Slovak national anthem forms Olympic jersey pinstripes
Earlier today, the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation unveiled the jerseys Slovakia will be wearing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi this winter. If they look a little familiar, you're not imagining it. The white jersey, at least, is very similar the new U.S. look — unveiled by Nike in August.
What sets them apart, however, is the pinstripes. And those aren't just any pinstripes. Look closely.
Those stripes are actually formed by the words to the Slovak national anthem. It's a very clever feature introduced by Nike. I've been impressed by the variety of ways in which the designers have managed to make each national team jersey unique in some way — while simultaneously disappointed at some of the unnecessary similarities. But more on that another time.
If you want to see more of the jerseys, it looks like a couple of Slovak radio DJs showed them off in a YouTube video. Check it out.
By the way, I plan to write up full reviews of all the Olympic jerseys once they're each released. A lot of you are asking me what I think of them, and it's hard to say without seeing the whole lot of them.
I'm still hoping for an official press release from Nike, actually, which came with great photos for the U.S., Russian, Canadian and Czech jerseys. But haven't seen one yet for Slovakia. (UPDATE (11/6): I spoke a few hours too soon. Here it is!) That brings us to Sweden.
Sweden is all kinds of rebellious about Olympic jerseys
But like Slovakia, the unveiling didn't accompany any official word from Nike (that I could track down). So there's still a blue jersey out there that we haven't seen yet.
The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet also revealed additional photos which they called "exclusive." (Scroll down to see those.)
The photos give us a better look at the detail on the shoulders — which includes a glossy version of the ship seen in the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation's official logo.
But here's the really interesting thing about them. The Aftonbladet article quoted federation's marketing manager, Tomas Bjernudd, as saying they had to fight Nike over proposed sweeping design changes.
Apparently, there was pressure from Nike to change a lot. Bjernudd didn't get into specific details, but said they had to stand their ground as far as keeping the classic three crowns on the front of the jersey.
Could you imagine what they'd be wearing if this guy didn't get in Nike's way? Good for him and the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation.
Though it hasn't been unveiled yet, I have to assume the blue one is exactly the same as this with the yellow swapped for blue and vice versa.
So what do you think of these jerseys? We've now seen jerseys for the U.S., Russia, Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden. That leaves Finland, Slovenia, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Latvia as the other countries participating in the 2014 Olympics.