Kazakhstan’s Olympic Team Shows Bright Side
Last night was of course the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing. For a live blogging of the event, check out the New York Times coverage.
You will note that they commented about Kazakhstan, “Kazakhstan has a surprisingly large team, perhaps amplified by the fact that the women are wearing day-glo orange skirts.”
It is certainly true that Kazakhstan has a large team: 133 atheletes (!). Kazakhstan has sent athletes in sports where it is highly competitive. Kazakhstan has won 4 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 4 bronze medals in boxing in its 3 Olympic Games as an independent nation (1996, 2000, and 2004). That’s 11 medals out of a total of 26 won by Kazakhstan in the Summer Olympics! Kazakhstan has also historically done well in Greco-Roman Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling and Weightlifting. This year’s team includes athletes in those sports as well as Cycling. Of course this has been a sad year for the professional cycling team, Team Astana with three cyclists forced to resign due to doping scandals. But that doesn’t mean that Kazakhstan doesn’t have great cyclists!
Kazakhstan will compete in pretty much every event: Volleyball, Handball, Rowing, Judo, Track and Field, Ping Pong, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Modern Pentathlon, Shooting, Taekwondo, Triathlon and Gymnastics. The full list of the Kazakhstan Olympic team for 2008 is here [RU] including date and place of birth.
While I will be rooting for Kazakhstan (except they go up against a US athlete), I do have to comment on the costume and the day-glo skirts and hats! I’ll start with what I like. You can’t see it from the photo, but the men are wearing sky blue ties with the yellow sun and eagle symbol from the flag on them. They look really classy and if anyone sportsmen want to sell me one, my contacts are in the right sidebar. The white jacket is also fine. White blazers are sporty and formal at the same time, if I can channel my inner diva for a second. But what you can’t see from this photo is that the blazers have huge shoulder pads that make all the athletes look like little kids wearing Daddy’s business suits. And the orange skirts and little hats are way too bright on their own. The combination of white, bright blue and bright orange is a little hard to take!