Gold medals in style at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were among the strangest in memory. Delayed for a year, unloved and underway in a host city that didn’t want it, the Games have always provided a plethora of brilliant sporting stories, including daring debuts and broken records, underdog triumphs and broken hearts of superstar.
They were also big on style. Wild tattoos and unisex team uniforms, kaleidoscopic hairstyles and hand-knitted cardigans: Tokyo has it all. Here are some important points.
Cupcake Couture by Tomo Koizumi at the opening ceremony
Tomo Koizumi gained international recognition after finding a fan in Lady Gaga, who wore his designs, and his 2019 New York Fashion Week debut hosted by stylist Katie Grand. Known for her sparkling candy-colored organza ball gowns, the Japanese designer once again made headlines by dressing singer Misia for the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
While singing the Japanese national anthem, Misia wore a bright rainbow color dress with puffed sleeves and dense white layers of recycled organza that cascaded down to the hem in cloudy waves of spray-painted pink, orange, yellow and green. Forget the flame; for a moment, the creation of a self-taught, local fashion talent lit up a nearly empty stadium.
One-shoulder unisex uniforms from Telfar for Liberia
The most forward-thinking team uniforms this year weren’t for athletes from countries with fashion capitals like the United States, Italy and France. Instead, it was Liberia that showed itself ready to take a leap of faith.
All three Liberian athletes wore unisex jumpsuits and silk-knit basketball tunics, one-shoulder tank tops and loose-fitting tracksuits in shades of blue, red and white studded with stars in a nod to the colors and to Liberian flag symbol. They were created by New York-based Libero-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens. Liberia may not have won a medal in Tokyo, but they did win gold in terms of style.
AirPods everywhere (but especially on skaters)
Olympic medals and ring tattoos weren’t the only ubiquitous accessory this year – AirPods were everywhere. In particular, they were out in force at the skatepark, where dozens of athletes cruised through the air with their buds flapping in their ears (and in some cases iPhones in their back pockets). American skater Jagger Eaton even stopped in search of an AirPod he lost on a trick, before winning a bronze medal in the men’s street event.
Indeed, skateboarding, which made its official debut at the Tokyo Olympics, has brought new ideas about what dress to perform as athletes, including 13-year-old British bronze medalist Sky Brown in her pinstripe pants; Kokona Hiraki of Japan in a white Nike jumpsuit; and Finnish skater Lizzie Armanto, who designed her own uniforms.
The brouhaha on the unitards of the German gymnasts
Female gymnasts participating in the Olympics have been wearing bikini leotards for decades. But in the first qualifying rounds in Tokyo, the German women’s gymnastics team took to the mat in mid-sleeve, long-legged shirts. They were worn, the team said, in a stance against “sexualization” in the sport.
The ensuing controversy sparked a major debate – about culture, about policy makers, who can say what female athletes are wearing. The German team may not have progressed beyond the opening rounds in Tokyo, but their choice of clothing left a lingering reminder of the latent objectification some female athletes still face.
German athletes weren’t the only ones making statements with what they wore, either. Three members of the US men’s fencing team wore pink masks to protest the presence of a teammate accused of sexual misconduct.
The winning choices for hair and nails
From the scarlet braids of Naomi Osaka and butterfly hedge clamps Christina Clemons, to the neon two-tone ponytail of sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the mid-colored space buns of weightlifter Emily Jade Campbell, Tokyo a been inundated with shameless, individualistic hair. modes. In part, this reflects the mindset and determination of modern athletes to be themselves. And for some Olympians, bold hair, acrylic nails, and jewelry are a celebration of black women’s prowess on a leading global platform.
British track star Dina Asher-Smith eyebrow manicure by nail artist Emily Gilmour presented a recreation of the Japanese artwork Hokusai “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic, French shooter Mélanie Couzy and Hong Kong swimmer Camille Cheng all carried patriotic tips. And at least one athlete offered a performance-oriented slant for their look. Sunisa Lee, who won all-around gymnastics gold for the United States, said she acrylic square shape long olympic rings (courtesy of Little Luxuries nail salon in Minneapolis) brought her “good luck” and helped her compete.
“Every time I miss the bar it hurts a lot, so it makes me grab the bar,” Ms. Lee said. “That’s why I get them.”
Inked skin was there, despite local taboos on tattoos
Tattoos may be considered taboo in Japan, but they were ubiquitous on elite athletes gathered in Tokyo. While countless the stars have olympic rings Commemoratively inked on their feet, arms, neck or abs – gymnast Simone Biles and swimmers Caeleb Dressel and Adam Peaty among them – others showed more ambitious body art.
“It slowly became addictive,” American skateboarder Nyjah Huston said of his sprawling sleeve and neck tattoos. Mr Peaty, from Britain, who has a large lion on his arm, said the tattoo “represents not being afraid of who I run into”.
And Puerto Rican hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn paid homage to the “todo es posible” (anything is possible) tattoo on the inside of her wrist. She got a tattoo after falling in the semi-finals in Rio in 2016.
“I was not going to let this race take over my life” she said after winning gold in the 100-meter hurdles in Tokyo. “It’s on my head arm when I run. It goes up to my face. So it’s kind of like a message too. (She also has a Puerto Rican tattoo covered with Olympic rings on her bicep.)
Nastia Liukin’s sparkling TV cabinet
Hair jewelry, colorful prints and lots of bare skin. All the familiar shows in the gymnastics arena, perhaps, but less on TV commentators. Come on, Nastia Liukin.
Ms. Liukin has clearly refined her personal style from her own time on the mat: she is the 2008 Olympic all-around champion and five-time medalist for the United States. As an expert for NBC this year, she brought her A-game wardrobe to Tokyo. The looks included a combination of tangerine power with matching Nike sneakers, a sparkly raspberry jacket and leather shorts, a asymmetric pink pantsuit with flared legs and an Elsa inspired braid from “Frozen”.
Ms Liukin’s stylist Gabriela Tena told Women’s Wear Daily there has been extensive preparation for her moment in the limelight.
“Everything is thought out, really symbolic and very detailed when it comes to the colors she wears,” Ms. Tena said. “We try to make a different color for each look.”
Tom Daley relaxes in the stands
Days after Tom Daley won his gold medal in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform, the British diver again became the center of attention when he was spotted knitting in the spectator stands. Internet was down.
It soon became clear that Mr. Daley’s talents extend far beyond purple dog sweaters. On a dedicated Instagram account with nearly a million followers, he posts snapshots of his crafty designs, including colorful crochet sweaters that would give Jonathan anderson a run for his money, and a small flag pouch for the latest addition to his trophy cabinet.
“The only thing that kept me sane throughout this process is my love for knitting and crochet and everything to do with sewing,” he said in a video, before to present their most recent and ambitious DIY project to date: an oversized cream cardigan with the Olympic rings and “Team GB” on the back.