Monday, August 13, 2012

Want to help a sister out?

I love many things.  Spandex- you know.  The Olympics- I'm sure you're aware of that one as well.  What else?  The Today Show.  I can't explain my love for the morning news program, or why I absolutely lost my shit upon seeing Al Roker when I was at the Oscars in 2009 (yeah- that's how we roll!), but I absolutely love the Today Show.

You know what I think the Today Show would love?  This blog.  I mean, really- who wouldn't?  Ok, Nike and Ralph Lauren might not be my biggest fans this Olympic season, but I doubt anyone is theirs either.  I digress.

Want to help a sister out?  Click here to e-mail the Today Show about Ode to Olympic Spandex!  Tell them how much you love the blog, and be sure to include the link to the site (www.olympicspandex.blogspot.com).  Make OTOS internet famous!!!

On a semi-related note, thank you to the THOUSANDS (over 9000!) of people who have visited this blog over the last two weeks.  Whether we were your primary source for Olympic news and fashion, or a side dish to your regular reading and viewing, it has been a joy to share our thoughts on Olympic spandex with you.

Closing Ceremony Doesn't Close OTOS

Fear not, dear readers.  Last night may have marked the end of the Games of the XXX Olympiad, but Ode to Olympic Spandex isn't slowing down.  We have endless opinions on the fashions of the Olympics and we will be sure to share them with you.

What can you look forward to in the coming days from OTOS?

  • Wrestling!
  • Track and field!
  • Rhythmic gymnastics!
  • Rowing!
  • More!
In addition to this, stay tuned for our thoughts on the Closing Ceremony (and how the Spice Girls nearly caused us to pass out).

And if you've got a bad case of the after-Olympics-blues, let this console you: the next Olympics (Sochi, 2014) aren't even a full two years away.  You only have to wait a year and a half!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cycling: Your best source for Olympic unitards

I realize that cycling has been happening in some form or another since day one of the Olympics, but I was distracted by all the leotards.  I'm about to be even MORE distracted by them because Rhythmic Gymnastics is just getting underway.  But, I digress.  Cycling.  If you've got a hankering for Olympic unitards, THIS IS YOUR SPORT (we'll touch on wrestling a bit later).

We started the week with the men's and women's road races, which in photographic form look more like a parade of colorful unitards.


Now let's get into the nitty gritty of it all.


Kazakhstan: I don't really understand Kazakhstan's national color palate.  In a bedding situation I am really into those colors.  I also think the emblem on their flag is really beautiful (the circle on his chest- in flag form it has more intricate detailing).  That being said, these colors don't translate well to a unitard.  It's rare that I would make this call, but I think it is too much aqua.


Columbia: Not sure if they got the memo that this isn't Nascar?


Netherlands: The V detail of the color blocking is really lovely!


Chile: It's a tough call on who is channeling Captain America more- Chile or USA!


Team GB: @London2012 posted this picture of Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins on a throne after winning his time trial.  I love a number of things about this picture.  The unapologetic prominence of Wiggins' bare chest, the weird shoe cover things, THE THRONE, and of course the Team GB uniform.  I like that Stella McCartney kept the design the same across the board.  I'm never confused when looking for Team GB.

Now let's venture into the Velodrome (giant Pringles can) for track cycling.  OMG TRACK CYCLING.  It's really crazy.  And fast.  CRAZY FAST!  The best thing about track cycling, aside from the obvious spandex unitards, is the helmet.  It is a specialized helmet that is obviously meant to make the cyclists more aerodynamic  but it makes them all look like they are in a fast-paced cycling sci-fi adventure.  AWESOME.


New Zealand: These look like costume ideas for Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises.


Denmark: Like off-color Pacmen...  Get them ghosts!


Team GB: We already know what the suit looks like, but wow.  Wow, wow, wow.  THIS IS ONE FREAKING SNAZZY HELMET!  I want to wear this when I learn how to ride a bike (I know- that was awkward to admit to the internet.  But I own it.  I'm on it.).


Australia: I've been generally pleased with Australia's fashion over the last two weeks, but the abundance of yellow here combined with the crazy helmet- it's a little too banana-tastic for me.


China: While nothing spectacular or breathtaking, I applaud China for doing something different and unexpected.  I had to read the country name on the leg to know it was them!


Venezuela: I love you.

Overall, an excellent turnout of Olympic unitards.  I should really get one of my own (along with that Team GB helmet!) because I think I will feel much more confident while learning how to ride a bike if I look REALLY freaking cool.


Photos:

OMG SPICE GIRLS!!!!

