a water polo player from Hungary, has branded his own skin with the rings as well as the words Beijing 2008.
The Polish gymnast Marta Pihan-Kuleska
showed off a tattoo of the Olympic rings within a butterfly design in
the women's balance beam event
A member of the Australian men's eight rowing crew with a tattoo on his back during a training session at Eton Dorney
A tattoo of the Olympic rings is a souvenir
many athletes take back from the Games. Here, a member of the US
swimming team shows a tattoo on her back
British gymnast Louis Smith has the word 'Deserve' tattooed on his chest
The Games' mascot for that year is also pictured above, as is further text.
German swimmer Sarah Poewe also has a rings tattoo; hers is located on her right upper thigh.
The number 2008, referring to the Beijing Games held that year, is written just beneath it.
Canadian swimmer Alexa Komarnycky also has the rings inked on the back of her neck.
A tattoo of the word 'Champion' and some footprints on the chest of Mongolian judoka Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar
In case he loses his shirt, German volleyball star Gyorgy Grozer has his squad number inked on his arm
Pedro Cunha, the Brazilian beach volleyball player, with a woman's face tattoo peering out from his vest
The French handball player Samuel Honrubia has an intricate sleeve tattoo on his left arm
While the Swedish handball player Fredrik Petersen has a Maori style pattern on his right arm