By Phil Hecken
As the Olympics move into their second and final week, we have a couple more looks at the uniforms worn in various disciplines. Today’s Olympic Correspondent is Mark Boothby, who takes a look at a sport that has been in the Olympics since before there was even a modern Olympics, tracing its roots back to the very first games. It’s a great piece, so sit back and enjoy as Mark tells you about…
The World’s Oldest Sport
By Mark Boothby
Arguably, wrestling is considered to be the world’s oldest competitive sport. Ancient drawings of wrestlers have been found in Egyptian caves that date as far back as 3000 BC. Some were found 200 miles from Baghdad, too.
This is hardly UniWatch breaking news, as these ancient grappling competitors did not wear any corporate, logo-creep-emblazoned uniforms. Yes, that’s right, they did not wear anything.
In its origins, wrestling competition began as a form of military exercise meant to practicing fighting without weapons. These contests came to an end when one of the contestants admitted defeat.
When the ancient Olympic Games began in 708 BC, the sport of wrestling was introduced and contested. In 1896, the modern Olympics began being held in Athens. Wrestling was held up as a focus of the Olympics because of its historical role in the ancient Games. The 1900 Olympics were the only exception, where wrestling was not part of the Games.
Thank goodness, at this point, they were competing while wearing clothing, thus the need for such a uni-centric entry.
Until 1904, the only style of wrestling competition was referred to as Greco-Roman. This style of wrestling was and continues to be a part of the Olympics. Greco-Roman wrestlers compete by grappling with their upper body and arms. Holds that grasp the legs are not permitted. It is contested with much of the same guidelines of the ancient competitors. Wrestlers may grasp, throw or lift their opponents, in a battle of strength, leverage, body positioning, footwork and technique. Contestants score by controlling an opponent, escaping the control of an opponent, or exposing an opponent’s back to the mat surface. The match can end at any time if one can force both of the other opponent’s shoulders to contact the mat surface for a few seconds. This is called a fall or a pin.
In the 1904 Games, Freestyle wrestling was added to the program. The 2004 Summer Games included the addition of women’s freestyle wrestling.
Freestyle wrestling has a different set of scoring criteria. In freestyle competition, competitors may use holds that can include the grasping of the legs and lower body. As its name insists, freestyle eliminates much of the limitations of Greco-Roman wrestling. A match can still end with a fall. Wresters can score by taking down an opponent, from a standing position. A wrestler can also score by exposing an opponent’s back to the mat surface.
Now, to the uni-information…
Yes, wrestlers now wear a form-fitting lycra uniform, called a singlet. They also wear specialized footwear that is made specifically for use on the padded wrestling mat surfaces. To spell out the rules and regs for wrestling uniforms, I went directly to the FILA website.
The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles or Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées (FILA) oversees wrestling internationally. On their site, they actually have a document that spells out the “Compulsory Standards for the Wrestler’s Singlet.” This includes lettering sizes, emblem locations, and (of course) the addition of advertising to the singlet. See the entire document here.
The singlet is a one-piece lycra uniform that is much like a tank top with straps over the shoulders and thigh-length shorts on the bottom. It must be made of soft, flexible fabric that allows movement. In competition, the rules require wrestlers to have two singlets. One must be dominantly red and the other must be dominantly blue. (NO BFBS!) Competitors are told which color they will wear in each match, in the opposite color of their opponent.
Here is 2012 US Olympic wrestler, Dremiel Byers, wearing the US singlet (blue) from the Beijing Games in 2008. Here is 2008 US Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo, wearing the red version. They sure had lots of piping on the sides and back, along with spots of gradient and (what looks almost like tiger stripes) on the hip.
International singlets may have the surname of the wrestler printed on the back, “…either horizontally or in half circle according to the number of letters. The height of the letters forming the surname shall measure between seven and ten centimetres.” It must also have the three-letter abbreviation of the country. On the front, the singlet can have the emblem of the wrestler’s national federation.
ASICS is the uniform sponsor of USA Wrestling, so the US (and many other countries) wear ASICS singlets in competition.
