March 28 - Less than a week after unveiling the team kit to be worn by British athletes at London 2012, adidas today revealed the uniforms that they have produced for Australia at the Olympics.

Sally Pearson, the world 100 metres hurdles champion, who is Australia's best hope for a gold medal in London, described the fluorescent colour kit, mixed with green and gold, along with ruched tracksuits and hidden kangaroo prints, as being so light that it made her feel naked.

"There's not much of it," she said.

"It's like a little bikini.

"In a way, it still feels like your skin, so it's kind of like you are naked."

Pearson's gold top and green shorts are among 80,000 items of apparel and footwear being supplied by adidas for almost 800 Australian athletes and officials in London.

The Opening Ceremony outfits will not be unveiled until May, but the competition, training and leisure suits were modelled in Sydney today by an array of Olympic stars including Pearson, world long jump silver medallist Mitch Watt, top distance runner Craig Mottram, swimmers Jess Schipper, Cate and Bronte Campbell, and beach volleyball veteran Natalie Cook, who won a gold medal at Sydney 2000.

The emphasis is on lightness, which adidas says will make the Australian athletes faster than ever.

Sport-specific compression suits for events such as boxing, athletics, rowing and weightlifting are designed to mirror muscle movement, which adidas says will generate a "slingshot" effect for explosive power and acceleration.

Athletes will also stay cooler, adidas says, thanks to ventilation zones, moisture management fabrics and conductive fibres that draw heat away from the body.

"The fabric is lightweight, so that's most important," said Pearson.

"You don't want to be carrying the weight around you when you're competing.

"It's really comfortable."

She described her shoes, which weigh under 200 grams, as "absolutely fantastic".

Pearson was supported by Watt, a contender for the gold medal in London having finished third and second at the last two World Championships.

"There's nothing better than going out there and feeling comfortable in your uniform," he said.

"It's part of the success.

"My spikes are so light I felt I was jumping further right from the start."

But inevitably, just as there was with the Stella McCartney-designed Team GB uniforms, there was some criticism of the designs.

Vogue editor Kirstie Clements said the Australian uniform, including the track modelled by canoe slalom paddler Kynan Maley (pictured), who has qualified for London 2012, was too busy.

"I think green and gold is tricky to start with," she said.

"It looks like regular trackwear, and it's very busy trackwear - there's ruching and edging and colours everywhere.

"It's a bit of a mash-up.

"I don't mind the bright fluoro, it's just that there's too much going on with the fluoro touches.

"I think a bit more of a streamlined style wouldn't have gone astray."

Some were even more brutal in their assessment.

"The Australian team could be headed to a 1990s Manchester rave rather than swinging London, with green hoods on gold jackets, voluminous tracksuit pants and clashing strips of neon," wrote Damien Woolnough, the fashion editor of The Australian.

Nick Green, Australia's Chef de Mission for London 2012, nevertheless claimed that the outfits could be the difference between success and failure.

"The AOC and adidas have enjoyed a great association over the years," said Green, a former rower who won Olympic gold medals in the coxless at Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

"Our athletes will not only look the part in adidas they will also feel confident knowing they are wearing uniforms created using the latest technology available around the globe."

-Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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