Ok, let's just face it people; the Olympics aren't just about the glory of sport, the thrill of athletic competition or in the case of Sochi 2014, an opportunity for Putin to present his ageing nipples to a global audience.
No, the REAL story of any Olympiad is the international range of what constitutes fashion around the world as demonstrated by Olympic team uniforms, and Sochi is shaping up to be no exception. In fact, it could even set the bar to new levels of highs and lows when it comes to how some countries want themselves and their athletes to be represented by attire, many of which have been created by some of the world's premier fashion designers, with varying degrees of success, as you'll see.
Therefore we present our Top 10 Coolest Olympic Team Uniforms for the Sochi Winter Games.
10 Great Britain
The land of the staid Tweed cap and Macintosh raincoat has shaken off its stiff upper lip reputation for bland fashions in favor of this understated but chic track suit gear. While not especially groundbreaking by any stretch, the modest but stylish approach GB has employed is certainly leaps and bounds above some of the monstrosities we'll get to a little later.
'The Land of Chocolate' as Homer Simpson so succinctly put it, has decided on a typically unpretentious look for their athletes as well, emphasizing their well-known flag colors of red and white in their simple but elegant design, which thankfully doesn't include any reference to the Von Trapp family.
Our Nordic friends have applied their icy cool notoriety to their Olympic uniforms with these eye-catching designs that literally scream 'We are blonde, blue-eyed and badass!' I would happily fall off a mountain ski run if I could look this sharp doing so.
7 Czech Republic
Not exactly renowned as a fashion mecca, the Czech Republic have stylishly adorned their athletes in these sharp and modern examples of combining the old with the new. These designs were actually inspired by a postage stamp created in 1918 that features their iconic Prague Castle and effectively employ the vines and branches of another national symbol, the Lime tree, to great success.
Going with a muted approach, the Austrians have kept their designs simple and tasteful, with two different styles that highlight what they refer to as their 'Mountain Team' look, using black, white and red to represent the mountainous terrain of the Alpine events, and their 'Coast Team' fashions which use white and blue to symbolize Sochi's Black Sea maritime location.
Bucking the tradition of using primarily national flag coloring, the Poles have struck a fashionable balance of cool comfort and chic styling in their designs that give an unmistakeable impression of modest elegance as well as effectively protecting their athletes from the elements.
4 The Netherlands
Apparently believing these Games will be held in Coco Chanel's living room, the Dutch have nonetheless outdone themselves when it comes to the boldness and brazen refinement of their designs, which would probably be more apt on a fashion runway than a ski slope, but when you look this good, who cares?
Keeping with the Sochi trend of less is more with their designs, the Italians have chosen a modern though uncharacteristically modest style for their team as well with these flattering and unaffected examples of modern track wear that are nevertheless very suave.
To no one's surprise, the French have adopted their iconic Lacoste brand to create these stunning uniforms that could just as easily be at home at the Opera as well as any Olympic venue, appealing not only to their famous love of fashion, but just as likely as a means of offsetting the fact they're not likely to haul in many medals, mais ca ne fait rien! C'est chic, n'est-ce pas?
Having been accused more than once of producing among the most disturbingly ugly Olympic uniforms in the past, Team Canada dropped their long association with Roots and chose instead to go with one of their most iconic brands in HBC or Hudson's Bay Company. Using both their famous red and white flag colors as well as black, these stylish designs will have their athletes looking formidable throughout the Games, and gets our nod as number one because they are simply rocking!
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