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Members of Team Canada model the new Team Canada x lululemon Athlete Kit during the Team Canada x lululemon Athlete Kit reveal at The Liberty Grand on April 16.Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Every couple of years Canada unveils its Olympic uniforms, and every time they try to make it sound like they’ve invented electricity.

These aren’t clothes. This is fabric science provided our Olympians by Lululemon. The latest batch for Paris 2024 dropped on Tuesday.

The Olympics start in a hundred days. A hundred and one days from now, no one will care who’s wearing what. So, right now, Lululemon’s marketing department is determined to write a Keats’s ode to moisture-wicking muscle tees. They even had dancing.

Per that bumph, these are “transformational products that take away from the athlete having to think and worry about how they’re feeling in the moment so they can focus distraction-free on the things that really matter to their performance on the world stage.”

This lung buster was delivered by a man wearing the sort of cream-coloured leisure outfit they’d give you at the day spa on the USS Enterprise. He looked like a baby with an important job. Everyone was nodding along like this made total sense.

Lululemon didn’t just dream this stuff up on their own. They collaborated. Hard.

“Athletes shared not only their physical needs, but also their emotional needs,” another Lululemon exec said.

This I sort of get. I have a bleach-stained Champion hoodie I like to do my crying in.

While there are a million pompous ways to talk about clothes, there are only so many clothes. Though heavy on the former, this was more of the latter. Even the colour schemes and cuts are familiar. Most of what Canada is doing today, Yeezy was doing a decade ago. The difference – now you can give it to your dad for Father’s Day and not feel like you’re dressing him for the first day of high school.

The best two words I can think of to describe the collection are saleable and slovenly. Were I to meet someone on the street in the closing ceremony outfit, the first thing I can imagine them saying is, “Wanna smoke a bowl?”

It’s not a criticism, since that’s where everyone seems to be at right now, fashion-wise.

The only place it got interesting was in the variety of looks. Canada’s athletes will have four options:

  • Opening ceremony (Captain Canuck).
  • Closing ceremony (stoner chic).
  • Podium (Muskoka camo).
  • Media.

Media is its own thing, designed for that time when “a new set of nerves kick in.”

The outfits are a wonderful visual representation of what most conversations with a modern athlete look and feel like. They are all beige.

At least, they looked beige under the hot, red lights Lululemon believes make a room say “Canada” (as opposed to “strip club”).

The bar for this show was set a few days ago when Nike unveiled the U.S. kit. Those outfits included a track-and-field unitard for women cut so high on the thigh that it reaches nearly to the armpits.

This prompted a front-runner for line of the Games from American long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall: “Wait my hoo haa is gonna be out.”

The combined weight of the progressive, sports and fashion factions of the internet fell on Nike like a piano. To its credit, Nike didn’t curl up. The company noted there’s more than one outfit. Athletes can wear whichever one of them they’re comfortable in.

Under pressure, a truism had been rediscovered – it’s not the clothes, it’s the person in them. At his best, Usain Bolt could have won the 100 metres in capri pants and Crocs.

As long as it’s not flapping around you, or has any loose cords your competitors will trip over, one track suit is very like another.

But back at mind-body headquarters in Toronto, where no fiddly bits risked being exposed, they were still banging on about the “transformative effect” of this or that shirt. I’d lost track of what was what.

Someone on stage said something about “storage solutions.” The colleague sitting beside me leaned over and said, “Does that mean bags?”

Yes. It does.

Twenty-plus minutes of this kind of blather and it all boiled down to one line, spoken with manic zeal by baby-with-a-job guy, as the catwalk was about to fill with competitors.

“Are you ready to see some product?!”

It’s about product, which is harmless enough. All those planes full of athletes, media and spectators are not going to fly themselves to the carbon-neutral Games. Someone has to pay for it.

But you go far enough down this road and the people wearing the product start to feel like products as well.

The moment to start complaining about the mercantile nature of the last pure sporting event is long gone. But that doesn’t mean we must double our efforts to remind everyone what this is really about. The right catwalk to debut Olympic outfits on is the old one – the Olympics.

The reveal would have a lot more impact that way, as well as the added bonus of removing the opportunity for apparel executives to talk about the pants as if they are the next generation Space Shuttle.

After the debut was over on Tuesday, they allowed a herd of influencers – many of whom were dressed like athletes – to funnel backstage and wait for the real thing to come out.

For some reason, Wayne Gretzky was standing there. A scrum formed.

Since he was not wearing a look from the Media collection, Gretzky seemed to be feeling a new set of nerves kick in. At first, he didn’t want to do it. Then he wanted it to end as quickly as possible. Then he decided to flee. Someone asked him how he liked the clothes as he was slipping away.

“They’re nice,” Gretzky said. While that description doesn’t convince me that these clothes were designed in deep collaboration with my emotions, it might make me buy them (on sale) for use as presents. Because what is more Canadian than nice?

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