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2016 Rio Olympics: Volleyball

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[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Jeremy Brahm

We continue today with our look at the uniforms being worn in different Olympic sports and disciplines, and today we’ll be taking a look at volleyball. My correspondent today is Jeremy Brahm, a name that should be familiar to most of you.

There’s a lot to get to, so I’ll turn it over to Jeremy right here.

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Volleyball at the Rio Games
By Jeremy Brahm

Volleyball was added to the Olympics in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Originally the tournament was a round robin with 10 teams for men and 6 teams for women. However, the tournament has changed to two pools of 6 in the First Round and then the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and then Medals Matches. The Women started play on August 5th, while the men started on the 6th and they’ll keep following that order until the end of the games. The US Women are looking for their first Gold ever, while the men are looking for their 4th after wins in 1984, 1988 and 2008. Don’t forget with the libero position (defensive specialist in the back row), you’ll see different colors on the court and also in these photo for each team.


Men Teams in Alphabetically Order


Argentina side

Argentina (Light Blue, White)

Argentina white

Argentina front

A bit of change this year in 9 matches in the World League that Argentina did not wear their albiceleste (light blue vertical stripes). I am guessing that they’ll have one for Rio, but I haven’t seen one yet this year. The light blue uniforms have a subliminal pattern and a slightly darker blue panel on the sides, plus blue collar and the slightly darker shorts. The white uniforms have the subliminal pattern in blue on the side panels and the collar, but all white otherwise, with a waving Argentine flag.


Brazil blue

Brazil (Yellow, Blue, Green)

Brazil green

Brazil all

They traditionally wear the yellow canary with blue shorts, similar to the Brazilian soccer team. The pattern on the shirt is similar to the design on the Brazilian flag. While the colors could be interchangeable, the other uniforms blue and green will be solidly one color. Libero Sergio is always monotone.


Canada Red

Canada (Red, Black, White)

Canada black

Canada white

Canada usually wears black more than their red (too many red colored teams). Have added the Canadian Olympic Committee Shield on the uniforms.


Cuba Red

Cuba (Red, Blue, White)

Cuba blue

Cuba white

Cuba have one major difference this year, a switch from Adidas to Puma. Plus they have shifted to a monocolor, white slight splashes of their other colors on the collar. They also have not worn white yet, but it would look similar to the World League uniform.


Egypt white

Egypt (White, Dark Blue, Red)

Egypt red

Egypt black

Egypt uses a solid color except for the white shirt, paired with black shorts. Egypt is using a similar Mizuno pattern to other Mizuno teams. Their side panels have been white on their red and black uniforms. They have not worn white yet.


France blue

France (Blue, White, Red)

France white

France red

Team Yabou (their nickname) is the most entertaining team in volleyball with their choreographed team photos, Edgar Ngapeth’s backward facing spikes and excellent play over the last two years. Always monotone on the court, but a solid look.


Iran white

Iran (White, Red, Black)

Iran black

Iran red

For the Iranian team, they’ve been an up and coming team, but their uniforms are very quiet, unlike their fans at home. One odd thing is that the collar has a two tone color, the lower part of the V being one tone.


Italy blue

Italy (Blue, White, Dark Blue)

Italy white

Italy dark blue

The Azzurri look great in either of the blues, but almost boring in white. While watching the replay of the USA-Italy match after work yesterday, I notice that their side panel pattern is almost like a circuit board design. It is barely visible on their dark blue on blue uniform. They have added the Italian Olympic Committee Shield to the uniform.


Mexico red

Mexico (Red, Black, White)

Mexico black

Mexico white

Mexico’s first appearance in the Men’s tournament since the 1968 games appear to have some very monotone looks. Not much green either, which would be a great thing in this tournament with all of the reds. They did the Olympic rings under their flag.


