A History of USA’s Olympic Uniforms
The Olympics is an international athletic competition held biennially that showcases the talents of athletes from more than 200 participating countries. But I don’t have to tell you that, this is obviously a well-known fact.
The Olympics promote international cooperation and are a time where countries showcase their pride and are glued to their TV’s supporting their athletes. The United States of America has always been a strong presence in the Olympics, earning 2,549 medals in total, and a country with so many accolades needs to represent itself in style.
As a proud American and someone who takes pride in appearances, I look forward to seeing the United States Olympic Team’s uniforms each time around. Here is a collection of photos showcasing the evolution of American Olympic style throughout the years.
It’s clear that the United States was focusing more on their athletic ability than their “uniforms” with this assortment of mismatched T-Shirts and emblems. A sneaker with wings, the original United States Olympic logo is present along with the newer idea of a striped crest.
The Olympic Team finally put itself together for the 1920s Olympics, after taking a hiatus for the 1916 Olympics due to WWI. A striped crest was established as the official United States Olympic logo.
Fast-forward forty years. The Opening Ceremonies have become more elaborate and the United States began presenting themselves with official looking uniforms. Blazers, ties, and crisp button downs in red, white and blue hues are seen for the first time, and would become a staple for the US Olympic uniform. Another tradition is started here: US Olympic Hats. This particular striped fedora style hat is my personal favorite.
In 1964 the Olympic team kept with the theme of a blue blazer, white pant combination for the men and a blue cardigan, white pencil skirt combination for the women. This time, cowboy hats we’re the (questionable) headwear of choice.
The summer Olympics in 1968 were a bit more casual. The designers chose to change the blazer’s from blue to red and lieu of the collared shirt and tie, USA decided to don blue turtlenecks for a comfortable yet professional look that was common for that time period.
Completely casual was the theme for 1984’s Olympics, with all athletes wearing matching red, white, and blue tracksuits and baseball hats designed by Levi Strauss.
White hats and professionalism make a comeback in 1996. The United States paired navy pants and printed scarves with bright red blazers and white hats similar to that of the 1920 Olympic team.
My second favorite Olympic look is that of the 2004 Olympic Team’s uniforms. Although they were designed by a popular Canadian outfitter Roots, the uniforms completely represented our country and had a sporty yet professional feel. Polished skirts and pants paired with track jackets and berets in dominating Navy kept the Olympic Team comfortable during the opening ceremonies.
And for our current Olympic games, American designer Ralph Lauren perfected the Olympic Uniforms with a clean-cut preppy look from his Blue Label collection. To me, this design embodies American style and presents our country in a dignified manner with the beret adding to the effect and keeping tradition alive. The U.S. Olympic uniforms are available to the public at ralphlauren.com.
Ally | Elite.
Photo Credit: Getty Images