According to E! News, the Spice Girls were spotted rehearsing for their closing ceremony number yesterday in London.

Victoria Beckham Reunites With Spice Girls as Pop Stars Rehearse for Olympics Closing Ceremony

I want to say that the 14 year old me is dying right now, but let's be real. "I'm a power girl in a '90s world"- present day me is ALL ABOUT THIS!!!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fox News and Stephen Colbert Weigh In on Leo-Gate 2012

Aliya Mustafina (RUS): Queen of Russian Glitter

Omg.  Readers.  I thought that I was going to have to create my own Aliya Mustafina makeup tutorial for you, but upon Googling "Aliya Mustafina makeup" I was presented with an onslaught of tutorials, pictures, and general awesomeness.


Let me tell you about Ms. Mustafina.  I've loved her from day one because NBC labeled her a diva.  A Russian, gymnastics DIVA.  Girl also wears 75 pounds (31.0194 kg, if you're in Russia) of glitter in her hair and on her eyes.  She is my Olympic beauty idol.  Honestly, I'm thinking of forgoing my Princess Sophia Grace Halloween/Purim costume in favor of going as Aliya Mustafina.  I'm obsessed.

I've included a makeup tutorial below, however it fails to include two important tips.

1.  You must wear your best bitch face with this look.  I'm not saying that Aliya Mustafina is a bitch- I'm telling you that girl knows what she wants and will go Hunger Games on your ass to get it.


2.  After applying your makeup, pull your hair back into the tightest ponytail possible.  Like, you should be getting a facelift out of this ponytail.  Then use either an entire can of glitter hairspray, or gel back your hair and then dunk your head in glitter.  Either will do.  Toss on a leotard, and you're set.


If you're in need of more Aliya Mustafina, check out this Tumblr.  Really.  It's amazing.



Photos:
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8gabd8jFx1qkyd45.gif
http://grindtimesports.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/aliya_mustafina.jpg
Video:
http://vimeo.com/47147252

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

FOUND: Elusive American Flag Leotard!

This past Sunday morning, I did what I normally do on weekend mornings when I have no plans: lie in my bed and watch TV.  What made this Sunday different from all other Sundays was that I was watching the Olympics.  What made this day of watching the Olympics different from any other day of watching the Olympics was that finally - FINALLY - I spotted it: the amazing, beautiful, and previously absent American flag leotard.


US trampoliner (trampolinist?) Savannah Vinsat flying high in a lovely leo.

My mother, who knows all about my love of spandex and this specific leotard (she has a link to this blog on her phone's homescreen- so what if I put it there?) was also watching NBC at this exact moment and sent me the following e-mail:

To: OlympicSpandex
From: Mom
Subject: USA gymnast this am on tv
Message: They are wearing the red, white and blue spandex outfits.

It was a truly magical moment, but this story gets even better.  For those of you on the West Coast like myself who are eagerly awaiting the broadcast of the women's gymnastics beam and floor finals, tonight will not disappoint (assuming you only care about American flag spandex- I know little about any results).  Aly Raisman, gymnast extraordinaire and MOT (Member of the Tribe), delights all in this number:



Thank you, Aly, for making one of my Olympics dreams come true.



Photos:

Which Olympic sports are best and worst to watch on TV?

Which Olympic sports are best and worst to watch on TV? Fourth-Place Medal ranks all 32.

This is an excellent article, written with as much snark as you would expect from Ode to Olympic Spandex.  While I disagree with some of their rankings, that fact is outweighed by the entertainment value of the article itself.  Enjoy, fair readers!

Nike Thinks Olympics Will Boost Sales

"Companies like Nike and Adidas use the Olympics as a stage to build awareness of the brand."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Olympics-showcase-launch-athletic-wear-3767308.php#ixzz22tjuiu5K


As of right now, my awareness is on the fact that the BUTT UGLY podium jacket retails for a whopping $450.  At that price, there best be an Olympic medal included!  Adidas may fare better in this respect.  I'm a big fan of the Team GB by Stella McCartney for Adidas swag.  If you are able to convince your computer that you are NOT in the US, you can purchase Team GB replica gear (down the the swimsuits!) at shop.london2012.com.

Synchronized Swimming: A First-Hand Account From London

Readers, we have a special treat for you today.  I have a friend named Julia, who in turn has a friend named Julia.  Julia once removed is currently living in London and was lucky enough to score tickets to one of the synchronized swimming events.  She kindly agreed to share her first-hand account and pictures of the experience with all of you!

