Unless you have been in hiding for the last two weeks, you will be fully aware by now of our nation’s obsession and pride for the 2012 Olympics. Although being a Loughborough student this love and adoration, will have been drilled into you for the past year.
Until the London games, athletes weren’t exactly known for their beauty regimes and on-trend looks. However, following a huge spark in nail art this past year, it has reached an unexpected audience. From Rebecca Adlington to Laura Trott to Suzana Jacabos, every day we are seeing an abundance of designs, which declare the athletes pride and allegiance to the Olympics, but also to their nation.
P&G’s head of grooming, Kathryn Davies says the nail trend has been a real success. “That’s the one that’s really taken off and I think that’s because athletes really want to express their love of their country and it’s the best way of doing it”.
Unsurprisingly the Union Jack and US Stars and Stripes have been the most requested designs but dedications to home flags, as well as the Olympic rings and London are also a popular choice for athletes. It has been reported that the competitors are now waiting days to get an appointment at the Olympic village’s salon.
P&G, one of the games’ biggest sponsors is home to some of the world’s biggest beauty and grooming brands such as Olay, Pantene and Gillette. By teaming up with twelve GB athletes as ambassadors for different beauty brands, it does pose as a possible explanation as to why ‘Our Greatest Team’ are also the ‘Greatest Groomed Team’.
For example, Jessica Ennis, the face of Olay has recently said she always wears make-up even when she trains. “I always like to look and feel my best. I'll wear an oil-free foundation then apply black eyeliner and mascara.” However, she does protect her skin with SPF and describes “The Olay Essentials Complete Care SPF30 is ideal as it's really light so doesn't clog pores”. She also adds that Mac and Bobbi Brown are her go to make up brands.
Cycling’s Victoria Pendleton, is the face or should I say hair of Pantene’s campaign, which she has used since she was a little girl. She loves “hydrating smoothing product after washing like Pantene's Smooth & Sleek 24h Frizz Fighter to combat any frizziness” left by helmet hair. She also adds “It's always been important to me to look good when I'm racing. I even like to have painted nails when I ride. I like the saying, 'Look good, feel good, go good!'”. Well if it’s good enough for our golden girls I might try looking a bit more presentable in the gym.
Not forgetting the boys, Mark Cavendish is the face of Head and Shoulders, whilst Loughborough’s own Liam Tancock and Sir Chris Hoy front Gillette ads. Now I’m no economist, but I’m guessing having our top athletes as ambassadors is going to have a massive impact on P&G’s cosmetic sales on the back of Olympic mania!
However, some believe this newly found focus on aesthetic appearances to be a distraction to the games; arguing that athletes who are overly focused on the grooming regime to be losing focus from the task at hand, to be bringing home a medal. On the other hand, there are those in support of the athlete’s decision. In your momentous occasion with millions watching, surely you would want to look your best, as well as perform your best?
This year has been a real turning point fashion wise, not just for Team GB but the Olympics as a whole. Fashion houses across the globe have been involved with the designs of their national team’s kit. From Stella McCartney’s controversial Team GB outfits (I’m personally a fan of them), Armani taking on the Italian team and Ralph Lauren covering the USA. With the noticeable increase in make-up and hair trends descending from the catwalk to sporting arenas, this is potentially and I don’t say this lightly, the most stylish games in history. Who said sportswear can’t be chic?