LONDON (Reuters) - South Korean athletes will make their Rio Olympics entrance covered up in long sleeves and trousers, uniforms its designers say were made to protect them from Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
With 100 days to go until the Games start in Rio de Janeiro, South Korea’s Olympic Committee unveiled on Wednesday the uniforms its athletes will be dressed in when they arrive in Brazil and take part in ceremonies.
An outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, linked to numerous cases of the microcephaly birth defect in Brazil, has spread in Latin America and the Caribbean, causing panic and leading some athletes to consider whether to attend the Games.
Olympic medalists including taekwondo competitor Lee Dae-hoon strutted down a short catwalk in blue jackets and white trousers as well as white and blue and white and brown zip-up track suits, designed by fashion brand Bean Pole.
“We designed the uniform with long sleeves, long pants and socks so that it protects the entire skin down to the ankles,” Kim Soo-jung, a designer at Bean Pole, said.
After the fashion show, Lee added: “The uniforms that used to be short-sleeved ended up with long sleeves because of the zika virus ... But (they are) comfortable to wear and move (around) in.”
In London, Britain presented a patriotic, lightweight kit its athletes will compete in at the Aug. 5-21 Olympics.
British fashion designer Stella McCartney unveiled the gear in the Union Jack’s red, white and blue, alongside Olympic medalists such as Jessica Ennis-Hill and Tom Daley dressed in the sportswear.
The kit is said to be 10 percent lighter than the one worn by Team GB at London’s 2012 Olympics, which McCartney also helped design.
It features plenty of logos and emblems, including a new British coat of arms designed as “a unifying symbol” for the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
The new designs drew some negative reaction.
“I‘m not a fan of the new Team GB Olympic kit. Too busy,” former heptathlete and Olympic medalist Kelly Sotherton tweeted, adding that she would still be proud to wear it.
Reporting by Reuters Television in London and Seoul; additional reporting by Ossian Shine,; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Ed Osmond