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An In-depth Look at Olympic Volleyball Uniforms

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Jeremy Brahm

Greetings Uni Watch readers! I hope everyone had a pleasant July, and now we begin August and Paul’s annual sabbatical from the blog.

I’ve been watching a surprising amount of Olympics the past week-plus, but not so much of the more “popular” ones — instead, thanks to NBC having like 20 channels showing a multitude of different disciplines, I’ve taken the occasion to watch many of those sports one almost never sees on television (to wit: archery, fencing, judo, steeplechase, rowing, etc.) and have enjoyed that immensely. I won’t get into it here, but I’ve been a fairly huge Olympics fan from an early age (one of my first sports memories in fact was Mark Spitz winning seven gold medals in swimming in 1972). So, for this first week of my weekday run, we’re going to be focusing mostly on the Olympics and olympic uni watching. I’ve got a bunch of “Olympic Correspondents” all set to give you some very cool olympics uni articles.

Starting things off today will be longtime reader and contributor, Jeremy Brahm, who is going to bring you a full recap of the unis for one of those semi-obscure sports (at least to most of us in the United States): volleyball. Jeremy’s got a fairly detailed look at the unis worn by both the men’s and women’s teams in the Olympic tournament, so we’ll get to that straight away. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sport, here’s a rundown, and if you’ve never heard of the position called the libero, read about it here (Jeremy refers to the libero several times below).

OK, Jeremy — take it away!

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Volleyball Uniforms
by Jeremy Brahm

Many of the uniforms that have been worn in Tokyo were also worn during the FIVB Volleyball Nations League bubble in Rimini, Italy in May and June. We will first start the men and then finish with the women. Why the men first, well this tournament will have the women finish the tournament on the final Sunday for the first time.

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Made by Sonder, a domestic Argentine manufacturer, the team uses the colors of the flag, white…

… and light blue and has a pattern on the sleeves and the collar. The pattern has also been used in previous year.

However, unlike the soccer team, there is no striped version. There is also a solid blue third uniform. Shorts can be in solid blue or a light blue color.



The defending Olympic champions are outfitted by Asics and using the same pattern that other teams are using. More often than not Brazil will wear the canary yellow with blue shorts. They have added a big green collar yoke, which was not there during the Volleyball Nations League.

Sometimes they will go monotone blue, which is usually the libero. Also, they do have a white with blue shorts as well, but again it is usually the libero only that wears it. Brazil is also wearing a Tokyo 2020 badge on their left sleeve.



As the North American representative, Canada outfitted by Mizuno has a very distinct look due to the font, but also a subtle at times maple leag. Their red uniforms are monotone…

… while their white uniforms have a faint grey outlining a maple leaf. On the black uniform, the silver outline of the maple is very easy to see.



Team Yavbou as opposed to the Les Blue, is trying to overcome years of failure in major international tournaments. They have won the European title in 2015, only to be eliminated in the group stage in Rio. Even now, they finished third in the VNL, so they are possibly in the medal hunt. Outfitted by Errea and resplendent in blue…

white and red, each having accents of the other colors of the French flag in the dots. The French rooster for the Olympic Committee is normally blue, but changes to white on the blue and red looks.



The Asian representative they wear sleeved uniforms in white…

red, and black. They are incredibly understated, but the little bits of color surprise with this look.



Errea announced on July 9th the look for the Italian men for Tokyo. The sleeveless design has rhomboidal motifs to enliven the lines (per The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) shield is outlined in gold.

Also very thin Italian flag stripes in the middle and along the sides. The traditional azzuri is the primary look, while the white (2nd) and dark blue (3rd) will be alternates.



As part of Asics design across many sports, the men’s team is part of Asics Japonism concept. This design concept is used with other teams Brazil and Russia. The triangle patterns that you see on the chest are folded shapes, similar to origami. Japan will have a monotone red …

… and white with black shorts; and monotone black. Japan is wearing a Tokyo 2020 decal on their left sleeve and did so in the first match.



The 2018 World Champions look like medal contenders, but their white and red looks almost always look interchangeable. The Adidas supplied team made a massive change entering the court on Saturday the 24th. White tops with red shorts.

It is almost too plain. However the monotone red shows multiple tones to give it some depth. That is almost impossible to see on the white version. The dark blue alternate look is monotone.


