Looking like an extra from a low-budget remake of Apollo 13 didn’t stop Red Gerard from taking home slopestyle gold. Photo: Sam Mellish
In the run-up to the Winter Olympics, You might have noticed a lot of pro snowboarders bigging up their sponsors, mostly on the same day. This was due to the so-called ‘Olympic blackout’; a period of time during which only official sponsors of the five-ringed circus can be celebrated (or even mentioned) by the athletes competing.
Snowboard manufacturers have it easy, relatively speaking; they may not get a mention in interviews or social media posts when their rider takes the gold, but when a base graphic is essentially a flying billboard pointed at the eyeballs of several million people, it’s not such a big deal.
“Here’s our take on each country’s efforts, ranked from ‘shit’ to ‘actually, that’s not bad’”
For outerwear brands, on the other hand, it’s a pisser. The rider they’ve supported through thick and thin for an entire career may end up standing on the top step of the podium in someone else’s togs. We’re talking, of course, about national uniforms; most countries competing at the games provide a standardised get-up for their snowboard team.
Often it’s tied in heavily with what the rest of the country’s representatives – be they bobsledders, curlers or short-track speed skaters – are wearing, with mixed results to say the least.
In some cases, countries have at least taken some consideration into the fact that snowboarding is not the same as figure skating or downhill skiing – or even freestyle skiing, for that matter – and provided something a bit more in tune with the roots of the sport. That’s the theory, anyway…
So what works, and what doesn’t? Now that we’ve seen the slopestyle riders, here’s our take on each country’s efforts, ranked from ‘shit’ to ‘actually, that’s not bad’.
While most nations have provided their athletes with a full wardrobe, covering everything from ‘Olympic village loungewear’ to ‘opening ceremony uniforms’, we’ll be focusing on what the riders are actually wearing on the hill.
Here’s the good, the bad and the abominable of Pyeongcheng 2018 so far – check back for updates as events progress.