"Duet Synchronized Swimming is the event to see!"
Claire and I had the great fortune of being able to attend Synchronized Swimming at the Olympics this afternoon. We took the Javelin train (6 minutes) from St. Pancras to Stratford, and a much discussed ordeal about transport was in reality effortless. An abundance of chirpy and enthusiastic volunteers greeted us at every turn, as we followed the fuchsia signs to the Olympic park, and although warned for Airport security lines, we simply went through the metal detector without any waiting, and proceeded into the grand Olympic Park. Unfortunately we were visually accosted with the much contested Orbit sculpture by Anish Kappor, so we rapidly turned our focus on the beautifully landscaped wild flowers that lined the canals, that were once industrial wasteland's and industrial water ways. We were giddy by all the colourful flags that seemingly hundreds of people from all over the world were proud to carry. We saw several picnic tables monopolized by Olympic pin collectors displaying their collection- and perhaps even trading with other pin hoarders!
Some Olympic Park scenery.

Meet guest blogger Julia once removed!

Julia and Claire have their tickets! 
The hour was approaching, for us to attend our event, so we casually made our way over to the Aquatic center. We were constantly surprised by the ease to get everywhere and yet the tremendous amount of people who were around us- it was actually impressive that we never felt claustrophobic or overwhelmed, although it was probably we were amidst possibly a million people. We almost were short of breath when we reached out seats atop the Aquatic Center. But we still had fantastic views of the pool, and of another monitor that would show close ups. As this was not a medaling event, but simply a qualifier, we were informed before there would be 24 teams competing.
"Here is the Aquatic Center pool for the action."

"Here is the action from our seats."
The North Koreans were the first to perform....we had no idea what to expect, and although slightly taken aback by their techno rendition of classical music that accompanied their performance- we thought they did well. That impression soon dissolved- as the Spanish took the stage. With flamenco, salsa, and tango ( we were worried they had taken the Argentinian's music selection away) they double back flipped, swam so in unison and so close together, we could only imagine that with a slight mistake they would have knocked the other unconscious, as their legs moved so rapidly up and down and in and out of the water- it was really quite an exercise to watch.
We would then sit for next two hours to see the Russian's do a fabulous job, the Ukraine, Kazikstan, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Israel,  Switzerland, Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic, France, the USA, and South Korea do a decent job to similar music. In fact we found most of the music quite frightening, with lots of references to Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Carribean, Harry Potter, James Bond and other action film scores, there were lots of chimes and drums, and we could only presume that helped with the drama of the routine- but we found it slightly terrifying and disturbing. It turns out in their 3 minute routines, they spent half that time underwater, and there are speakers underwater so they can hear the music throughout the performance...
The UK team did not live up to the enthusiasm in the stadium, but the cheering for them did send shivers down my back. I emotionally soared with the crowd as they cheered the UK team on- it was really incredible, and I could only imagine what it must have felt like in the Athletic stadium when Jessica Ennis won because there would have been 10 times as many people there.....
Canada did a tremendous job, with a fun lighthearted circus act of sorts to slightly more avant guard music- we were enchanted and the judges too as they took 4th place. Then the Japanese came on and they were a powerhouse of singularity- every eye twitch seemed to be matched up. It was really incredible. The Chinese of course had a tactically more rigorous routine that must have impressed the judges, but I think it lacked the grace the Spanish and Russians had had. By the penultimate act, we were so fed up with the dramatic music (we were praying for some classic band stand or motown music- we did not get this) but we were amused with the Argentinean's doing a fun final performance to the soundtrack of Chorus Line. It was memorable, even if not as impressive as some of the other acts. 
After 150 minutes of synchronized swimming, we felt exhausted, entertained, informed, and had much more respect for the athletes- they are athletes! We also kept chuckling to ourselves as the whole affair seemed strange, bizarre, silly and completely ridiculous- to spend an afternoon watching water ballet- it was wonderful! 
We left the stadium only to run into my friend Nick and his girlfriend Charlotte [editor's note: Julia once removed and Nick are collaborative partners and make artwork together in funny places with visors while going by the name VoglJones]. We compared notes, had a beer and wandered around the rest of the park, hearing cheers as we went by different buildings- the velodrome, the main stadium, the water polo arena... I am excited to return one day when it is just a park and not an Olympic center- it really is a beautiful place. I am glad that I got to see it in full action! 
VoglJones reunites at the Olympics!

A historic day- to be part of the Olympics- and a fun one too!

So many events to see!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Felix Sanchez (DOM): One stylish hurdler

I'm not going to lie.  Tonight's primetime coverage of the Olympics on NBC has been dismal.  Early on in the broadcast they spent 10ish minutes talking about the history of time.  Or something like that.  Then it related to space.  I don't really know- I zoned out.  Additionally, it is 10:35 pm and gymnastics had not even been MENTIONED until five minutes ago.

