2012 Olympic Uniform Review: Australia

Written By:  •  Thursday, June 28, 2012

Welcome to week two in our Olympic series!

This week we take a look at Australian Olympic-wear for the upcoming 2012 games. For the Aussies, its not the look that they insist is new, it’s the technology. The uniforms unveiled March 28th at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre do boast some interesting advances in performance and design that are said to be the most athlete friendly in Australian Olympic History.

For the last three olympics the look of the unis have been more or less the same, utilizing the iconic green and yellow colour scheme that the Aussies are known around the world for. So what’s different this time around?

Before we get into that lets just take a small trip down memory lane to re-aquaint ourselves with this historically high-achieving Olympic team.  Australia has competed in ALL of the Summer Olympic games including partnering with New Zealand for two games under the designation “Australasia”. Edwin Flack was the first athlete to represent Australia at the 1896 summer Olympics in Athens and captured Gold in both the 800 metre and the 1500 metre running events.  The Australian government has always been generous with its support for sport and some believe this has contributed greatly to its success at the games over the years.  In 1956 and 2000, Australia was host nation and finished 3rd and 4th in the medal counts. Highly respectable.

Left to Right - Edwin Flack, Gold medalist from the 1896 Olympics, Program from the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne, the 1393 Australian Team

Despite great success, for years, it’s been the same old story with Australian unis with nothing too new in the looks department to differentiate the individual games. The only noticeable oddities in the uniforms since 2000 have been the strange blue addition to the Beijing uniforms and the butt-crack riding women’s basketball uniform which was the talk of the town at the 2004 Athens games (ouch!).

In Beijing it was all about keeping the athletes cool, and they did this by introducing a product called climacool. For performance enhancement, runners were given body suits that featured power bands in key muscle group locations on the body.  With 46 medals and a 6th place finish that year, I would say they did pretty well. Whether the unis had anything to do with it is a mystery.

Three Years of Aussie olympic looks - Similar much?

With 18 months to design and construct over 80,000 items of apparel and footwear, adidas had its work cut out!  This year, innovation is king.  Not only are the new uniforms the fastest and lightest ever, they are also designed to actually make the athletes stronger.  “How in the world is that possible” you say?  Maker Adidas has introduced some of the most advanced materials in the world, including adidas TECHFIT® – PowerWEB® (compression fabrics designed to create maximum power and acceleration) and NEW AND IMPROVED ClimaCool (moisture and heat management fabrics and construction) technologies which all work together to improve performance.

"BK", Australia's official Olympic mascot

Footwear for this year’s Olympics are on average 25% lighter than in Beijing and all uniforms feature the ClimaCool construction which includes advanced heat ventilation and moisture wicking fabrics and fibres.

“We are proud to be outfitting the Australian team with cutting edge technology and we wish them the best of luck for the 2012 London Olympics.” – Cam Baranski, Australian head of Sports Marketing for adidas

For the look of the uniforms, adidas followed its new country’s DNA heritage design whose primary goal is to create a unique individual identity that celebrates Australia. Components include the Australian Olympic Committee logo on the right side breast and other various motifs depending on the sport,  aside from that the traditional green and gold is symbolically present.

For the Olympic ring, the outfits are much more traditional, featuring green blazers and khaki pants and skirts. Three-time Olympian Libby Trickett describes the look as “formal but in a very Australian way.”

The AOC logo on the uniform tops and the formal-wear look (Photos by Matt King/Getty Image and ABC)

To the untrained eye, the differences in the athletes uniforms are really hard to see.  But if you’re Australian, you likely identify most with this look as opposed to the garrish blue from 2008.  There must be a reason they have stuck with it so long! And although it isn’t flashy or bold or edgy, it truly is AUSTRALIAN!!!

Next week we take a closer look at some of the losers in Olympic wear for 2012, get ready for some head scratchers!

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Kristen Meyer

Kristen Meyer is a full-time marketing specialist at a graphic design firm. When she's not saving the world one-brand-at-a-time she can be found at the ballpark cheering on her Blue Jays (at home and on the road) or taking in a rugby match.

  • rob M

    I like the return to Green and Gold, though there’s something about the shade of Green in the uniforms that doesn’t look dark enough. Wattle Gold & Bottle Green were the tradtional colours, and the uniform jackets seem to be the right colour, but the athletics seem to have a Blue shade to them. As for the white pants in the pic, it says Kahki, but they’re White, so not sure which is correct. Hopefully Khaki as they look like they’re up for an afternoon’s sailing in the White pants and skirts.
    But overall, they look good. let’s hope they win a few medals.

    PS 1956 was the Melbourne Olympics.

  • DJ

    There’s nothing “strange” about Australia using blue as a color. Blue and gold were Australia’s ancient heraldic colors, since supplanted by green and gold as the national colors. Recall that the change uniform for
    Australia’s soccer teams are blue and gold.

    • Brad

      So, question? How come Australia’s national colors of green & gold don’t appear on the country’s flag?

      • Edward

        The same reason the Netherlands wear orange and have a red and blue flag

        • ingmar66

          Make that red white and blue. Orange is our national athletic colour because of the family name of the Dutch Royal Family, which is Van Oranje Nassau: of orange nassau. Which is quite unique in the athletic world, but also quite ridiculous. But it will never be changed to red white and blue (which would make sense from a flag point of view) even if by some bizarre chance Holland will stop being a monarchy. We are stuck with this bright ugly orange forever. As our friendly German neighbours tend to sing at soccer matches: only garbagemen wear orange! As for these high tec Aussie threads, they look rather plain to me. And even a bit subdued, which is not a common design (or attitude) quality in the land of Bruce and Sheila.

        • Brad

          and that reason would be?

  • Brad

    …I now understand the Netherlands reasoning thanks to ingmar66 but why does Australia wear green and gold?

  • Some things need clarification
    … in the black and white pics you say “the 1393 Australian Team” which is clearly a typo. Must be the 1932 games in LA’s Coliseum.

    … the latter colour photos have the AOC logo on the left breast. Correct, but should also point out the AOC logo is formed by adding the Olympic rings beneath a simplified Australian coat of arms.
    and note again, in the formal version, it also has that wattle flower and the green and gold of the sports teams.

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  • ren

    We don’t wear green and yellow. We wear green and gold. You may want to change this.

    As the twelfth man said “Canary yellow, what are you talking about? That’s Australian Gold my friend.”

    • Chris Creamer

      Give it whatever fancy name you want, that’s pure yellow 😉