THE unveiling of Olympic uniforms is a curious thing. Curious because it tends to attract as much attention, if not more, than our athletes vying to take their place in the echelons of Olympic history.
Amidst a wave of criticism contrasted with a similar level of praise, Australia’s 2012 Olympics team uniform was unveiled to a… well… mixed reaction.
Gone is that hideous blue uniform from Beijing in 2008, replaced with a “heritage theme”. Our athletes uniform for London 2012 consists of white pants, white skirts and green blazers, along with white Dunlop volleys. Some argue it’s better suited to a bygone era rather than the 21st Century.
Fashion designers love it, the athletes themselves thinks it’s superb (as they always do) while critics have slammed it as reminiscent of those fine souls cutting it down at the local bowls club.
The concept was, largely, brought about by a ‘uniform sub-committee’ consisting of Libby Tricket, Nick Green and Trent Franklin, charged with appeasing athletes who had previously complained of uniforms lacking comfort.
Together with Sportscraft, the company solely responsible for those ‘blue icy poles’ revealed in the bird’s nest, the athletes have lauded this latest attempt at making athletes look cool, as “iconically Australian” and “classic and formal but relaxed”.
The Hard Word couldn’t agree more. Not only do they scream Australian, in a refreshingly subtle manner, they are also a nod to the fact that we can actually be a rather trendy nation, just not in a conforming with European trends kind of way.
They are the first uniforms for us consigned to Generation Y that capture perfectly the essence of ‘Australian chic’. The old school look, with a contemporary twist is their strength, not their weakness.
Our recent track record, pardon the pun, with showcasing our athletes on a global stage has been woeful at best. The classic dark blue suits, with a subtle blu pinstripe, and just a hint of green and gold in the accessories may have been fine for a meeting with the Prime Minister at Kirribilli House, but not here.
Four years earlier in Athens, the uniform the athletes wore during the opening ceremony, reminded me of, well, nothing really because they were so tragic to look at. Grey cargo pants were teamed with a white t-shirt and a green, starry jacket that can only be described as ludicrous.
But the Mambo-designed ghastly outfits from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 will be remembered by this scribe for many years to come as the worst of them all. It seemed like an apparent attempt by a creator of hideous clothing to take the piss out of some 400 athletes. The less formal wear was an absolute abomination, while the formal attire “inspired by the street” was nothing of the sort. It was nothing short of embarrassing.
In the space of a few short months, Australian athletes can walk into London’s Olympic Stadium with pride, knowing that for the first time in a long time, their uniform is pitch perfect. It’s not over-the-top sporty, nor is it too formal.
Blazers dressed down with Dunlop volleys. It’s uber-chic and my grandpa will love them.