ADIDAS UNVEILS AWARDS WEAR FOR SYDNEY OLYMPIC GAMES

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — Adidas’s fashion show Monday for its Olympic award uniforms to be worn at the Sydney Games looked like a cross between the opening ceremonies and an audition for “It’s a Small World.”
Held at the Austin J. Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, the event featured models and Olympic hopefuls, each accompanied by a child dressed in the native attire of a participating country. The athletes strode across two runways as if they were about to step up to collect Olympic gold — and that’s just the pitch Adidas was seeking.
Ready to provide award uniforms for 26 of the more than 170 countries that will compete in Sydney, Adidas will suit up more jocks than any other sports brand. In total, the company will outfit 3,500 athletes in 26 of 28 sports at the Summer Games.
Designed to draw attention to the Olympic medal draped around the athlete’s neck, the awards uniforms are simple — the U.S. women’s uniforms feature a white Olympic insignia on a white jacket with single red and blue stripes on either side of the zipper — free from busy patterns of years past. Former Olympic high jumper Dwight Stones, the event’s host, noted that this also marks the first time award uniforms were designed specifically for women. Previously, women wore a scaled-down version of the men’s suits.
Through a deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee, Adidas is the official outfitter of the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic teams. The USOC asked that Adidas develop apparel suitable for a variety of body types. So, Adidas turned out styles with adjustable cuffs, toggles at the waistband and zippers at the ankles, said Susan Halliday, product manager of apparel marketing.
Unaware that her special appearance Monday would require a pass down the catwalk, U.S. Olympic soccer player Shannon MacMillan said she was relieved to find out Ed Moses, an Olympic hopeful for the U.S. swim team, would be her escort.
“We’re not models. I would rather be on a soccer field with 90,000 people screaming,” she said.
The uniforms have the brand’s signature three stripes running down the left arm and right leg. And, to keep athletes cool between the end of their event and the award ceremony, there are mesh insets in the jackets and pants.
This fall, Adidas will sell replica U.S. warmups at its Web site and at select sporting goods stores. The $120 women’s version will be offered in navy instead of white and the circular Olympic insignia will be gold instead of white.
Adidas will also outfit the U.S. teams in gymnastics, weightlifting, boxing, fencing and men’s volleyball.

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