London 2012: Team GB kit praised by Olympic & Paralympic athletes

Team GB athletes have praised the design of their kit for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Britain's sportsmen and women will step out in an indigo kit, inspired by the union flag, with red shoes, when they compete at the Games.

Leading designer Stella McCartney, who collaborated with manufacturers adidas, said it combined style with performance.

BMX cyclist Shanaze Reade was among the first to praise the kit.

"Today is the first time we got the kit and it is fabulous in every single sport and we all love it," she told BBC Sport.

"Instead of having generic sport kit that looks the same as everybody else, we wanted something that stood out, is performance-enhancing and has us being a part of it.

"Stella McCartney sat down with us and asked us what we wanted and we achieved that."

The kit, which features only a hint of red around the collar of most of the designs, contains more blue than previous designs.

Reade added: "It is very blue and that is nice and subtle but, at the same time, it does what it needs to do.

"You can often blend in with French wearing red, white and blue but this is completely on its own and makes us feel very British.

"As females it is all about what it looks like and if you feel good it makes us perform even better."

Five-time Paralympic swimming and cycling gold medallist Jody Cundy also backed the kit, saying he "couldn't wait to wear it proudly this summer".

Of Thursday's launch event he said: "My legs were kind of shaking when I was standing on the stage, with the nerves of it all, but it was a fantastic experience and the kit looks amazing, especially when you see everybody together in it."

110m hurdler Will Sharman said he liked the functional element of the kit, to help athletes reach their potential this summer.

"It needs to be lightweight, which it is," he said. "It needs to be aerodynamic and it is.

"There is no flapping about so, from a performance perspective, it's exactly what we were looking for.

"The colours are different but it's definitely British. I get excited putting it on. It has the Olympic rings on and that gives you pride."

Former badminton silver medallist Gail Emms is also a fan.

"I love the fact the Union flag is so prominent," she told the BBC. "The eyes of the world will be on Team GB.

"The athletes should be proud of the fact that they represent the nation. Everyone can see it. We will stand out."

Double Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds said she "cannot wait to be wearing it at the Games".

"I think we are all going to be looking great in London."

Triathlon world champion Alistair Brownlee said: "The tri suit is a fantastic piece of kit.

"It's notoriously difficult to get it right, because it has to be not too baggy for the swim, but tighter for the cycle and the run.

"The games are getting closer and closer and, standing in London wearing the kit, it's definitely creeping up on us now."

Many other athletes took to Twitter to give their thoughts on the new threads.

Sprinter Jeanette Kwakye was all in favour: "What do you think of the kit? Goldie Sayers, Jess Ennis and I are loving it!"

However, cyclist Bradley Wiggins seemed less enamoured: "Oh dear, The Olympic kit!!"

Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton put the debate into perspective by adding: "I don't care what the kit looks like as long as I get the chance to actually compete in it!"