The 2012 London Olympic Games are no different, so again, ASICS designed the American team singlets. Due the legal ramifications of ASICS not being one of the “official Olympic sponsors” (like the swoosh-bags corporation), you will not be seeing a flashy release of the new team singlets. The IOC secret police apparently frown upon those “non-official” companies benefitting from Olympic promotion.
After running into dead ends with sources at ASICS, USA Wrestling, and United States Olympic Committee, I present the only (dare I say bootlegged) image of the 2012 US Wrestling Team singlet design for the London Games.
This is the US team’s blue singlet design, but it is safe to say that the red version will only vary in the primary body coloring, with the same stars and stripes imagery. I’m not so sure I like the stars on the strap, but I guess I’ll have to tune in and see how they look on a human. After hearing the fear that the IOC puts into these “other” companies, I am OK with the logo creep on the chest, for ASICS sake. If they produce the best product and are the official sponsor of the US team, I think they deserve to have their moment in the sun, in Nike/IOC/land, I mean London 2012.
Hopefully, many of you will take time to not only watch your favorite sports of the London Games, but some of you will take the time to understand wrestling and tune in to see this ancient sport in action.
The Greco-Roman competition is scheduled for August 5-7. Women’s Freestyle will be competing August 8-9. Men’s Freestyle will then take the mat on August 10-12.
Here is a link to all three US Team member bios.
Thanks Mark! Great stuff.
Click to enlarge — Photo Credit Stefan Chilvers
Monday Morning Football:
Our resident Brit, uni watcher, and colourizer extraordinaire George Chilvers has prepared for our edification a another review of the
uniforms kits in the quarterfinals of the men’s soccer football at the Olympics. George also has an extremely talented son, Stefan Chilvers, who took the photo that appears above this section (make sure you click on it to appreciate it in its full beauty). It’s a technique called “a tilt-shift”, and it’s awesome. Here’s a second tilt-shift picture he also took. Make sure you compliment him in the comments down below.
Now, on to the old man’s review:
The Olympics football tournament is now reaching its climax, as the semi-finals on Tuesday will determine the medal contenders.
Saturday’s quarter-finals kicked off with me high up in the stands at Old Trafford in Manchester with Japan’s 3-0 win over Egypt. Although Egypt fought well Japan were technically the better side, and when Egypt went down to 10 men after a sending-off the game was effectively over. An injury late on when they had used all 3 substitutes meant “The Pharaohs” ended with 9 players. Japan stuck to their all dark blue kit with the narrow red stripe, while Egypt changed for the first time to an all white kit with the black side-panel. And of interest perhaps to our readers the game was refereed by Mark Geiger of the USA.
The second game at Wembley between Mexico and Senegal saw Senegal pull back a two goal lead by the Mexicans, but the latter added two more in extra time to win 4-2. Both teams kept their regular colours – Mexico in the all dark-green with red shoulders, while Senegal had their all white with tricolour trim.
It’s 5 o’clock and we travel up to the North East to St James’ Park in Newcastle for favourites Brazil to play Honduras. The game wasn’t as one-sided as many may have thought, and Honduras twice shocked the Brazilians by taking the lead. Brazil however hit back with a penalty 2 minutes after the Hondurans had gone 2-1 up, and then scored a third with half-an-hour to go. The game ended 3-2. Honduras wore all white with blue trim, meaning we haven’t seen the stunning striped kit they wore in the opening game again, while Brazil had their highly recognisable yellow with green trim, blue shorts with the broad white stripe, but to avoid a clash with Honduras’ socks they again wore blue.
And so to the hopes of Britannia at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff as Team GB took on South Korea. Now I’m afraid I have to be typically Brit here and moan about how our team were never going to win anyway. They weren’t a good team and so it turned out. They managed to maintain a 1-1 draw with the Koreans with one penalty scored, and one missed. After a goal-less extra-time we went to a penalty shoot-out and a miss by Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge ended the home team’s hopes. I don’t know if you are aware but we (England/GB) have an appalling record in quarter-final penalty shoot-outs. GB again, and for the final time, wore the Union Flag dark-blue outfit, while South Korea had their white shirts with the twisted red and blue diagonal. It’s growing on me.
