Russian Olympic uniforms embrace the gray

The IOC has created a pool of athletes who can compete in the upcoming Games in neutral uniforms. Joosep Martinson/ISU/ISU via Getty Images

If you're walking through the Olympic Village in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month and see someone wearing nondescript track pants and a gray hoodie, don't assume that it's someone from the support staff. There's a good chance it could be a Russian Olympian.

With Russia banned from the Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee because of doping violations, the Russian sportswear company Zasport has released renderings of IOC-approved uniform designs for Russian athletes who'll be permitted to compete under the banner of "Olympic Athlete from Russia," or OAR.

It would be fair to say that the uniforms won't win any awards for flair. They feature the extremely plain OAR logo, which the IOC released last month, and are rendered in red and various shades of gray.

That's all by design. IOC guidelines released last month specified that the OAR uniforms may not include the Russian flag, may include only two colors (neither of which can be an exact match to any of the Russian flag colors), and must feature typography that's "as generic as possible."

Mission accomplished.

It remains unclear who will get to wear these uniforms, as the IOC is still in the process of certifying which Russian athletes are doping-free. Those who make the cut will get to wear the OAR gear, which is destined to go down as an interesting historical footnote, if not a particularly flashy one, in Olympic design history.

Paul Lukas kind of likes wearing various shades of gray himself. If you like this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.