Outside the door, right on the Rhine in Düsseldorf, it was raining and nearly freezing. Inside in the Congress Center, Project Rio began with an explosive fashion show exactly 101 days before the beginning of the Olympic Games. Along with top model Lena Gercke, top German athletes like European handball champion Steffen Weinhold and Olympic hockey champion Moritz Fürste presented the clothing for the German Olympic team, with visible pleasure, for the highlight at the Copacabana.
The colorful look of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi has served its time; instead, the German athletes will appear distinctly more colorfully reserved, above all with variations of the colors black, red, and gold. The theme is cool and athletic: a highlight for the opening ceremony look is a parka made of super-light material with reflective panels on the arms that will provide for a flashing effect in the flurry of camera flashes. "We'll make a pretty sight at the opening ceremony," lauded Moritz Fürste.
German Team for Rio 2016: Athletes co-design Olympic uniform at Adidas
And Steffen Weinhold noted that it was a perfect success of joining design and functionality – for example, fitting the ubiquitous headphones under the hoods: "This is cutting edge. The Olympic Games collection has gone down super well with all of the athletes." What's also related to this is that the outfitter Adidas included the athletes in the design process more than ever before.
The brand with the three stripes is responsible for designing the entire uniform outfitting for a German Olympic Games team for the first time – as well as for the outfit at the opening ceremony. With the parrot look in London in 2012 as well as Sochi in 2014, the active company Bogner was still responsible as the traditional Winter Games outfitter for the German appearance at the greatest fashion in the world, in front of billions of TV viewers.
Shoes from Sioux, Clothes from Adidas for free for 450 athletes
This time, only Sioux is along with colorful shoes in the retro black-red-gold look, while Adidas is the outfitter for the rest. It's a statement that Adidas even designed the outfits for the opening and closing ceremonies, which are geared toward the media. "We aren't just the company for on the field, but now also for before and after. That's what we're getting across here," said Fabian Fischer of the Adidas marketing department to ISPO.com. The outfit's design and production didn't just take several months, but also cost in the higher multi-millions – ultimately, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) is getting the entire collection for its 450 athletes and 300 managers free of cost.
But the profit in image from the Olympic Games is priceless for Adidas. "It's about the visibility of our latest style. Ultimately, we make a large part of our revenue through leisure wear," said Fischer. In contrast to highlights like the European Soccer Championship, where jersey sales are pouring enormous multi-million sums into the bank, only select pieces from the German Olympic Games line will be commercially available. Fisher to ISPO.com: "At the Olympic Games, it's not about product sales."
Lena Gercke: "Germany can do a good job of keeping up"
The advertising message has gone down well with top model Lena Gercke, at any rate. "This way Germany can do a good job of keeping up, no one will be embarassed. The athletes will all look very modern and, above all, will feel comfortable in the clothes. That's the most important thing; that ultimately the Olympic Games, and specifically the opening ceremony, are some of the greatest moments of their lives," says Gercke.
In comparison to the parrot look from Sochi, this time the German Olympic apparel seems more conservative, despite the use of high-tech materials. "In 2014 Germany was very striking, everybody talked about it," says Gercke, who won the first season of Germany's Next Top Model in 2006 and then seized the covers of Cosmopolitan and more, "But it was just so colorful and not everybody like that, not just among the athletes." This time, the variations of the German colors of black, red, and gold have been very successful. In addition, fashionable cuts have been very well combined with functional elements. Special eyecatchers are, in Gercke's opinion, the fire-red shoes.
Olympia Outfit 2016: "Comfortable and cool"
According to Gercke, a fashionable comparison between the haute couture in Paris or Milan with the German Olympic Games clothing is out of the question. "Completely different criteria count in sports fashion. The pieces at a top fashion show do look great, but they're totally uncomfortable and you only wear them reluctantly. You'd like to get back out of them as quickly as possible. The clothes from the Olympic Games collection are just really comfortable and cool."
So that the German athletes really are recognized by everyone in the Olympic Village and on the streets of Rio, some pieces of clothing like the training jacket have "Germany" printed on them, instead of the formerly customary "Deutschland." As chairman of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Michael Vesper lauded the brilliant fashion show with capoeira elements (fitting the host country of Brazil) and expressed the hope that the German team won't give off a successful image in Rio just because of its fashionable gear.
450 athletes want 50 medals
"With over 450 athletes, we''ll have a very large German team in comparison to the last Summer Games," said Vesper. In London, there were only 392 athletes. Due to the change in qualification standards, there are more than 100 Germans in track and field alone – about 20 more than four years ago – along in the game. In addition come five German teams in sports with gold candidates, like the European handball champions, the Olympic hockey champions of 2008 and 2012, and both soccer teams. Correspondingly, the German medal totals from the Summer Games of 2008 (41) and 2012 (44) are supposed to be improved. Vesper named a target range of "38 to 68 medals, where we'll align ourselves somewhere in the middle." Of course, they would be very happy to pass the magic number 50.
The German Olympic Games expedition to Rio will cost about nine million euros; each German Olympic champion gets a bonus of 20,000 euros. The latest negative headlines from the Olympic city, like the collapse of a newly built Olympic cycling track, problems completing Olympic buildings, or the fear of the Zika virus can't curb Vesper's anticipation. "We're taking the Zika virus seriously, and are working together with the experts of the Robert Kock Institute. I'm also sure that all important buildings will be ready and our hosts will ensure our safety. It's going to be a good, lively, and colorful Games." The team's victory celebrations pass off smoothly as usual in the German house. Naturally, directly on the heavenly, sandy beach in Rio, at 86 degrees in the Barra Beach Club.