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 si├Ęcle 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 323.

    The 2008 kit may have been simple, but at least it was bright and looked good on the athletes and made them easy to spot.

    This has managed to look dull and dark while simultaneously ruining the Union Flag. Why was Stella McCartney designing it anyway? Who designed the kit for previous games?

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    The Olympics is meant to be a Golden opportunity for us to express everything that is British. Judging by the previous closing ceremony and the lead up to the games it would seem we are saying over-priced on charging but cheap on return, chaotic and unispiring. Yup, sums up Britain pretty well doesn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    The only saving grace is the excuse to admire the photo of Jess Ennis' astonishing figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.


    'Do we have to have jingiostic flag waving at every turn?'
    Are you serious??? It is the Olympic games - is EXACTLY the time for flag waving and supporting the British team/athletes

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Shabby, insulting, unable to use the union flag correctly. Sums up the ineptitude of the 'I want to be a designer' because I can do nothing, have no skills, and know nothing.

    Guess you need to be a friend of the rich and famous to get all the public tax payer money for producing absolute rubbish.

    I hope no one is stupid enough to buy any of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Don't like it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    "a distinct lack of red white and blue"

    But it's erm, red, white, blue and black?

    Come on people, for goodness sake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    13 Minutes ago
    it's simply awful! Our athletes may as well don clowns outfits!//

    They have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Why do we always get things like this so wrong? How many people have looked at the design of these kits and nodded enthusiastically?

    Britain and the union flag has great unique charicteristics recognisable throughout the world. It must have taken a great deal of talented effort to manage to completely reduce them to an unrecognisable design which seems to be half smurf half noddy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    it's simply awful! Our athletes may as well don clowns outfits!

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    What a wasted opportunity. How about bold, bright red white and blue.
    How much are we paying this person ? All of the clothing items have been poor, overpriced and made abroard. I going away for the Olympics, it is almost embarrassing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    It looks more like a cash in range from Next or Tesco than I would expect from the official kit. I've been looking abck at previous years and there are lots of styles incorporating movement and more traditional colour ratios, a distinct lack of red white and blue in this years release. My feeling is the same as with the 2012 logo, a poor effort that shouldn't of had final stamp of approval.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    1 Hour ago
    Looks good. Now over to the wingers of this board.

    Is that left wing or right wing, Paul? :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Truly awful. It looks washed out, bland and uninspiring. When the logo was announced we were told it was forward looking and would perfect for 2012; it looked rubbish then and it looks rubbish now. The same can be said of this kit. She's tried to be too clever, has produced something something instantly forgettable and ended up looking like a pretentious ass. Should've let Banksy do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    I don't generally like to be negative, but this is a bit diappointing. If I was English or Northern Irish I'd be furious at having been deleted from the Union Jack.

    As it is I'm Welsh and we're not even incorporated. What she could have done was left the flag as it was but added little dragons all over it to give a 'lift'. That would have been smashing ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Just another reason why this is going to be the worst olympics in living memory.Indigo??

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    The kits are beautifully designed. I just wish we could replace the turquoise with red. As it stands, it's not our flag. Stella McCartney had a big responsibility. Her treatment of the flat is quite insulting to the millions of us who love our red, white and blue flag. Can't see many other countries changing theirs. I find this type of experimental design boring and very 90s.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Only fair to concede that I have little enthusiasm for the Olympics in general but those gripes are for another time and place.

    In terms of the kits though they are awful on so many levels.

    You think of a British Olympic kit and its a classy white number with a red and blue hoop. Simple. Effective. Class.

    Everything that those aren't really.

    You think of an Olympic

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    I actually really like it! You can tell the Union Jack is on it, but I quote what Sir Chris Hoy said, "not in an obvious way." It is still recognisable and love the whole ethos around how all the athletes want to wear the same kit to unify them as a team. They seem to be happy with it!

    I for one love it! Bring on the London Olympics!

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    What a joke.

    Won't wear it, won't support it.


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