Sport and Dress During the Olympics

I’ve been totally absorbed by the Summer Olympics. They fascinate me, for the obvious reason of watching tests of the human body and mind.

It’s fun to learn about new sports. My husband, Travis, and I have been trying to watch some of the less popular sports through NBC’s iPad app streamed through our Apple TV to our television. We keep coming back to table tennis because the players are just so good. We’ve enjoyed learning about handball (which seems to be a crazy mix of water polo and soccer), team archery, trampoline, and indoor cycling, like team pursuit. I keep meaning to find time to watch some badminton and white water kayaking/canoeing too.

Of course we’ve been engrossed by the more popular sports like gymnastics, diving, track, and swimming. I used to be a swimmer, so those events are especially meaningful to me. It’s always fun to have insider info on how a sport works and cheer on people you’ve met on a swimming deck once a long time ago. I was a distance swimmer, so the long events like the 400, 800, and 1500 have a love/hate place in my heart.

But besides the incredible feats of strength, skill, and execution, I’m interested in what the athletes are wearing. Not just the uniforms, but the ways the athletes present themselves as individuals are intriguing to examine.

I’m always kind of amazed how much jewelry the athletes wear, especially those who complete in time-related events. One would think that necklaces or other pieces might get in the way or increase drag, but that doesn’t seem to deter the athletes.

In the photo of the men’s 100-meter semifinal above, I spot three men wearing necklaces and one with a bracelet.

Athletes express themselves through their hair, their nails, their hats. Watching all the different dress practices is entertaining and gives outsiders a look into the culture of each particular sport.

Missy Franklin’s nail art is pretty cool. I don’t know if I was unobservant during past Olympics, but it seems more female athletes are sporting nail art (pun intended) this time.

Maybe because I’ve never seen team archery before, but this sport and its dress are my favorite during this Olympics. It seemed to me that bucket hats are favored among most of the different countries, many of them with plaid lining on the upturned brim.

The South Koreans above are a great example of individuality in athletic dress. All three wear the same hat, shirt, pants, and shoes (and quite the bright green shoes they were), but look at the variety in the chest guards — one white, one pink, one patterned with little female archers. They each wear different types of jewelry such as earrings and bracelets. My uninformed assumption would be that bracelets could majorly impact the way you shoot, but obviously these are gold-medal athletes who know much better than me.

And I had to include this last photo of American high jumper Erik Kynard. This guy has quite a sense of style with those socks. No doubt that he doesn’t like to blend in with the other jumpers.

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