Green, yellow, blue and red. Four colours for one team. The Rio 2016 Organising Committee has launched the uniforms that staff and volunteers will be wearing at the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America, set to start in less than three months. Designed with versatility in mind, the uniforms were revealed on Thursday (12 May) at the Games Uniform and Accreditation Centre, which is based at the City of Samba, a warehouse complex in central Rio that is used by the city's carnival samba schools. In all, the Rio 2016 workforce will be made up of around 87,000 people, all of whom will be kitted out in a Games uniform. Divided into four groups, each uniform's predominant colour will indicate the function of its user: red is for medical services, blue for the technical officials (who will also receive a formal uniform), yellow for the operational team and green for those that will interact directly with the public.
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Rio 2016 brand director Beth Lula said the uniforms' design reflected the character of the host nation and its people. “They were inspired by our nature, by the energy of the Brazilian people and by the visual identity of Rio 2016,” she said. “They were created in order to show the essence of Team Rio 2016, who are putting in their all to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games memorable.”
The uniform is comprised of a shirt, trousers, (which can transform into shorts), a jacket, bag (which can be used as a wallet or waist pouch), socks, trainers, as well as a raincoat. In total, over two million items were produced, the equivalent of 17 Christ the Redeemer statues stacked on top of each other. “People have laughed about it, but the waist pouch is very useful for those that are constantly on the move and need to always have things like a radio or mobile phone to hand,” said Beth Lula. “Flexibility was our guide. Our staff will carry out multiple functions, there will be people working on foot, others in the office, in the arenas. We have thought about each one of them.” The Rio 2016 Games will take place during the southern hemisphere winter but, as residents of Rio know, temperatures can still be warm. The fabric, which will wick sweat away and protect from the wind, means the clothes adapt to the cold just as much as the heat. The trousers can transform into shorts with just a quick whizz of the zip. Designed by the Rio 2016 design team and produced by 361º, official supplier to the Games, the uniforms are the result of more than two years’ work. “The first sketches were drawn up in January 2014, and production began in December of last year. In order to get to Rio, the items will travel for 45 days by ship from China,” Lula said.