How Jamaica's athletes inspired Puma's cutting-edge Olympic kit that blends performance, style, and sustainability

By March 29, 2024
José van der Veen, Global Head of Product, Track and Field at Puma (l) and Noelani Ramos, Global Lead Designer, Track and Field at Puma. José van der Veen, Global Head of Product, Track and Field at Puma (l) and Noelani Ramos, Global Lead Designer, Track and Field at Puma.

It was the final day of the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, a momentous occasion for Jamaican athletics. But amidst the roar of the crowd and the thunder of racing feet, there was another spectacle unfolding – the unveiling of Puma's latest kit for Jamaica's athletes destined for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The cutting-edge kit adorned the bodies of a number of Jamaica's greatest elite athletes. Among them, the fastest woman alive, the two-time defending Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, defending 110m hurdles champion Hansle Parchment, 100m hurdles bronze medalist Megan Tapper, Rushell Clayton, Janieve Russell, Asafa Powell, Stacey-Ann Williams and Kemba Nelson among others. Parading around the track, the athletes in their newly-fashioned were cheered on by the appreciate crowd of about 20,000. 

For José van der Veen, Global Head of Product, Track and Field at Puma, the journey towards crafting these kits was deeply rooted in the essence of Jamaican athleticism. "Jamaica has always been a key federation for us," she remarked, her eyes alight with passion. "We've always used them as our main muse, inspiration not only from a performance level but also from a stylistic level."

Drawing inspiration from the nation's obsession with speed and agility, Puma set out to create a collection that would not only embody the spirit of Jamaican athletes but also push the boundaries of performance and style. "The performance and the technologies that we've incorporated in these products are state of the art," van der Veen added, pride evident in her voice.

But it wasn't just about performance – it was about style, about evoking the essence of speed with every stitch and seam. "Our muse is our athletes. They evoke speed on the track, and that's what we wanted our kits to feel like,” Noelani Ramos, Global Lead Designer, Track and Field at Puma emphasized. “We wanted it to kind of complement them while they perform on the track. We wanted our lines to contour their bodies. They so disciplined, they train so hard, we wanted it to really highlight their physique.”

Working hand-in-hand with athletes like 400m hurdler Rushell Clayton, Puma meticulously crafted each element of the kit, ensuring that it not only looked dynamic but also enhanced performance. "We wanted to evoke the talk of the crowd," Ramos continued. "Something that's dynamic on the track, with high cut lines around the brief area...that moves with the body."

But performance wasn't the only consideration – sustainability played a crucial role in the design process. "We can't sacrifice the sustainability element of it," van der Veen emphasized. With materials made from regenerated nylon sourced from ocean fishnets and water bottles, Puma ensured that every stride taken in their kits was a step towards a greener future.

Clayton expressed her joy to have been included in the creative process. "It feels amazing to be part of the process," she exclaimed. "When you put this gear on, it gives you confidence, just to know it fits so well, it sitting in the right parts of your body, it’s not moving where it’s not supposed to move. It’s amazing to know that they put so much work and thought into it.”

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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