LONDON —The Olympics may last only a few weeks but for some of those who have been in London for the Games, having a life-long reminder of them is worth a few minutes of pain. Olympic athletes, games volunteers and tourists are lining up at London’s many tattoo parlors for a lasting souvenir of the Olympics experience.
The blue, yellow, black, green, and red interlocking rings that make up the symbol of the Olympic Games are getting etched into the skin of Olympic athletes across London, a reminder that they competed in one of the world's top sporting events.
These two friends are swimmers on New Zealand's Olympic team.
Steven Kent competed in the men's 4 x 200 freestyle relay. He didn't qualify for the final but says making it to the Games was reason enough to get the rings tattooed on his chest.
“The Olympics means a lot to us," said Kent. "To me, especially. It's something I've always wanted to do and to have a constant reminder every day is pretty special I reckon.”
This parlor has the Olympic symbol posted on its wall, to help its artists with the dozens of tattoos they're doing.
In the waiting room, a whole swim team from Australia waits their turn. Emily Seebohm won the Olympic silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke.
“If you go to the Olympics you kind of want to show it off," said Seebohm. "It's a big achievement and it takes a lot of time to get there and you put so much effort into it, it's just something you do.”
The athletes may not be your typical patrons of a London tattoo parlor. But they've been good sports about the painful procedure, says owner Mo Coppoletta.
“They are barely legal to get a tattoo so I suppose for a lot of them it's their first," said Coppoletta. "They all took it very well and I suppose if you want something that bad you just sit and take it.”
Coppoletta said he would be tattooing Olympic rings well into the evening and in the days to come, making sure the Olympians and their fans are marked for life.