By Phil Hecken
Well, the “sport” of Olympic Figure Skating wrapped up yesterday (with a bunch of non-counting exhibitions), and we can all continue the debate on whether it’s an actual “sport” (if you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, please see Paul’s column from this past Wednesday). Or not.
I tried to stay out of the “is a sport/not a sport” debate (in fact, my only comment on the subject asked whether golfers or tennis players played a sport, since they technically didn’t wear uniforms), but you guys had plenty to say. My opinion (not that you wanted it): it’s a “sport” in the loosest sense of the word, but I agree that Olympic skaters should be required to wear uniforms. Period.
Aside from the fact that skaters are the only Olympians who don’t wear uniforms, it’s rife with controversy, due to the fact that scoring is
all bullshit completely subjective. Scandals have abounded for years.
But would I want it “out” of the Olympics? No way. Just as long as we can recognize that it basically deserves its own category and none of the rules that apply to other “sports” apply there. If you want to remove some actual sports from the Olympics, how about we get rid of all this “team” (insert discipline) bullshit? There are about 40 medals given out for say, short track speedskating (and regular speedskating). I don’t think we need to add more medals for teams doing it too. Same thing with all the other sports that have individual and team competitions. You get one or the other.
Anyway, now that I’ve said my piece, I’m pleased to bring you our NCAA Football “5 & 1” decider, Catherine Ryan, who I’d originally tapped to do a group of “5 & 1’s” for the Olympic Skating, as Jim Vilk did in 2010 (scroll way down). But Catherine has a bit of a different riff on that. It’s her take on the costumes of the Olympic Figure Skating. So, without anymore of my yakkin’…here’s Miss Ryan:
Figure Skating Wrap-Up
By Catherine Ryan
Hello, Uni-Watchers! I have emerged from hibernation to bring to you a round-up of the best and the worst “uniforms” we saw during the figure skating portion of this year’s Winter Olympics! Now, I have drifted from the typical 5-and-1 format and will just be sharing and commenting on the notable costumes from each category of events.
When I was given this assignment, I enlisted the help of a friend of mine who runs the popular gymnastics blog, Gymnastics Truth Teller. The readership of the blog follows figure skating as well and I thought their input would be both valuable and entertaining. If you are interested in gymnastics or are looking to get into a new sport, I suggest you stop by and enjoy the snark at GTT.
Actual Podium: (1) Russia, (2) Russia, (3) Germany
Let’s start with the Italian pair. Matteo Guarise looks like a model of a body without skin that you would find in a science lab. The colors clash and I don’t understand why they went with orange and dark brown. Overall, visually gross.
Following in the theme of characters you would find depicted on a slot machine, one of Canada’s pairs went with this little combination. Canada’s second team went with a little burlesque number, that looked pretty cool, but also looked out of place in an ice rink.
The Americans were so non-matching that I began to think we had given up and were allowing NBC contest winners to just come in from the audience.
Actual Podium: (1) USA, (2) Canada, (3) Russia
A lot of people are confused about the main difference between pairs and ice dancing. To the untrained eye, they may look identical. Without getting too technical, the main difference is that ice dancing doesn’t have throws or jumps.
Actual Podium: (1) Yazuru Hanyu: Japan, (2) Patrick Chan: Canada, (3) Denis Ten: Kazakhstan
Hanyu won gold but had one of the worst costumes I have ever seen on a man. The combination of ruffles and random gems took the costume in too many different directions for me. Jorik Hendrickx of Belgium’s costume was like a bad dance recital outfit. The USA’s Jeremy Abbott had a strong and simple outfit. My favorite of the competition, which surprised me, was Italy’s Florent Amodio. It was silly, cute, fit his music, and wasn’t overdone. While Abbott’s outfit was simple and masculine, Amodio’s shows that you can have a fun/quirky outfit and still look good!
Jason Brown, of the USA, was a fashion lightning rod. His Riverdance-themed outfit gained a lot of attention and he followed it up with a busy purple number. However, it was his hair that got the most attention as he’s the only skater to rock a ponytail.
Actual Podium: (1) Adelina Sotnikova: Russia, (2) Yuna Kim: South Korea, (3) Carolina Kostner: Italy
Judging controversy aside, this event was pretty boring costume wise. Ashley Wagner, America’s sweetheart, looked the worst of the bunch. She always goes too sexy and looks fake. I hated both of her costumes.
Mao Asada of Japan looked equally as bad in a dress that made her body look deformed. Carolina Kostner, the Bronze medalist, and Yuna Kim, the Silver-but-should’ve-been-Gold medalist, looked classy and beautiful.
The Olympics have been whirlwind for me. The time difference and somewhat spotty media coverage has made following some events very difficult. If I left out any costumes you enjoyed, please leave me a note in the comments! I’d love to hear what you all think!
Thanks, Catherine! OK readers — let’s have it — how’d she do? And, if you still have any thoughts on whether this is a “sport” (or even desreves to be in the Olympics), now’s the time to air them. The Olympics ends today, and so too should any more talk of figure skating.
Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest
Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part II which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.
I know last weekend I had
hoped promised to have the designs for the first team and the voting this week, but trying to catch up with office duties and Grad School (yes, I’m finally doing my last project this semester), following a week with the flu, means those designs and voting will need to wait until next weekend. But those will be on Saturday. So, everyone be ready for those. I’ve received a nice amount of submissions for both teams so far, and today we’ll begin taking the third batch.
Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:
Let’s go ‘sploring
First and foremost, I cannot thank you all enough for the outpouring of support the league has received about this contest. It has only been two weeks and my inbox gets flooded with inquisitive minds — eager to participate — that lead with comments such as “this is so awesome what you are doing.” Guys and girls have pitched me their concepts via email and I have been blown away by the attention to detail, the pursuit for historically accuracy, and the depth of talented schemes. I feel like the sports world’s Tim Gunn: “designers… make it work.” For all of this, a million thanks.
Today, we will show you the third installment of the LCBL’s lineup, the Explorers:
This is a great time in the contest — early enough but not week one — to showcase the team that won the inaugural Corps of Discovery Cup last season. This gives us a chance to talk a little bit more about our league, beyond the strictly superficial. We feel the LCBL has the coolest trophy in collegiate summer ball; not because of its look, but because of the story it tells.
I bring this up because today’s team presents an opportunity to take your proposal one step further. If you want to come up with some sort of 2013 Champions sleeve patch, go for it. This is not required, but it might be an exciting additional challenge to some.
As for the aesthetics of the Explorers, remember to stick with the graphite. They are not red and black. Turn towards Meriwether Lewis’ famous telescope for inspiration. We have colored it red and incorporated it into a variety of our league’s branded pieces; an obvious place to start any Explorers journey. Good luck to all.
Thanks, Ross. Again — NEXT SATURDAY we’ll have the showing of the first set of uniforms for The Captains and begin voting. Ross notes:
“The vote on these submissions will run for one week. The top two, as selected by Uni Watch Nation, will continue on to a Lewis & Clark Baseball League executive board decision. These top two looks will be publicized on this site follwing weekend; not 100% sure when the ultimate winner for each team will be announced, yet. I am leaning towards a dramatic reveal of all twelve at the end of April. The two finalists will likely hate me for that.”
So thanks to all who have contributed so far, and we look forward to your continued participation. Remember:
E-mail me your submissions directly – Phil (dot) Hecken (at) Gmail (dot) Com [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Haven’t had this segment in a while, and well, it’s because I haven’t received any submissions. So, just one colorization today, and it’s from George Chilvers, a stalwart colorizer.
George, of course, has a story to go with his colorization. Click on image to enlarge.
The title “great” or “legend” is given out so readily these days to half-achieving sportsmen and women, that when someone really needs the accolade it is hard to find the correct words.
Last weekend English football lost one of its true legends when Tom Finney passed away aged 91.
He was a great player – but more than that he was a great man. He played his whole career for one club, Preston North End, and was born in a street next to the stadium, and lived his whole life in the neighbourhood. He fought in Montgomery’s Eigth Army in Egypt and later in Italy, after the War he returned to PNE to play football, but like all footballers in those days he supplemented his income by working as a plumber. The irony is that his death occurred the same weekend that it is reported that Wayne Rooney, a good player but not fit to lace Tom Finney’s boots, was being offered an obscene contract of £300,000 a week.
Tom played 433 times for PNE and 73 times for England. He is imortalised at Preston by the road next to the stadium called Sir Tom Finney Way, one of the stands in the ground being the Tom Finney Stand, and outside the stadium is a statue of an iconic player shown here.
Great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly idolised him – and on one occasion was heard to say about a young player “He’s as good as Tom Finney”. The journalists rushed to get their pencils out. “What, Bill? You really think he’s as good as Tom Finney?” “Aye lad” was the reply. “But Tom is nearly 60 now though”.
A true legend. This is my little colourisation tribute to him. RIP Tom.
Thanks George. Wonderful colorization, as always — and sorry to hear of the loss of Tom Finney that prompted it. And a beautiful story to accompany it.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Taylor Stallings, with a tweak for the dearly departed Sonics:
My first ever uni concept, for the Sonics! Although I love their triple stripe, I eliminated it for my design. If you look, the yellow on the trims makes an “s” like their logo. Comments?
Next up is the son of Brandon Munger who has a pretty cool helmet project for a local high school:
My 9 year old son wanted to tweak the logo and football helmet for our local school—The Phoenix (New York) Firebirds. The school currently uses a “P” similar to Purdue.
He and I worked on sketches and ideas until we came up with this. He was so proud of the logo we created that I had it made into a sticker and re-purposed a NY Jets replica helmet to give him for Christmas.
He likes it so much he thinks the Arizona Cardinals should re-name themselves the Phoenix Firebirds and use this logo.
Hope you like it.
