Team GB 2012 Olympic kit revealed

TeamGB athletes Athletes say the kit has the 'wow' factor but some people have criticised it as 'too blue'

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Team GB's athletes will step out in a dark indigo blue kit, inspired by the union flag, with red shoes, when they compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

Leading designer Stella McCartney, who collaborated with Adidas, said it combined style with performance.

She was at the Tower of London launch where athletes modelling the technical kit said it had the "wow" factor.

But some people have criticised the outfits as "too blue" and looking more Scottish than British.

McCartney, Team GB creative director at Adidas, has designed the Olympic and Paralympic athletes' clothing for competition time, training, medal ceremonies and relaxation time - known as 'Village wear'.

Team GB Olympic kit launch

She said the kit was designed to bring the athletes under one look and feel, with British competitors in all 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports wearing part of the same 590-piece collection.

The "untraditionally British" design features a contemporary take on the union flag, she said.

"Something that was very important to me was to try and use that very iconic image but to dismantle it and try to soften it, break it down and make it more fashionable in a sense."


Where Stella McCartney has excelled in her collaboration is in understanding how to create the perfect mix of sportswear functionality with fashion edge.

Her approach to design is so successful because she understands the demands and desires of the modern market, underpinning this by addressing both the practical and the desirable.

The beauty of the union flag is that it gets reinterpreted every generation.

From the Mods in the 1960s to Geri Halliwell in the '90s Britpop era and to Alexander McQueen's torn and tattered fin de siècle tailcoat for David Bowie.

By deconstructing the union flag and using this as a motif for the construction and design of the Team GB kit, Stella has reinvigorated it for the 21st Century and made it have a fashionable dynamism that is both relevant and modern as contemporary sportswear.

But Scottish pentathlete Mhairi Spence and some commentators on Twitter have criticised the deconstructed flag, which features pale and dark blue instead of the traditional red.

Spence wrote: "Little disappointed! Doesn't look very GB!! It just needs more RED!"

While @donaldjdonald, said: "Turquoise, white and blue is the new red, white and blue apparently. Did someone forget to order the red dye for the Team GB Olympic kit?"

Asked about the criticism, McCartney told the BBC: "I wanted to start with the union flag, but I'm really aware the reds, whites and blues are in other nations' flags and sometimes you can feel quite confused when you are watching the Games... is that American, is that French?

"I wanted to make it slightly more delicate and have more texture.

"It's very recognisable still, I've represented all the parts of Great Britain. There's a lot of red in there, but in a non-traditional way."

Where the kit was made

  • Great Britain
  • Portugal
  • Turkey
  • Sri Lanka
  • China
  • The Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand

Source: Adidas

The designer said the athletes' performance was key in creating the kit as well as ensuring it gave them confidence.

"You have to make the athletes feel like they are in the height of their performance. That they are wearing technical gear that is absolutely going to shave off the tiniest part of a second.

"Something that came across early on was that they want to feel and look like they are a team and there is such power in that.

"When I talked to the athletes I asked them: 'Do you feel different when you look good, do you think it enhances your performance?' and they all said 'yes'.

"You shouldn't have to sacrifice style for sport."

While German-owned Adidas had the technology to make the outfits breathable, footwear lighter and form streamlined, McCartney's role was different.

"I spoke to Sir Chris Hoy and said, 'what can I do to help in any way?' And he said, 'I just want to look cool'."

Stella McCartney: "It is like nothing I have ever worked on before"

Speaking at the launch, team GB BMX rider Shanaze Reade told the BBC when athletes "pulled the kits out of the packets we just thought 'Wow!'"

She said putting on the kit for the first time enhanced the feeling that the Games were "on the doorstep now".

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who worked with the designers on the kit, said he was delighted with the outcome and suspected other nations would be envious of their look.

He said: "It's very important that you feel confident in your kit and you feel good in it because you don't want to be thinking about it when you're competing.

"To know that you've got the fit correct, it's aero-dynamic, it's efficient when you're on the bike, that's a big part of your performance."

The four-time Olympian said the kit was also crucial to team unity.

"You want to step out there looking the same as a unit. If you're all wearing exactly the same kit, you all look smart and you all look together, it's quite intimidating to other countries.

"The kit looks fantastic and a bit of a twist to have the union flag incorporated in it but not in an obvious way.

Sir Chris Hoy in Stella McCartney-designed 2012 kit Sir Chris Hoy told Stella McCartney the athletes wanted to 'look cool'

"I think it's really classy... and one I think we will all enjoy wearing."

Across all sports, the kit will comprise up to 175,000 items of clothing for up to 500 Olympic and 350 Paralympic athletes and includes 38 types of footwear.

Triathlete Alistair Brownlee, who is fighting back to fitness after tearing his Achilles, said the tri-suit was a "fantastic" piece of kit considering that "it's notoriously difficult to get it right, because it has to be not too baggy for the swim, but tighter for the cycle and the run".

"Standing here in London, wearing the kit, it's definitely creeping up on us now," he said.

And gymnast Louis Smith said his pale blue trousers and Union Jack vest were "comfortable, nice to wear, professional and sexy".

