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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  • Comment number 583.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    Would be a lovely outfit for the Commonwealth games in Glasgow

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    Why do Brits hate being british?
    We are the United Kingdom, our flag is one of the most recognizable on the planet, and is made up of 3 very distinctive colours!
    Why have we let this woman insult our flag by making something that bears no resembelence to the real thing.

    I'm british and proud, why isn't she?

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    What's really worrying is that in the only version with two sides (2nd chap from right) the "flag" is actually incorrect - the right side should have a broad white diagonal stripe above the "red but it's blue 'coz thatz cooler innit" bit. Looks as if it's upside down - a recognised distress signal!

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    505.Bath_BTGOG Can't imagine the French, USA or Russia etc opting for a turquoise over the Red in their flags.

    I don't see turquoise... I just see varying shades of blue. Oh... and there is white... and look I see red, too! On the shoes, on the socks and around the collars.

    And please.... let's leave the emotional bit out of the debate. This is sport not war - get a grip!

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    An utter disaster of a kit.

    I have a feeling that the 'British multi-cultural celebration' apect of the games is coming into play here.

    Not to mention that other countries might have a laugh at us for not getting our own flag right.

    If Ms McCartney had produced this dogs dinner for the Chinese she would be looking at a stay in a re-education camp.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    First impressions - dull colours and uninspiring design. Really difficult to make the union flag uninteresting but sadly that has been achieved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

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

    Well let's hope it's also like nothing you will ever work on again!

    Dire, simply dire...

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    at least the Scots wont need to design a new kit for the commonwealth games!

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    Shouldn't the broad diagonal stripe be at the top? Looks like the flag is upside-down which means the wearer is "in distress"!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    I'm sure academics did research into football kits and found that the dominance of Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal was in part down to the kits and red is the most intimidating colour for sportsmen to face. Maybe the BOA should have employed sports psychologists instead of fashion designers. Must say though I like the sepia Union Flag and a kit designed around that really would have been different!

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    Why can't London 2012 get ANYTHING designed well? The logo is as hideous as it is generic, the mascots - the less said the better - and now this. I don't think anyone ever had a problem picking out the British olympians before - maybe it was just Stella who had eyesight issues. This kit is drab, colourless and thoroughly unidentifiable. I dread to imagine what the opening ceremony will be like.

  • Comment number 571.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    Wow maybe if she wanted to represent Great Britain she should have just put loads of whingy comments all over red obviously. It's a kit. It's fine, it does the job. I'd rather decent kits that the athletes were comfortable in so did well in than something Joe Public approves of because it satisfies them as being 'red white and blue' enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    "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."

    The red should be on the Cross of St George. I look forward to the Commonwealth games when the English flag will fly. England should have her own team at the Olympics, this British nonsense is just a bore and should be scrapped!

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    I agree with everyone else - where's the red. Did the factory run out of red dye? As it is the kit looks like one better suited to a Scottish team, certainly not Team GB. Oh well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    I really think we are beginning to lose the plot in this country - we have one of the most famous and instantly recognised flag in the world and to do this to it is incredible. I cannot believe for one moment that the Americans or French would do this. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee I think this is a very big errot

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    worra loada rubbish!

    What poser going to buy this lot?

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    508.trinity_enigma wrote:

    'Am most confused by these comments. I was not aware that red is the colour that makes us British'

    No, your right it isnt, but its the three colours on the flag that signify the link between the union of the three kingdoms. I'd imagine its quite a simple protocol to follow, red,white and blue.

    It's our flag, use it, dont abuse it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    Predominately blue, white and black. Makes me feel so patriotic that we don't even know the colours of our nation any more.


Page 24 of 53


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