Germany Says Its Rainbow Olympic Uniforms Are Not Pride Flags

The German Olympic Sports Confederation disputes claims that its rainbow-themed Olympic outfit is a protest of Russia’s anti-gay law.

Ina Fassbender / Reuters

There’s no subversive fashion statement above, at least according to the German Olympic Sports Confederation, which says the colorful uniforms for its Sochi Winter Olympics team are simply a bold fashion choice and not a subtle rainbow-symbol protest against Russia’s anti-gay policies.

“The collection has been designed before the anti-gay-ban in Russia even existed: more than a year ago,” reads an official statement from the German Olympic Sports Committee provided to BuzzFeed. “The choice of colors are just a fashion statement. Everybody may read into it want he wants.”

Many had been reading the rainbow-themed Olympic ensemble, which was unveiled at a runway show in Düsseldorf last Tuesday, as a sign of tacit support for the LGBT community in the face of Russia’s anti-gay law. But the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) disputes those claims. “The idea of the designers was to draw attention of billions of viewers to the German athletes with bright and spectacular colors,” reads a statement forwarded to BuzzFeed by a spokeswoman for the German-based suit designer Bogner.

The statement continues: “The colors of the Sochi-outfits reflect the exotic landscape of Sochi: turquoise blue of the Black Sea, hot yellow of the sun and sand, lush green of the palms topped by the cool white of the Caucasus Mountains. Another highlight: the floral prints of the woman’s pants reminiscent of the Russian national costumes.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has refused to introduce legislation that provides equal rights for same-sex couples. Last month, Merkel also told a televised audience that she opposes gay adoption rights for same-sex couples. But while Merkel’s government has been cool to the rights of same-sex couples, the German court system issued two landmark rulings on gay rights earlier this year: one that allows gay parents to legally adopt their partner’s children and another that gives equal tax benefits to same-sex couples.

Ina Fassbender / Reuters

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