Ladies and Gentlemen: The Other Dream Team
An ungodly amount of ink has been spilled over Olympic style on and off the podium already—especially at the expense of US swimmer Ryan Lochte. (We’re inclined to give the guy a break—we should be rooting for our countrymen, not tearing them down.) But we couldn’t resist mentioning the gloriously tie-dyed 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, dubbed “The Other Dream Team.” Yes, that really is officially sponsored tie-dyed gear. Yes ,those are fanny packs. And yes, those are bronze medals they’re collecting in Barcelona—sharing the same podium as our fabled champs. The story is the stuff of legend (and a Sundance-darling film). A rag-tag bunch of athletes from a country only two years removed from the iron grip of the Soviet Union who were in danger of not even going to the Olympics until The Grateful Dead swooped in with a last-minute sponsorship (which should explain the tie-dye and dunking skeleton on their warm-ups) and who, against all odds, won a seemingly unattainable medal—uplifting a small, wayward nation in the process. This is exactly why we watch the Olympics every four years.
- Najib Benouar