Russia Olympic Committee

The Russian men look very similar to the Japanese men. Not Russian Flag due to the doping scandal, so the Russian Olympic Committee flag is being used on the uniforms. The red in monotone has additional red shades with a darker red collar.

The monotone blue is similar with multiple shades as well. The white version has blue yokes and blue shorts.



As the African representative the Tunisian men have a good look from Errea for their primary red uniforms. With red tops that shift to white at the bottom of the shirt and paired with red shorts.

Their white with a two-tone red bar across the chest looks good as well. The dark blue alternate uses the red as a base, but include blue likes, kind of similar to an Inter Milano look on the top.



The South American representative (Argentina and Brazil both won Intercontinental tournaments to qualify). White with two thin blue lines across the chest.

Blue using yellow and white lines across the chest and yellow outlines on the shorts. Maroon with two thin white lines across the chest.



The USA men basically exactly like the USA women’s team. Blue:

Red and White.

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Las Panteras are very similar to the men, but going sleeveless in white.

And solid blue with gold shorts.



The Brazilian women look very similar to the men in their canary yellow, except sleeveless. However, in the first match the did not wear their blue shorts, instead they wore green shorts. I do not know if it was because of South Korea wearing blue.

Libero Camila Brait wore the monotone blue look, with a yellow collar in the first match.



The Chinese women are the defending champions and are looking confident in repeating. China is going sleeveless monotone but the Adidas fonts pop on these designs. Red monotone, with two small colored patterns on the front and back.

White with red shorts and blue.


Dominican Republic

The North American representatives, Las Reinas del Caribe or the Caribbean Queens showed up with a brand new look from Mizuno. The white top with blue shorts uses the colors of the Dominican Republic flag to create an incomplete sash based on the pattern of the flag. Plus throw in a two-tone collar and it is a very distinct look.

Blue with red shorts, swapping the blue and white lines. Plus Libero Brenda Castillo in orange. The Red with blue shorts here. Castillo had a yellow version in the opening match. Castillo went blue and red in the third match.



The Italian women’s design by Errea was announced at the same time as the men and look very similar to them.



The hosts are looking to win gold, just like the did in the first time volleyball was held in the Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. Mizuno is using their “Diversity Graphic” as the background for their colors. The Japanese women will be sleeveless and have three colors:

Diversity Blue

Energy Red and white with a lightly shaded background.



Kenya’s designs are supplied by Mikasa, who is the official manufacturer of the volleyballs that you see in these games. One set is a white top with red shorts and has a diagonal from the right shoulder to under the left armpit. In the white design, the diagonal is in red, but also there are side panels in red on the top and on the shorts those sides become white.

While the black top and shorts have white diagonals and side panels. Red top and shorts with black diagonals and side panels.


Russia Olympic Committee

The Russian women are using Asics pattern as part of their design. The sleeveless design in blue looks very plain.

The white look uses light grey as the folded shapes, but also have blue yokes that extend to the sleeve holes. The red uniform is also very plain looking as well.



The defending Women’s World Champions from 2018 and the silver medalists in 2016 are expected to contend for a medal. Peak is the outfitter for the team. The team’s side panels are essentially racing strips in red, white or blue depending on the primary color. Red uses white and blue, while uses red and blue.

While the blue uses red and white stripes; and white.


South Korea

The Asian representative (China as an Intercontinental Qualifier and Japan as host) are using Asics pattern. I have to say that out of the Asics designs, this is probably my favorite as the addition of the red and blues to the white look with blue shorts give a balanced appearance, when compared the Russian ones.

Their blue look uses darker blues as the folded shapes and add a little red and to the yokes. The red also uses darker reds but goes with a white yoke with blue accents and blue shorts.



The Turkish women are essentially outfitted by Nike, but Nike is not an authorized supplier of the uniforms by the FIVB. The Turkish women use white, red and black looks, with small horizontal stripes and a side panel similar to the old NASCAR logo.

The white and red looks use Red shorts, and look fairly modern. The black look actually can appear more grey due to the stippling pattern.



The USA women are also medal favorites after winning the 2021 VNL last month only losing one match in 17 played. Racerback design


Here is the white and red looks.

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Thanks, Jeremy!

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Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Dan Cordray.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

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And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. My latest piece for Bulletin, about left- and right-facing team logos, was supposed to have been published on Friday, but there was a tech glitch that prevented me from posting it until Saturday. If you didn’t see it over the weekend, you can check it out now on my Bulletin page. (You can also subscribe to receive my Bulletin posts by email.)