Brandon R. Munger
And we close today with Greg Shaffer with this “ArchAngels” basketball uni concept (forwarded to me by Paul, so the words are Paul’s):
It’s sort of an all-purpose tweak/concept — he thinks it could be used to rebrand any of several NBA teams.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Another small amount of ticker submissions yesterday, so old school ticker today:
We begin with Bruce Menard with this 1925 Cliff Knox Pittsburgh Pirates World Champions Season Game Worn Road Uniform w/original 50th Anniversary Patch. As Bruce says, “It’s a beauty!” … A reader who goes by Welcome Mike writes, “My brother just moved to Jupiter, Florida and found this Marlins hat at the local Target. He wanted me to share it with you.” … Visions of Topps cards from the 70’s: Found at Target yesterday. Submitter Alex Allen says, “I’m not sure what the cards inside look like or who is on them.” … When the St George Dragons played the South Sydney Rabbitoths in the 2014 NRL Charity Shield, they played in an all-red uniform, instead of the their traditional white shorts and jumper with a a red “V” (thanks to Graham Clayton). … Several readers pointed out designs from Mr. Design Junkie were floating around yesterday — I ran that same set (or designs from that set) on Uni Watch back in 2011 (scroll down). … Mitch Barbee reports Jason Heyward is still wearing his facemask. “I don’t think anyone who wore one wore one longer than a month,” he adds. … Brinke says, “See, even in the offseason, same outfit,” referring to the homemade “SF” version Jim Harbaugh is wearing. (SF in the chest not upper right, it was stuck over the Stanford S.) Also note “SF” on the iPad. … “Flag Desecration pants pay off,” notes Jonathan Daniel. … This is pretty cool: a gallery of cigarette pack footy kits (thanks to Sean Walsh). … Oregon baseball wore ‘Black Vapor’ uniforms yesterday. … Here’s a good look at the Baltimore Orioles 60th Anniversary patch (h/t to Chris Creamer). … The NC Tar Heels wore their “1982 Inspired” throwbacks yesterday vs. Wake Forest. … Controversy continue in the Olympics — yesterday a couple loser nations filed a protest against France for making their skicross unis too aerodynamic or something. … Here’s a look at THE Ohio State University’s unis for the 2014 season (via Land Grant Holy Land). … “No screengrab, unfortunately,” writes Jeremy Baker, “but Jimmy Dykes declared that the sleeved, dark gray UMass uniforms (like the ones worn in this picture against LSU) were the coolest in the nation. I guess reading player numbers isn’t cool.” … Northwestern has put their twitter handles on their shooting shirts. … UW Pacific Northwest correspondent Jeremy Brahm checks in with the following: The J-League has their annual media kickoff with each of the team’s participating in their home uniforms. This is the first year of J3, the third division and it has its own logo in this shot. The uniform that you see is for a J-League wide under-22 team that will play in J3 this year. Here are the home uniforms for the 11 regular teams. Here are the slogans of all of the teams in J1 & J2. … Bradley University has a new mascot. It’s named ‘Kaboom’ (h/t Ryan Anderson). … Auburn’s Allen Payne had to wear a NNOB blood jersey yesterday (and 2 pairs of pants), h/t to Clint Richardson. … Chelsea has introduced its away kit for next season and holy shit is it bright (h/t Conrad Burry). … Pretty sure we’ve seen this before, but check out this Cubs 1962 National League program. … They also revised it in 1969 (thanks Mike). … New Mexico hoops has a red stripe on one side of their unis. … Seton Hall wore their Astro tops Saturday vs Richmond (thanks, Alexander Tsipis). … Ooohhh. Check out the sweet stirrups on Notre Dame (nice spot by Warren Junium). Also from Warren: ND Hockey wears green against BU. “Wonder why the greens are adidas and when ND hockey usually wears Reebok sweaters,” and Helmets on bench … If you watched the end of the Duke/’cuse game yesterday, there was a bit of a kerfuffle at the end of the game involving Coach Jim Boeheim. Luckily we now know who he was necromancing. … And finally, from Jim Vilk, we have this article critiquing Olympic fashions. Says Jim, “NO WAY the Norwegian (curlers) should be on there.” I wholeheartedly agree.
And that’s going to do it for this fine last Sunday in February (can you believe it?). Good news on the “How’d Paul do during Grand Jury Duty” front — he’s outta there, so we’ll continue with the usual schedule of Paul doing weekdays and me doing weekends. I’m sure tomorrow he’ll tell you about his “experience.”
Big thanks to Catherine and Ross. Next Saturday will be the first set of contestants for the “Captains” in the Lewis & Clark league, with voting, so be sure you check back in then — and don’t forget to submit for the third round of uniforms (the “Explorers”). Send all those directly to my e-mail. OK? OK!
The Olympics are over, and spring (meaning baseball and March Madness) is just around the corner. So all is good in the world again.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“My guess is that a flappier uniform would create a sort of flying squirrel effect. I think in general it’s more important to be floaty than speedy in ski jumping.”