"With gymnastics, it's important because you're being judged on how you look," he said.

"I'll be performing the hardest routine in the world. With great risk comes great reward, and I've got to pull it off."


  • USA - Nike
  • Russia - Bosco
  • Germany - Bogner, Adidas and Sioux
  • Australia - Adidas
  • China - Anta for the formal uniform, various sponsors for sports kit

The daughter of former Beatle Paul and the late Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney heads up her own fashion house, launched in 2001.

She graduated from Central St Martins, London, in 1995, was creative director at Parisian label Chloe from 1997 and has worked with Adidas on sportswear since 2004.

While Adidas is the official kit sponsor, it has been reported some British athletes may have to step on to the podium barefoot due to a row with the British Olympic Association (BOA) over marketing rights.

Agents of top competitors sponsored by Nike have told the BOA their athletes would be in breach of contract if forced to wear Team GB's official presentation outfit.

But the BOA has said it is a "non issue" and athletes would wear the footwear that is provided as part of their presentation kit, as with previous Games.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    How typically 'English' - arrogant and ignorant!! It's NOT and never was 'Team GB' ... the country is the UK of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, to use only 'Great Britain' or 'GB' is insensitive, inaccurate and just downright insulting and ignorant. 'Team GB' makes about as much sense as "Team England (except Yorkshire)" ????

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    Nice outfit but wheres the flag? Theres no way you're going to be able to tell who is who when they are performing.
    Looks more like the Dominican Republic or Trinidad's colours on their chest to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    Team GB have been badly let down. All that is missing is the red nose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Boring ! and has for that X it really does look like something off a certain show,looks silly,my Daughter could of done better. It looks like little thought has gone into it, really boring ,the union jack should of been made to really stand out red white and blue ,i thought we was showing the world how proud we are of our country ?when are we giong to hold the olympics again ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    At first I thought this must be a spoof kit from that 2012 BBC programme with Hugh Bonneville! But as it isn't I have to say that this is shockingly bad, on a par with the terrible 2012 logo and those mascots!
    And while I agree that GB will be instantly recognised I feel it will be in a 'WTF' sense!
    Really Stella, is that the best you can come up with?

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    Looks like the Scottish Saltire... no red in the flag - even the cross is the Scottish flag. Again a vote for Scottish Independence methinks..

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Not sure what the X Factor logo is all about on the front and the lack of any sort of flag is odd. "Inspired by the Union flag"? Why does everything need to be inspired by something, why not just use the blasted thing?

    Stella McCantdesignmuch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    "Idowu says looking good means he can focus on his performance"

    So prior to this new kit he was hampered in his perfromance by wondering if his bum looked big in the old one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Firstly, I wasn't aware that a flag could have a comfort zone (unless it is being up the flag pole) that it could be taken out of. However, the red white and blue seems to have been replaced with blue white and blue and looks a bit similar to a conservative election campaign logo

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    all Idowu needes is the popular Queen song "Flash" to be played in the back ground and we have Great Britians First SuperHero.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    I don't really like it at the moment, but... It'd look awesome if we added a scarlet-red superhero cape to it...

    Sure, our athletes would all become significantly less aerodynamic, and we'd lose, but we'd look /good/ while losing. The cyclists especially.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Absolutely awful. I am not a fan of McCartney and this just confirms my mindset.

    If this was a design for Scotland GB Union supporters then it would appeal but red socks and a red trim? Where's the sick bucket?

    I don't think it will have an effect on our performance as long as they don't wear the socks and the athlete has some scottish blood in them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    I like this look, but didn't at first realise that the 'logo' on front represented the union flag, so maybe it would have been better to stick with the 3 colours in the flag. Otherwise good.
    I guess the zip at front is for the convenience of the wearer, much easier than having it at back as someone else suggested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    170 anthonycutt.......Hope for your sake that the games will be good,but wont hold my breath doubt if the majority will be anywhere close to british people being allowed to attend.Maybe out side striking.Could be the new colors for our flag when Scotland leaves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Makes we laugh how Stella says "you shouldnt have to sacrifice style for sport"
    Now if she had only thought of that before she designed ........

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    To be fair to Ms McCartney. Given an athlete's kit has to contour the body oneof the biggest elements of clothers design - 'cut' or 'line' - goes out the window. It's a rather camp lycra bicep/thigh hugging wrap. I've never seen an athlete's garb look anything other than that for years.

    Idowu looks a bit 'X-Men'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.


    Where is the red cape?

    Should their pants be worn on the outside?

    Why no big 'S' for Superman/woman?

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    I'm not really sure I understand what all the fuss about the design of the kit....surely the results on the track, field and pool are more important? However, It is disspointing that we haven't used our national colours (which are, just in case Miss McCartney isnt aware, red, white and blue), and the X-Factor logo on the front??????? Is the team sponsored by Simon Cowel?

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    This is such a shame. Father Christmas socks don't make up for the fact that a beautiful flag has been ruined. What on earth is the Union Jack or a British team shirt without red?

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    so nothing new then, the women running round in nothing more than bra and knickers while the men wear something sensible.


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