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 223.

    Why are the men wearing more and more and the women less and less?

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Whilst looking at the design I thought I was looking at the official launch of the Russian teams kit, the main colours are closer to theirs than ours.

    The Union Flag is red, white and blue, on a national team kit it should never be rendered in anything but these colours if present. It looks like a rip off of the Rimmel London ads with the flag similarly disrespected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Personally I think it would have looked a lot more classy and striking if the Union flag on the chest were to have been in the traditional colours! It would have been instantly recognisable. Sorry, sky blue on white just does not do it, it gets lost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    Errr -- which country are these athletes representing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    The style is fine. But what is that "mess" on the front. what does blue and green represent? Not the british flag I hope. We are all expected to buy british and be proud of it. So where on this kit does it show we are British and proud of it!! Our flag says it all. Are we not proud of the flag anymore?!!! what a disgrace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    How can anyone butcher the Team GB kit?

    The colours have to be Red, White and Blue surely?

    What a mess Stella.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    Sad to see that almost all positive comments on the kit have received negative ratings, yet said reviewers seem bereft of better ideas. Is it because a velour tracksuit and Saturday afternoon TV is the closest they come to sport?

    All I know is the professional athletes seem to like them and they are, at the end of the day, the ones wearing them.

    Go Team GB!

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.


    "where is THE flag.....??? Poor Branding.."

    Why bother? The official cars are german built, the athletes kit wont be mad in the UK and on and on

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    I'm shocked at the reaction. It's not like a HYS to be so critical and produce so many miserable responses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    I think the designer for Team GB at the Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler made a much more impressive, and colourful outfit. Forget how much this is costing the tax payer. It's the Olympics, a once in a life time opportunity to have the worlds biggest party on your doorstep. Embrace it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Sorry Stella, it's looks like a complete mess. The design of the mainly blue union flag and the lower area don't seem to flow together well. The red socks and collar seem an afterthought. As for the "x" across the front, has she been speaking to Simon Cowell for advice??

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    Awful. Dreadful. Amateur. Not forward looking. No style, NOT Union Colours. What a waste of time, money & effort. Another shock to get over after awful logo and mascots. Please, please, let the Openign Ceremony by British....and not cheap & cheerful with too much marketing themes

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    I like it, it's smart and modern and unclichéd. You don't have to just have a giant version of your flag for these kits, look at the kits that Germany and Holland wear for sports tournaments.

    By the way, when was the last time that "Jeggy" (#84) saw a cycling jersey with a zip on the back?? They're always on the front!

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    "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."

    This says it all. London 2012 is just an orgy of corporate sponsorship and greed which has very little to do with "Olympic spirit".

    In fact if you could bottle "Olympic spirit" it would be on sale from an "official sponsor".

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Isn't it very similar to the old American kit.

    What is with the green sash?

    How is that British?

    Good job it will be covered up by the comp number

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Red, knee length socks . . put some of them on when I go jogging later.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Style should not be sacrificed for sport? Nor should the whole concept of 'Britishness' be sacrificed for style. Style is a personal thing - it is ephemeral and fades away - looks like the concept of 'British' is doing that too. :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    Most people who post on here must really hate life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    For what was originally a festival of amateur sport the Olympics have deteriorated to a disgusting and vulgar consumerfest of escalating proportions.

    Do we really need this latest addition of studied style which, to my mind, smacks of ambush marketing?

    Enjoy the games as best as you can. After all, we'll be paying for them for years & years to come at the expense of far more worthy causes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    Too dull, too dark, and completely forgettable. As the host nation shouldn't we be leading the parade, not bringing up the rear? And where are NI, Wales and England in this design?


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