Swedish Team’s Outfit Revealed

February 21, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. debut /deɪˈbyu, dɪ-, ˈdeɪbyu, ˈdɛbyu/ (v.) – to be shown for the first time
Example: The NBA superstar will debut his latest shoe design next month.

2. dress /drɛs/ (v.) – to provide or design clothes
Example: The clothing brand dressed the players for the event.

3. apparel /əˈpærəl/ (n.) – a type of outfit
Example: Athletes get their sports apparel for free.

4. high-end /haɪ ɛnd/ (adj.) – with the best quality and having higher price
Example: Fashionable clothes are sold in high-end stores.

5. on par with /ɒn pɑr wɪθ/ (idiom) – equal or on the same level
Example: The young player’s skills are now on par with a veteran.


Read the text below.
Swedish clothing retailer H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) [hens end MAW-ritz] showcased   its design for the official uniforms of Team Sweden during the opening of 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

H&M debuted its new sportswear collection last January 16, 2014 after signing a four-year deal to be the official outfit designer of Team Sweden.  Swedish athletes featured the new designs, inspired by the Swedish national colors blue and yellow, in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. H&M is also the official designer for Team Sweden in the 2016 Rio games.

This is the first time that H&M dressed professional athletes. The company’s head designer Ann-Sofie Johansson felt proud to have designed the uniforms of their fellow Swedes for the global event. She said the outfits show the Swedish influence in a sporty and stylish way. The retail company collaborated with a group of athletes in the designing process to achieve the look of the outfits.

While some had clothing retailers as their outfit provider, most Olympic teams chose high-end designers. Team USA worked with Ralph Lauren, Italy partnered with Giorgio Armani [jor-jo ar-MA-ni], French horse-riding team wore Hermes [ehr-mes] jackets, Nike [NAHY-kee] sponsored team Netherlands’ uniform, and singer-fashion designer Cedella Marley [se-de-la MAHR-lee] created Jamaica’s [juh-MEY-kuh] outfits.

H&M may not be on par with the likes of Hermes and Armani but the athletes are proud to wear clothes designed by the Swedish company. Former Olympic champion Anja Pärson [AN-ya PEYR-shon] said H&M’s outfits will help strengthen the team’s spirit and improve its image throughout the world. She added that letting athletes participate in the clothes’ creation made it more special.

The Swedish brand has many store branches in various countries and is well-known in the fashion industry.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do H&M outfits improve the image of Swedish athletes?
·         What function does ‘image’ have in a sporting event like the Olympics?

Discussion B

·         How do countries benefit from participating in the Olympics?
·         Do the Olympics effectively help in uniting countries? Why or why not?


February 21, 2014