The job of designing Olympic uniforms comes with a ton of pressure. For Stella McCartney, the daughter of the Beatles’ Paul McCartney, the task was especially daunting. Stella is a well-known clothing designer in Great Britain, and her uniform designs for the Summer Olympics in London were released on Thursday. Overall, the kits were not well-received.
McCartney said part of her strategy was to include the colors of the British flag, but many believe she failed to include enough red.
"Massive fail!!!!" one Facebook commenter wrote according to the Daily Mail. "These are not our national colours!!!! Did someone not get the memo."
"Oh dear! Stella, Stella – did you not think of asking ANYONE on a UK street if they thought it was reasonable for you to take the red off our Union Jack?" another agreed.
Stella insists that she feels very strongly about the British flag and that these uniforms contain more red than any Team Great Britain kit since 1984. Perhaps the general public was expecting perfection since they are hosting the games.
On a separate note, many believe McCartney missed a huge opportunity with the design because research has shown that having red in uniforms can give a team a competitive advantage.
"I think that the GB Olympic designers may have missed an opportunity here to include more red in the design," clinical sports psychologist Victor Thompson told the Guardian. "This may have helped give the GB wearers a boost psychologically that would be reflected in physical performance – for instance, if the red increased confidence, (positive) aggression and sense that they are dominant, then they are likely to perform closer to their peak performance potential.
"In addition, there may be negative effects on opponents, facing our athletes wearing significant amounts of red, where they assume a less confident and more submissive position in the sporting contests. While these effects are likely to be small, when it comes to the Olympics, the margins between gold and silver, medal and non-medal, are small."
Whether the uniforms can actually make a competitive difference or not, I’d hate to be Stella McCartney if the British struggle this summer.
With the Olympics Games taking place every two years for some athletes and every four years for others depending on their sport, it is important that Olympians take any and all precautions to remain healthy during, before and after competition. If an illness caused an athlete to have to miss an event, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be squandered. But how careful is too careful? According to The Guardian, Great Britain’s athletes have been advised to avoid shaking hands at the London Olympics to avoid spreading germs around the athletes’ village and elsewhere.
Dr. Ian McCurdie, the British Olympic Association chief medical officer, recently said that illness is one of the main threats to performance in an Olympic Village that he described as a “pretty hostile environment.”
“I think that is not such a bad thing to advise,” McCurdie explained. “The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with. Essentially we are talking about minimizing risk of illness and optimizing resistance. Minimizing exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen. Hand hygiene is it. It is all about hand hygiene.”
As you may expect, the assertion by McCurdie has been met with a good amount of opposition. Germs or no germs, shaking hands is a symbol of respect — one that is particularly important on an international stage like the Olympics.
“There’s not reason why people shouldn’t shake hands at the Olympics,” Britain’s Department of Health responded Tuesday according to the Associated Press.
This certainly isn’t the first time a concern has been raised about health in the Olympic Village. At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, an emergency supply of condoms was shipped to the athletes’ dormitories to assure that — well, you know. When it comes to Olympic competition, you truly can never be too cautious.
H/T Game On!