A Kit To Win Gold In?

A Kit To Win Gold In?

It was my mistake to get excited. The Tweets were filling my timeline about the unveiling of the new Team GB kit for this year’s Olympics. The athletes were gathering at the Tower of London; cameras poised. Then I saw the kit. Apparently many of the GB team said ‘Wow’ when they saw it for the first time. I just said ‘Oh’.

The photos of the kit I have seen are of a dark indigo (looks black on screen) strip with sections of the Union flag in the middle of it. The Union flag though is not as we know it. Red, white and blue it isn’t. White with shades of blue it is. Designed by Stella McCartney and produced by German company Adidas it is described as, ‘untraditionally British’. For the most important sporting occasion in Britain ever is this the time to be ‘untraditionally British’?

This year is an opportunity to be unashamedly British. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June will see flags being waved and bunting hung. The Olympic Torch will start its journey through the country in preparation for the Olympics to start, not just in London but at venues around Britain. If there was ever a time for a showing of red, white and blue everywhere it is now.

The design of the flag on the kit has been described as ‘deconstructed’, however is this not just a sad reflection of the state Britain is in at the moment? At a time when we should be uniting Team GB will be wearing a kit that has pulled apart. With continuing calls for devolution this could possibly be the last Olympics that Great Britain is represented in its current form.

Another description of the flag is that it is not ‘obvious’. Why not? Why should we be so ashamed of it so we want to hide it or pretend it doesn’t really exist. Let’s reclaim the Union flag and fly it proudly. This is ‘Great’ Britain and although being British is usually an excuse to apologise for any achievements now is not the time. Now we have the chance to show what a wonderful and great country Britain can be.

There are some red parts on the strip, but these are limited to around the neck or straps and shoes. The main colour of the kit is the ‘indigo blue’. Has the designer missed a trick here? Has fashion been comprised over performance? When I first looked at the strip I thought it was black. For me that symbolises in clothing one thing – funerals. Are Team GB inspired by the thought of grief, loss and death? Numerous studies over the years have shown that teams that play in red are the most successful. It is the colour of fire, anger and passion – all qualities a successful sports team would want to feel and channel. If you are not convinced take a quick look at the football team currently at the top of the Premier League. That’s the team known as the ‘Red Devils’ that has won a record 19 League titles and 11 FA Cups. Blue in contrast is the colour seen in people as scared.

Another disappointment for me is the choice of designer. Stella McCartney has a fashion pedigree and of course an even more famous father. Could this not have been an opportunity to discover a brilliant young talent? I dread to think of the expense of employing McCartney but I guess in the run away Olympic budget such figures are not worth counting.

I just hope that the talent in Team GB goes beyond a dodgy kit design. Come July and August my wish is the strip is covered up by athletes draping a huge red, white and blue Union flag over it and holding a gold medal in front of it.


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