Look Great, Feel Proud, Go for Gold in Style
March 23, 2012 14:17 pm
Everyone involved in sport knows that team kit is a hugely important and emotive subject. Receiving and wearing your team kit is a very special moment and the kit you wear is a key part of what binds you together as one team and it enables supporters to show their pride and passion for the team.
Our challenge was to deliver Team GB kit that brings together 550 Olympic athletes from 26 sports, 750 support staff and inspires 60 million people across the UK to get behind Our Greatest Team.
As some of Britain’s most well known athletes took to the stage at the official unveiling of the Team GB kit for London 2012 at the Tower of London yesterday, they were taking the last few momentous steps at the end of what has been a three year long journey for the British Olympic Association (BOA) and our longstanding sportswear partner, and performance technology expert, adidas.
The kit reveal is another exciting step towards Olympic Games readiness for Team GB and the initial reaction from the athletes has been fantastic. This does not come as a surprise to us as the insights and views of the athletes have been absolutely central to every stage of this journey.
Over the past three years we have worked in partnership with adidas, our National Governing Bodies and the BOA Athletes Commission, led by Sarah Winckless to ensure the competition and training wear met and exceeded the expectations of the athletes from a performance point of view. The one thing that we heard loud and clear from the athletes was this: they wanted kit that enables them to perform at their very best and they wanted to look great and feel proud in the kit they have worked so hard to earn the right to wear at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
We knew at a Home Games, that our athletes had to stand out from other teams, which is not easily achieved when many teams have national colours of red, white and blue. As adidas’ Creative Director of the project, Stella McCartney has delivered a very unique fusion of best of British style, combined with performance excellence from adidas. We believe this is the first time that a world leading fashion designer has been fully involved in the development of competition wear for an Olympic team and the resulting look and feel is tremendously original.
We wanted the kit to be truly inspirational for the athletes and the broader Team GB delegation. As Phillips Idowu said yesterday “looking good is psychologically important.” At the BOA, we are in the business of focusing on the all the small details that could make the big difference between silver and gold at Games time. That’s why it is important to provide our athletes with the psychological edge and added confidence of looking and feeling great in their Team GB kit.
But looking great is only part of the equation, crucially, we also needed the very best in sportswear technology if we were to meet the ‘Performance First’ test that we use in all our decision making at the BOA in planning for the Games . Throughout our 28 year partnership with adidas we have benefited greatly from their outstanding performance technology expertise and the London 2012 kit, with its PowerWEB and Climacool technology is undoubtedly the most advanced ever. We were also pleased to be able to draw upon research and innovation support from our counterparts at UK Sport.
While speaking to the athletes yesterday morning, they expressed their pride in the collective identity brought by the kit and the importance of being seen as members of a singular One Team GB. That singular team concept also brings a common design with the ParalympicsGB kit for the first time, as part of Our Greatest Team at London 2012.
The operation of kitting out Team GB is a major one and will take place at the Preparation Camp at Loughborough University during June and July. In total 175,000 units of adidas kit across 23 sizes and 349 items will be delivered. Each athlete will receive approximately 70 items of adidas kit, not including their competition or formal wear.
For the very first time, Team GB replica kit will be available for the British public to buy to show their support for the team. I can think of nothing more motivational for the athletes than walking into their Olympic venue to be met by a wall of Team GB supporters wearing the distinctive design, complemented of course by the ultimate supporters item – the official scarf - as worn by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge when she met the GB hockey squads in the Olympic Park earlier this week.
All funds raised from the sale of the scarf at www.next.co.uk go directly towards supporting Team GB and ParalympicsGB at London 2012 and I’m looking forward to seeing the many creative ways that the British fans will find to wear and wave the scarf this summer.
I experienced first-hand the incredible lift given to Canada’s athletes by the passionate visual and vocal support given to their athletes who produced their best ever performance during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The streets were full of Canadian maple leaf kit and the impact on the athletes cannot be underestimated. Hopefully, the scarf and our Union Flag inspired kit can do the same for Team GB this summer.
You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear me say it again; our commitment to the Team GB athletes and sports is to be the best prepared British Olympic team ever. We are confident that the Team GB kit will present us as the best equipped, most stylish, and most instantly recognisable team at the Games.
When future generations look back on London 2012, we believe the Team GB kit will take its place in history and be remembered as bold, stylish and proudly patriotic.
Yours in sport,
Team GB Chef de Mission