TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- The Tokyo Olympics are here! After last year’s postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international sporting event will finally take place in Tokyo, unifying the world and the nation’s top athletes from July 23 to August 8.
While many of us are excited to see our favorite athletes compete, all eyes will first be on Team USA and what they wear as they grace the stages of the Opening Ceremony.
Some may argue that uniforms limit individuality but during the Olympics, they represent a group of people immediately symbolizing oneness and togetherness despite differences. And while most athletes keep their eye on the prize, Tampa Bay tailor Nick Awad credits fate, timing and hard work on landing his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in becoming the official Olympic tailor for Team USA in 2004 and 2008.
Fate first needled it’s way into Awad’s life at a local mall.
“I was at a Tampa Bay mall and they needed someone to do some last minute work,” Awad said. “They came to me through the yellow book because there was no internet.”
Before mega fashion conglomerate Ralph Lauren took over designing and tailoring Olympic uniforms in 2008, the tenacious tailor kept his soul fed with a needle and thread. Awad first worked in the Pan American games which then led to the Paralympics, 2004 Olympics and 2008 Olympics.
With just three people on his team, Awad contended with what he had.
Like a machine, he and his team “were on top of it. [He] was marking a team and one guy starts working on a jacket or whatever needed and [they] did it.”
Although he is not participating in this year’s games, Awad says he was very proud to represent Tampa Bay in years past.
“That was a beautiful experience. I’m glad I’m in Tampa to represent Tampa as a Tampa tailor,” he said.
From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, the Winklevoss twins and the Williams sisters – Awad played his hand in helping our nation’s top athletes dress for success. He tells us what it takes to make Olympic status.
“They needed fast, they needed hard work, they needed good quality”
Awad still enjoys watching the Olympic games today and keeps a close eye on not just the athletes, but on the fashion.
Another thing to keep an eye on as the Olympics begin in Tokyo — the weather!