BBC Culture

Crazy Olympic team uniforms at Sochi

  • Mexico

    With an Italian mother and citizenship in Austria and Liechtenstein, Hubertus von Hohenlohe opted to represent his birth country of Mexico in the Winter Olympics. He founded the Mexican ski team in 1981, and has competed in the Games on five previous occasions. At Vancouver in 2010, he dressed as an alpine bandido with bullets and pisteleros; this year’s Mariachi costume displays the spirit that has helped him in his career as a pop star called Royal Disaster (AP Photo/Mexico Olympic Committee)

  • Canada

    The Canadian skeleton team have customised their helmets with some eye-catching designs. Skeleton slider John Fairbairn, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, chose to have a brain painted on his helmet. "I've always been a bit of a nerd,” he told a news conference at the Sochi Games on Wednesday. "A lot of people kind of get my last name a little bit wrong and don't pronounce it quite right. We were racing at a track in Germany a number of years ago and the track announcer started calling me Fairbrain." He’s since been known by team-mates as 'Brains'. Sarah Reid, a slider from Calgary, has painted a 'Day of the Dead' image on hers with a girl and skulls. She said: "I think it's one of the opportunities that we have in our sport to show our own personalities." Team- mate Eric Neilson opted for a ‘demon head’ helmet, while Melissa Hollingsworth, the 2006 bronze medallist who has competed professionally on the rodeo circuit, will compete with a horse's skull decoration. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

  • US

    The US team uniform sparked criticism online when it was unveiled at the end of January. Designed by fashion house Ralph Lauren, the thick patchwork cardigans were accused of looking out-dated – one Twitter user commented: "Team USA will be dressed like your rich aunt at Olympics.” Here, the outfits are worn by Zach Parise and Julie Chu of the US ice-hockey team. (Reuters/Ralph Lauren/Handout)

  • Norway

    The Norwegian curling team hit the news at the 2010 Winter Olympics when they donned garish diamond-print trousers that drew clown comparisons – although they won a silver medal, many believed Norway had come first because of the press surrounding their wardrobe. At Sochi, they’ve gone for a similar style; team member Christoffer Svae told the Guardian how their original choice came about: "We received the black T-shirts and jackets from our [Norwegian curling] federation quite late and there were no pants to go with the set, so we decided to go ahead and find some more colourful pants to get some of the nation's colours in there; red, white and blue," says Svae. "We just happened to find these diamond-shaped, red, white and blue pants online and decided to buy them." Fans of the team’s sartorial approach can even follow them on an unofficial Facebook page – The Norway Olympic Curling Team’s Pants – which has more than 500,000 likes. (Reuters/Cassie Kovacevich/Loudmouth Golf/Handout)

  • Russia

    The Russians are channelling Santa Claus with some long fur-trimmed coats in the colours of their national flag and decorated with traditional folk patterns. (EPA/Yuri Kochetkov)

  • From Russia with glove

    Former Russian ice-hockey player Pavel Bure shows a pair of gloves that is part of a wider rainbow trend among uniforms at Sochi. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

  • Sochi volunteers

    Among protests over Russia’s gay rights record, the choice of rainbow uniforms for volunteers at the Sochi games has been questioned.While insisting there is no law against homosexuality, Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured wearing one of the Sochi uniforms) has said: “We have the ban on the propaganda of homosexuality”; protestors waving gay Pride flags might be missed in the sea of colour at Sochi. (Ria Novosti/Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Germany

    The vibrant German team uniforms were intended as a celebration of the 1972 Olympics, rather than a silent protest against Russia’s strict anti-gay laws, according to their designer Willy Bogner. Whatever their intent, these outfits will be difficult to miss on the slopes at Sochi. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender)