Ryan Lochte took the podium today for the 400-meter individual medley as the first American athlete to win gold at the Olympic games. Although it may be hard to understand how anyone could knock Lochte’s look, BBC commentators bantered about his outfit for the medal stand.
“What’s he got his raincoat on inside for?” Adrian Moorhouse, Former Olympic
swimmer and BBC analyst, said.
This Olympics have not been kind to Team USA’s sporting style thus far, with criticism pouring in for the Ralph Lauren opening ceremony costumes manufactured in China.
As for Lochte’s attire, Nike’s to blame — or praise — for it.
The BBC fell on the criticism side: “The Americans have medal ceremony presentation track suits – I’m not quite sure why you would choose a gray one. It’s a little dull, fashion guys in America,” Andy Jameson, BBC Sport swimming commentator, retorted.
“It’s a homage to our rain,” Moorhouse joked.
In fact, it’s an homage to the “moment to shine,” Megan Saalfeld, a Nike spokeswoman, said.
Nike, who designed Team USA’s medal stand outfits, worked with athletes to create attire that reflected the proud moment Olympic athletes experience while standing on the podium.
Martin Lotti, Nike’s Olympics creative director, said that after speaking with LeBron James about the pride he felt in representing the USA in the Olympics, he wanted to “bring some soulfulness” into uniforms through aspects like the American flag and patriotic phrases. Only many of those aspects are hidden from the outside viewer’s eye.
For instance, on the inside of the wind jacket worn by Lochte there is a patch placed over the heart, which reads “Team USA.” Archery, Boxing, and Equestrian athletes will don a bomber jacked modeled after the iconic American letterman jacket. On the inner zip placket, Nike stitched the phrase, “Land of the free, home of the brave.”
Those details, unseen by the BBC announcers, may not stop the fashion ribbing.
For the athletes on the podium, their concern is likely less with any criticism of their clothes than it is with the real fashion statement: the medal around their neck.