It’s not “all work and no play” for Olympians at the 2016 Rio Games. During their downtime, athletes from around the world, including diver David Boudia and Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, indulge in a little R&R at the P&G Olympic Village Salon.
Inside the pop-up spa, located in the Rio 2016 Olympic Village Plaza, competitors and their families choose from a seemingly endless menu of services like fresh shaves, haircuts, manis and pedis, makeup looks and styling, courtesy of Procter & Gamble brands including CoverGirl, Pantene, Gillette and Head & Shoulders.
“It’s a change of pace from their rigorous training and competition schedule madness. The salon offers a relaxed environment where our goal is to pamper them while providing a miniescape from the pressures of competing,” P&G celebrity stylist Gabriel Samra tells Us Weekly.
The top service of choice for female athletes by far are two heatproof hairstyles: beach waves and braids. “Being in Rio has inspired the female athletes to go for beach waves that can last — it’s such a great look with minimal maintenance needed,” Samra, who styled Wozniacki for the opening ceremony, tells Us. “Athletes [are also into] French braids, fishtail braids and boxing braids!”
Even the most scissor-shy male athletes are taking advantage of the salon. “I got a little haircut to make sure I was looking fresh,” Boudia, who nabbed a silver medal during the men’s synchronized 10-meter diving finals, told Us. “[It’s] probably one of the best [haircuts] because I was at the Olympics!”
Team USA track star Ariana Washington, who will compete in the women’s 4×100 meter relay on August 18, stopped by with teammate Deajah Stevens on Monday, August 8, to get her hair and nails done. “Oh, I love the salon! It’s like my favorite part of the village,” she told Us. “After getting my nails and hair done in here, I feel like me again. Today I was looking a little rough before I came in here.”
And while the mood could be tense ahead of a match or an all-or-nothing race, Samra reveals that it’s a light atmosphere. “It’s a nice break from all of the training and competing these athletes endure day in and day out,” Samra says. “[Their] fierce spirits are so contagious.…We have such a great time during the glam sessions. They all walk out of here with a boost of confidence as we wish them luck.”