Posted by: SWL | July 28, 2012

Olympic Cauldron Inspires, US Team Uniforms Do Not

OLYMPIC EDITION

I may not be blogging about politics much in the next two weeks. I will probably be watching Olympic coverage instead of my usual multiple television news shows. I am always inspired by the hard work, heart-break and sacrifice the athletes endure on the road to an Olympic appearance.

Did you watch the opening ceremony Friday night? Which element did you enjoy the most?

My favorite part was the lighting of the cauldron. My spouse’s all-time favorite cauldron lighting remains the 1992 Barcelona Games where an archer shot a flaming arrow up to the cauldron to ignite the flame. But I thought this cauldron best represents the Olympic ideal. The 204 copper “petals”, as the commentators called them, were carried in with each national team, all were individually ignited, then they moved upward to form the official flame – each “petal” still distinct but now part of the greater whole.

However, I was totally uninspired by the US team uniforms. I had heard the outrage from some that they were manufactured in China. (Nevada Senator Harry Reid even said they should be burned!) And others were almost equally outraged that the hat was a beret. I thought some of the men redeemed that by wearing them Army Green Beret style.

But I am wondering why Ralph Lauren was chosen as the designer. He represents the upper classes of America, not the average citizen. The women’s just below-the-knee skirts and ankle socks reminded me of the stereotypical picture of rich people in the Hamptons going sailing or playing croquet. Surely the US Olympic Committee could have found a young, dynamic designer who would provide a uniform that represents the innovative spirit of America.

August 2 update
After watching several days of Olympic competition I am even more disappointed in the US uniforms. While other countries have designs that are emblematic of their culture or representations of their flags, the US uniforms are solid colors with little to identify the athlete as an American except the required country name.

The Russians and Spaniards have scroll or floral designs on their warmup jackets and most of the uniforms. Japan’s jackets have the country name in large script lettering, and their men’s gymnastic uniforms have a stylized red sun on the side of the shirt.

On the other hand, the US men’s gymnastic uniform is plain blue. And the US warmup jacket is gray! That’s not a color that appears on our flag or any of our national symbols. Well, I suppose the designer might have taken the color from the Liberty Bell!

America has a great variety of colorful and “fashion forward” clothing styles. As I said above, surely the USOC could have found uniform designs that were more identifiable as American.

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