Team GB’s Olympic Union flag sells out despite fury over design


Show your support for the team at the 2024 Paris Olympics with this Official Team GB Union Jack Large Supporters Flag! Make their day with this product or any of our other official Team GB flags! Parade your pride for our country and the hard working athletes by displaying in any bedroom or flag pole. Create a show stopper, fit for any fan! These flags are printed onto lightweight polyester material and are manufactured as decorative flags only and should not be flown on a flagpole for extended periods

The flag features different shades of blue and pink – Team GB

The ‘Union Jack’ branded Team GB Olympic flags which sparked outrage for being produced in shades of pink and purple with squiggles and dots have sold out within 48 hours of the controversy.

In a shift from the plain red, white and blue colours most associated with the British Olympic team, designers introduced options which included different colour shades in a desire to “push the iconic red white and blue as far as we could”.

Olympic medallist Fatima Whitbread and England football legend Peter Shilton led the backlash, but the publicity appears to have boosted sales and the flags are now listed as ‘sold out’ on Team GB’s official fan shop.

Metal water bottles in the same colour scheme are also sold out but flags in the traditional red, white and blue are still available, as are towels, bunting and smaller ‘handwaver’ flags in the new colour scheme.

The British Olympic Association have vowed not to meddle with the classic red, white and blue Union flag on their official 2024 Olympic kit, which will also not use the same colour palette that emerged following their collaboration with the Bath-based design company Thisaway.

The new range of flags, bunting and water bottles were launched last June in the new colour scheme but provoked criticism earlier this week following the outrage over the changed St George’s Cross flag on the collar of the England football shirt.

Fatima Whitbread of Great Britain throws the javelin during the Women's Javelin throw event of the Pearl Assurance International Athletics match between Great Britain, Russia and France on 19th June 1988 in Portsmouth, Great BritainFatima Whitbread of Great Britain throws the javelin during the Women's Javelin throw event of the Pearl Assurance International Athletics match between Great Britain, Russia and France on 19th June 1988 in Portsmouth, Great Britain

Fatima Whitbread won a silver medal in the javelin at the 1988 games in Seoul – Getty Images/Tony Duffy

Adidas were the partners for the official Team GB kit and those designs were actually completed some two years ago. They will be officially unveiled by athletes for the first time later this month on April 17.

“All Team GB athletes will wear the Union Jack as normal in Paris,” said a BOA spokesperson.

It has also been stressed that the new colour scheme will appear only on selected merchandise, as well as some digital graphics, as part of a number of different designs that have been used to appeal to all ages of fans.

Although the Team GB kit itself is expected to include different shades of blue or red, as in the London and Tokyo Games, it is not inspired by the colours on the merchandise which are perceived to have crossing over into purples and pinks.

The sold out flags, which were branded as a ‘Paris Union Jack Supporters Flag’, cost £12 while the sold out metal water bottles were priced at £17.50. The same-size traditional Union flag, which is still available, costs £8 although there is also a larger hand-machined “premium sewn” Union flag that retails at £49.

Shilton, the record appearance holder for the men’s England football team, condemned the different flag colours, saying: “Nothing is sacred.”

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The new Olympic merchandise design was also branded a “Union Joke” on the front of The Sun newspaper while Whitbread told GB News that she was “disgusted” by the move.

“Our forefathers went to war for us and fought for all the different things that we stand for now,” she said.

Team GB said that they had received “very positive public feedback” for the new designs but stressed that it would not replace the Union flag on the kit.

The designers were quoted as saying that they had refreshed the colours in a way that was “flexible and owneable”, arguing that they were still variations on red, white and blue.

“Rather than trying to look beyond the traditional colours, we decided to embrace them and push the iconic red white and blue as far as we could,” they said.

The sold out flags were spotted by four-time rowing gold medallist Matthew Pinsent, who wrote on social media: “The Team GB shop has a whole range of stuff, some with a similar design theme … some with just the Team GB/lion. Something for everyone – so to speak.”

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