It’s time for another Olympics, which means it’s once again time for the world’s finest athletes to parade about in a bunch of flag-themed outerwear. My boss thought it would be a good idea to give an overview of what these proud Olympians will be wearing in PyeongChang, even though I shop at places that have “Outlet” and “Maxx” in their names and have worn a tie to work approximately once in my 20 years at The Washington Post.
I am, by any measure, deeply unfashionable and thus wholly unsuited for this assignment.
But please, read on.
The United States of America!
Ralph Lauren is back with another round of U.S. Olympic team outfits, and, as usual, they say, “I am a tasteful American who enjoys snow competitions and has at some point used the term ‘après-ski‘ in casual conversation.” The parkas that will be worn in the Opening Ceremonies are equipped with built-in heaters that rely upon some sort of magic ink. This is both classic American innovation and classic American absurdity, as we have taken an object that already was ostensibly warm — a parka — and made it unnecessarily warm. The same impulse spawned stuffed-crust pizza, if you think about it, and no invention is more stupidly American than stuffed-crust pizza.
*eats 15 slices of stuffed-crust pizza*
But there’s one accoutrement that’s drawing a lot of attention. See if you can spot it.
Man, those gloves. I feel like they would work both for advanced falconry and amateur smelting. In any case, Ralph Lauren seems to be taking its cues from a classic of American cinema:
— James Mulvenon (@Amosis) January 22, 2018
me at the US Olympic team’s gloves: pic.twitter.com/RudkuBQ5CN
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) February 10, 2018
Kids: “What’s the deal with those gloves?”
Seriously, is there an Olympic event that involves handling clawed animals? https://t.co/nDKpeyuUQx
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) February 10, 2018
(bravely, like a hero) I actually don’t mind the gloves. pic.twitter.com/hy9ZXTPKip
— Super Deluxe (@superdeluxe) February 10, 2018
Bermudans are the heroes we need at these games. They are small (only one athlete), but mighty. They care not for the cold. They are here for their spunky scarves, preppy blazers, oddly long socks and, yes, shorts!
I approve, Bermuda. I absolutely approve.
If you’re from Bermuda, you must wear Bermuda shorts.
Even if it’s -3 degrees C outside. pic.twitter.com/UDjkqrV3I5
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) February 9, 2018
It wouldn’t be the Winter Olympics without Norway’s extravagantly outfitted curlers, and this year will be no different.
Norway’s curling team will once again be the best-dressed team at the Winter Olympics. pic.twitter.com/aCeLQ6F2kz
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) January 23, 2018
The joke here is that flamboyantly garbed golfer John Daly would be proud, but it’s not really a joke because both Daly and the Norwegian curlers are outfitted by the same company, Loudmouth Golf. The team first garnered attention at the 2010 Vancouver Games and then doubled down in Sochi four years later with a host of crazy-quilt styles, from a look inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian . . .
— Kristen Wozniak (@kris_isa_ten) February 10, 2014
. . . to another that skewed Peak Norway:
Your Norwegian curling pants update for Thursday: pic.twitter.com/C93YNDmYFX
— SB Nation Olympics (@SBNOlympics) February 13, 2014
There is a Facebook page devoted to the Norwegian curling team’s pants. It has more than 400,000 followers and includes posts such as this:
When somethin’ happens in Central South KoreaNothin’ happensIt’s just another medal won
“If I’m walking down a main street in Oslo wearing the Loudmouth pants, people say, ‘Oh, that’s the curling guy,’ ” Norway curler Christoffer Svae told Time magazine. Curlers remain the best Olympians.
The asterisk is included here because the Russian athletes competing in PyeongChang aren’t really competing for Russia even though they are totally, 100 percent Russian. Because of that country’s years-long doping operation, the IOC banned Russia’s official delegation from the Games and said only carefully vetted athletes could compete under the “Olympic Athletes From Russia” banner, with no Russian flags or symbols anywhere, even though these people are clearly Russian. And thus we have these drab, gray offerings, which seem like something you might encounter if the world’s prisons decided to hold an Olympics.
The non-Russian Russian in the drawing below appears particularly aggrieved:
— NBC OlympicTalk (@NBCOlympicTalk) January 18, 2018
These being Russian athletes from Russia, red will be rocked, as well. Just look at these smiling faces!
Russia unveiled a new “neutral” Olympic uniform in Moscow for the 2018 games
The country has been denied use of its flag and badges as punishment from the Sochi doping scandal pic.twitter.com/mXFDyLvqtm
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 22, 2018
Team Russia, dressed in plain grey coats with white scarves and hats, has entered. The country is banned from the Winter Olympics due to doping violations, requiring the athletes to wear neutral uniforms that don’t represent Russia. https://t.co/zpF41azG8o #OpeningCeremony pic.twitter.com/UyQXAGNqaq
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) February 9, 2018
Today in Olympic fashion: 1) the drab gray “neutral” coat of the Olympic Athletes from Russia. They’re barred from having their flag on their uniforms(because doping). No big RUSSIA lettering or other decoration allowed. These athletes didn’t look too happy.#pyeongchang2018 pic.twitter.com/Boc3NGZpkX
— melissa block (@NPRmelissablock) February 5, 2018
I have no problems with these, as they are Canadianly understated.
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 7, 2018
Canada’s winter Olympians used to dress as if they were about to rope cattle.
Ready for a throwback?
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) October 2, 2017
What’s going on here, Finland?
Forbes attempts to explain: “Icepeak meant to outfit the athletes with decisively Finnish aspects from patterns inspired by the Northern Lights to surface design that emulates the silvery gray of the iconic kelo wood.”
Okay, now explain the hats.
— Ville Köngäs (@Villekongas) November 10, 2017
France’s winter Olympians, wearing Lacoste, will attempt to be the first winter Olympians to be completely invisible. They certainly will be stylish, though no one will be able to see them.
— Hommes (@hommesmy) October 26, 2017
Who wants to tell them about the weather?
The Pyeongchang 2018 Australian Team formal uniforms have been unveiled
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) October 20, 2017
When the Aussies are not leading campus tours for bright-eyed high school seniors, they’ll look like this:
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