2010 Winter Olympics: Fashion Feeds Off Vancouver Games
The following rant has been brought to you by: Me, Dylan Derryberry.
With the Olympics well on their way and my departure flying in soon I have done my best to try and keep up with the Olympics coverage.
If not watching the actual events myself, then the recaps on NBC and a various number of other sources. Yet, as I go to YAHOO! every day to check my email I can't help but notice a commonality between a lot of the stories covering the games: Fashion.
For some odd reason instead of national pride, athleticism, and rivalry, everyone seems more worried about what people are wearing than how they're competing. Now don't get me wrong, I have always promoted nice attire and could definitely be mistaken for a metrosexual (a unique term I usually try not to use) but with all that's happening at the Olympics, why is everybody so worried what other people look like?
My first exposure to this was a piece by NBC about Burton's contributions to the US male and female snowboarding uniforms. I found the now infamous plaid jackets and (screen printed) denim pants an interesting choice and thought the inclusion of fashion into such a traditional setting offered a new twist on the games.
I wouldn't say I was excited or anything, but it was definitely an interesting idea. Then as the athletes began to wander into Vancouver for the games, fashion police (also present were national officials and critics) went on a rampage for Japanese snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo 's unique way of wearing a suit.
Kokubo was banned from the opening ceremonies due to complaints of his untucked shirt, baggy pants, and loosened tie. Japanese Olympic officials have stated that "It is not the way the Japanese delegation should dress themselves while taxpayers' money is spent on them."
Once again I found this interesting as a strong supporter of freedom of expression and since the games had as of yet started, I could understand the need for stories until events actually began. Yet when athletes did take to the slopes and rinks, even more fashion faux pas were being called out.
Nate Holland, US Snowboarder and avid "anti-establishment" supporter, threw a fit about the tighter pants a lot of boarders (including his teammates) are wearing these days. Holland told the New York Times that "I think the problem we have now is the emo look and people trying to use that as an excuse for wearing tight clothing."
First off who in the world is "we?" The US Olympic Snowboarding team? Are you sure the problem you guys have now isn't trash talking your teammates? I'm very curious why there was a need to run a story on this.
Is Holland threatening to quit? Are tighter pants affecting the aerodynamics of the "emo" boarders? Come on journalists. Leave the fashion to Vogue .
So with Holland's griping, I find myself beginning to get a little annoyed with the coverage of the Olympics. Yet there's a lot going on now, so maybe reporters will lay off the fashion aspect of the games.
I mean Johnny Spillane's silver medal in the Nordic combined races is the first for any US competitor and a huge upset. Yet low and behold what do I see on YAHOO!'s homepage earlier today? "Remarkable Swag: Norway's argyle curling pants ." Come on guys.
Really? I mean sure it's kind of humorous that the Norwegian curling team may or may not be doubling for Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey, but this whole fashion thing is getting kind of old.
It's not all reporters either. The International Olympic Committee, a stickler for rules as it is, has had their fair share of opinion in competitor's freedom of expression. The US Men's Hockey Team's goaltender Ryan Miller may have to cover up certain parts of his custom painted helmet in order to satisfy the IOC's rulings.
Although he expected some backlash for certain parts of the ensemble such as the use of the Olympics' sacred rings logo, he didn't think he would have trouble with the infamous "Matt Man" logo honoring his cousin's death to leukemia.
The Buffalo Sabres goalie has honored his cousin's death with the logo since his untimely death during a bone marrow transplant and fought hard to make sure it was included on his helmet, a space a lot of competitors use to express individualism, but the IOC isn't so sure. Now although this fashion-related story does have some impact on the games, depending on how far Miller wants to push this, I still feel that the fashion and style coverage of the games should lighten up a bit.
With so many stories to tell I just feel there's something more important than Norway's unique decision to wear clown pants or Nate Holland's fear of tight clothing.
Fashion, obviously a big part of the games, can be represented (much like Ryan Miller's story) but people need to calm down about it all and criticize the actual events. So here's to hoping sweaters and hoodies steer clear of news coverage for a bit and we can all get down to a bit of (semi) professional journalism.
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable we have to alter it every six months." -Oscar Wilde
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