Columns 16.8.2016 01:55 pm

Thula Sindi should have designed Olympic kits

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

I reckon we missed an opportunity here by letting our Olympians strut their stuff in bland green and gold tracksuits.

A lot of great stories have come out of Rio, such as granny’s boy Wayde van Niekerk breaking the the World Record, former drug addict Luvo Manyonga winning a silver medal in the long jump, and we won the best dressed award during the opening ceremony.

I reckon we missed an opportunity here by letting our Olympians strut their stuff in green and gold tracksuits. Do not get me wrong, I think tracksuits are appropriate when it comes to sports, but was this perhaps not a chance for an upcoming designer to be showcased?

Millions of people worldwide watch the Olympic Games, and while some of us are concentrating on the on-field action, there are those who know the added value of the Games, and they are using it.

Ralph Lauren has been supplying Olympians with kits since 2008, and this year they designed a custom-made track jacket for Michael Phelps to ensure that it matched his now-famous death stare. Better known for more formal occasions, Armani designed an entire collection for the Italian team. And just in case you think it is not patriotic enough, the trackpants featured a few Italian flags.

Not to be outdone, Lacoste was roped in to design the French team’s attire, and you know how the French love their flair. These athletes sport cropped pants, sweaters and waterproof ponchos in the obligatory French flag colours of blue, white and red. I probably have made my point by now, but I have to add one more. H&M is supplying the Swedish team with their regalia. And even more interestingly, you can purchase some of the pieces in-store.

So, you and I might have thought that it is just an opening ceremony, but to others it was a marketing campaign. I am pretty sure there are other lesser known designers from other countries who will probably be catapulted into stardom after these games. And Team South Africa? Dololo.

Yes, the team is doing relatively well, but we have until the next Games to understand that the Olympics are more than just about world records and personal best times. They can be used to launch a host of entrepreneurs, designers and other people who would traditionally not be part of the Olympics. All we have to do is think out of the box and do what Van Niekerk did: run with it!

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