Sochi 2014 opening ceremonies: the fashion beatdown


Lifties, terrorists, or Team Ireland?

You have to feel some sympathy for the designers of the team uniforms for the opening ceremonies for the winter Olympics.  After all, it’s an all cold weather sports event held at midwinter in the Northern hemisphere, so the team look has to be built around parkas, and perhaps accessorized with touqes and mufflers.  Aside from that, you need to find a look that’s flattering (or at least not deeply un-flattering) to people whose body types range in both sexes from tiny figure skaters to thick-thighed speed skaters and to ginormous hockey players and curlers.

But, honestly friends:  can’t we do any better than to make most of the international teams look like lifties or Teletubbies (see Argentina for the former, and Germany for the latter)?  And Ireland:  did you want to make your team look like IRA terrorists?


Team Mexico: kind of awesome

Mexico is getting slammed by some, but I thought their getups were pretty stylin’.  I like team uniforms that try to connect to the national identity of the country represented, and it’s quite a challenge when you have a tropical or subtropical country.  Cross your eyes a little bit and they look like matadors in traditional costume.  The U.S. uniforms probably seemed like a good idea when viewed in isolation, but having 200+ people in a great mass wearing that getup was just ugly and confusing.


Team U.S.A.: 213 nationalistic special snowflakes.

For my money?  It’s Canada for the win:  there’s the national identity right there, with the Hudson’s Bay blanket coats, which are equally unflattering to men and women, large and small.  But they’re also kind of charming and suggestive of the north woods, no?


O, Canada!

But the biggest problem with the 2014 Sochi opening ceremony?  No Pussy Riot!!!

13 thoughts on “Sochi 2014 opening ceremonies: the fashion beatdown

  1. My only problem with the whole thing is… the whole thing. I just wish it would end, so we can get back to stuff that actually happened, or stuff that actually matters. I couldn’t find Argentina behind the link, but I’ll go with Canada as the most tasteful team based on what’s here. At least I learned a new word, or that such a word exists, viz. “lifties.” Urban Dictionary has a clever definition, but there are no lifties in most urbs that I know of, so who knows if it’s true.

    Since the whole event is an NBC-Putin Productions production, I can only correlate Sochi with the, um, impressively bad new “New NBC News” website that came down from Mars and landed on my homepage the other day. As they used to say in Moscow before 1989, there’s no News in Truth, and no Truth in News. Imagine if the New York Times takes it over and stages it in the Jersey Meadowlands and Central and Prospect Parks.


  2. I like the Norwegian curlers’ uniforms – so awful, they’re wonderful!

    Hoping it all ends without violence. I keep having Munich ’72 flashbacks.


  3. Maybe Ireland just wanted to say “we may be small, but don’t mess with us!” Any Irish biathletes? Biathlon always reminds me of the 1939 Soviet winter war against Finland. And what about those Lithuanian duds?! Victory by blinding your opponents.


  4. Did you all hear about the 40-y.o. gold medalist in biathalon? Awesome!!! This is the guy who now hold the world record for Olympic medals (12 and counting.) Rock on, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen!!!


  5. I haven’t watched any of it, but apparently Greece always leads the parade of athletes, in recognition of the fact that the Olympics are a Greek invention. They wore uniforms in the national colors of azure blue and white — with bright rainbow-striped gloves, in a bit of a poke-in-the-eye against Russia’s horrendous anti-gay culture.


  6. The Mexican team (one guy, Hubertus von Hohenlohe, a slalom skier) is specifically going for the mariachi look. Hubertus was interviewed on a PRI show (The World) last week and said he figured he’s not the fastest guy on the mountain any more but he can be the most stylish. Dude’s grandfather was the last Holy Roman Emperor.

    We just recently purchased a TV that works here and are are not in the habit of knowing or checking what might be broadcast and of interest*, so we missed the opening spectacle. If I don’t think about it too much I enjoy the crazy outfits and whatnot but then I consider the multifaceted costs of these things and get over it.

    * You can get any sport you want on the regular broadcast tee vee, as long as it’s cricket or rugby.


  7. Ah, well: there are so many of those track & field events that it’s relatively easier to collect a bunch of medals.

    Bjorendalen’s first Olympics was 1994 in Lillehammer!!! It’s almost like a survivor of the 1936 Berlin Olympics still being competitive. (Almost.) Plus biathalon (X-country skiiing plus target shooting) is totally badass.


  8. The luge today was awesome. Demtschenko took a silver at 42 in luge. Youngest back to back gold. Oldest medalling Olympian and Zoeggler medalling in every Olympics since Lillehammer in the same event (that’s 6 and counting).


  9. When did that darn Holy Roman Empire expire, anyway–within the lifespan of somebody’s grandfather?!? For years I had to teach sections of a Western Civ. course far out of my field(s), and I would repeatedly tell students that even though it was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire, at least it was now GONE. Only to find it alive and well in the next segment of the course!

    The first Winter Olympics I can remember was 1960, in California, and not because the U.S. Hockey Team won. Rather, because the Renault company–in some place called “France”–chose to make a major media buy to launch an affordable, tinny, American version of its low-end car, the weirdly named “Dauphine.” They hammered at that spot for two weeks, and I think got into the heads of the Ford/Chevy segment of the U.S. public that you could buy a “foreign car” that was not a VW-Beetle or an out-of-reach Porche. I don’t know how much tin they moved, though. You could probably YouTube the spot.


  10. We became very involved with slope-style, both because Sage was adorable and clearly stoned and because it was clear that a misstep would cause a competitor to either be killed instantly or became quadriplegic. Can you imagine having to have emergency medical care in Russia? What an adventure!


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