Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Olympic spirit

Sorry, I had the idea for this post laying around for a while... NZ olympic team Jandals uniformin fact, I have lots of stuff on my "to do blog" list. I try to catch up one by one. A couple of weeks ago, the NZ olympic committee presented the new uniforms for the NZ players. After last time's scandal that the uniforms were designed and manufactured overseas, this time they decided to have an "all kiwi made" uniform. One thing they didn't count on, is that (probably) there are no shoe manufacturers here... at least that's what I guess... Oh wait! there are those "comfy shoes" but they are too expensive... at least more expensive than "crocs".

"Crocs came to us with a generous [sponsorship] package, and there really are no New Zealand shoemakers of note left. So we seized the opportunity and I think they look quite smart." said New Zealand Olympic chef de mission Dave Currie.

jandalsAnyway, the NZOC decided to use one of the "kiwi icons" a.k.a. "Kiwiana" for this game's uniforms : Jandals. Which are a kind of sandals, that many kiwis regard as a local invention. Morris Yock patented the plastic version... however the myth over who was the Jandal's inventor has been recently challenged, and alleged that Yock was merely importing those sandals from Asia and marketing them as made in NZ. Funny that the manufacturer in Hong Kong was also a kiwi!

In a country obsessed with sports, reaching quasi redneck levels, sports teams are already using the silver fern and the black colour, so they are monopolizing (almost) every kiwi icon there is! The question is if in a desperate search, the social construction of identity is adopting those icons associated with sports, or athletes are using those icons because they were constructed first by society. I can only guess that the athletes will be getting free vegemite, watties, hockey pokey, fish and chips and L&P as part of their diet, in which case, it doesn't get more kiwi than that.

I just can't understand why they are using NZ medal winning athletes to promote "tex-mex" junk food ? are kiwis now adopting texan icons to please "the president"? They certainly must have learned that from the politically incorrect and disrespectful "speedy Gonzalez". American media has always shown how little respect to, and knowledge they have about their neighbors. One of such olympic size mockeries was when they played a flamenco song during the mexican team parade at the Los Angeles USA games. It would be like playing Rule Brittania when american athletes are marching... or like presenting the kiwi sports teams using a theme from Kylie Minogue. So when the twins respond "Olé" when they say "mexican style" it hurts me the same as it hurts kiwis when Aussies say they invented the pavlova.

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home