Education spot. I mentioned the Millennium Stadium and many people struggle to remember how “millennium” is spelt – one N or two? There’s an easy way to remember – the Latin “mille” means “thousand” and “annus” means “year”. So “millennium” with two Ns is “thousand years”. “Mille anus” with one N would mean something else completely!
The semi-finals on Tuesday see Japan take on Mexico at Wembley at 5pm British time, while at 7.45 your correspondent will be at Old Trafford to see Brazil and South Korea. It does actually mean though that I will have seen 12 of the 16 competing teams live. Not a bad haul ☺
Thanks (again) George! Bloody good reporting. And a helluva talented son. Has he ever tilt-shifted your colourizations?
This section will feature updates, lesser news, and reader submissions from the XXXth Olympiad — keep the Olympic news coming in! (Usually in the order in which I receive them — think of it as an “Olympics Ticker”.)
More observations from Uni Watch faithful, and more…
* “I read Uni Watch every day, and after Teebz’s submission (last Thursday), I thought I’d send you an equipment breakdown, which is what my daughter and I look for in field hockey. She’s a goalie. And hey, Teebz is a goalie too, so I really thought he mention goalie equipment.” (Bob Sullivan)
* “How has nobody noticed that the US Men’s Beach Volleyball team of Dalhauser and Rodgers are sponsored, and therefore wearing, Loudmouth gear. Loudmouth, as you may remember, is the same company that sponsors John Daly in the atrocious color schemes. Thankfully, they kept the Volleyball uniforms to Red, White, and Blue. You can see the Loudmouth wordmark on Rodgers’ jersey.” (Nick Orban)
* What if other sports were photographed like beach volleyball? Yeah, um, let’s hope that never happens…
* “We went to put Anthony Davis, the kid out of Kentucky, in the game in the first half, but we couldn’t because he didn’t have his game jersey on. Apparently, he forgot it. It’s been a long time since I saw something like that.” (Marcus Solis)
* “I’m not in the market for headphones, but I have noticed Phelps’ ever-changing headphones throughout his swims and did a quick google search, one of the results was the NY Times article linked below. The third paragraph starts with a mention of how these headphones that so many swimmers are wearing are basically getting by the super strict advertising rules, so far at least, so I thought I’d share.” (Kyle Mackie)
* “USA Women’s Fencing Mask: I remember seeing the GB mask painted with the flag, but I just saw this on tv and thought I’d send UW a pic.” (Coleman Mullins)
* “Why doesn’t the United States flag have 50 stars? This is so wrong and so un-American. This is the logo that is on everything all over the USA athletes in front of the rest of the world and our flag is wrong. Why? Size? Laziness? I don’t want to hear either excuse. Can you please look into it? I know the US flag can be made or printed on items of clothes or pins very small with all 50 stars. I’ve seen it before. I refuse to buy any of the merchandise and I love alot of it. I also love your web site and following it on twitter and I know if anyone can figure this out it’s you guys.” (Craig Hallgren)
* “Olympic uniforms: From loose and heavy to tight and dimpled — a visual history of Olympic sprinting attire.” (Jonah Stutz)
* “As promised here’s more Olympic Posters from my collection: (1912, 1920, 1924, and 1928 — Sadly there are none from 1916 due to the Great War – those were to have taken place in Berlin). For 1924 and 1928 there were two official posters so I included both. Outstanding job as usual filling in for Mr. Lukas.” (Mike Colvin)
* “I noticed that Oscar Pistorius (Olympic hurdler for South Africa) was wearing Nike branded blades. Sorry for the bad quality photo, I couldn’t find any better photos.” (Cody Schwab) [Isn't Pistorius just a runner? -- PH] Here’s another shot of the swoosh on the fastest man on no legs.