However, a light shone through the darkness of this boring broadcast, and that was Olympic hurdler Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic.  The combination of this one-piece red and blue suit in a sea of solid red and his ULTRA stylish sunglasses make him a winner in our book.  Coincidentally he is also a winner in the Olympics' book, as he just won the gold in the men's 400m hurdles.

Mazel tov to you, Mr. Sanchez, and keep up the good work!

Glory.  Pure glory.

If you can draw your attention away from the obvious bulge in his pants, this picture is amazing.
We love how he takes chances with color.  And, you know, FLIES.

Even people on the sidelines are wearing red.  Was there an inter-Olympics memo that he (and we) didn't get?  We applaud Mr. Sanchez for breaking away from the mold.



Photos:
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/sport/general/49/41/10/494110_m21.jpg
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/sport/general/49/41/27/494127_m21.jpg
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/sport/general/49/41/30/494130_m21.jpg

Synchronized Swimming Leaves Us Speechless

Wow.  There really are no words.  Synchronized swimming is absolutely the intersection of athletics, pop culture, and awesome.  The only thing I can say is that I NEED one of each of these suits.  It really isn't an option for me to continue life without them.  Below are some STANDOUTS from the first two days of synchronized swimming duets.  Click here, here, and here for more slideshows that will have you placing an order for a suit of your own,


Russia channels the King of Pop.  RIP Michael Jackson.


Switzerland.  I REALLY hope they were swimming to "Mo Money, Mo Problems."



Photos:
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/sport/general/48/95/67/489567_m21.jpg
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/photos/general/48/99/90/489990_m21.jpg

Spandy Andy is Olympics Bound Again!

If you have been following this blog since the Vancouver Olympics (or were motivated enough to read back through all of my posts), you will recall my one-sided internet love affair with Canadian personality, Spandy Andy (click here and here for back story if you need to catch up).

Spandy, my spandex love, has finally made his way to London to spread the gospel of spandex to Olympians and spectators alike.  Check him out!


If you're in London for the Games, be sure to track Spandy Andy down!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Swimming, Diving, and Assorted Other Water Sports: OTOS Swimsuit Competition

It's been a big week in the Aquatic Centre (British spelling intentional).  From a variety of Phelps/Lochte pool showdowns, to broken world records; from doping allegations, to unintentional censorship of male divers- excitement has been all around.

Here at Ode to Olympic Spandex, we've been focused on far more important things: swimwear.  The Aquatics Centre is a veritable gold mine of water-ready spandex, and we would be remiss not to give you a full rundown of all the glory.


Team USA:  I would like to applaud world record breaker Rebecca Soni for also breaking the mold with this pink suit.  It clearly propelled her to Olympic greatness.  As for the other women, I am intrigued by the center mesh cut-out.  I wonder if this creates a speed advantage, or if it is merely for fashion?


Spain: Ok, I admit these caps are not made of spandex.  But the Spanish water polo team rocked this purple like no one else could, and they are obviously super excited to be wearing them.  Especially the guy on the right.  I also can't help but think that water polo caps look like old-timey football helmets.


Odd medal giver outer lady: Again, not spandex and not swimwear, but happening in the greater pool area.  WTF is this?!?! What is that yellow hanky hanging out of her empire waist zipper?  WHO CAME UP WITH THIS PLAN?!?!  #fired


Serbia: Props to the Serbian swimmer on the left for not taking his Olympic dream too seriously that he can't bust out a pop of color at the pool.  Everyone else is in black and it is boring.  It is shameful that people could be awarded medals in such lifeless swimwear.

Canada: The next selection of swimwear shots all hail from the Canadian Olympic team.


On a purely photographic level, this is great- excellent composition.  However, I'm pretty sure I owned this Speedo as a child, and Canada just slapped a maple leaf on it.  It looks nice, but I know they can give me more than this.


Too athletic.  I get that this is the Olympics and athleticism is sort of a thing, but don't forget about fashion in the process.


Same issue with the random maple leaf.  This one actually looks like it was photoshopped on.  On just a swimwear level, I like this suit.  But on a patriotic level, I am disappointed.


This is my favorite of the Canadian swimsuits.  I particularly appreciate the fact that as the women dive into the pool, the movement of their bodies combined with the pattern of the suits make them look like red torpedoes!


Italy: I feel like I am looking at a map of the solar system.

Great Britain: The next two shots feature members of Team GB.