Poland red

Poland (Red, White, Dark Blue)

Poland white

Poland dark blue

Poland in red or white, look almost the same (just flipped), but the dark blue is rarely seen. They have added a dark blue ring on the sleeve edge for the red uniforms, but it turns red on the white uniforms. They are also using the Ł on their player names.


Russia red

Russia (Red, Blue, White)

Russia blue

Russia white

Russia looks best in their reds or blue, but their white shirts work with their blue shorts. Their subliminal pattern is the Russian Coat of Arms. It is almost impossible to see on the Blue uniforms. The red uniforms have a patch of blue on the sideways shoulder to collar yoke and down the side panels. They have not worn white yet in their two matches, but the white version would be similar to what they wore during this year’s World League.


USA red

USA (Red, White, Blue)

USA blue

USA white

In the last few years, the USA men have been performing at a high level and Mizuno’s uniform is vastly different from the USA’s previous wins. The stars and stripes pattern is deceptive, but I think that it works. With the FIVB rules putting the flag on the right side of the uniform, it covers the stars though.


Women Teams in Alphabetical Order


Argentina Albiceleste

Argentina (White, Dark Blue, Albiceleste)

Argentina dark blue

Argentina white

Unlike the men, the Argentine women have worn their Albiceleste in the Olympics. Otherwise their uniform are fairly plain.


Brazil blue

Brazil (Yellow, Blue, Green)

Brazil green

Brazil yellow with blue shorts

They traditionally wear the yellow canary with blue shorts, similar to the Brazilian soccer team. The pattern on the shirt is similar to the design on the Brazilian flag. While the colors could be interchangeable, the other uniforms blue and green will be solidly one color.


Cameroon green

Cameroon (Green, Yellow, White)

Cameroon yellow

Cameroon white

The lone African women’s representative in the Rio games, looks great in the colors of their flag. The white uniform is a different design than the green and yellow ones.


China Yellow

China (Yellow, Red, Dark Blue)

China red

China dark blue

This is a new look even for this year’s team. The dark blue is monotone except from the shoulders up (same design on the other colors). The red color and yellow work well, but instead, they put a black chunk there and it just looks horrible. Plus it is a 3 tone collar! They brought out the yellow ones on Wednesday.


Italy blue

Italy (Blue, White, Dark Blue)

Italy white

Italy dark blue

Similar to the men, they look good in their blues, but the white is just too plain. Have added the Italian Olympic Committee Shield to the uniform.


Japan red

Japan (Red, White, Blue)

Japan white

Japan blue

With Mizuno as their sponsor, the Japanese team brings on new third uniform color, blue. I have to say that the blue sticks out because of the shade, which I really like. But the problem is that the Japanese team is known for white and red from their 1964 win with the older generation of fans. I do like the red that they have, but the white version is okay. Lastly, I hate the number and name font. It is too chunky as blocks. Even worse the 1s have middle number serifs.


Netherlands white

Netherlands (Orange, Dark Blue, White)

Netherlands orange

Thank God for the Netherlands to break up the red and blue monotony. The national color of orange paired with the national flag colors on the front gives the Netherlands a distinct look. I am not saying that combination works, but you won’t forget the Dutch. The Dutch have worn Orange in every match, and the libero has been the only one in white.


Puerto Rico blue

Puerto Rico (Blue, Red, White)

Puerto Rico white

Puerto Rico red

The Puerto Rican team puts the single star on the lower left corner while having flowing stripes to the right. It works in every way for them. Plus they have passing forearm sleeves that match the pattern too.


Russia Blue

Russia (Red, White, Blue)

Russia White

Russia Red

Again I like the red with the Russian women, but it is monotone (with blue accents) except for the white with blue shorts.


Serbia red

Serbia (Blue, White, Red)

Serbia white

Serbia blue

Last year the Serbs had a red sash on their uniforms, but they have done away with it this year. Instead opting for a pattern at the bottom of their shirt in red (or blue). I think that their blue shirts with the red pattern and blue shorts works best. They also have the Serbian Olympic Committee Shield on their uniform. They also use diacriticals for some NOB letters.