* “There was a flag snafu yesterday at gymnastics. Kate Middleton was seated behind a UK flag that was hung upside down, which is usually a sign of distress or an affront to the throne.” (Brent Caruthers Archer)
Monday Morning Cardinal Watch…
Last night, the Cardinals, both of the St. Louis variety and the Arizona species, played games (in baseball and football, respectively). The baseball birds threwback to their powder blue days, sporting the uniforms of the 1982 World Series winning team. Didn’t look too bad, although most players decided to wear pajamas. Not a good look. It looked much better when guys like Skip Schumaker went with the gorgeous striped hose (although not stirruped) that made the Cards famous. Their opponents (and losers of the 1982 World Series) were the Milwaukee Brewers, who decided not to play along last evening with the throwbacks. However, on Saturday, both teams went with 1982 throwbacks, with some Cardinals and a couple Brewers wearing visible socks.
Now, I loves me some powder blue monochromes, and I wish at least one or two teams would bring the look back, but not if they wear pajama style pants. That just looks wrong, and slovenly. I don’t care if that’s the so-called *style* nowadays — it looks shitty. Just look how much better full sockage looks.
As far as the quality of the throwbacks, I didn’t see either game (although I caught a few seconds of the SNB game), but they looked like they nailed the unis pretty well. Now, if we could just get them to tailor and wear them properly…
Not bad right? Nike still can’t match the pants to the helmet, but maybe that’s done on purpose now. But wait — what’s that … thing around the Saints’ necks?
No, it’s the horrible new contrasting collar of Nike’s new high-tech flywire design. Ugh! Count me as NOT a fan. It’s not even a good look on teams with solid color collars like the Cards. But it looks awful in contrasting collars.
But you know, I’ve seen that look before. I’m thinking…where oh where have I seen that look? Yup — the 1976-81 White Sox. Congratulations, Nike — you’ve just created as good a throwback as Majestic. Too bad it’s the WRONG SPORT.
Sorry boys and girls — but I was originally very psyched for Nike to take over the NFL uniform contract from Reebok. But I’m afraid to see what any team with a stupid contrasting collar is going to look like. Because if they all look as awful as the Saints, tis going to be a loooong season.
Jim Vilk’s Olympic Hoops 5 & 1
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…MoVi comes back with a 5 & 1 — this time he’s ranking the unis in a sport that has gotten ZERO attention from Uni Watch — Olympic Basketball. That’s about to change today. Here’s Jim:
Seventeen nations made the Olympic basketball tournament – seven of them sent both men and women. Their unis are similar enough that I won’t show you *every* detail, but I will open up the Honorable Mentions more than usual to give you a sample of each nation.
Honorable Mention to Brazil/Australia (women) – Turn that Arial font into Arial Bold and you’d really have something there.
And to France/Canada (women) – Porquoi les squigglies, La France?
As well as Tunisia/Argentina (men) – I don’t get the lime green on the shoulder, though.
And also Croatia/USA (women) – Croatia needs more
Let’s not forget Lithuania/France (men) -Looks better than an Eskimos/Alouettes game, eh?
And one more… Czech Rep./Croatia (women) – Even this half-Slovak likes those Czech unis.
5. Turkey/Croatia (women) – The two best adidas unis in this tournament.
4. Spain/Russia (men) – Look, kids…it’s Pau Gasol in a DIY Spud Webb jersey!
3. USA/Lithuania (men) – It looked like Superman vs. Slippery Rock, but the green and white was almost Kryptonite.
2.Russia/Great Britain (women) – The men’s teams faced each other, too, but not in a color vs. color matchup!
1. Argentina/Nigeria (men) – Phil and I like Nigeria’s simple unis, but only I like Argentina’s asymmetrical double blues.
And the bad one: Angola/China (women) – Typewriter font on red + backwards-F-looking sevens = BLEAH!
No Honorable Mentions next week…just the final 5&1 of the London games. Pip, pip, cheerio, y’all.
