MADRID, July 18 (Reuters) - Spain’s garish red and yellow Olympic uniforms have not gone down well with some athletes preparing to head off to London, and have become the butt of jokes on social media networks.
Photos posted on Twitter by gold medal winning canoeist Saul Craviotto and hockey player Alex Fabregas have been doing the rounds this week, reopening a debate that first surfaced when Spanish designers criticised the outfits in May.
“At home trying on the Olympic clothes. Best I don’t comment, I will leave it up to you...” Craviotto said on his account while posing with full kit including baseball cap and backpack.
“Olympic outfit, there aren’t enough adjectives,” Fabregas, who won a silver in Beijing, said alongside his photo taken in their official tracksuit.
The Russian firm Bosco, who also designed the Russian and Ukrainian kits, have provided the outfits free of charge in a deal with the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE).
“The outfits are what we have, we cannot change them now, and were decided upon more than a year and a half ago,” COE president Alejandro Blanco told sports daily AS on Wednesday.
“When Rafa Nadal (the flag bearer) and all the others appear in their uniforms the whole world will applaud and Spain as well.”
In a separate interview with ABC Punto Radio, Blanco said, “When you measure the difference between paying one and a half million of public money and free clothes, there is no discussion.”
Spanish designers have expressed their indignation that no national companies were employed to clothe their own athletes, and said the designs did not present a good image for the country’s fashion industry.
They cited nations such as the United States, Britain and Italy who had chosen high-profile designers such as Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney or Armani as examples.
COE dismissed their arguments saying that no Spanish company had stepped forward to offer their services.
“Looking forward to seeing Feliciano Lopez wearing the official Olympic uniform. He’ll never have worn anything so ugly in his life,” former tennis world number one Carlos Moya said on Twitter.
World number 30 Lopez replied: “It’s loud, very loud. But it’s what we have, man. Spain is different and it always will be.” (Translated by Mark Elkington, editing by Pritha Sarkar)