American 110m hurdles champion and world silver medallist Ryan Wilson has been without a sponsor for large chunks of his career, despite being among the world’s elite in his event. To help raise his profile, he’s chopped and changed the colour of his track uniform, and reckons more athletes should experiment with their kit. 

“I had fun with my designs. I enjoyed the different colour combinations. I used American Apparel and they really had a old school feel to it, which matched my personality.

"I put together a bunch of colours, basic colours [red, yellow, black, light blue]. I would often go with colours which matched the location. So for Eugene I’d go green [the predominant University of Oregon colour] or if I ran at Berlin, where the track was blue, I’d go for a red vest to stand out.

"In Monaco I ran in green because in the US the colour of money is green. In Stockholm I went for a white, because I figured it would be one of the coldest places I would ever run.

"I really think that shoe companies could learn something from what I am doing. A lot of people noticed what I was wearing because it is was so different, but the prevailing thought is for everyone to dress the same and show your domination in that way.

"I don’t think there are a lot of benefits to that. People stop paying attention and get desensitised."


Green in Monaco; white in Stockholm; stars and stripes for celebrating in Moscow

"Think of rugby, football or basketball: kids wear shirts with the name of their favourite player on the back. It would be smart of, say, Puma to do that with Usain Bolt or Nike with Allyson Felix.

"Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too much thinking outside the box, which is a shame because it is one of the oldest sports, so it should be the wisest.

"Instead track and field doesn’t do any of that and they wonder why the sport is losing interest. I’m not saying that what I did was revolutionary. I was never one of the top guys, but the amount of people who would know who I was because of my uniform was amazing.

"This would suggest there is a thirst out there for people doing something a little different.”