Good job Jim. I was afraid you might not rank every game and put it in the list. And the Angola uniforms are some of the BEST of the tourney — but not in that colorscheme. Give me the white “home” unis and I’m happy. There is always room for at least ONE team to wear Times New Roman. Red & black? Not so much. Luckily for us, Jim will be back next Monday with his wrap of the rest.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
Click to enlarge
Uni Watch News Ticker: Notre Dame is switching to field turf, (Warren Junium says), and “The logic is specious at best.” … Lucas Ehrbar “Saw this new Maccabi Haifa kit today, apparently the most successful Israeli team. (Who knew?) Pretty straight forward: solid green, big white sleeve-cuffs.” … You’ve likely seen this by now, but Shannon Shark, who runs the nifty MetsPolice.com site, “I was pretty darn confident yesterday but multiple reports of this t-shirt in the window of the clubhouse store on 42nd” of the 2013 (Mets) All Star Game logo. … What the hell are the “Hatu Zzaj”? Well, they’re just the Utah Jazz in reverse (Thurl Bailey get the dubious honor), with thanks to Rex Henry. … Hmmm. Mitch Blomert says Auburn donned some interesting shorts at practice this week. “I did a little digging to see if this was a common thing, but I didn’t find much. I saw something similar in a practice video of Arizona State. Is this a new trend in practice gear, or just two schools geographically placed in some of the hottest parts of the country and trying to cool off in August? I honestly haven’t seen anything like them before; they almost look like team pants with the legs cut off.” And a slightly different take on this (from Benji Boyter ). … The “subject” line of the E-mail was “Nike Jeans?!” from Nick Orban – here was the body, “Are you freaking kidding me? Nike had the US Men’s archery team wear Orange warmup jackets (which also make zero sense) with jeans THAT HAVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST. Ridiculous.” As one who wears suits (or blazers and slacks) to work every day, I’ve often wondered how long it would take Nike or Rbk (for that matter) to make business-wear. Especially for NFL coaches who wish to wear classy suits — why do I see that day coming in the not too distant future? … Very sad news in the High School football uniform department from Stephen Grooms. In response to a “reply I have received regarding the national High School uniform rule that came down. Our tradition of stripes is about to come to an end.” That ruling states, in part that Basically, all home jerseys must be of a non-white color, and all away jerseys must be white; and, it will now be illegal to have any white between the shoulders and within the body of home (dark) jerseys, and any dark (non-white) between the shoulders and within the body of the away (white) jerseys — with the following exceptions, within certain specifications: numbers, school name, player name and/or school mascot; a side seam that is no more than 4 inches wide; and, on the shoulders, stripes that are no more than 1 inch in width and the total aggravgate width of all stripes cannot be more than 3 1/2 inches. … Clint Richardson reports, “New uniforms for Marshall. The collar is now kelly green all around. The jersey cut no longer has the mesh front and backs. Much cleaner look.” Here’s another look (thanks, Paul) … BFBS & matte helmets? Sure, why not. Josh Lassiter reports, “I usually like them but can understand they are a little frivolous. However Baylor has new BFBS unis this year. A recruit tweeted a pic and now I send it to you to post. Personally, I love em… And the recruit LOVED them!” … Dan Twohig has more on those Phillies ball girls: “I am loathe to suggest anything Phillies related but it’s about the ball girls so I guess that makes it ok. The Philly Post had the article with a picture. I thought the dress was interesting.” … My good buddy (and Packer-fan extraordinaire) Johnny Okray writes, “The Packers hosted their annual Family Night at Lambeau Field (Saturday night). It’s just a scrimmage between the team, but Lambeau is always sold out. It’s great for the kids. Anyways, someone needed a little adjusting before the game, and that is where team seamstress comes in. Can you really have enough shots of Marge Switzer sewing uniforms? Nope.” … John Muir wrote me with some “Non-ridiculous Rick DiPietro news.” Fearing “You’re probably thinking the subject line is in the same vein as the Nigerian prince scams, but I assure you it’s not. Last week DP hosted his youth goalie camp in Syosset AND was taken off IR. Since everyone involved thinks he’s going to backup Nabokov this season (which won’t happen), Ricky got new gear. Of all the goofy crap around the man, his gear has normally been artistically impressive. Like this