The Australian Olympic Committee launched the uniform that their athletes will wear in the Rio 2016 opening ceremony on Wednesday morning and they’ve managed to sneak under their own very low bar.
Since the turn of the century the Australian Olympic Team have a history of success. They’ve not finished lower than tenth on the medal tally (4th in 2000 and 2004, 6th in 2008 and 10th in 2012) with the seven Gold Medal’s from London a cause for concern in parts of Australia’s sporting fraternity.
The Australian team will sport this interesting combination at the Rio opening ceremony
In that same time span the choice of uniform for the opening ceremony has remained, at best, questionable. In keeping with said tradition the Australian team will march in to the Maracanã Stadium on August 5th looking as if they’ve suffered an identity crisis.
2000 had the outback theme, 2004 saw the return to prominence of the spray jacket, 2008 intrigued with the return of the nations traditional blue, while 2012 saw the return of the timeless bottle green look.
As an Australian it is your birthright to know that “It’s moments like these you need Minties”, yet I don’t think the opening ceremony was the moment they were referring to when they coined that slogan in 1926.
The mint and white stripped jackets that are to be donned in August are desperately out of place in a uniform that features white shorts or skirts and yellow tie or green wrap-around scarf. The balance between the individual elements of the uniform is lacking and while we are going to stand out when we make our grand entrance, it’s not going to be for the reason the AOC hoped when they approved the design.
If the AOC had have gone with an entirely mint jacket and a soft gold skirt / pants combo with a white shirt and no tie, the blow would be softened dramatically and a timeless classic may have emerged.
They are by no means the worst Australian opening ceremony uniform (see Barcelona 1992 for that) but they do raise the question of the look that the AOC were aiming for as they appear to have landed smack between honourng the tradition of Olympics past and landing in a candy-land future.
Marquee games. There is nothing better in sport – apparently.
Easter Monday is a great day for sport, the Stawell Gift is beamed to televisions around Australia, which gives me a chance to reminisce about the times spent growing up in not only such a great town, but the time I spent at Central Park watching the Redlegs train and play. The fact a close personal friend has won at Stawell has added to the love I have the place.
Marquee game? If you say so AFL.
Forgive me, I’m getting off topic.
The AFL have also decided that Easter Monday means that fans need to have another Hawthorn and Geelong clash rammed down their throat every year, a decision based on the fact that the sides have had a few great Grand Final clashes across the years.
Monday was a great game, but let’s face facts. This game is only great while these two teams are and begs the question of what is going to happen when these teams fall off the radar?
Let’s take a look at the marquee games the AFL have thrust upon us (again) this year and see if they are worthy of the spots they are given:
- Richmond V Carlton – Season opener. Two historically successful clubs who have both struggled to make an impact this millennium. Marquee rating – 2/5.
- Hawthorn V Geelong – Easter Monday – Good while the going is good. Marquee rating – 3/5.
- Melbourne V Richmond – ANZAC Day Eve – Dear AFL, when a team has only won 51 games in the last ten full seasons they don’t deserve a marquee game (let alone two), Friday night games or anything else. At least this game is a near-lock to be an upset every year. Marquee rating 0.5/5.
- Essendon V Collingwood – ANZAC Day – Don’t let Essendon and Collingwood administrators fool you, the sport could survive without this game. Marquee rating 2.5/5.
- Melbourne V Collingwood – Queen’s Birthday – It’s not the 1950’s and Melbourne are no longer broke and don’t need the help. See previous comments about both clubs and marquee games. Marquee rating – 1.5/5.
The AFL struggle with the concept of moving with the times. All of the equalisation measures that they have tried have failed desperately, and favouring clubs in the fixture list is intensifying the problem, not offering a reasonable solution.
If we must have a marquee game, have the two Grand Finalists (but do not call it a Grand Final replay, as that implies the winner gets the cup) on Easter Monday at the home ground of the winner of the previous season’s decider. Not only does that get fans excited for another year of football but it provides the opportunity to see the two best teams in the league have a shot at each other early in the season.
The game must continue to evolve if it wants to retain the status it has as the most popular league in Australia. Fixing the draw would be a great place to start.