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Why Won't Team USA Dip the Flag at the Opening Ceremonies?

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For the last 100 years, the Olympic spirit has come with an asterisk for the United States. It's not doping. It's not underage gymnasts. The United States is the only country that refuses to dip its flag when passing the host country.

Let's back up. During the Opening Ceremonies, every nation’s team parades in behind one member who holds the country’s flag. In the stands sit the governing officials of the home country. As the team marches past this section, the flag-holder lowers the flag as a sign of respect. Every country does the dip, except the United States. The small move of respect has been a thorn in the sides of home countries since the U.S. first snubbed tradition at the 1908 London Games.

The story goes that the 1908 U.S. flag-holder and shotputter Ralph Rose kept the flag erect as an act of nationalism, proclaiming, "This flag dips to no earthly king.” However, according to Penn State professor Mark Dyreson, the story may not be true. In a piece for the Los Angeles Times, Dyreson, who studies the Olympics, says it's more complicated than that.

No Earthly Führer, Either

Rather than being a matter of good old American pride, Dyreson speculates that the Irish-American athlete’s actions were more about disdain for the British. In that era, Irish athletes riled at competing under the Union Jack. And there's no hard evidence the "no earthly king" quip was ever muttered.

Until 1936, the practice to dip or not to dip flip-flopped. King Gustav V received a dipped flag in the 1912 Games, but 1936 was an easy call. The U.S. nearly didn’t participate in the Berlin Summer Olympics, let alone dip a flag in respect to Adolf Hitler. The decision to not dip was announced beforehand, and the U.S. was joined in protest by Bulgaria, Iceland and India, according to contemporary media reports. The move wasn't a decision of the athlete, it was a top-down call from the United States Olympic Committee and, as traditions often begin, it just stuck. (In the 1940s, the tradition was formalized in the flag code, which reads “the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.”)

So when we don't dip our flag, it's not pride. It's not hubris. It's not nationalism. It's just a big F-you to Hitler.

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Redesigned Adidas Sneakers Channel Beijing’s Olympic Stadium
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KXIV

Beijing National Stadium has stood empty since the 2008 Olympics, but that hasn’t stopped the building from becoming an architectural icon. Designer KXIV (Nathan Kiatkulpiboone) found inspiration in the tangled "Bird’s Nest" structure when re-imagining Adidas’s Ultraboost running shoe. As designboom reports, he used 3D-printing technology to achieve the lattice design.

KXIV comes from a background in architecture. When he isn’t dreaming up shopping centers or city towers, he’s applying the principles he uses as an architect to sneaker design. In 2014, he unveiled a pair of Nike Jordan X shoes that borrowed elements from Thailand’s White Temple and Black House. He's also created a line of dress shoes inspired by modern architecture for the footwear brand SewRaw.

His latest project evokes the Bird’s Nest woven exterior. The Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron designed the stadium for the 2008 Olympics, and today it’s remembered as one of the most distinctive structures ever built for the games.

To recreate the look on an Adidas sneaker, KXIV used polyurethane webbing fused to a lycra base. The upper layer of bands were 3D-printed in a way that holds the shoes together. The sneakers are just a prototype, so like the stadium they’re based on, the striking form will remain unused for the foreseeable future.

Shoes inspired by Beijing National Stadium.
KXIV
KXIV

Shoes inspired by Beijing National Stadium.
KXIV

[h/t designboom]

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