South Korea Red

South Korea (White, Dark Blue, Red)

South Korea White

South Korea dark blue

With the best player in the world Kim Yeon-Koung or YK Kim on their team, their look best is in white or red with dark blue shorts.


USA dark blue

USA (Red, Dark Blue, White)

USA red

USA white

The USA women are also using the same pattern as the men and I like the red and blue shirts better than the white shirt.

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Good stuff, Jeremy! Well readers, what do you think?

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PRIDE No More…

Received an e-mail the other day from Jay Wright, which spoke about the uniform history and now, unfortunate demise, of an AOB (Acronym On Back) for Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City, Iowa.

I’ll let Jay take it from here:


I work at Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City, Iowa. Starting in 1970 head coach Beanie Cooper began to use the term PRIDE. It was a acronym for Practice, Running, Initiative, Desire and Enthusiasm. While he was coaching, the team had player names on the uniforms, but the term PRIDE was used often and even appeared numerous times in the 1971 yearbook.

1971 yearbook

1976 yearbook

Coach Cooper and son before PRIDE on jerseycoach triplett 1976

But his successor Dave Triplett decided to put PRIDE on the back of the uniform instead of player names starting in 1976. The Crusaders have worn PRIDE on their uniforms every year since then.

Coaches with player stretching 1976

old blue

state final 2008 state final vs. Pella 2014

However, (on Monday) we were informed by the Iowa High School Athletic Association that we would not be able to wear them this year due to a National Federation of High Schools rule. This has created quite the controversy over facebook in particular, with Heelan alumni in particular upset about the ruling. This has been a great tradition at Heelan, and is used in our gym, on billboards, etc.

It would be similar to the term “Mojo” being used by Odessa, Permian from Friday Night Lights. I believe the ruling is to prevent schools from inappropriate acronyms as well as preventing advertising. The way the rule reads it sounds like we would be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after the first play, and any subsequent unsportsmanlike would result in an ejection. But, it is a shame that 40 years of history will be done away with.

Bishop Heelan, it should be noted, is one of the premier football programs in Iowa. The school has 6 state titles, 9 state runner-up finishes and 35 playoff appearances. Anyways, didn’t know if you could use anything like that in the ticker or not, but thought it was a really interesting story of how a uniform unites a community, and the passion that people have for it. My wife is a ’97 graduate, and this is a MAJOR deal to her that the football team can no longer wear PRIDE on their uniforms. I have attached several links, including a couple of facebook pages, here, here, and here.

I did include a picture of current Carolina Panther Brandon Wegher, an ’09 graduate (wearing #32 in white on attached pic). I also attached a pic of the late Beanie Cooper who started the PRIDE tradition (he would go on to coach the University of South Dakota and eventually become the AD at Indiana State).

wegher 2008

wegher panthers

beanie cooper

Anyways, I know it isn’t a national story by any stretch, but it certainly is a big deal here locally. My twitter post (@J_Wright20) regarding the news with the #PhelpsFace is my most popular tweet ever! Thought it was interesting, I will possibly send more if you are interested as the story develops.

Thanks Phil, love your work on uni-watch and on twitter!!!

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Thanks Jay! Perhaps based on this email, he did expand a bit on the story and catalogued his thoughts (with even more photos, if you’re interested, in this post).

