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Sports Business

Stars and stripes out of fashion at Olympic Games?

August 7, 2012
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I read a report this week about how the United States flag has become a vogue component of Americans’ attire at this summer’s London Olympics.

The report detailed how mere flag waving at Olympic Games used to be the way in which American fans demonstrated their patriotism. But now wearing the flag—as a cape, jacket, skirt, etc.—is the way more U.S. citizens are choosing to scream Yankee Doodle Dandy.

So I’m wondering why there’s a dearth of stars and stripes when it comes to the uniforms of the American athletes themselves?

Someone, please bring back the 1984 U.S. women’s gymnastics team uniforms. At this point, I’d settle for something in red, white and blue. At one point, I thought the Russian gymnasts’ uniforms looked more American than team USA’s.

And the American athletes’ gray warm-up suits are totally beyond my realm of comprehension. They appear to be part space suit, part Army issue. At least they are adorned with a tiny American flag.

It seems obvious that when your primary brand image is stars and stripes, that most if not all your Olympic uniforms should be adorned with stars and stripes. And when your nation’s colors are red, white and blue, it seems obvious that in some combination, your uniforms should be red, white and blue. And for crying out loud, get the shade of blue right. You know, to match the blue on the American flag.

Call me a traditionalist, but I like a design with white stars on a blue background on the top of the uniform with red and white stripes on the bottom. But I’m not a stickler on this. It seems there are enough elements in the American flag to leave room for some creative designs. But don’t leave Old Glory out of the design altogether.

I’m not a marketing major, but it seems like your brand moniker should point to the product itself. I’m not sure what the gray sweat suits say to the world.

If stars and stripes and red, white and blue don’t scream America to the world, then that symbolism certainly does to the vast majority of us in the U.S. of A. And dare I say those symbols still tug at the heartstrings of many who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It’s time to replace the Ralph Lauren mind-set with some good old Uncle Sam common sense. In trying to be fashionably relevant, we’ve made the stars and stripes that help define this country a bit irrelevant.

Let’s do more than raise the flag when we win. Let’s wear it over our hearts every time we compete. That’s a timeless statement that transcends fashion.  
 

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