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2012 Olympics uniforms: a mix of ascots and bikinis

Jennifer Kessy, right, and April Ross of the

Jennifer Kessy, right, and April Ross of the United States celebrate during Women's Beach Volleyball Preliminary match against Argentina. Credit: Handout

It’s the nonjock in me, but when I watch the Olympic games I am easily distracted by the uniforms. This weekend’s coverage was a regular fashion show wherein each sport entailed its own very specific get-up.

First and foremost: beach volleyball. On Saturday I was reminded that the men’s team does not wear bikinis as, famously, do the women. I guess what gets ratings for the goose is a turn-off for the gander. On Sunday, unseasonably cool London weather put the Dutch and Brazilian teams into long pants and shirts -- albeit skin-tight pants and shirts. Later in the day, playing a qualifier against the bikini-ed Argentinean duo, April Ross and Jennifer Kessy triumphed wearing long-sleeves on top and nothing but bikinis on bottom.

(I was also fascinated by Ross' and Kessy’s post-point ritual: two-handed high-five -- high-ten? -- followed by a double-pat hug, another high-ten and then a low hand slap. Every time they scored a point. And every time, they seemed to be genuinely thrilled with themselves and each other.)

At the opposite end of the sartorial spectrum from beach volleyball was dressage, whose participants looked like they trotted out of a George Stubbs painting wearing riding boots, breeches, blouse, vest, jacket, top hat and ascot.

Swimmers seem to be wearing more and more in 2012. Gone forever, it seems, are the days of the maillot for women, the Speedo brief for men. Both sexes wear bathing suits with legs extending almost to the knee. As their costumes become more modest, however, many of the women are rocking vivid manicures.

I caught a few minutes of polo today. I don’t understand how these guys can swim / tread water while holding / throwing a ball. Also, I don’t understand why they wear Amish bonnets. Must be the nonjock in me.

Photo: Team USA beach volleyball players April Ross and Jennifer Kessy high-five during their preliminary match with Argentina at the London Olympics. (July 29, 2012)

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