Written by By Benoit Tessier, CNN London
The idea that fashion could take center stage during an Olympic Games can be richly amusing, but the concept is often misguided or outmoded, and real attention to detail — even in sport — is the rule rather than the exception.
The popularity of the ludicrous and anything goes phenomenon is so widespread that it makes the sort of “Griffinford Lines” style single-gal experiment at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 — where models paraded outside an Olympic stadium in straight-jacket baggy pants — a pinnacle of fashion execution in itself.
In light of the current financial windfall awarded to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which has even invited top Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo to make a creative contribution to its bidding team, all eyes are on the Olympics powerhouses to prove they can build on the $5.3 billion expected to be raised from ticket sales and television rights to break even on a total budget estimated at $51 billion.
After four years of public debate, the IOC put forward a scaled down, 163-page proposal, dubbed B22, to be submitted to the governments of 50 countries hosting the Games.
The public release of the document falls in line with the IOC’s new funding criteria, which in October rejected the 16 cities bidding to host the Games outright.
While the Beijing bid does show some progress, it suggests that serious work has yet to be done, and we can be sure that any plans for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be thorough and polished.
Thrifty construction and competitive pricing will be built into the shortlist of candidates that will be chosen later this year. No doubt quite a few of these venues will struggle to be finished for a potential winter Olympics, let alone one scheduled for two years away.
The Beijing plan and subsequent street food for Games village expected to eventually be built on a football pitch by Zaha Hadid are just some of the inside details of this excellent 360-degree platform on staging an event that is widely expected to resemble a traditional shopping mall.
Watch the full film with the commentary from award-winning sports commentator John Sweeney, who explains why popular culture rarely lends itself to elan on sport, why the IOC has pressed ahead with a podium design that glowers under an Olympic torch at the stadium as though it’s a hideous family wedding, and why the fashion should be high on the agenda for the Beijing games.