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Indigenous influence set to impact Australia's 2024 Olympics attire further during Paris ceremonies

Andrew Mathieson -

Wearing a bottle green blazer to the opening Olympic ceremony and back out of the main stadium to close out Games a fortnight later is a long-held Australian tradition that has come back into fashion.

But for the 2024 Olympics, the status quo will be matched by far older traditions than what is inspired by the style and influence of centuries-old Paris.

Buried subtly into the garment of the blazer and even next to the feet of Australian Olympians march in together as one, there is a subtle acknowledgement to the nation's Indigenous culture.

Indigenous artwork will be another key feature of the uniform, expanding on the last Olympics at Tokyo 2020 – a year later amid the COVIC-19 pandemic – when Australia skateboarders asked ahead of competition could they wear the Walking Together shirt.

That change from past tradition came about after the Olympic skateboarders held an informal chat with Dharawal man and Australian rugby sevens star, Maurice Longbottom, to better understand the meaning behind the design created by one-time 2008 Olympic boxer and Wakka Wakka man, Paul Fleming.

Fleming's Indigenous artistic thoughts will have an Olympic place again, this time in Paris, combining with Torres Strait Islander artist and printmaking pioneer, David Bosun, to help create multiple designs for both ASICS sports apparel and Sports Craft Australia casual wear labels.

While the attire for the opening ceremony along the River Seine and Trocadero Gardens, and for the closing ceremony at the Stade de Paris athletics venue, is inspired by Fleming's Walking Together and will showcased in the scarf while Bosun's Ngalmun Danalaig features will be underneath the Australian coat-of-arms pocket square.

Further Fleming artwork will be included even on the insoles of the athletes' shoes.

While inside the lining of the blazer, the Australian Olympians' oath, created for the first time only back at Tokyo 2020, will be embroidered with a verse from the oath saying, "With acknowledgment and respect for the ancient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and their ongoing connection to the continent, water and seas".

The oath will be surrounded by the 301 past Australian gold medallists that includes Indigenous winners, Nova Peris-Kneebone in 1996 for the women's Hockeyroos and Cathy Freeman in 2000 for the women's 400 metres.

The Australian Olympic Committee unveiled the entire uniforms at Clovelly Bay in Sydney on Wednesday after holding a similar launch six weeks earlier for the athletes' sports apparel.

The Paris Olympic Games will begin on July 26 and end on August 11.

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