Story behind China’s podium uniform for Tokyo Summer Olympics

(People's Daily Online) 15:34, August 30, 2021

Three years ago, when the well-known artist Tim Yip, also known as Ye Jintian started designing Team China’s podium uniform for the Tokyo Olympics, he knew he was going to create a uniform which would help the Chinese athletes express themselves by perfectly showing the beauty of their body and their spiritual outlook.

Ye Jintian checks the details of a uniform to be used as the podium sportswear for the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

After Ye further studied the styles, patterns and colors of the Olympics uniforms of other countries, Ye decided that the uniform of Team China should be one which showcases the open-mindedness, inclusivity and sporting spirit of the Chinese people.

The result was a red-and-white sportswear which blends in some unique Chinese elements and features a Tang-dynasty suit collar, the uniform being called “Champion Dragon Clothes”. The lines of the uniform stretch from the neck to the lower abdomen – a design which symbolizes the essence, energy and spirit of Chinese martial arts. Ye said he wanted to present China through the red-white color combination, because red is associated with something sharp, straightforward and positive, while the large area of pure white means “empty space” in Chinese wisdom. White is also open to infinite possibilities, he explained.

Ye and his team also used advanced technologies and high-quality materials with different functions when the making the uniform. “I hope the uniform is comfortable and makes the athletes feel confident,” Ye explained, disclosing that he was not sure about the final visual effect until he watched the athletes standing on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics wearing the uniform. “During these moments, I felt the energetic and upward power of the athletes. I think the uniform is satisfactory,” Ye said.

Ye Jintian draws a sketch of the uniform to be used as the podium sportswear for the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

When Yang Qian, the first gold medalist of China at the Tokyo Olympics stood on the podium, the uniform received widespread praise from netizens immediately. Ye was sure it was what he wanted because it was both sharp and simple.

The renowned art director, visual artist and Oscar winner for best art design said the design of the “Champion Dragon Clothes” is a process of telling stories about China to the world. “The uniform is a reflection of both science and culture, and I hope people can remember it,” Ye said. “Sport is a human form of art,” he commented, saying that some of the best moments for Chinese athletes at the Games particularly thrilled him and boosted his pride for the Chinese delegation.

According to Ye, Chinese culture has a secret power that produces infinite possibilities for artistic creation and offers artists an endless source of inspiration. “Excellent artists should keep creating high-quality works to prove to the young generation what artistic achievements we can make, in the same way as the athletes at the Olympics who have wowed the world and made the Chinese people feel proud through their outstanding performances,” Ye said.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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