Team USA loves them. The World of BMX clothing critics though, is giving critical reviews as if they were Mr.Blackwell during fashion week in New York.
But what these critics haven't seen is the unique, high-tech features of these uniforms that Nike has developed over the past two and a half years. The biggest standout on the uniform are what is being called "Speed Dots" (TM) - small air-deflecting dots that are rumored to have been wind-tunnel tested, and will give Team USA that tiny edge over their competition; especially in the opening Time Trials on August 8th.
Nike has kept hush on this design feature; supposedly treating it like a top-secret CIA spy mission - and still has yet to release any official word on the clothing.
Meanwhile, the BMX fans and super-critics have done quite the opposite. Their voice has been loud and not so kind. Initially seeing a mock-up flat rendering of the uniform that was released by USA Cycling a few weeks ago, the BMX internet boards instantly lit up with hundreds of reviews; mostly all in the realm of total nagativity.
From afar, the Nike jersey design is very simple - with a white body and blue sleeves that more resemble a Little League baseball team than they do the typically Motocross-inspired look that BMX racers are accustomed to. The pants were inspired by the original Haro pants, designed by Bob Haro in 1982, as a tribute to the iconic designer and BMX Hall of Famer. Unconfirmed is the rumor that Haro himself - as he did in 2008, played a small role in working with Nike on the design.
As we said; Nike has been so silent on this project that it has made the BMX World wonder whether they are being too secretive or embarassed. Yet anybody who knows how Nike works, will say that it's their secretiveness side at work - as they would never release anything they weren't feeling confident in. What is most surprisingly, is Nike's lack of promotion and hype behind such a technically-advanced product. Rather than premiering the U.S. Olympic uniforms to the media in a typical fashion-show - as most countries do, the 5-person BMX squad debut'ed their new uniforms in a last minute PULL magazine photo shoot at the Olympic Trianing Center, just days before leaving for London - and one day after the Games had already began.
The U.S. Olympic BMX team is made up of three men and two women: Colorado's DAVID HERMAN, Nevada's CONNOR FIELDS, California's NIC LONG, Utah's ARIELLE MARTIN and Minnesota's ALISE POST. Publicly wearing the final edition of their Olympic uniforms for the first time, the team seemed enthusiastic about the custom tailored fit; and playfully razzed BMX Program Director Mike King about whether or not the jerseys should be tucked in to the pants or hung outside. The team had just received these final jerseys that morning, after some last minute adjustments were made by Nike to give the racers a slightly tighter fit.
Examining the clothing up close, this writer changed his mind on Team USA's new look - now knowing more about the R&D work that Nike has put in to these pant and jerseys, all in order to give our Americans the best edge over their competition: Speed Dots. Placed in key areas where wind-drag can play a factor in giving or taking away that precious 1/100th of a second, these Speed Dots can be the difference between first and second in a time trial. Nike's use of lightweight-yet-strong materials in the pants - also rumored to have used kevlar threads to strengthen the knee joints, will provide also comfort and freedom for Team USA.
Yet for most BMX racers, families and fans, the perception is that Nike designers were more concerned about what the clothing does, than how it looks. While USA BMX doesn't beleive the "Bad News Bears" baseball look will catch onin our sport, it will draw more attention to our racers and make them stand out amongst a sea of MX-inspired riders from around the globe.
Love 'em or hate them, we will all find out how they work for these five Americans from five different states, on August 8, 9 and 10th. If any of them bring a Gold back home to the USA, we're hoping Nike will become a bit more vocal about the role they played in our racer's success.