Friday, 27 July 2012

London Olympics 2012

The Olympic rings are displayed outside the basketball arena in the Olympic Park before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 15, 2012, in London.
I have always loved the Olympics. It's a time when we see people achieve their dreams and make their countries proud. This year olympians will be doing just that but eyes won't only be on the olympians. Many of us interested in fashion will be looking at what the olympians will be wearing because many fashion designers have lent a hand in helping to design the various outfits for the games.

This year there won't only be professional commentators. Social media has become a necessity in reporting news and this Olympics will have the most social media coverage than any other Olympic Games.

So let's see what there is to look forward to at the Olympics.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony takes place on the 27th of July 2012 and will be directed by Slumdog Millionaire director, Danny Boyle. Below is an extract from American Vogue.

Photograph by Ralph Mecke for American Vogue
He took inspiration from a line in Caliban’s speech from The Tempest—“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises”—and this quotation is inscribed on a 27-tonne bell, now the largest bell in Europe, that has been cast for the ceremony and will ring in its 9:00 p.m. start. 

The Olympic torch is scheduled to arrive via the River Thames, and hundreds of volunteers from Britain’s National Health Service (“One of the most extraordinary things about Britain,” says Boyle) will be featured along with close to 1,000 children from the surrounding boroughs to celebrate the local schools, 12,000 other cast and crew members, music by the electronic duo Underworld, and a flying system that can lift weights of up to 25 tonnes. 

Although Boyle remains determinedly discreet, celebrity appearances by Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, and ballerina Darcey Bussell have been rumored in the British press, and the organizing committee’s chair, former Olympic runner Sebastian Coe, joked at a press conference in January that whenever he went to visit rehearsals he “kept tripping over buckets of flowers.” 

One detail Boyle will divulge is his keenness to “capture the British sense of humor,” and he has been using his long-term costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, an American who is working with him on the ceremony, as his sounding board to ascertain which British comedy references are recognizable to international audiences: “I said to her, ‘Monty Python?’ And she nodded. Then I said, ‘Dad’s Army?’ ” he continues, referring to a creaky 1970s BBC sitcom about the Home Guard during World War II. “And she shook her head.” - Interview with Danny Boyle for American Vogue by Hadley Freeman

Opening Ceremony's Pop Up Store in London
Photo by Christopher James/Courtesy of Opening Ceremony

Olympic Fashion

This year we'll see the most fashionable Olympics to date. Fashion houses and designers from all over the world are designing uniforms and kits for their countries. Here is a list of the various designers and their designs.

Great Britain by Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney serves as the creative director for the Adidas' 2012 Great Britain Olympic and Paralympic Team. I love how this uniform looks. It's not too outlandish and it's not too simple either. I love how the red has been used and the idea to use shades of blue works very well. Well done Stella.

Italy by Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani designed the Italian's Olympic uniform. It's quite boring. I haven't seen the opening ceremony uniform but from what I can tell, it might also be boring.

United States by Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren once again designs the American Olympic uniform. This sounds great for all fashion lovers but members of American Congress are not happy as the uniforms were made in China.

"I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again," Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, told reporters.

"If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that's what they should wear," he said.

I've always love the American Olympic uniform and this one is no different. America always manages to make their uniforms the same but different every year. Navy blazers and white pants are standard with every Olympics and their team always looks dapper.

Jamaica by Cedella Marley
Cedella Marley, fashion designer of her label, Catch A Fire and daughter of Bob Marley will be designing the Jamaican Olympic kits together with Puma

"It'll be Grace Jones meets my Dad - very music inspired and a bit retro," says Marley, who began designing clothes while she was on tour with Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, a band comprised of her brothers and sisters. 
"I'm trying to weave a red, gold and green tag on the inside but really it's about the athletes. There will be elements of Dad's look about it though, especially him in those tracksuits he used to wear - I'll be bringing that too. I'm sure he's smiling down right now." - British Vogue

I really like this uniform and so does most of the world. Many news publications have named it as one of the best uniforms. Jamaica is a country full of colour and this uniform represents it their culture very well.

Italy by Prada
Prada sponsors the Italian National Sailing team with their design. I can't say this design is very Prada. It's just alright, something I would expect a sailor to wear.
France by Hermés

The french equestrian team will be dressed by the luxury brand Hermés.
San Marino by Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo is designing the official uniform for the Republic of San Marino's Olympic team.

Equestrian uniforms are meant to be very classy and Hermés' equestrian uniform for the French is exactly that. But it's a bit boring. I love simplicity but not that much simplicity.

To be honest, I did not know where San Marino was. I only know San Marina, the shoe shop. But thanks to Google I was able to locate the country. The Italian country is surrounded by Italy. I'm not really sure what their national colours are but who ever chose them was lucky because blue and shades of blue are the colour of the season.
I love how class the uniform is. It's very simple but the neck tie adds class. This is a uniform I can't wait to see parade the Olympic stadium. 

Murray Coetzee for Netherlands
The Dutch uniforms were designed by a South African (If only he designed the South African uniforms). I love these uniforms. They are similar to the style Americans have been using for the past couple of years, blazers and trousers. Luckily for the Dutch, orange and navy are two colours that go hand in hand this season.
These uniforms are on trend and are simply lovely.