Meanwhile: The five winners of the Angry Orchard soccer jersey raffle are Amy Marantino, Bill Nahlik, Brian Peterson, Paul Kos, and Dan Netser. Congrats to them, and big thanks to Angry Orchard for generously sponsoring this one.

Also: Today is the final day of Teespring’s site-wide 10% sale. Through the end of today, you can get 10% off everything in the Uni Watch, Naming Wrongs, and Uni Rock shops by using the checkout code BACKTOSCHOOL. That includes our new August pin, which has a Tecmo Bowl theme:

Last but not least, Happy Birthday to longtime Uni Watch team member Alex Hider! He’d normally be on Ticker duty today, but I’m covering for him so he can enjoy his special day. Have a good one, Alex!

Okay, that’s it from me. Now back to Phil.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Braves posted a Hank Aaron tribute jersey mashing up themselves and the Brewers, since the teams played each other this weekend (from Philip Trandel). … Meanwhile, Braves C Travis d’Arnaud wore an Atlanta helmet while with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers (from Matt East). … The Triple-A Syracuse Mets wore “Salt City Mets” alternate jerseys this weekend — no, they weren’t black (from Matt Rashford). … The collegiate summer Coastal Plain League’s Florence RedWolves changed their name to the Flamingos and revealed new uniforms (from multiple readers). … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: The Des Moines Register has some info on the stadium the White Sox and Yankees are playing at near the Field of Dreams filming site Aug. 12. MLB did post a picture of it at night. … The Miracle League, a Northeast Ohio league for disabled players, has a new mascot. … The Alaska Division of Forestry has its own mascot that recently threw a first pitch in the collegiate summer Alaska Baseball League. … Bill Hetrick has a signed baseball from the Olympics. The 1984 Olympics! How many future MLBers were on that squad? … The Oakland A’s traded for Jan Gomes at the deadline, but his new green gear wasn’t ready in time for his A’s debut yesterday, so equipment manager Steve Vucinich had Gomes red Nats chest protector and shin guards spray-painted green (thanks Paul).

Football News: The Eagles wore camouflage numbers and NOBs at training camp on Saturday (from Timmy Donahue). … The CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks revealed new uniforms on Saturday (from multiple readers). … The next two are from Kary Klismet: More NFL players have been wearing Guardian Caps in practice, which look like scrum caps that cover the whole head and have a facemask. … Some changes are coming to Arrowhead Stadium, including a new home locker room.

Hockey News: An artist in Newfoundland created 14 teams and knitted jerseys for what he calls the Queer Newfoundland Hockey League (from Roland Bottiglieri).

Basketball News: NBA numerologist Etienne Catalan has some more new and changed player numbers.

Soccer News: New shirt or kit releases include second shirts for Leeds United and Norwich City in England, AC Milan in Italy, and Heart of Midlothian in Scotland. … NWSL teams have made much of what their players have been wearing when arriving to games this season, including some examples of items from other sports like NBA and WNBA jerseys.

Olympics News: Twins P Joe Ryan, who is on the U.S. baseball team, thinks the balls used at the Olympics are much better than the ones in the U.S. (from Jeremy Brahm). … 14 U.S. Senators signed a letter to FINA, swimming’s governing body, when the Olympics started asking them to allow the Soul Cap for Black Swimmers (thanks, Brinke). … The next three are from Kary Klismet: Mexico softball players threw out their uniforms, apparently because they didn’t have enough room in their luggage. … Some swimmers are covered in spots because of a practice called cupping.

Grab Bag: Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel wore various rainbow items, including a helmet design, at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. Coincidence? Absolutely not (from our own Anthony Emerson). … Meanwhile, drivers in the women-only W Series, an F1 support series, now have firesuits in their team colors. They were all previously wearing the exact same design. … In the Australian Football League, Fremantle wore a throwback to the design worn for their very first regular season game in 1995. … A pride game in Australia’s Super Netball this weekend between Collingwood and the Queensland Firebirds saw rainbow-accented position bibs, which are the equivalent of rainbow numbers since netball players don’t officially wear numbers (though some teams, including both of those, do unofficially). … Reader John Muir points out after reading Paul’s Bulletin piece on Saturday that five teams in the leagues mentioned have symmetrical logos — the Angels, Colts, Cowboys, NHL Jets if you disregard the jet’s two shades of grey, and Saints. But he says MLS’s Timbers would be a sixth and a lot more would be included if words in their logos were removed. … What are the Top 10 worst names in sports? Adam has you covered.