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: The West Michigan Whitecaps wore Hey Arnold jerseys last night (from MiLB Promos). … Also from MiLB — the Myrtle Beach Pelicans wore these “Old School Hip Hop” jerseys last evening. Here are some more looks (from John Shandy, better known round these parts as Douggie Keklak)…. Hmmmm — great spot by Christopher Leopardi who noticed Mr. Met has his stirrups backwards in the Mets Hall of Fame Museum. Paul, James Huening and I visited there back in May and somehow this escaped our notice. … Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper will hand out Brewers condiments to tailgaters on Saturday (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … Tweeter F.K. Yaaj says, “first time I’ve seen these designs of Paul and Minnie. Wouldn’t mind seeing these on their unis or gear.” … I know Mike Chamernik loves these in the ticker: El Paso Chihuahuas reveal ‘The Force’ behind their Star Wars themed jersey. … The Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez has a Red Sox logo on his glove (from Nick Proto). … The Fresno Grizzlies have the best alternate cap in MiLB. And they just continue to get in touch with their Taco side. … “Marlins photoshopped a Marlin cap for Rodney all star promo,” says Trevoer Tierney. “Can tell he’s still wearing a Padres jersey because of the all star patch.” … Oops! The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo was missing his helmet logo last night (nice grab by Karl Greenfield).

NFL News: Would you like to own an official (authentic) NFL 50th Anniversary patch worn during the season by a Minnesota Viking? (from David Firestone). The seller claims it’s a “game worn 50th NFL patch removed from a Vikings jersey,” and he “was fortunate enough to purchase several of these from the Vikings seamstress who removed the patches from the jersey after the season.” … Texas A&M has reached a new agreement to license use of the 12th Man phrase to the Seattle Seahawks, the school announced Thursday (thanks Brinke). … Not sure if we’ve seen these (yet — and they’re not unexpected in any event), but here are some 2016 Special Patches & Logos for NFL teams (h/t Raiders ITALIA) — I know we’ve seen the 49ers & Saints’ patches. … Looks like new Schutt helmets have contrasting colored padding outside the ear holes (from Steve B). … RNOB Alert! (from Andrew Lopez). … “Came across this while watching video of equipment room on the teams website,” says Rich Peckio. “Could the white helmet with white decal pictured be Jets color rush helmet as they are supposed to wear white uniforms for color rush week 2?” … The Los Angeles Rams announced Thursday that they will wear white uniforms at home this season. The sound you just heard was THE Jeff punching himself in the face.

College/High School Football News: Here’s a first look at the new helmet paint scheme for the Trinity University Tigers (via TrinityU Equipment). Looks like a satin finish there. And here is the finished product. … Neato! Here’s what the Baylor football jersey looked like 80 years ago. And here’s a look at Bobby Wilson’s 1936 CFB All-Star uni. Wilson was an All-American HB for SMU_Football (both of those from Ryan Sprayberry). … Here’s a high school in Oklahoma using both TCU and Hawaii logos (good spot by Jake Tatarian).

Olympics News: Boxers from India were almost banned from participating in the Olympics because they didn’t have jerseys with “India” on them. That’s now been remedied (*phew*). … Did you ever want to buy one of those USA Medal Stand unis? Didn’t think so, but if you do, here ya go. … “After watching Brazil-Spain yesterday and reading (Tues)day’s entry I noticed the typeface Brazil uses is pretty similar to the new Virginia Tech “graphic identity” also developed by Nike,” writes Jonathan Sluss. “The only noticeable difference is the horizontal portion of the ‘R’ doesn’t have the angle where it stops short of intersecting.” … We’ve had this in the ticker before, but one more time (and a different article) won’t hurt: “The West’s image of Islam and the Muslim image of the West are often mutually incommunicable. No area is as sensitive as the treatment of women’s roles, dress and sexuality,” (from Paul, checking in from blogcation). … Why does USA Swimming wear what they wear in competition? This spells it out (from Matt Lupton). … Beach volleyball players April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings aren’t just going for Olympic gold. They’re also sewing for gold.

NBA & College Hoops News: Looks like some of the NBA Christmas matchups are being announced and Conrad Burry is on top of things. Here are the final three. … On Twitter, the Hawks released their schedule via emojis. Hovering over the images gives a clue to which teams they represent (from Mike Chamernik). … There’s a new basketball court/floor for Southeastern Louisiana (from Chris Mykoskie).

