Wednesday, February 10, 2010


If the Olympics are coming up (in twenty-four flipping hours!), then some teams will be donning new uniforms. Sweden, for instance, is apparently going to race in a new ultraspeedy suit. God knows Jönsson needs all the help he can get. Did I say Jönsson? I meant Hellner, who will need any help he can get on the anchor leg of the relay.

And but so, we might momentarily occupy ourselves with a best-of/worst-of look at the Season in Suits so Far.

Third Worst
Russia: There's a lot to dislike here, from the bland blueness of the suit and the three-stripes motif to the big oil-company logo across the hat and the logos on the arms and legs. Yuck. (Is the Russian ski team sponsored by the Saturn soccer team?)

Second Worst
Italy: There's too much going on here - too many colors, too many patterns. Not even Piller Cottrer adopting the Norwegian sleeves-up style can save these suits. (Cf. the German suit next door, which is hardly great but pretty good comparatively.)

If he wasn't in such an ugly suit, Thomas Moriggl wouldn't have almost crashed on the home stretch at Toblach in the Tour de Ski.

Finland: Like Italy, there's just too much going on here - too many colors, too many patterns. The neon green and orange panels (on the hips and thighs here) are almost certainly to blame for Heikkinen's horrible race at Rogla (below).

Third Best
Norway: clean, classic, fast-looking. And the suits look awesome with Gjerdalen's aviators, which have grown on me in direct proportion to his lack of results.

Second Best
Sweden: cleaner, classicker, faster-looking - especially when you're Mr. Anna Dahlberg, lankily striding in your lanky stridey way, or the fastest man on skis, Emil Jönsson.

Slovenia: Not only because Petra Majdic is awesome, but because anybody can pick this uni out of a pack, and because it perfectly matches her skis and poles.

Bonus Flippant Uniform-Related Judgment
This season continues the rapid, unabated expansion in all directions of the surface area of many racers' eyewear. I predict that someone will race at Sochi in a full-face mask. The finest minds at Casco and Bliz and Rudy Project are figuring out how to solve the problem of respiring through polycarbonate. As they're worn now by Kowalczyk, Northug, and (at the biggest-and-best end of the spectrum) Saarinen, the big-lens shades just look crazy.


kuan said...

The trick to looking good in team Sweden's suits is finding a tasteful looking pair of underwear.

Anonymous said...

Sweden's white uniforms has a intresting history: it was Per Erik Hedlund who donned it first (and alone) in the winter games of St. Moritz 1928 where he won the 50k with the greatest margin of all times: 13 minutes before the runner up. And the whole podium was swedish.

The temperature was 25 centigrades so white uniform was a smart choice, but it was not the offical one.

The "whole" history here. "Yeah, so the uniform was good enough for you old b*stard".

Picture here:

Alexander said...

I personally think that Majdic's uniform is THE ULTIMATE UGLY UNIFORM IN ALL OF THE SPORTS! :)

I mean, it's just plain horrible - the acidic color is from the 80s, surely!

Christopher Tassava said...

I love the backstory to Sweden's uni! The photos of Hedlund are fantastic, especially the last two.

Slovenia's suits are an acquired taste, but I'm the president of the Petra Majdic Fan Club of Minnesota.

Nevin said...

This is an amazing topic and hopefully you'll do a review of the Olympic suits as well.

1) Not sure if it showed up on TV, but the Italians had the most over the top tuques on, complete with sequins or something. You can't get more Euro looking than Italy.

2) Norway knows it has a good thing and isn't screwing around with it, smart move.

3) The Slovenia suits work if you have a Petra Majdic to kick-ass and take names. If you're mid-pack, there's no way you should wear this, but if you're fast, it rocks. After seeing her in person in Canmore this past weekend, I'm even more impressed.

4) The US red suits are just boring....

5) I love athletes who add their own little touch with a signature colour. Again, like Majdic, you have to be fast to do this. No one really cares about the guy in 49 with his special hat.

Can't wait to watch the Mens relay in a couple of weeks.

OEB2ODB said...

Let's talk about those turquoise US biathlon warm-ups. I just know somebody is going to think Tim Burke is from Kazakhstan.

great post CT!

Peter Minde said...

I may be biased but I like the US uniforms.

kuan said...

You can get a replica US uniform by going to the Bjorn Daehlie site and ordering a custom one. Probably costs some stupid $400.

uhaul said...

I am a Canadian and I would like to nominate the new Canadian race suits as the ugliest. The pants may seem tame, but the top is just silly. The colour scheme resembles compost and there is no place on the suit that utilizes the red and white pattern of the Canadian flag. Congratulations to Slovenia on what is possibly the most flamboyant race suit ever. It takes a proud people to done an acid green lycra garment.

Christopher Tassava said...

I finally laid my eyes on the Canadian and American biathlon suits. Yuck!