Spain's Olympic Uniform Controversy

Spain's Olympic Uniform Controversy

Part of a series on London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 10, 2012 at 12:01PM EDT by Brad.  

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Overview

Spain’s Olympic Uniform Controversy refers to various gossips surrounding the official uniform kits worn by the Spanish athletes participating in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Designed by the Russian fashion firm Bosco Sport, the uniforms quickly became a target of public ridicule and criticisms mainly due to its perceived tackiness and garish pattern designs.

Background

Spain’s official uniform kits were designed by Bosco[1], the same company behind the Olympic uniforms of Ukrainian and Russian athletes, and provided to the team free-of-charge in a special deal. The donation was arranged by the Spanish Olympic Committee in an effort to save the taxpayer money as the country’s economy continues to struggle with massive debt and an unemployment rate of 25%.



The Bosco-made uniform kits were first unveiled to the Spanish public in an article published by the newspaper El País[2] on May 4th, 2012, which was largely met by negative feedback from the readers, one of whom noted that the warm-up suit resembled the costume of “a lion tamer.” The public criticism surrounding the unpopular uniform kits began to heat up during the days leading up to the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, when various well-known Spanish athletes publicly vented their frustration through social networking sites and Twitter.

Notable Developments

One of the first Spanish Olympians to publicly express their displeasure with the uniform kits was the 2008 sprint canoe gold medallist Saúl Craviotto[3], who tweeted a photo of himself looking rather unamused in the polo shirt uniform and España cap while clutching a red-and-yellow patterned backpack in his hands. The accompanying message read:


A number of other athletes soon followed suit in raising issues with the team’s official apparel, such as Spanish hockey player and the 2008 silver medalist Alex Fàbregas[10], who tersely wrote via Twitter “Olympic equipment, there are no adjectives…,” as well as the tennis player Carlos Moya[4] who complainted via Twitter with the message “Looking forward to seeing [tennis player] Feliciano Lopez wearing the official Olympic uniform. He’ll never have worn anything so ugly in his life.”


Lopez responded to Moya’s quip as well, though he apparently took more of a subtle jab by saying “It’s loud, very loud. But it’s what we have, man. Spain is different and it always will be."



Spanish Olympic Committee’s Response

The athletes’ public grievances over the uniform kits soon drew the attention of the foreign press covering the Olympic events, not to mention the Spanish news media outlets’ scrutiny of the process and the decision makers involved, with many commentators criticizing the fact that they were ordered from a foreign company whilst hundreds of thousands of unemployed Spanish idle through their days, unable to find jobs. To this, the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) president Alejandro Blanco responded[5]:

“The outfits are what we have, we cannot change them now, and were decided upon more than a year and a half ago. … “When you measure the difference between paying one and a half million euros of public money and free clothes, there is no discussion.”

Parodies

Meanwhile, some people even took the joke to the next level by creating parody image macros[6] and photoshopped images featuring the notorious uniform kits alongside fictional costumes with similar design patterns.




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