Jason Smith speaks to bespoke tailors Paul Munday, Brian Lewis and bespoke shirtmaker Sean O'Flynn about this year's Olympics. We hear their thoughts, views and which sport they may have excelled in if Savile Row had not called.
Are you watching the Olympics?
[In unison] Yes.
Are you watching it live or the highlights?
Paul: Bit of both. I stayed up for the opening ceremony but only got as far as 11.30pm and then nodded off. I did though watch Adam Peaty win his gold in the 100m breaststroke which was brilliant.
Sean: I haven’t been to bed since last Friday! [laughs] I’ve watched some live fencing, judo, lots of cycling - I saw that dreadful crash. I go onto the BBC Red Button and lists all the live events.
It is in fact just 4 hours behind GMT, so not that hard to catch live coverage. How about you Brian, have you seen much of the Olympics, live or otherwise?
Brian: Yes, I’ve caught a bit of the rugby women’s sevens.
Paul: I think the women’s sevens have been very good. Fast.
Brian: They always play a good standard.
Didn’t the women’s seven's just loose?
Paul: To Canada, then New Zealand unfortunately. It means we’ve come fourth.
Director Paul Munday: Nodded off
Do any of you have a favourite Olympic sport?
Brian: I like the rugby, but quite like the swimming. The diving is interesting too, the synchronised diving. Team GB's Jack Laugher and Chris Mears just got us our very first gold medal in diving [Men's synchronised 3m springboard].
Sean: I’ve been really enjoying the cycling and the swimming, because I am a cyclist and a swimmer, as you know.
Yes, that’s right. You cycle daily to the tube and go swimming every Thursday night don’t you Sean? Hardly competitive though really.
Paul: Primarily, I’ve really enjoyed the gymnastics. That’s been fantastic so far. The fencing too has been great.
Editor’s Note: A discussion ensues about the fencing points system with a suggestion points are gained from hitting different parts of the body. After researching, this is about right. For full details click here.
Sean: The table tennis is pretty hectic and very fast. Great Britain’s Drinkhall had a strong start making the last 16 after beating the Croatian; Gacina was it? But I think he’s just been knocked out so won’t be going through to the semis.
Have any of you played any Olympic sports when you were younger?
Paul: Weightlifting. I did the clean and jerk, the dead lifts, and things like that. It was a long time ago in my early 20s.
Sean: We did a bit of track cycling at Paddington Recreation Ground as part of our P.E at St Georges in Kilburn. I think they supplied the bikes, and when it rained, we went inside on to the rollers.
Director Brian Lewis: Caught a bit of the women's 7s
Brian: Running and high jump. I did it when it was still the scissor jump, which was the precursor to the Fosbury Flop. I didn’t get tall though until I was 17. Up to then, I was about average height and of course height counts with that kind of thing. I was quite a good sprinter. I think if I had stayed on at school [and putting off his career in bespoke tailoring] I could’ve been a decent athlete.
Not wishing to only ask the questions; I was pretty good at the javelin and the long jump but was an average runner but still enjoyed it. What do you think of Team GB’s chances for these Olympic Games in Rio?
Paul: I think they’re aiming for about 50 medals aren’t they?
Editor’s Notes: Paul, in fact, is very close to UK Sport’s medal target being 48, with predictions ranging from 47 to 79 across 25 disciplines. That compares with a total medal haul of 65 medals from London 2012, with that great home advantage.
Brian: It’s not been a great start, but there are events we do well in that haven’t started yet like the rowing and cycling so that will help.
Paul: We haven’t peaked yet. We’ll get in the top ten for sure. Yes, I think we’ll pick up. We’re just warming up!
A sartorial question for you now: what do you think of Team GB’s kit for Rio 2016? Please click here to see the kit.
Bespoke shirtmaker Sean O'Flynn: Packed his Speedos
Paul: I like it, think the British symbolism, silhouetted, works really well. It was designed again by Stella McCartney who did the last Olympics.
Sean: It differs from sport to sport doesn’t it, but I do like Tom Daley’s swimming trunks. They’re minuscule!
Are you considering getting a pair Sean for your upcoming Italian holiday?
I’ve got them already! [Much laughter ensues] The gymnasts kit is cool which has more red in the design than the others. Oh! I do have a complaint on the women’s cycling kit, particularly Lizzie Armistead’s. Everyone else has their country clearly displayed: Italy, USA, France. You couldn't see Lizzie's. It was a black kit with Great Britain in very small writing. I would like you to convey this [Sean’s displeasure] in the strongest terms.
Noted Sean. If you could be a gold medal winner, which Olympic sport would it be in?
Sean: It will have to be the 100 metres wouldn’t it. It’s the pinnacle of the Olympics.
Paul: I suppose, for me, it would have to be swimming; it’s a very cool sport at the moment isn’t it. I used to swim for my county; you can put that in the blog!
Jason Smith: Asking the questions & not too bad at javelin
Are there any records of this Paul anywhere?
Let’s not get into that [more laughter ensues]. We were very fortunate, our junior school had a swimming pool, which was unusual for the area. It was great, though, it being on site.
Brian, what about you?
Brian: I would say the 100 metres, to be the fastest man on earth.
I think I would go for the heptathlon; it's incredible to excel in so many disciplines.
Well, thank you, gentleman. That was very enlightening and fun. It just leaves us to wish Team GB all the very best for the rest of the Rio Olympics.