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Uni Tweet of the Day

Jimmer Vilk would wear that. Also, anyone else think the gentleman pictured could be a doppleganger for Carlton Fisk?

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And finally… that’s all for today. Thanks to Jeremy Brahm for all his research on the men’s and women’s volleyball kits! I have to admit, I’ve been watching quite a bit of the v-ball (more this than beach, but definitely both) this past week-plus. Anyone else been enjoying the games? What discipline(s) have you been watching?

And, as Paul mentioned above, please join me in wishing our own Alex Hider a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! Enjoy your special day buddy!

I’m back at home base today, but spent my weekend “off” out at the family summer place — and after a couple weekends without any sunsets, there were a couple beauts Friday and Saturday evenings, and this one was from this past Friday.

As I noted at the beginning of this post, I’ve got some fun Olympics stuff lined up for you guys this week, so be sure to check back each morning for that. And of course, if there’s any breaking uni news, I’ll have that for you as well.



Comments (18)

    Guess the Game: The infamous 1972 Olympic Men’s Basketball Gold Medal game in Munich – Final Score: USSR 51 – USA 50. Sergei Belov would score the winning hoop at the buzzer after a some controversial rulings by the game officials gave the Soviets three chances at an inbounds play with three seconds remaining. Belov scored on the third attempt as the game ended. It was the Americans’ first loss in Olympic men’s basketball. The team refused to show up for the medal ceremony and never picked up their silver medals.

    Game officials AND the head of FIBA, who came down from the stands to reverse a call in the Soviets’ favor (before you joke, said FIBA head was British). One of the greatest thefts in sporting history.

    Oh….the infamous USA/USSR Men’s basketball final from the Munich Olympics 1972. Sept. 9.
    51-50 final score. I was 7 watching on TV….the USA squad refuses to this day to accept the Silver Medals.

    “More NFL players have been wearing Guardian Caps in practice, which look like scrum caps that cover the whole head and have a facemask.”

    To be precise, the Guardian Caps don’t have face masks. The caps just fit over the player’s regular helmet (shit has the facemask). From the article:

    I>They snap on top of the players’ regular helmets, providing two levels of protection.

    Jeremy/Phil ~ a look at the beach volleyball uniforms would’ve been a nice addition. I think uni watchers are aware of the situation but I haven’t looked into what countries have decided to wear outside of the USA. I think it’s a good topic.

    I’ve never heard navy blue called “solid blue”, like stated for one of Argentina’s uniforms.

    I thought the 10 worst names in sports were going to be real people (which would be kind of harsh), but no, it’s team nicknames. With that said, the list completely omitted the Utah Jazz.

    Wizards…bad, but Magic…good?
    Phillies, Wild and Avalanche are on my short list.
    Hard to argue against the Bills, but given their recent stadium drama a re-brand may be in the future if they relocate?

    10. Tennessee Titans
    9. Anaheim Ducks
    8. Arizona Diamondbacks
    7. Tampa Bay Lightning
    6. Toronto Raptors
    5. Washington Wizards
    4. Denver Nuggets
    3. Dallas Stars
    2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    1. Vegas Golden Knights

    I saw the reference to the Field of Dreams game and I have to ask why MLB can build a ballpark and hold a regular season game in a cornfield in Iowa (honoring a movie that is pure fantasy) yet it won’t do the same in the town that is supposedly where it was born? Yeah, that might be fantasy too.

    Why do some of the volleyball players have their front number underlined? I saw it yesterday during Argentina/US, and I see it again in several of the photos in this post. Is it a captaincy thing, or a seniority thing?

    The Phoenix Giants looked like they had a farm club side gig with the Pittsburgh Pirates!

    Thank you Jeremy for the coverage of Olympic volleyball uniforms! Would have thought more men’s teams might go sleeveless as uniforms evolve. Volleyball seems like a sport where a sleeveless jersey would be comfortable with the arms up blocking and spiking.

    Nothing wrong with our Canadian men’s volleyball uniform other than it just seems too plain.

Comments are closed.