Spanish athletes’ free Olympic uniform ’embarrassing’?

The new kits, free of cost, have been criticized by both athletes and fans

OLYMPIC WEAR. Spanish rower Saul Craviotto tweets this photo of him wearing their Olympics uniform. Photo from Twitter: @Saul_Craviotto

MANILA, Philippines – It may be a bad joke, but some people have actually taken it seriously.

Last week, when Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal decided to bow out of the Olympics due to injury, many asked themselves, is it really that or does he not want to wear the new uniform?

With the country’s economy in dire straits and almost 25% of working population unemployed, the Spanish Olympic Committee was able to save the taxpayer money when, this year, it got the kits for free from Russian designer brand Bosco, which also makes the uniforms for Russia and the Ukraine.

So far, the Russians and the Ukrainians haven’t complained, unlike many Spanish athletes who have expressed on Twitter their distaste of the new clothes they must wear when they defend their country in London.

“I’d better not comment. I leave that to you,” tweeted Spanish rower Saul Craviotto, who posted a photo of himself visibly unhappy in his track suit.

Another Spanish Olympian, field hockey player Alex Fabregas, said:”Olympic outfit, there aren’t enough adjectives.”

BEYOND ADJECTIVES? Spanish field hockey player Alex Fabregas unhappy about his Olympics outfit too, calling it 'beyond adjectives.' Photo from Twitter: @AlexFabregas

Even athletes not taking part in the Olympics like retired tennis player Carlos Moya joked he’s glad he is retired and will not have to embarrass himself by wearing the uniform.

The kits, with a mix of bright red and yellow colors that look more fit for a 70s album cover than for sportsmen, are nevertheless the only ones Spain could get for free, stressed Spanish Olympic Committee Chairman Alejandro Blanco.

“When you measure the difference between paying 1.5 million euros of public money and free clothes, there is no discussion,” said Blanco.

The official added: “The outfits are what we have, and we cannot change them now. They were decided upon more than a year and a half ago.”

Great Spanish designers vs free Russian brand

Many fans disagree with Blanco and noted they would rather have paid for decent uniforms instead of getting these for free, while Spanish designers complained that a Russian brand is providing the kits.

“In a country like Spain, with so many great designers, we believe it is inappropriate that they picked a Russian company,” said a statement from the Spanish Fashion Creators Association.

According to its website, Bosco is a “unique lifestyle brand, inspired by the passion and emotion of sport.”

“Our brand is defined by three overarching principles: support for the Olympic Movement; national pride; and an open, inclusive attitude to the world.”

That may be true, and Bosco has been reporting strong sales of its Spanish uniforms from its store in London.

It will also help if Spanish athletes do better than expected and bring home a bag of medals like in Barcelona 1992, when many complained about the uniforms as well but it did not matter as Spain pulled off an outstanding performance and won 22 medals.

If that happens, who knows if Bosco may be again providing the kits for Rio de Janeiro 2016. –