U-S-A! U-S-A!

Posted on February 18, 2010


Ah, the Winter Olympics. The ugly, untalented stepsister of the Summer Olympics.

In Canada, the world capital of mediocrity.

Oh, don’t hate me. I kid. For whatever reason, despite the epic failure otherwise known as Vancouver’s attempt to fill Beijing’s extremely large shoes, otherwise known as the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, the Winter Olympics have been surprisingly exciting. I have recently found myself sucked in to whatever sport is being broadcast, never knowing what the hell is going on, but enjoying it and fuming with national pride nonetheless. From the endearing stories and montages that make me cry to the guttural outbursts of figure skating commentators to the absolutely stacked roster of hotties on the mens’ speed skating squad (Shani, J.R.? Hot damn!) to the “Inside the Huddle”-esque microphones that truly intensify womens’ curling, I love it all.

And yes, I too have Shaun White fever. The ginger spectrum of athletic awesomeness stoops lowest at Joe Cox and hits its apex at Shaun White. You can say that you think Shaun White’s the man or that you want to make babies with Shaun White, and I will not disagree. But can you say that Shaun White is your celebrity doppelganger?

HA! Didn’t think so. I can.

Besides everything I love about the Winter Olympics, though, one issue has consistently arisen for me: the American uniforms. Regardless of sport and gender, almost every article of competitive clothing worn by American athletes has been heinous.

The downhill fashion spiral began at the Opening Ceremony. Polo was so close to creating chic and appropriate team outfits for the U.S., but then they had to add a sexually ambiguous turtleneck sweater.

Why, Polo? WHY? Are we at an Aspen ski resort circa 1994? Thank you for outfitting Team USA in the douchiest shirts you could manufacture.

And we can always count on male figure skaters to prolong this trend of shoddy national representation. Johnny Weir, for example–

As if male figure skating weren’t enough of an emasculating activity on its own, Mr. Weir wore a bedazzled corset. Do they sell these at Hot Topic? Mens’ figure skating is a perfectly legitimate sport, but I found it hard to take Johnny Weir and his tassel seriously.

Sadly, the American lugers didn’t do much better.

Flames. Really? I mean, I get it… you’re “flying” down the ice, going so fast that your mere speed creates enough friction to engulf you in flames. A cool and bold concept if you don’t think about how that would kill you (ahh… too soon?). Unfortunately, though, these unitards remind me more of crappy old cars with flames painted on them to look more like souped up sports cars. Another U.S.A. fail.

Last but certainly not least, as it brings me back to my twin Shaun White, we have the snowboarding uniform.

Plaid I understand. It’s so American. So X-Games. But the pants… what ARE they? Regular denim slacks? Snow pants that create the optical illusion of denim? Everyone knows that snow + bluejeans = no bueno. There are “rips” and fading, too. The pants even sag when the athletes wear them (Winter Olympics “Pants on the Ground” remix, anybody?). But all I envision are JNCO Jeans, and the image will not leave my mind. The only thing (thankfully) missing from these pants is a wallet chain. If the designers of this outfit really wanted to create something cool, they should have created jazzy pants like the Japanese ones. Maybe in 2014.

The various fashion crimes committed by my nation aside, I stand by the U.S. of A. And I can’t wait to watch the remainder of the Winter Olympics in a state of angry, confused awe.