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Uniform Olympics

You’d be hard pressed to find someone describe me as any kind of fashionista.  Beanie kindly reminds me,  “Mom, what you’re wearing went out of style 10 years ago.”

“But, it’s still perfectly good,”  I protest. “Look at the quality of this fabric.  Not a sign of wear.”

“Yes,” but nobody’s wearing that, no matter how good it may look on you.”  Subtext: something else, anything else, would look sooo much better.

Katherine Hepburn in her last movie. She was 86.

I envision myself moving toward the Katherine Hepburn type, sitting in her worn wing-backed chair, explaining patiently to an interviewer that the chair fits her just right, and the stuffing is fine; there’s no good reason to get a new one.

So why am I thinking about fashion as I watch the Olympics?  For one thing, my mind always, always wanders during sporting events.  Just about any competitive game gets my right-brain engaged and off somewhere in the stratosphere.

Besides, I wonder, is it function or fashion that drives the uniforms for each sport?  Is there some ergonomic, aerodynamic reason to a sports uniform?

Take volleyball as an example.

From the Huffington Post

The men wear loose-fitting shorts, the women have some sort of stretchy-short-shorts and stretched-tight tops.  Same for beach volleyball, only worse:  baggy surfer-dude shorts for the men, bikinis for the women.  Do the men need more swish in their stride to signal to them which way their team mates are headed?  Are the women less prone to floor burns?

According to New Yorker’s Critic at Large, Louis Menard, in the 2000 Olympics there was a maximum size allowed for the women’s bikini bottom.  Was that a maximum number of inches from the crotch to the ‘waist’, or was it a maximum circumference?  Whose job is it to measure the uniforms?  Good thing that rule is in the past.

From the Huffington Post

In track the men wear tank tops and tight shorts that reach to  their knees.  That makes sense to me.  Legs rubbing that fast together could start a fire or something.  So why do the women wear short-shorts and bikini tops?  I’m pretty sure women have the same risk of chafing as men.

Maybe it’s because women take better care of their skin, so it’s, well, nicer to look at.  The women participating in almost every sport wear make-up and have stray locks held back in cute hair clips; some shaped like hearts and stars.

Why are none of the women weightlifters wearing make-up and all seem to have unruly hair?

United States’ Holley Mangold
Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina

Are hair brushes and lipstick against Olympic weightlifting rules?  By the way, both of these women appear gorgeous in their press-op photos.

Then there’s swimming and diving.  The great equalizer.  Every event has the same type of tight-fitting swimsuit, hairless bodies, and swim caps, no matter what the event, whether women or men.  But why do the cameras only show underwater shots of the women water-polo players?


And why, oh why, doesn’t a friend or coach or cameraman, somebody tell the gymnasts to brush the chalk off their shiny leos (as they are now called)? All those pretty smiles and glitter, and I’m distracted by that chalk dust messing up your legs and leo?

I’m starting to think something is a little less than uniform.  What’s going on besides good-spirited athletic competition?  Or is it just me?



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  1. I wondered about the fashions this year, too. Those gray jackets the women gymnasts wear to the medal ceremonies look like a stereotype of Communist fashion (or perhaps prison wear). I’m with you on the chalk dusting, too. Very distracting.
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    • Adela Adela

      Yes, the grey and the style does not look flattering on any of the athletes. What happened to the red-white-and-blue? On the other hand, the majority of the participants are wearing red or blue this year.

  2. Jane Jane

    Your blog is delightful. Yes the woman wearing a top and red shorts in the pack of runners (in photo) caught my attention during the race. She was a splendid runner. Her airy, lightweight red shorts rippling with each stride. She was a contrast to the other women in their gut-revealing abbreviated uniforms and no less beautiful. So I made it a point to look her up. She is Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain. Interesting. Who knows? Maybe she will be a trend-setter.

    • Adela Adela

      Thank you for joining me, Jane. I’m with you. I look hope Ms Jamal is a trendsetter.

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