Author:
Antonia Wille

The Most Beautiful Chic from Liberia and Sexism in Beach Handball

What the Athletes Wear at the Olympics

You can do a lot right and make a lot of money if you are a designer of a nation's sportswear for the Olympic Games. But you can also get a lot wrong - hardly any sporting event in the world gets as much attention from people as the Summer Olympics. The outfit can become iconic - or a laughing stock. But that's just one hallmark of dress lore around the Olympics. This year, sportswear became a political message as arguably never before.

  • Criticism for Ralph Lauren for non-diverse clothing
  • Adidas also received ridicule for German dress - from German athletes
  • A penalty for Norway's beach handballers alarmed Pink
  • German gymnasts could only briefly show off their long suits instead of short panties
  • The self-designed shoes of US runner Allyson Felix have a message
  • Liberia's clothes are the most beautiful

Just how thin the line is between praise and ridicule is something that one of the world's most famous fashion brands, Ralph Lauren, had to experience this year. For the second time Ralph Lauren was allowed to dress the US athletes for the Olympic Games. But according to many fans in the USA, it was also the last time. A blue jacket with the company's trademark polo player, a striped shirt in navy-blue underneath and blue slim-fit pants excited fans in front of the TV. Viewers were reminded of a country club, and the clothing was definitely not representative of the diversity of the athletes, wrote one user. With this she hit the nerve of many others. Ralph Lauren must be fired, was the tenor of the biting fan criticism. Lauren had tried to meet the spirit of the times with the collection - the clothes were supposed to be ecological and sustainable, but the company forgot the big topic of diversity.

Other companies refrained from gloating about the competition, knowing full well that social media attacks could easily roll down on them as well. Italian design legend Armani, for example, was awarded the title of ugliest outfit at the opening ceremony by some viewers. of the opening ceremonyThe clothing of the Italian athletes was mocked on the Internet.

Germany was at least spared a place in the top 10 ugliest outfits, but for adidas it was still not an easy time after the opening ceremony. So adidas had really put some thought into its collection for the entry of the German athletes in advance. Unity and DiversityThe company, with its roots in Herzogenaurach, wanted to represent unity and diversity and did so with a heterogeneous collection of very different designs. On top of that, it was more ecological than ever. And yet the mockery poured down on adidas in buckets. Fans wrote of "bad taste", but athletes were also unhappy. "Who is responsible for this outfit?", blasphemed national basketball player Maodo Lo Adidas defended itself, and indeed there was even praise in the run-up to the presentation of the clothing - but that was quickly forgotten after the many Criticism.

The jibes and nastiness from the opening ceremony, however, remained a storm in a teacup to what was happening around beach handball.

The women's team of Norway violated the requirement to compete in skimpy bikini shorts and played the match for third place in cycling shorts. Even before the Olympics, the Norwegian women had requested that they no longer be required to play in the skimpy shorts. That was denied, so the women went into the game wearing bike shorts in anticipation of a penalty. When they made the punishment public, people around the world became outraged at the sexism in beach handball. US superstar Pink even offered to pay the 1500 euro fine.

Pink didn't have to step in after all, the Norwegian federation paid the money and donated it to a project for equality in sport.

I wonder if Germany's gymnasts would have had a similar reaction if only they had performed better. The women wore long outfits instead of the usual skimpy panties and tops. Germany's best gymnast, Elisabeth Seitz, said "the message should be: Everyone should wear what they want, depending on their mood." So had her teammate Sarah Voss had already done at the European Championships and caused quite a stir.

Among the German competitors this caused recognition. The US superstar Simone Biles, who withdrew from the team competition because of psychological problems Simone Biles said to her fellow Germans, "I stand by their decision to wear what they want and what they feel like wearing." Perhaps the German decision would still have generated interest in other countries beyond gymnastics - but the German team was eliminated in qualifying, so their political decision got almost no audience.

This left the German gymnasts far behind US sprint legend Allyson Felix in terms of public attention. Allyson Felix is running in Tokyo in shoes she put on the market herself. This is not some good money idea from a superstar, but the culmination of a hard-hitting battle with her long-time partner Nike. The managers of the US company wanted to pay Felix 70 percent less sponsorship money because of her pregnancy. The most successful track and field athlete of the Olympic Games made this scandalous behavior public with other athletes. Felix thus achieved two things - she can now do good business with her message "Know your place" associated own brand. And Nike has since changed its scandalous behavior.

With so much ridicule, sexism and political debate, however, we wonder something else entirely - where are the style icons? The clothes that will stay in your head twenty years from now, that will be an asset to the eye? Perhaps a hitherto little-known designer from Brooklyn has managed this feat. Telfar outfitted not one of the great nations, but Liberia. Born in the USA to Liberian parents... Telfar Clemens developed one of the most spectacular collections ever for Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Whether Telfar has what it takes to still be a topic of conversation in ten, twenty or even fifty years? That's something you can decide for yourself according to your own taste. A nice overview of the most impressive collections of the past decades of the Olympic Games can be found here. Maybe Telfar will be added to the click section at some point.

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Author:
Antonia Wille
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