Did you know? Nike has turned the chartreuse loose

The world wears 'Olympic Yellow'

By Paul Viau | Aug 10, 2012
Photo by: Carol Viau JUST DO IT! — There's an easier, more affordable way to put a little Volt®-age in your step.

Like most of the world, I have been captivated the past few days by the great NBC television coverage of the 2012 Olympics. The parade of colors during the opening ceremonies was spectacular, but when the various competitions began — Did you know? All I saw was yellow — neon bright yellow — with just the right cooling touch of green in it.

Almost every Olympic athlete was sporting and competing in these brighter-than-bright, yellowish green shoes. Track shoes, tennis shows, basketball shoes — you name it. All had that all-so-familiar Nike “Swoosh” logo.

And then I remembered the color of the French liqueur my father had behind the bar on display when I was growing up. It was called Chartreuse — and as memory serves (mostly into the net, these days). Chartreuse didn’t taste very good to my boyish 14-year-old palate. But I sure can remember that color. It’s culturally etched into my retina.

Did you know? Chartreuse (the color, not the liqueur) is the official name for the color that is exactly “smack dab in the middle” between green and yellow in the spectrum. And it’s a hard color to miss — quite literally.

This is why the sports world is moving towards bright yellow everything..

According to my in-depth research (the latest issue of Golf World Magazine, which I accidentally borrowed from Dr. Chris Catterson’s office), Srixon, in an ad for their new, Tour Yellow golf balls, neatly chronicles the rise of chartreuse balls:

In 1972, the bright yellow tennis ball replaced the easily-soiled white ball, as the ball of choice for the ITF (International Tennis Federation.)

In 2002, one scant decade ago, bright yellow softballs became the official ball for the NCAA and NAIA.

And (as Srixon also points out) we are now seeing bright yellow goal posts in football, bright yellow soccer balls, archery bull’s eyes and golf balls.

No wonder, when Nike designers showed company officials — chartreuse shoes for virtually every sport know to man, they replied “Just do it.”

But of course, Nike couldn’t use the name chartreuse — it’s way too feminine — so they came up with their own trademarked name for the hot color — Volt® — which rhymes with Usain Bolt, who considers Volt® just another shade of Olympic Gold.

And rumor has it, Bolt has recommended Volt® as the hot color for his cool buddies on the Jamaican Bobsled Team. I can’t wait for 2014 (mostly because that means we survived the predicted Mayan apocalypse.)

Speaking of apocalypse, how would you like to be the marketing folks at Adidas, who reportedly paid in excess of $155 million to be an official sponsor of the 2012 Olympics? Swoosh, just like that, Nike (banned from promoting their sportswear during the Olympics) has walked all over them — in chartreuse.