Team GB’s Olympic Union flag sells out despite outrage over design

The flag is in different shades of blue and pink – Team GB

Team GB’s Olympic flag emblazoned with the words “Union Jack” sparked outrage after it was produced in pink and purple with wavy lines and polka dots and is now sold out. 48 hours of controversy.

Designers have moved away from the pure red, white and blue colors most associated with the British Olympic team and introduced options that include different shades in a bid to “push the iconic red, white and blue to the extreme”.

Olympic medalist Fatima Whitbread and England football legend Peter Shilton sparked a backlash, but publicity appears to have boosted sales, with the flags now listed as “sold out” on Team GB’s official fan shop.

Metal water bottles in the same color scheme are also sold out, but the traditional red, white and blue flags, towels in the new color scheme, bunting and smaller “waving” flags are still available.

The British Olympic Association has vowed not to use the classic red, white and blue Union Jack on its official 2024 Olympic jersey, which will not use the same color palette that emerged following a partnership with Bath design company Thisaway.

The new range of flags, bunting and water bottles was launched last June with a new color scheme but sparked criticism earlier this week amid outrage over the change to the St George’s Cross flag on the collar of England’s football shirts.

Britain's Fatima Whitbread throws the javelin during the women's javelin event at the Pearl Guarantee International Athletics Games between Britain, Russia and France in Portsmouth, England, June 19, 1988Britain's Fatima Whitbread throws the javelin during the women's javelin event at the Pearl Guarantee International Athletics Games between Britain, Russia and France in Portsmouth, England, June 19, 1988

Fatima Whitbread wins silver medal in javelin at the 1988 Seoul Olympics – Getty Images/Tony Duffy

Adidas is the official kit partner for Team GB and the designs were actually completed two years ago and will be officially unveiled by the athletes for the first time later this month on April 17th.

“All Team GB athletes will wear the Union Jack in Paris as usual,” a British Olympic Committee spokesman said.

It was also highlighted that the new color scheme will only appear on selected merchandise, as well as some digital graphics, as part of a number of different designs used to appeal to fans of all ages.

While the Team GB kit itself is expected to include varying shades of blue or red, as seen at the London and Tokyo Olympics, it is not inspired by the colors on the merchandise, which are thought to have transitioned to purple and pink.

The sold-out flag is labeled “Paris Union Jack Supporter Flag” and is priced at £12, while the sold-out metal water bottle is priced at £17.50. The same size traditional Union Jack is still on sale for £8 although there is also a larger hand-finished “quality stitched” Union Jack which retails for £49.

Hilton, England’s men’s record appearance record holder, condemned the different flag colours, saying: “Nothing is sacred.”


Team GB vows to keep traditional Union Jack on 2024 Olympic kits

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New Olympic merchandise designs were also labeled a “league joke” on the cover of The Sun, with Whitbread telling UK News she was “disgusted” by the move.

“Our ancestors went to war for us and fought for all the different things that we stand for now,” she said.

Team GB said they had received “extremely positive public feedback” on the new design, but stressed it would not replace the Union Jack on the jersey.

The designers said they updated the colors in a “flexible and ownable” way, thinking they would still be red, white, and blue variations.

“Rather than trying to transcend traditional colors, we decided to embrace them and promote the iconic red, white and blue wherever possible,” they said.

Four-time rowing gold medalist Matthew Pinsent spotted the sold-out flags, writing on social media: “There is a wide range of merchandise in the GB team shop, some with similar design themes …some only British team/“Lions. Arguably, something for everyone. “

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