【Paralympics】 Official Uniforms for PyeongChang Revealed! One Design for Olympics and Paralympics
On November 1, ASICS announced the official uniform for Japanese representatives at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and XII Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, 2018 . Japanese athletes expecting to represent Japan at PyeongChang and top athletes aiming for medals attended the unveiling.
Olympic and Paralympic "legends" to wear the uniforms
The main color for the uniform is "Sunrise red," representing the powerful sunrise, and the secondary color is "Japan sea blue," representing the ocean that surrounds the island nation.
Ski jumping legend Noriaki Kasai said, "I have worn hundreds of uniforms, but I have never seen anything with such a brilliant color." If he attends PyeongChang, he will have competed in eight Olympic Games, the most of any athlete in history. When a reporter asked how he should feel when taking off the uniform after PyeongChang, Kasai showed his superhuman drive to forever aim higher: "I will probably be full of the desire to aim for the next one."
Nitta, when asked what he likes about the new uniform, responded, "The stylish back contour."
There are also Paralympic athletes that have competed at the front lines for many years. Yoshihiro Nitta, cross-country skiing gold medalist, has competed in five Games (Nagano, Salt Lake City, Torino, Vancouver and Sochi). His goal for PyeongChang, which his qualification is almost certain, is to take his second gold medal since Vancouver. His powerful comment during interviews after the conference was, "I hope to get gold medals in the sprint classic and middle classic events."
The concept of the uniform is, "PROUD OF JAPAN." This concept includes the pride of representing Japan on the global stage and the pride of Japanese citizens cheering on the representatives, as well as the pride of the Japanese brand's craftsmanship.
In an interview video shown at the unveiling, the uniform's developers noted how they considered usability for Paralympic athletes, specifically those in wheelchairs.
Takahashi, who will represent Japan for the first time since Vancouver, said, "I directly feel the responsibility of wearing this uniform (and representing Japan)."
Para ice hockey player Kazuhiro Takahashi, after trying on the uniform, said, "It may look like a regular uniform, but there are details that show considerations to wheelchair users. For example, the jacket is relatively short, and the sleeves, which can get dirty when they rub against wheelchair tires , are made of strong material. Also, I usually give up using the pants pockets because they are inaccessible when in a wheelchair , but the pockets of this uniform are placed so they can be used even when sitting. This relieves a lot of stress in traveling from place to place, and I am looking forward to the Games."
The uniform boasts outstanding functionality, such as high warmth retention, using knowledge of the ASICS Institute of Sport Science . ASICS is providing a full wardrobe including uniforms, footwear, hats and more. The athletes are expected to wear the various items on multiple occasions, including during competitions, on the podiums and at the Village.
Abe: "Turning support into strength." Sudo: "To make people proud."
A talk session was held to ask athletes about what they are proud of, in line with the new uniform's concept.
Cross-country skier and biathlon athlete Yurika Abe said, "My pride is the recognition of how so many people have supported my growth, up to this point of being able to wear this uniform. I have been through some tough times, but I was able to continue challenging myself without giving up because of the encouragement from others." Abe is from a town called Yamada in Iwate prefecture. "My town suffered damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and we are now working on reconstruction efforts. So many people have offered words of encouragement, and it makes me think I can still work harder." Turning support into strength, she is now aiming for medals in two events, cross-country skiing and biathlon, at PyeongChang, which will be her second Paralympic Games.
The men's para ice hockey team gained qualification for PyeongChang at the final qualifying event in Sweden in October. This will be their first Paralympic Games in eight years, since their silver medal at Vancouver. Satoru Sudo, captain of the team, said, "When we won a medal at the Vancouver Paralympics, I felt full of pride to be representing Japan, and I felt that Japan became united through the support we received." He showed his enthusiasm with the words, "At PyeongChang I hope to put on a performance that will make everyone proud."
Actress Tao Tsuchiya, special supporter for Japanese representatives, also attended the conference. She came on stage swapping high fives with guest athletes, and smilingly noted, "This uniform is perfect for these athletes who are larger than life. I am honored to be able to cheer them on from such a close place, instead of from afar."
Veteran athlete Sudo. If selected to represent Japan, he will compete at his fourth Paralympic Games.
Abe attended her first Paralympic Games in Sochi as a high school student.
Today she is a favorite for a medal.
Connecting with the aspirations of Olympic athletes
The conference also marked 100 days to the commencement of the PyeongChang Olympics. Tsuyoshi Fukui, Senior Executive Board member of the Japanese Olympic Committee , expressed his expectations with the words, "I hope that as many athletes as possible will qualify for the Games. At PyeongChang, I look forward to seeing the athletes compete confidently wearing this official uniform."
Hidefumi Takahashi, Vice Chairman of the Japanese Paralympic Committee, said, "As of November 1, Japan has qualified for eight alpine skiing events, two snowboarding events and eight Nordic skiing events at the Paralympic Games to open on March 9. Including the para ice hockey team that qualified at the final qualifying event the other day, there are around 35 athletes expected to attend. This will also be the first time to have a female Paralympian take on the role of delegation leader." He asked for support for the Paralympics, which will be held after the Olympic Games.
This will be the second Games (the first being Rio) in which Olympic and Paralympic athletes wear the same uniforms.
"Since Tokyo won the bid to host the Games, Paralympic athletes have seen a change in their environments. For example, Olympic and Paralympic athletes now attend the same press conference, as today. I hope to connect the aspirations of both Olympic and Paralympic athletes and put on a performance that delivers 2020."
These words were spoken by Nitta. We look forward to seeing him and many more athletes standing on podiums wearing the sunrise red uniforms unveiled today.
From left: Satoru Sudo (para ice hockey), Yurika Abe (para cross-country skiing, biathlon), Nana Fujimoto (women's ice hockey), Yoshihiro Nitta (para cross-country skiing), Tao Tsuchiya (actress), Noriaki Kasai (ski jump), Ayana Onozuka (freestyle ski halfpipe), Kazuhiro Takahashi (para ice hockey), Chiho Osawa (women's ice hockey)
text by Asuka Senaga
photo by X-1