The one objection I hear most often repeated it “what’s with the colours?”
Indeed. I’d hate to be choosing the colours and designing an Aussie Olympic uniform; it’s a no-win proposition. The Aussie flag is red, white and blue. The Aboriginal flag is red, yellow and black. Our sports colours are the colours of the wattle: silver-green leaves and canary yellow blossoms. The outback is ochre, the ocean is various moody blues, Oxford Street has a veritable rainbow of pinky shades at Mardi Gras time, sunset is apricot and mauve, and at night, in the bush, the sky is inkiest black.
In short, take your pick. In this wide brown land (did I forget brown?) you can choose any colour combination you can think of, and justify its inclusion in a national uniform.
In Beijing, the official uniforms were darkish grey and blue suits, probably more suited to a corporate office than a sporting team. That’s nothing new, though; traditionally, official Olympic uniforms have involved a coat and tie. It’s only been more recently that the fashion designers charged with designing the uniforms have broken away from the conservative traditions. The photo here of the 1980 Olympic Rowing Team could just about be a convention of Barber Shop Quartets from a century ago.
The pinnacle of non-traditional was the colourful cartoonish linings in the Reg Mombasa designed uniforms for the Sydney Olympics. They were magnificent – most things about the Sydney Olympics were.
Our uniforms in Beijing were about as far away from traditional as you can get, but failed spectacularly with the public: faux dip-dyed shiny blue tracksuits really don’t have much to do with anything Australian or Olympic, other than a desire to blend in with the Beijing Aquatic Centre.