Soccer News: The Daily Telegraph’s sport website’s annual ranking of this season’s Premier League kits is up (from Thom Gibbs). … Great touch by Nice FC, playing with shirt with a heart made by the name of the 84 died in the attack of last month (via Mark Coale). … New adidas kits for LA Tech soccer (h/t Josh McDaniel). … The Orlando Pirates will have new home and away kits for the 2016-17 season. This article contains actual photos of the kits embedded.

Grab Bag: adidas is “finally” going to be making its shoes in the United States (from Tommy Turner). … Nike made a pair of dress shoes for Ken Griffey Jr’s Hall of Fame outfit (thanks Brinke). … “The DC-area mass transit and urban development blog Greater Greater Washington recently partnered with WMATA, the local transit authority, on a contest to suggest improvements to the Metro system,” says Gregory Koch. “One of the prizes is a prize package donated by the Washington Redskins, except that the site refuses to use the nickname and instead says it was donated by the ‘Washington NFL team.’” (you’ll need to scroll down to find that section). “The team presumably had some knowledge of this when they donated the prize, and if they objected, nobody’s saying so publicly. In contrast, they did use the names of the Capitals and Wizards as well as other non-sports prize donors. (The Nationals and DC United evidently did not donate anything.)” … If there isn’t a team with a blue lobster for a mascot, James Gilbert thinks there should be. … “I was visiting a friend in Denver in advance of her 40th high school reunion and she pulled out this doozy of a pennant out,” says Eric Bangeman. “Now known as Palmer High School, Colorado Springs High School was home of Terrors and the mascot was Eaglebeak, designed in the 1940s by a student (yay for student-designed logos, I guess). As you may have surmised, Eaglebeak the horrible caricature has gone to the Place Where Racist Mascots Are Eternally Blessed and Palmer High School is now known as the Eagles””with a different Eaglebeak mascot.”

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And that’s a wrap for today, and this week. Big thanks to Jeremy for the extensive volleyball coverage.

Johnny Ek will take you through the weekend and I’ll be back on Monday. At some point next week we’ll get to the Griffins Redesign entries — as of 12:01 am, I had received eighty-six submissions, which has got to be a record of some sort, so I’ll have to get together with Marissa to figure out the best way to present all of them to you for voting.

Everyone have a great weekend, and until Monday morning…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“My one rule is never ever wear a replica, a t-shirt, a shirsey or anything else that puts an NOB on a Yankees jersey.”

— Judy A.

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Comments (12)

    A bit of proofreading: “Men Teams in Alphabetically Order” and “Women Teams in Alphabetically Order”

    “There’s a new basketball court/floor for Southern Louisiana (from Chris Mykoskie).”

    It’s “Southeastern Louisiana.”

    “The West’s image of Islam and the Muslim image of the West are often mutually incommunicable. No area is as sensitive as the treatment of women’s roles, dress and sexuality,”

    If there’s a good reason for women not to dress in ways that make them feel comfortable, I’ve yet to hear it. I have friends who are troubled by women who wear a “disguise”, but I’m unsure what constitutes a pernicious effort to conceal. More than a wig but less than a burqa?

    To continue, I have no reason not to believe Chadiedja Buijs when she describes her motives for dressing demurely. Nor do I think she would chide Norma Moore’s presentation. But because Buijs resides in Egypt, I worry part of her comfort is hiding from men. When women are blamed for making men rape them, the problem is the culture, not the clothing.

    I’d Wear That medals to:
    (in alphabetical order)
    Men – Canada, France, Poland
    Women – Cameroon, Netherlands, Puerto Rico

    Good job, Jeremy

    “If there isn’t a team with a blue lobster for a mascot, James Gilbert thinks there should be.

    How about the Lakewood Blue Claws?


    That’s a soft-shell crab. The soft-shells from New York and Northern California are usually blue like that.

    Further proof that the Rodney photo is photoshopped: The Marlins banned facial hair and he had to shave

Comments are closed.