Olympics brings out varied emotions in each one of us - a spirit of humanity, pride, hard work, resilience and more. To me, this event is the torchbearer of grit and determination, more than anything else.
As a kid, me and my brother were really fascinated with some Jazzy country names and their big and small contingents of athletes, as they entered the stadium during the opening ceremony, full of hope and positivity.
Their multicolored uniforms have always added to the flamboyance of the event.
TOKYO today was none different. The only marked difference this year was the presence of masks… some countries made their fashion mark right there! Colorful masks with small country flags embroidered/printed on them, made their debut at 2020 Olympics – Zambia, Mexico, Italy are a must to mention here.
Many countries impressed me with their effort in dressing up. I personally take introductory looks quite seriously. While African countries always catch attention with their colorful outfits and their cheery dance moves, there are other countries who make a good impression through outstanding outfits.
From head to toe (well, literally) – from tiaras and head gears to shoes, there was so much happening in that stadium tonight. Green and Blue dominated as colors – is it something to do with ‘feeling closer to nature’? Germany in Aqua Light Green was the most soothing dress color amongst all, and they teamed it with Fluro Green shoes.
Talking of head gear, females from countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar (and a few more) had their heads covered, as a mark of their faith. Hats were a plenty but ones from Kyrgyzstan, Suriname, Columbia and Virgin Islands made their mark. Cook Islands’ green wreaths and Mexico’s floral tiaras definitely made me smile. Kyrgyzstan’s overcoats even had pretty pink flowers printed on them, and Suriname wore headdresses like Tiger Lily’s Father in Peter Pan. Virgin Islands’ Rainbow inspired sashes and hat bands reminded me of our Indian Bhujodi weave.
While most of the participants walked in in sneakers from Adidas, Nike and what not, North Macedonia needs to be acknowledged, as all of them wore bright red sports shoes, which made them stand out. Nadia Eke, the lady flag bearer from Ghana, made heads turn as she walked in flats and shiny gold mask, with a traditional dress to don. So did ladies from Malawi and European country of San Marino – as they walked in high heels!
The silver dresses of Latvia and the very feminine white gowns of Palestine with red flowers embroidered and bell sleeves are worth appreciating. So are the ever-popular New Zealand contingents’ fur capes and Czech Republic with hand fans and sling bags being carried by each one of them. Serbia made an awesome impression with their neatly cut asymmetrical dresses for women players. Seychelles and Bermuda totally lived up to their names with ocean inspired prints and pink Bermudas for men respectively.
Kenya swayed in their bright red capes on blue and red checks – the flag bearer being a Rugby player and a TV producer, get that!
This year, one doesn’t feel like appreciating anything pertaining to China but I have to mention their floral skirts were dapper.
Women from Netherlands, in striped coats and orange jumpsuits, caught my eye. The dressing of Belarus and Panama was impeccable. Micronesia rocked it in their cute seashell necklaces, while Iran got creative with flag stripes stitched on the right shoulder of female gowns. The Australian scarfs were a breath of fresh air, in mint and lime colors. Haiti dedicated themselves to colorful patch gowns and leafy bracelets.
Saving the best for last, Tonga, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Solomon Islands and Dominica can be best described as sartorial elegance, showcasing their countries traditionally, on a global platform. On a lighter note, the Tonga flag bearer did resemble ‘Ken’ of Barbie fame, and the Dominican flag bearer left the flag and did a catwalk (so her dress demanded).
India could have done better than the dull beige color and so could the biggest contingent fellas the US of A (600+ participants). I was disappointed specifically with India, a country with more than 200 weaves and artforms and an array of colors – we could have designed our uniforms a tad better.
Nepal took my heart as the 2 ladies sashayed in sarees and so did Tuvalu (a small island between Hawaii and Australia), in their fancy, eco - friendly attire.
Women power seems to be on a high in Tokyo 2020, with New Zealand having 109 females in a contingent of 123, Malawi with a total contingent of 7, where 5 are females and Italy, with almost a 50-50 ratio.
Time flew, as I sat through a walk of more than 200 countries, for more than 2 hours, glued to the screen, critically evaluating each team. And more so, because my two little daughters kept on giving their inputs and feedback. The ceremony definitely showed diversity in attire and enlivened the event, as always.