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Team GB 2012 kit unveiled - three cheers for the, er, turquoise, white and blue

Stella McCartney-designed Adidas kit likely to get a reaction, but perhaps not the one desired

Adidas has this morning unveiled the Stella McCartney kit that Britain’s athletes will wear at the London 2012 Olympics, now just over four months away. While the prospect of the first home Olympics since 1948 plus the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations means that the country is likely to become swathed in a sea of red, white and blue over the summer, the likes of Sir Chris Hoy won’t.

If the London 2012 logo provoked controversy when it was launched in 2007 – a selection of comments can be found on the BBC Sport Editors’ blog – we suspect that’s nothing compared to what the public reaction will be when the 2012 kit hits the newspapers.

Cycling and other sports are ones in which there is a balance between progress, on the one hand, and tradition and heritage on the other, with many people feeling that some things just shouldn’t be altered, and that includes the basic colours of national kit.

Those don't necessarily reflect national flag colours - the Netherlands' orange is derived from the colours of the royal house of that name, while Italy’s azzurri wear the blue that was the colour of the House of Savoy under which the country was united; however, Britain’s finest have always tended to chase gold in the red, white and blue of the Union Flag.

Except this year, they’ll be doing so in several shades of blue, including turquoise, with red reserved for the collar. It's not so much the de-emphasising of the red that is likely to cause most comments, however - that's been happening for some time - but rather the toying with the colours of what remains one of the world's most readily identifiable flags.

While reaction to the kit is likely to revolve around its aesthetics, there’s a scientific reason too for ensuring that team kit should contain a healthy splurge of red – a study by sports psychologists in Germany published in 2009 found that athletes and teams wearing red kit were 10 per cent were more successful than those wearing other colours.

Researchers suggested that a combination of the confidence the colour inspires and the feelings of dominance and aggression it provoked might lie behind the findings.

There was evidence, too that it wasn’t just competitors who were influenced by kit colour. As part of the research, Tae-Kwondo judges were shown videos of bouts, and awarded more points to those with red, rather than blue belts; when the images were digitally altered to reverse the colours, those whose blue belts had been manipulated to appear red came out on top.

There’s a bit more red on the tracksuit worn by Victoria Pendleton in this picture, although again the change of colour palette of the flag itself is going to jar with purists, not to mention incorporating the belt into its design.

The kit got its launch this morning at the Tower of London. It’s been a few hundred years since they stuck traitors’ heads on spikes on nearby London Bridge, but we wouldn’t be surprised if some of the newspapers are calling for heads to roll come the morning.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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60 comments

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WolfieSmith | 11 years ago
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After looking at it again big screen I can see it could be worse. Aqua and red just don't work well. Compare the way the Italians dress their train staff and Police in red,black,silver and white with our bobbies in baggy woolly jumpers and Underground staff in aqua and you'll see how the Italians understand colour psychology better than Stella does. We keep dragging out pale blue and pastels and expect them to garner respect.

We have Macca show boating at the opening ceremony as well so it's a McCartney 1-2.  13

I would have had Paul Smith design the outfits and David Bowie descending on a crane in his Ziggy suit singing Heroes for the opening. Class all the way.  4

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lesliejames | 11 years ago
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No sorry stella but dosen't do it for me..  2

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lesliejames | 11 years ago
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No sorry stella but dosen't do it for me..  2

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Footpather | 11 years ago
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I like VP's jacket (apart from the belt) but the cycling gear is dull and boring!

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rayjay | 11 years ago
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what a disaster ,awful.Chris Hoy looks like his shirt has been patched up with a tea towel and VP'S tracksuit looks like a reject outfit from a crap sci fi film .
Just because your dad was famous does not mean you should get the right to shove your crap ideas on the rest of us.lets be honest shes a rubbish designer.
Paul smith should have designed the cycling clothes

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jamesxyz | 11 years ago
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You've got a famous name. We have the second most famous flag in the world (after USA). We want to take advantage of this global opportunity to promote our country. We'll pay you a fortune to do what you want. We'll take whatever you produce over your lunch hour even if it looks sh*t.

Oh how I love the British way of doing business!

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boywoolner | 11 years ago
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I like the new design. But the only reason they used Stella (and Adidas to a certain extent) is because they're 'down with the kids' and they'll sell more replicas.
Are you a Chav if you wear the Team GB cycling kit for your weekend ride?  39

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antonio | 11 years ago
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I prefer Stella in liquid form, straight from the fridge, real cool.

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fluffchucker | 11 years ago
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B O B B I N S  21

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Gkam84 replied to boywoolner | 11 years ago
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boywoolner wrote:

I like the new design. But the only reason they used Stella (and Adidas to a certain extent) is because they're 'down with the kids' and they'll sell more replicas.
Are you a Chav if you wear the Team GB cycling kit for your weekend ride?  39

Nah, all the chavs are wearing Rapha these days, only people who can afford it are the dole bums  19  19

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Large_Pista | 11 years ago
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I like it – looks great – there's a war on....  37

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WolfieSmith | 11 years ago
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Christ on a bike! What a mess. It's the old fashion adage 'What is familiar is trite so let's change the colours and make it new!' I would be squirming having to wear this as I'm sure plenty of athletes are. You can almost see Sir Chris's eyes rolling. As for Lord Sugar: if this was an Apprentice task Stella would be straight into the cab. The last kit was iconic and should have been lightly tinkered with. Reminds me of the BA tail fin fiasco, the first and last time I agreed with Thatcher on anything.

