On Your Bike, Nike!

June 3, 2010
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As most tennis fans know, May sees the second grand slam of the season getting underway: the French Open, at the rather large and prestigious Roland Garros stadium. Dominated by champions, this gruelling tournament is infamous for breaking the strongest players as they battle it out among the orange sands of the clay courts day after sweat-filled day. As with any major sporting event, tickets are pricey and sell out before you can say 'deuce', and the French Open is no exception. One has to ask onself why people are willing to pay so much money to dilligently watch a Jimmy Carr-crossed-with-Joaquin Phoenix hybrid hitting a ball at a Spanish weightlifter. It surely can't be for the entertainment value...although, the peculiar sounding line stewards and ridiculously clad ball boys do cause quite a titter amongst the crowd. In fact, unless you really are a die-hard tennis fan, there's not much the French Open has to offer, except...yes. There is one thing. The players' clothing.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but sporting attire has changed a bit since back in the day. Practical cricket-style jumpers are now replaced with skin-tight 'Clima-tex' V-necks, and instead of sporting knee-length skirts, the women now model the latest trends from Anne Summers. Take Venus Williams, for example. Last week, at Roland Garros, she was spotted wearing a flashy black-and-red number, which displayed everything from her rocky mountains to her nether regions. Practical. Fortunately for her, Venus remembered to equip her muscular behind with a good, sturdy pair of Bridget Joneses. Unfortunately, they were skin coloured, and there was a photographer stood behind her. Clever, Venus, clever.

However, new fashions do seem to be helping some. For instance, a new innovative show jumping jacket has recently been released onto the elite equestrian market, designed to save riders the inconvenience of doing a sport (where, may I add, one must frequently bend into a squatting 'two-point' and 'release' their arms forward along the horse's neck) in the equivalent of a dinner jacket. The flaw is, the 'Whitaker Jump-Jacket' looks like a shell-suit and feels like a wetsuit. Kudos, designers. Furthermore, riders still have to compete astride dirty, sweaty animals with the risk of falling in water, mud and excretion...wearing the closest thing to tight white leggings as is possible to manufacture.

Surely, there must be some sports that still incorporate the practical dress-sense! At least footballers (for once) seem to be getting it right - super-ligtweight cooling material and featherweight shin pads...but that seems to be about it. I feel it's time for a sporting makeover...but, then again, last time it happened the unsightly, sleeveless 'Rafa-shirt' was born. On the other hand, maybe not!

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