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5 Olympic outfits to watch as the games kick off

When the Olympic Games begin Friday, the athletes representing their countries in Rio de Janeiro this year won't be the only ones center stage.

Their outfits will get a chance to shine as well, offering the athletes a way to showcase their patriotism as they kick off the event.

To create the looks, fashion designers had to find ways to incorporate the respective countries' heritage while also creating practical clothes to fit athletic builds and withstand the Brazilian weather.

Some designs are already generating criticism on social media, while others have drawn praise.

See below for some of the most talked-about looks for the games:

South Korea

Lee Jin-man | Korea

Is Rio ready? It's an important question, given the infrastructure headaches and Zika fears that have plagued the city ahead of the games.

At least one country is coming prepared for the latter. While the CDC recently released a report explaining the risk for contracting the disease at the games is lower than it would be during Brazil's hotter season, South Korea is not taking its chances. The country's Olympic committee will outfit its athletes with long pants, long-sleeved shirts and jackets that have added mosquito-repellent chemicals.

United States

Source: Team USA

The U.S. has gone high tech this year for the opening ceremony. The team's flag bearers will sport jackets that include electroluminescent panels to illuminate the way for athletes entering the Maracana Stadium on Friday.

The team's uniforms are red, white and blue, meant to evoke a patriotic look. For some though, the looks remind them of a different team whose flag sports the same colors: Russia.


Source: Rene Habermacher | Sporty Henri

Cuba went the luxe route for its ceremonial outfits. Christian Louboutin joined forces with French e-commerce site to outfit the athletes, who will wear sharply tailored jackets with the Cuban flag on the breast pocket. The flag's star reappears on the athletes' shoes.


Jason Reed | Reuters

Australia brand Sportscraft is no stranger to designing the country's opening ceremony uniforms. This marks the seventh time the company was picked to design the outfits, which took more than two years.

The looks have Rio's warm weather in mind and consist of green seersucker cotton blazers and a gold embroidered coat of arms badge. The jackets honor Australian athletes who took home the gold in past games with each of their names written in the lining.


If the hues of the China team's ceremonial outfits seem just a little too bright to you, you're not the only one.

People's Daily, China reported the outfits have been critiqued as evoking images of "fried eggs and tomato." The outfits are meant to remind wearers of the country's national flag, which includes the same shades but far less yellow. People's Daily, China noted it is ceremonial to wear red.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.

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