February 12, 2010
Pay no attention to the foreign characters or language unless you understand them. Instead, focus on the dreadlocked gentleman on the left. You'll notice his outfit looks just a little different than his teammates'. That's snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo. He's apologizing at the end of the clip because Japanese officials aren't too happy with the way he wore his suit.
With his sagging pants, untucked shirt, and loosened tie, Kokubo looked like any sloppily dressed 21-year-old. But that's not going to fly. According to one Japanese Olympic Committee official, "It is not the way the Japanese delegation should dress themselves while taxpayers' money is spent on them." Uh-oh.
Kokubo, who is expected to contend for a medal, was banned from a welcoming ceremony in Vancouver after there were complaints about his clothes. The snowboarder followed that up by saying the Olympics are "just another snowboarding event," and that they are "nothing special." Uh-oh again.
The anti-authority stance permeates snowboarding, but there are certain times when you have to play nice. One of those times is the Olympics. Your country is paying for you to represent them. You get the chance of a lifetime to do something hardly anyone else gets to do. And it's all free. Pretty sweet deal. So just go with the flow.
Plus, if you're wearing a suit, wear it like a suit. It's basically the easiest way to look good.