Leigh Schubert for South Africa
In all honesty I wish I never saw these uniforms.
Go through my twitter timeline and you will see that throughout the whole year I have been concerned about the design of our uniforms.
I guess I do not have to remind you of the disaster uniform that was showcased at the 2008 Olympics. Maybe that's why they did not do well? The way one dresses has a lot to do with their confidence. I hope the South African Olympians will put the memory of this uniform behind them and win us some medals.

Olympic Architecture

Famed architect Zaha Hadid designed the London Aquatics Centre for this years' games.

"A concept inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, creating spaces and a surrounding environment in sympathy with the river landscape of the Olympic Park.
An undulating roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave, enclosing the pools of the Centre with its unifying gesture. -
Zaha Hadid

I am not the greatest architecture critic but I know good design when I see good design.
Good design is when the concept has been executed well and the inspiration is illustrated clearly. As you can see from the photos, the final product matches the concept described above.

I have always loved watching the swimming events and this year will be no different. However I might become distracted by the beautiful architecture of the aquatics centre.

Photos by Hufton + Crow

American Vogue and The Olympics

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz
Jonathan Horton (Gymnastics) with Karlie Kloss
Photo from American Vogue
Ashton Eaton (Track and Field) with Karlie Kloss
Photo from American Vogue
Ryan Lochte (Swimming) with Karlie Kloss
Photo from American Vogue
Bryan Brothers (Tennis) with Karlie Kloss
Photo from American Vogue
Dwayne Wade (Basketball) with Karlie Kloss
Photo from American Vogue
Stamps for the Isle of Man Post Office designed by Paul Smith inspired by Isle of Man native, Mark Cavendish

TIME Magazine covers the Olympics

The TIME Magazine also has a blog dedicated to the Olympics which features various photographs and articles about the 2012 Plympics and past Olympics.

TIME covers by Martin Schoeller

Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch started it's journey in Greece.
The origin of the Olympic Torch is Ancient Greece. The Greeks left a fire burning throughout the celebration of the Ancient Olympics.

Take a look at the photos below which I found on TIME Magazine's Olympic blog. It's quite a dramatic start to the journey but who doesn't love a little drama?

The torch was passed on from the Greek actresses to
the first torch bearer, Spyros Gianniotis, May 09 at ancient Olympia.

Images from Getty and Reuters

Google gets into the Olympic Spirit
27 July Google Doodle

Athletes To Watch 
According to TIME Magazine

Yohan Blake (Track and field)
Image by Fabrice Coffrini
Probably Usain Bolt's only competitor in this years Olympics happens to be Bolt's training partner. He recently beat Bolt in the 100m and 200m finals at the Jamaican trials. Blake calls his training partner the King of Track and Field but will he be crowned the new king this year? Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Veronica Campbell (Track and Field)
Image by Matt Dunham
The Jamaican female sprinter has won Olympic gold in the 200m event twice already and this year hopes to make history as the only athlete to win gold three medals straight.

Gabrielle Douglas (Gymnastics)
Image by Timothy A. Clary
The 16-year-old is America's Flying Squirrel. If she brings home gold this year, she will be the first American woman to bring home gold for gymnastics since the 1996 Olympic games. Read about Douglas in the latest TIME Magazine issue.

Jessica Ennis (Track and Field)
Image by Kerstin Joensson
The British athlete is the world record holder for the heptathlon and has been called Britain's Golden Girl of the Track and Field. Because of three stress fractures in her foot she could not compete at the Beijing Olympics so hopefully this year she can bring back the gold for Britain.

Lolo Jones (Track and Field)
Image by Karim Jaafar
She may have stumbled at the 9th hurdle at the Beijing Games but this year she is out to prove that she is worthy of a gold medal. The American 100m hurdles athlete has become a household name for more than just her athletic ability but that hasn't stopped her from focusing on getting the gold she deserves. Read about Jones in the latest TIME Magazine issue.

Ryan Lochte (Swimming)
Image by Streeter Lecka
He just might be Michael Phelps' only competitor at this years' games. The 27 year old will be looking to beat his counterpart in four swimming events. He is the only man to have beat Michael Phelps' after the Beijing Olympics so maybe a win against Phelps' is in sight for the swimmer. Read about Lochte in the latest TIME Magazine Issue.

Sally Pearson (Track and Field)
Image by Ryan Pierse
Pearson won gold at the Beijing Olympics after Lolo Jones stumbled at the 9th hurdle. But this year she's out to prove that her win was not all that accidental. 2011's Female Athlete of the The Year is the favourite to win the gold in the 100m hurdle event. Seems like it will be a Jones and Pearson showdown at the 100m hurdles final.

Caster Semenya (Track and Field)
Image by Martin Meissner
South Africa's golden girl will be looking to bring back gold for our country this year. If she wins gold this year she will hopefully be one of the first South Africans to bring back gold since the 2004 Olympics.
“If I win gold, I will dedicate it to Madiba. He is a hero in South Africa. Everything I do, I do for him.”
- Caster Semenya

Katie Taylor (Boxing)
Image by Ed Jones
This year will showcase the first women's boxing event at the Olympics. Many say that Taylor, the top female lightweight boxer is the reason why the event has been included. The Irish boxer will be looking to win the first Olympic gold medal for women's boxing.

To see all 50 Olympic Athletes To Watch according to TIME Magazine view the magazine's Olympic blog.

I hope you all enjoy the games as much as I will this year.
Good luck to all the athletes and a special good luck to Team South Africa.


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