The Olympics opened in Tokyo last Friday with a dazzling ceremony that managed all at once to be true to Japan, to our global moment, and to the lofty themes of the games themselves. After a year of delay and controversy, the fanfare kicked off with a re-written program that included a kabuki performance to cleanse the space of evil spirits, Hiromi Uehara absolutely banging it out on the piano, 1800 synchronized drones lighting up an amazing display of the Earth, and an energetic march of nations despite the lack of stadium audience. Naomi Osaka touched torch to cauldron, and the 2020 Olympic Games were at long last underway.
The Olympics are a special time. Every four years, the world competes to see whose country is the best not through war or economic might, but by seeing whose gymnasts can land an Amanar vault, whose wrestlers can most skillfully pin their opponents, and, yes, even who can walk the fastest.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Beyond
There’s so much to look forward to during these Olympic Games. Surfing and skateboarding make their long-awaited Olympic debut in Tokyo (keep an eye out for champion American surfer John John Florence); as does women’s canoeing. And America’s own Simone Biles, the GOAT herself, stands ready to have a fifth jaw-dropping routine named after her.
The Olympics are a global showcase not just for athletes and their home countries, but for the makers of athletic attire and equipment, who sponsor and champion the games, vying to be on the bodies and on the feet of the best competitors in world sports. Let’s take a look at some of the best offerings from global brands who have hitched their wagons to this year’s messy, heartfelt, inspiring, 2021 - er, 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
ASICS Running Shoes
One of Tokyo 2020’s primary sponsors is Japanese footwear maker ASICS. Founded in 1949, ASICS gets its name from the Latin phrase “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” - a sound mind in a sound body. ASICS specializes in innovative running shoes favored by competitors like Kiara Parker and Johnny Gregorek. Footwear like the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 22 running shoes fit like a glove, with a cushioning system that attenuates the shocks of the track during impact and the toe-off phase, provide exceptional bounce-back over short and long distances, and have built-in flexibility that allows micro-adjustments throughout a runner’s gait cycle.
The North Face Jackets and Backpacks
The North Face is a natural choice for outdoor events like climbing, and they’re showing up strong, designing the uniforms for Team USA’s rock climbers - another long-awaited debut at these Games. Taking their name from the coldest and most unforgiving side of a mountain, The North Face is well-known for its all-weather endurance outfitting, like the Venture 2 Jacket, their lightweight wind- and waterproof rain jacket, and the ThermoBall Eco Vest, a staple for cold-weather activities requiring a wide range of precise versatile movement. But they also make durable backpacks, like The North Face Recon, that hikers swear by. The North Face backpacks breathe around the shoulder straps and back surface with its FlexVent suspension system, and are loaded with multi-use pockets for supplies, tools, and multiple water bottles.
Oakley Sunglasses Can Handle It All
Summer and Winter, many Olympic athletes depend on the purpose-built and sometimes-weird eyewear by the wizards over at Oakley, and it's no surprise that Team USA will be sporting a number of models of Oakley sunglasses in Tokyo this year. Oakley is synonymous with comfortable sun-protective eyewear that provides the crispest, widest scope of vision. The EVZero Path multi-sport Oakley sunglasses for men and women come ready for the blistering sun or the snow-blinding slopes, with non-polarized wrap-around Idirium lenses that enhance color and contrast, optimized for any environment. The less hardcore and more fashion-forward of us might also opt for the comfortable and stylish Flak 2.0 Asia Fit sunglasses, with all the versatility you expect from Oakley and friendly-fitting earsocks and nosepads for all-day street comfort.
Ariat Boots In and Out of the Saddle
Equestrian is one of the only Olympics sports in which men and women compete together, and Team USA is on a tear heading into the jumping and dressage competitions. Decking them out is Ariat--Beth Cross’s fast-growing equestrian line is also favored by celebrities and royalty. Since 1993, Ariat (the name comes from the Triple Crown champion, Secretariat) has been innovating top-quality equipment for competitive riders on horseback and on the job. The Women’s Nitro Max Tall Riding Boot is just such an example, a medium-height boot designed for grueling competition and utilizing top technology to diffuse lateral and torsional stresses from riding and protect riders’ feet while keeping them firmly in the stirrups. Ariat work boots like the Men’s Workhog Pull-On Boot are ideal, versatile boots for outdoor jobs, enveloping and protecting cowboys’ feet in the saddle and on the dirt.
Celebrating Olympic Sports 2020
These Olympics are very much a product of the world we live in, with a few hiccups on the long road to Tokyo. But the magic and wonder of global competition is alive in the Games this year, with an all-star Team USA (watch for Seattle native Nevin Harrison to lead the women’s canoeing team to glory!) set to break records and show the world what we’ve got. Everyone here at Outdoor Equipped is excited to see how the competition breaks, and we’re all inspired by the symbolic meaning of the games, bringing the world together in athletic greatness. Even for niche sports we may go years without following closely, the heartbreaking losses and soaring gold medal victories on the world stage fill us with a sense of drama and national pride that can’t be replicated. Onward, Team USA!