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Tattoos are no longer taboo! At least, the athletes at the 2012 London Olympics don't seem to think so... several have been spotted with rather uniquely designed tattoos, all evidence of the spirit the Games are being played with.

The traditional Olympic tattoo - the five interlocking Olympic rings with an outlined map tattoo of the athlete's native country - has become something of a craze over the past few editions of the Games. One of the participants, Hugo Parisi, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics sported a similarly-styled tattoo - inked on his back - during the men's diving competitions. That same year another Brazilian, Cassius Duran, opted for the five ring tattoo below his right shoulder.

Traditional designs aside, more obviously sport patches are also quite popular. Decathlete Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus, for example, showed off pictogram tattoos of the decathlon on his legs during the pole vault portion of the event, at the Beijing Games.

2012 London Tattoos

This year too athletes sporting tattoos are a common sight. Some of these art pieces leave no doubt the bearer's intention was to highlight the tattoo, the cause and well... his/her claim to fame. For example, Sarah Poewe, of Germany, bears the Olympic rings tattoo on her right hip joint - highlighted when she wears swimwear.

There are also tattoos paying homage to non-sports ideals and concepts doing the rounds of the 2012 Games. A few athletes, for example, bear tattoos proclaiming religious beliefs - Jesus Christ or Bible verses. Moldavian boxer Vasilii Belous is a good example - he has a tattoo on his upper right arm showing a cross, the Christ and two angles, while archery's recurve event competitor Bradely Ellison of the US has the tattoo of a Bible verse on his hands.

Click Start to see a slideshow of other interesting tattoos, on athlete's bodies, at the 2012 London Olympic Games