Jana: team uniform doesn’t suit
Email Print Normal font Large font By Martin Blake and Peter Ker
February 22, 2006
IT WOULDN’T be the same without a Jana-drama, and now it’s the bare belly saga.
Jana Pittman has decided she does not want to bare her stomach at the Commonwealth Games, and is organising a uniform that will keep her rippling abdomen behind lycra as she goes for gold in the 400-metre hurdles on March 23.
Australia’s premier track-and-field athlete has worn the usual shorts and crop-top so far in her career. But yesterday, as Australia’s uniforms for the Games were launched in the city, Pittman said she wanted to wear a suit more like the male sprinters’ gear modelled by Matt Shirvington.
“I’m one of these females who have a thing about their stomach,” she said. “I like it covered up. I’m actually going to wear a similar body suit to Matt’s.”
The suit Pittman wants to wear — the same as a male athlete’s suit but sleeveless — was not on show yesterday but is being designed by the team’s uniform sponsor, adidas. In the meantime, she modelled the team tracksuit, complete with the surnames of every Australian Commonwealth Games medal winner since 1982 embossed on the lining.
“I’m running in something that’s designed for me, so it’s always going to help my performance,” she said of the new competitive gear. “Even if it’s only hundredths of a second, it could be the difference between breaking records and not breaking records.”
Adidas says the sprint suits amplify the natural movement of the athlete, with special bands that contract and expand with important muscle groups. Designers say less energy is lost as a result, and Shirvington was all for them yesterday. “When you sprint you want to feel compact and explosive, and although it (the suit) looks strange it’s actually very functional, it works with the muscle movement,” he said.
Infra-red cameras were involved in the suits’ production, identifying the warmest parts of athletes’ bodies so ventilation and temperature control measures could be added.
Although adidas is the official supplier to the Australian team, some athletes are free to wear rival sports products at the Games.
Pittman and drama go hand in hand. She has recently been involved in a public spat with fellow competitor Tamsyn Lewis. Her lead-up to the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 was a soap opera, the climactic scene coming when she was released from a London hospital after knee surgery, tossing away her crutches for the benefit of television cameras.
Pittman pronounced herself confident after her win in the Victorian championships at the MCG last weekend erased the disappointment of her failure at the nationals.
“The rest of the world is standing up and doing good times,” she said. “I’m sure the other guys are noticing that as well. I think the focus has to be very controlled, stick to your own little game and stick to a plan and it’ll come up trumps in the end.”
Pittman has three more races before the Games and believes she needs to get her time down into the low 53 seconds to win gold.
"I’ve got 28 days. My final is the week after the swimming. I’ve got three races up until then. I’m hoping to take a couple of tenths of a second off each one so that when I get to the Games I’ll be strong.
“It (the time) will have to be swift. There’s a young girl from England (Nicole Sanders) who’s come out and run very fast over a flat 400, and she’s a hurdler so she’s bound to come out and run well. I think somewhere in the region of 53-low will probably win you a medal and I don’t know what it’ll take to win gold at this stage. Ask me between the heats and the final and I’ll tell you.”