latest set. The stripes aren’t exactly the Isles’ sock stripes, but it’s a classy look. See those blobs at the top of the pad over the thigh? His initials in Olde English. Old-school blocker, too. Solid look (that will never see the ice).” … This is a pretty cool infographic about the Wild’s signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, from Eli Swanson. Tag line reads, “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” … Nice update from Jim Polacek on new practice jerseys for Nebraska. Says Jim, “The shoulder stripes transition to black on the back of the jersey. Love the N on the sleeve! Need to bring that back to their normal look. It was there in 1983. Some of the players wore the new alternate jersey for Fan Day.” … Paul Watson notes, “Nike outfitted Arkansas with some new superhero outfits for this year. But what I, and I think you, missed about the new gear is that helmets appear to have a black fade in the back, kind of like the old “airbushed” San Diego State Helmets from a few years back. I’m providing a screen grab from a video of yesterday’s practice that shows three players’ helmets with black on the back.” … “Not a word to identify as Canadiens.” (George Chilvers). … More Notre Dame Ireland game items (from Warren Junium again): Ball and Travel Suit. … A look at Matt Kemp’s batting gloves and cleats, from Parker Ferguson, who adds, “Is this superman yellow or what. Very surprised he wore these and was allowed too, but he did hit a home run first time up…thoughts or insight???” … Jim Misudek notes Jason Heyward has opted for the knee-highs during BP, citing the heat. “Looks like a true ballplayer!” … Here’s a clear shot of Alex Smith with three full stripes on the sleeve (thanks, Brinke). … Brennan Keller is following one of the football players for KU and he leaked this picture on his Twitter page. Nice “look at me” gloves. … Dustin Kane writes, “Here is something I haven’t seen before on Alabama’s Freshman Cyrus Jones. On Photo’s 23 and 30 you can get a glimpse of this helmet which is something that just looks outrageous. It has a DNA Facemask but the Shell appears to be a Revospeed Rawlings sort of crossbreed and I can’t make heads or tails of it, any info on this?” … Maggie Daniel notes, “Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeted a picture yesterday at FanFest of the NOB of Kuechly’s jersey being spelled “Kuechley”. Here is the link to the tweet/picture: includes a quick blurb at the bottom about the NOB incident. It says ‘Kuechly doesn’t have a traditional last name, so he’s used to it getting misspelled.’ It happened again Saturday. The back of the practice jersey, which he said he usually doesn’t wear, read ‘KUECHLEY.’ Why hasn’t he mentioned it to anyone? ‘It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t bother me too much.’ Kuechly was the 9th Overall pick in the NFL Draft this past year and one would think they would know how to spell his name.” … Awesome comic (which several readers tipped me wise to), entitled “The Argyle Sweater.” Here’s how it looks in the funny pages. … Chris Long writes, “Tonight (saturday 8/4) the Williamsport Crosscutters hosted the Connecticut Tigers in a New York Penn League game. The Cutters were having their blue out promotion with the jerseys being auctioned off to charity to prevent child abuse. However, this created a weird scenario with both teams wearing navy blue tops during the game. The main distinguishing factor was the pants as the cutters wore white with red socks (therefore the Crosscutters are in the field in this picture) and the Tigers wore their road grey pants.” … A reader named Chris (no last name given) shares this: UMASS is getting new jerseys for their debut into the FBS. … Brady Phelps writes, “I know you’re covering for Paul while he’s out. Thought you guys would appreciate this (The best Padres Jersey ever).” … Sean Gierke writes, “The Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City AAA affiliate) wore some funky jerseys for Organ Donation awareness (article link and blog link with a couple more photos). … Matt Ryan asks, “Is this a reebok jersey with a Nike swoosh?” … Jason Henke was watching the HOF game last night and “noticed Saints kicker John Kasay was missing the front Riddell logo on his helmet like the rest of his teammates. Looked odd.” … More from Brinke: Really cool item, but bidding ends Monday evening. … Aaaaaaannnddddd…a Happy Belated Birthday to Jenny Sweet.
Another short one for your Monday. Sorry, but there was a LOT to cover over the weekend. But hey, if you’re sick of long posts, the Olympics and me — there’s good news — Paul will be back tomorrow for a one-day appearance during his hiatus. I’ll be back on Wednesday, so I’ll catch you guys then.
“Alright, that’s enough out of you, Jeff.” — Mark Peterson