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Raleigh | 11 years ago
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BTW:

This guy would look good in it.

And check his quads  19  19  19

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chrisgnewman | 11 years ago
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there seems to be this big emphasis on there not being that much red and lots of blue and white...the gb kits have been all blue and white with a small amount of red since 96 in atlanta! i like it!

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Simon_MacMichael replied to chrisgnewman | 11 years ago
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chrisgnewman wrote:

there seems to be this big emphasis on there not being that much red and lots of blue and white...the gb kits have been all blue and white with a small amount of red since 96 in atlanta! i like it!

As I mentioned in the article, yes, the red has been de-emphasised in the kit for a long time. But one of the issues people have with the 2012 kit is that elements of the flag has been introduced as a central design feature, but with the colours altered.

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step-hent replied to chrisgnewman | 11 years ago
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chrisgnewman wrote:

there seems to be this big emphasis on there not being that much red and lots of blue and white...the gb kits have been all blue and white with a small amount of red since 96 in atlanta! i like it!

Yeah, but this is the wrong blue - the dark blue just isnt very distinctive.

Having seem the other kits, the flag design makes more sense, but it just doesn't work on the cycling kit - just looks like a random logo/design. Oh well.

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Bez | 11 years ago
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I actually quite like it, aesthetically. Staying with blues just about manages to avoid it looking like a British Airways tailfin or, as noted, Geri Halliwell.

Surely a study of Tae Kwondo isn't representative of other sports, since (as far as I can see) red represents a higher ability than blue - so the a contestant in red would be of a greater ability. It seems at worst eminently plausible that it's the advertised status which is influencing judgment rather than the colour itself. Would be interesting to see a similar test with figure skating or boxing.

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TheFatAndTheFurious | 11 years ago
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It's actually Stella just looking ahead, and she has designed an outfit for Scotland's first post-independence Olympics in Rio 2016.

No, strike that.

What an utter, utter embarrassment.

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Sven Nijs | 11 years ago
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They'll win a ton of medals wearing that kit. Their competitors will be too busy puking or laughing to mount a challenge.  21
What's even more humorous is that they actually expect to sell replicas of these 'fashion statements' and fund the games.
They were joking? Weren't they? I mean, really...  7

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stealth | 11 years ago
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Personally, I don't like it, but when they are stood on the top step of the podium will we care? Why do some kits have Great Britain wriiten on & others don't?

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farrell | 11 years ago
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Stella McCartney has really excelled herself with this range. I mean, everything else she has done with Adidas has been utter turd, but to dig so far inside herself to find the inspiration to plumb even greater depths of shitness deserves respect.

And to think, some people think she is only famous because of her dad.

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Jon Burrage | 11 years ago
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"Get rapha to do it" really?

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wild man | 11 years ago
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I really like the kit, with the exception of the pointless tracksuit belt- (thought Victoria Pendleton had taken up Judo in an attempt to outdo Rebecca Romero as a multi sport medallist).

As for sportsmen wearing red winning- I read one critique of the study which claimed the reason football teams in red win more is simply cause they can pick out their team mates better, so we should be ok now the madison's gone.

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cat1commuter replied to wild man | 11 years ago
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wild man wrote:

As for sportsmen wearing red winning- I read one critique of the study which claimed the reason football teams in red win more is simply cause they can pick out their team mates better, so we should be ok now the madison's gone.

The one I read about was taekwondo, where the competitors wear either red or blue vests. Judges were shown film of close bouts. What was neat was that they used video processing to swap the colours of the red and blue vests around. The judges were more likely to decide that the red competitor had won.

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Matt_S replied to wild man | 11 years ago
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wild man wrote:

thought Victoria Pendleton had taken up Judo in an attempt to outdo Rebecca Romero as a multi sport medallist

How many people do you know that would put up a fight if VP tried to wrestle them to the ground?

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localsurfer | 11 years ago
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Looks like Namibia's flag.

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Simon_MacMichael | 11 years ago
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As my wife just said, imagine Paris had got the Olympics, not London - and then they'd given Jean-Paul Gaultier the gig to design the kit.

Could have been interesting, if a tad impractical  3

Christian Lacroix could have been fun, mind...

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gareth2510 | 11 years ago
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Crock of shit....wots the 'dressing gown tie' around the waist of VPs top all about.
Echo other postings...should have got Rapha and Paul Smith to design it...least PS knows what cycling is all about.

utter rollocks

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Matt_S | 11 years ago
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 31  31  31

Maybe Stella has been taking design classes from the people who came up with the Olympic logo?  39

Still, VP Would look good in anything.  8  8

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mooseman | 11 years ago
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WTF?

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