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Athletes, tourists get Olympic tattoos in London

Associated Press Modified: August 5, 2012 at 11:33 am •  Published: August 5, 2012

LONDON — The British capital is awash in Olympic ink — tattoo ink, that is.

At Olympic venues around London, competitors flaunt marks of blood, sweat, tears — and hopefully glory — on toned arms, hips and torsos.

But tattoos of the iconic Olympic logo — the five interlocked rings — aren't just for the world's top athletes. Amateurs, performers at the opening ceremony and tourists as well have been inspired to get the Olympic spirit under their skin.

And it's not just in London: Thousands of miles away in Chicago, freelance writer Arika Kaosa says she is planning to ink the Olympic rings on the back of her left ankle next week.

"I love how the colors of the rings represent colors in flags of all the national teams originally in Olympic competition," said the 25-year-old, who has been following the games on television at home.

"I will use this tattoo as a positive motivator to get back into the level of performing I was previously at," said the keen tennis player.

In the Olympic host city, tattoo parlors say they have been getting some extra business from athletes and people who are involved in the games.

One potential customer they should look out for: 17-year-old American swimmer Missy Franklin, who has already won four golds and one bronze, has told reporters she wants to get an Olympic rings tattoo once the games are over.

Many Olympians like to record their achievements or tell their life story through body art — and tattoos of the five rings are so common sometimes it seems that non-inked bodies are the minority.

The art is most visible on swimmers — Michael Phelps has the rings on his hip, and fellow Americans Ryan Lochte and Matthew Grevers both sport them on their biceps. British diver Nicholas Robinson-Baker has a large colored one on his chest, while Canada's Brent Hayden complements large tattoos on his torso and arms with the rings — adorned with a maple leaf — on his back.

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