Unlike four years ago for the Beijing Olympics, a couple of nights ago I got to watch the London Opening Ceremony. One of the highlights was the Parade of Nations and it was really fun watching representatives from each country enter the stadium for the first time.
The teams enter the stadium in alphabetical order with Greece (home of the Olympics) at the front and Great Britain (host nation) coming in last. It’s so interesting to see how each team represents itself as far as uniform goes. There’s so much variety but I’m going to say right now that the delegation from Burundi was definitely my fave, so beautiful!
I really like the idea of uniforms inspired by your country’s flag – what could be more patriotic! But you’ve got to have a suitable flag. I don’t think a uniform inspired by the U.S. flag, for example, could be overly literal (that’d be a lot of stars and stripes!). Same goes for NZ really and we usually wear our black and fern anyway – if we wore uniforms inspired by our official flag we’d look like Australians!
Two teams who wore great uniforms inspired by their flag were South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.
I also really enjoy seeing the native or national dress of different countries, especially when the athletes themselves look really excited and overjoyed to be wearing them. Some of my favourites in this year’s ceremony were
The Cook Islands:
In some delegations the women really shone with beautiful dresses that were really stunning. As I mentioned, I loved the Burundian women’s flowing dresses and other standouts were the sole female competitor from Oman, 100m sprinter Al-Habsi Shinoona Salah in an amazing blue and gold outfit, and the Qatari women including their flagbearer, rifle shooter Al-Hamad Bahiya Mansour.
Other countries chose to have their flagbearer in special garb. Some of these were really impressive, including
The prize for the team with the best sense of humour would have to go to the Czech Republic, who came ready for the notorious English summer with gumboots and brollies.
Many of the countries’ uniforms were really forgettable. Some were plain ugly. The uniforms that I disliked the most were not the Paraguayans with their plunge-necked mini dresses and yankee big band/gondolier uniforms. Not even one of the boring beige brigades. No, the worst by far were the German team’s, whose designer obviously was brought up in a household with very strictly defined gender roles. Girls = Pink, Boys = Blue.
It looks like they’re going to a baby shower for twins. (Or, as I’ve read on a few different webpages, like they’re in a tampon commercial)
But hey. I’m sure some people think that having an almost all black uniform is really dull. While those of us from The Land of the Long White Cloud feel a quickening of the pulse and a lump in our throat when we see our Olympians in their silver ferns (and the Southern Cross on the shoulder is really nice, too).
I will say that our athletes do look a lot more casual than most of the teams, which while very kiwi, is also perhaps a bit of a shame. (Although they do look like the team most ready to play sport!) Our team does have a more formal uniform that was unveiled before the Games and which athletes Nick Willis, Alexis Pritchard and Richard Patterson wore when they met the Queen yesterday.
Maybe it’s a good thing our team didn’t wear them to the opening ceremony, though. They do look a bit like Air New Zealand cabin crew.