On the positive side, the boringness of this suit leaves only Tom Daley's abs to look at.  On the negative, these are SO FRIGGIN BORING.  There isn't even any detail on the butt.


This is how you do a British bum.

USA: Thoughts on both the men and women's suits.


I'm actually really into these.  I wish the gymnasts had worn something like this instead of all that pink.


The lighter side area makes these look more fit for a Magic Mike-style strip club than the Olympics.  Not that I'm complaining.


China: I wish that this were a wrap-around pattern, and not just frontal.  I do appreciate the abundance of color, though.


Russia: The positioning of the divers in this photo, combined with the chosen colors, make it look like they are exploding.  Don't order what they had for lunch.


Germany: Continuing on a psychedelic theme.  Can you see the Northern Lights from Germany?  Because that is what I think of when I see these suits.

Just for fun: Your daily dose of Lochte.





Photos:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London 2012 Opening Ceremony: A lesson in world fashion, and geography

***APOLOGIES THAT THIS IS SO DELAYED!***

The Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad were nothing short of a spectacle.  Seeing pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and the greater internet prior to NBC's official primetime coverage was exciting and heartbreaking, all rolled into one.  Post viewing, I have come to the conclusion that I am not British enough to fully "get it," but that's ok.  I still thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I was really taken by the Industrial Revolution, and obviously this part:


I have no clue what is happening here, but I like it.

Let's be real, though.  As much fun as the show itself was, the Parade of Nations was where the excitement and poor clothing choices (coughUnitedStatescough) were at, not to mention a solid educational opportunity.  Who's ready for a geography quiz???  Below, find my best and worst dressed of the Parade of Nations:

BEST:


Denmark

This is what I imagine it would look like if the cast of Mad Men went to the Olympics.  I love this.

Brazil


The patriotism via color palate is unparalleled here.  Granted, they had an excellent color palate to work with, but they really did it well.  I like the skirt length (pay attention, Ralph Lauren), as well as the varied green and yellow bottoms.  Super snazzy!

IRONIC MID-POINT BETWEEN AWESOME AND AWFUL:


Czech Republic

Does it rain a lot in the Czech Republic?  Or is this a nod to the unpleasant weather London is known for?  Either way, umbrellas and rain boots are a bold move for the Opening Ceremony.  As are those leggings.  I really love everything about this in a slightly ironic way, but would actually probably wear every piece.


WORST:


Canada

It really pains me to say this.  I really like everything else about Canada, and judging solely on the jackets, they've done well.  However.  I CAN NOT HANDLE the combination of red and khaki.  They look like they all work at Canadian outposts of Target.  I understand thinking that red and khaki will look good together, just know that it won't.

Poland

Ok, I Googled it and the red poppy is the national flower of Poland.  However.  Florals don't help anyone.  I would know.  I spent a great deal of my childhood in floral unitards.  Also, the dip-dye effect of the red is not working.

USA




There is no way NOT to look like a total tool in this outfit.  Here are my issues, starting from the top.  A beret???  We are not France.  We are not IN France.  I guess we're close to France, being in London, but why does that warrant a beret?  Must we wear a hat???  The scarf I'm actually into, but I am upset that it is $58.  Sometimes people with no athletic ability whatsoever want to feel like Olympians, too.  Or have a cute scarf for the 4th of July.  The skirt.  Lord, heavens, the SKIRT!!!!  Who approved that length?  In conjunction with the inappropriately tall socks and matching white shoes, it is too much and makes the women look like stumpy messes.  Which they are not.  They area world class athletes.  Finally, in general I find there to be a serious lack of red.  This outfit would have looked better with red pants/skits.  Please take note for next time.

If you can't get enough of American athletes looking ridiculous at the Opening Ceremony, check out this handy slideshow.

For more opinions and pictures, check out this piece from Yahoo Sports via SFGate.com, as well as this piece from a website I have never heard of.  You can also view a hefty selection of pictures here.



Photos:
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/7/28/1343430593920/Olympic-opening-Ceremony--002.jpg
http://l.yimg.com/os/en/blogs/sptusolyexperts/149372016.jpg
http://media.kansascity.com/smedia/2012/07/28/03/38/EOakc.SlMa.81.jpeg
http://ww1.hdnux.com/photos/14/31/37/3250148/3/628x471.jpg
http://l.yimg.com/os/en/blogs/sptusolyexperts/149371689.jpg
http://l.yimg.com/os/en/blogs/sptusolyexperts/149380370.jpg
http://files.2012.nbcolympics.com/mm/photo/generic/general/45/84/65/458465_m21.jpg