Olympians: They also love fashion
Trans World Features | @twfindia | 04 Sep 2021
Olympians: They also love fashion

The recent Tokyo Olympics not only had athletes breaking records in many fields and introduced new names in the sporting arena , it also caught eyeballs with their snazzy designer wear and statements in personal grooming , finds Anju Munshi


When Lovlina Borgohain took off her boxing gloves after winning the Bronze medal at the recent Tokyo Olympics, her fingers showed off bright red nail paint. Who says boxers cannot, or do not, have any interest beyond concentrating on the next punch? Look at double Olympics winner P V Sindhu flaunting the five Games rings on her fingers  as ‘nail-art’ which, she confessed in an interview that she loves, and peddler, spunky Manika Batra proudly showing off the Indian flag colours on her nails, and you know something is a-changing.


There seems to be a sea change since the days, say, when PT Usha flew off like a deer. One only focused on her style of running ,the speed, the grit and the sweat drops trickling down her taut face while being  filled with  awe and admiration for her years and years of hard work and training.


Today the story has a dimension beyond the obvious hard work. At the Tokyo Olympics people witnessed fashion take centre stage too even as sports remained the  primary source of interest and entertainment.



Stunning red braids of tennis pro Naomi Osaka as she lighted the Games cauldron at the inauguration, pink locks of Amya Clarke of St Kitts -Nevis, Jamaican Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce with her flaming orange streaked hair, compatriot Elan Thomson –Herah with straw-coloured hair, colourful Olympics rings shaved into the back of her head of shooting coach of Mongolia, Undralbat lkhagva, and our very own Mirabal Chanu with earrings clutching her ears with the symbolic five rings, which she said mother had lovingly gifted her as a lucky charm, made  strong statements about a changing trend in sports- that muscle-toned bodies and fashion can co-exist together happily.


With the world still struggling with the pandemic under the shadow of which the Olympics happened despite the naysayers’ warnings, and as football and cricket are also back in the ground, these additional attractions with fashion statements in the arena can also garner hope and boost the spirit.


Statement earrings, summer hats , leotards with crystals, boxy shirts ,myriad hair colours, glaring eyewear and abstract printed crop tops have been appearing regularly as ways to show the sportspersons’  love for fashion.


The popularity of social media  and a wide fan base make the sports idols even more conscious, perhaps about being visible  with fashionable attires as a way of communication. 



Whether it is a mane in bright colours or a stunning display of nail art they attract to become an ‘Insta’ hit and earn admiration of fans. Teenager Rupali Upadhyay finds them to be fun statements, inspiring the youth and thereby make a connection. She finds an idol in Maana Patel, the first Indian female swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics with her snazzy swimsuits and asserts that she has become a fashion diva.


Manpreet Singh, captain of the Indian Hockey team which won the Bronze medal in Tokyo, has infused sports into his daily life by incorporating athleisure outfits as he goes about daily life.



“Big brands and well known  designers  made the event not only eye-catching but also set in a new trend of fusing sports with individual fashion affirmations.


The designers pitched in with concepts and ideas specific to their countries too,” says Sagarika Sureka, a fashion designer from New Delhi .


In fact, trend watchers are now even checking out who designed which country’s outfit for the biggest show on earth in the sporting arena. If Ralph Lauren designed  the American flag cravat combined with  indigo- wash denim for the USA team , Levi’s  chose for the Canadians a standard athleisure look featuring the iconic maple leaf for the opening ceremony and tuxedo for the closing ceremony.  Team France was led by Lacoste and Team Britain by Ben Sherman with his collection of ’60s collegian inspired look to represent Britain’s artistic heritage.


“All these designers created looks according to their heritage, culture and aesthetics,” says Sureka.


With a different take on this trend, Sukhwinder Singh, a fitness enthusiast and a cyclist from Kolkata, observes, “For years female athletes have had their clothing policed; now they are fighting back.”



When told that her sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate at a recent English Championships in Bedford, double Paralympics winner , Olivia Breen, said she was left ‘speechless’  and retaliated by wondering aloud on twitter whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised . “Women  wore corsets and big skirts for tennis in the 19th century which didn’t allow good movement , yet they went ahead because they were assured that they would marry well, but times have changed, forget women, anyone can don any attire,” she pointed out.


“With changing times, however, fashion is no longer to be made light of. Today, it’s  a means to communicate and establish connection with the spectators through assertive dressing. It also displays confidence at being oneself and inspires us to make the best effort,” according to Sureka .


So whether it is styling your pink scarf with an all-black punk look or displaying a tattooed leg , the sports persons are demonstrating  how to balance  a stay-fit regimen and love for the chic complementing each other.


Image credits: Official FB, Wallpapers and Unsplash