Official sponsors ADIDAS and leading designer Stella McCartney, the daughter of famous ‘Beatle’ Paul, have launched the official Team GB kit that will be donned by British athletes during the London Olympic Games in summer, marked with a prominent spread of shades of indigo blue but also a striking absence of St George’s red stripes in the depicted Union Jack.

The premiere was held at the Tower Of London today and employed a large group of around 30 British international athletes across a range of Olympic sports, such as Sir Chris Hoy, Vicky Pendleton, Phillips Idowu and Jessica Ennis, that modelled the performance line through a variety of items like competition kit, training gear and footwear.

Nevertheless, despite the delight of several top stars involved at the outcome, the concept of a deconstructed Union Jack incorporated into parts of the outfits has roused heavy controversy, debate and criticism around Britain, with the conspicuous absence of red (at best squeezed into a thin strip around the neck) forming the bone of contention in the issue.

McCartney, the Creative Director on the project, defended her design saying “I wanted to start with the union flag, but I’m really aware the reds, whites and blues are in other nations’s flags and sometimes you can feel quite confused when you are watching the Games… is that American, is that French? I wanted to make it slightly more delicate and have more texture.”

Taking her up on this point, however, there begs the question why a vest bearing a full British flag wouldn’t make the British team more easily recognisable in the various arenas, or why would anyone get more confused. Or, turning to a chief argument widely deployed around, why the new kit would inject more unity into the team than a more British colours-oriented one?

At the same time, McCartney comes to contradict her earlier statement, as if trying to salvage a compromise, saying “It’s very recognisable still, I’ve represented all the parts of Great Britain. There’s a lot of red in there, but in a non-traditional way..”

On the ground of performance, one shouldn’t have the slightest doubt that the new Olympic kit is state-of-the-art and streamlined to offer the best possible competitive benefits and advantages to British athletes in their exertions to mount the best ever medal haul in history.

So, what do you make of the Team GB kit that will parade around the various Olympic venues of London in summer? Is it really an ingenious concept or a blunder on the part of ADIDAS? Personally, I do find myself quite fancying the cycling and men’s athletics kit, yet red ought to have taken its righteous place into the Union Jack thereon, but I also reckon the women’s respective outfit comes across quite dull and uninspiring the other way round.

BBC Story

Past British Olympic Kits