China’s cyclists have been causing heads to turn at the Rio Olympics – and not just because of their impressive performance on the track. Their helmets are decorated with faces and masks taken from traditional Peking Opera, making for an intimidating sight as they race around the Velódromo Municipal do Rio.
Sprint gold medalists Zhong Tianshi and Gong Jinjie donned helmets depicting female warriors Mu Guiying and Hua Mulan. Male sprinter Xu Chan’s helmet showed warrior Zhang Fei – although that was not enough to help him win a medal, with Chan knocked out in the quarter finals.
The helmets were designed by Zhang Dongliang, a graphic designer from Guangzhao, and built by Italian manufacturer Kask.
Cycling Weekly described the helmets as ‘creepy’, and joked that other teams should try something similar at the next Olympics in 2020.