I first noticed the strange pink straps hanging underneath Gareth Bale’s shorts when I was editing some photographs from Wales game versus Bulgaria earlier this year. Was he wearing women’s underwear? Were these garters? They just seemed to sort of hang there, maybe stuck to his inner thigh with tape that had come loose. I notice them every game now, flapping in the wind as he charges down the line, or just dropping listlessly as he is treated for another injury.Well I can now reveal that this is not just a quirky underwear choice, those pink ribbons are in fact “an innovative and highly effective modality for treating sport injuries and aiding lymphoedema reduction”. It is Kinesio Tape.
In his early days, Bale would wear lycra support shorts under his football kit. A modern athelete, who takes care of himself, he was aware early on of preventative methods for the avoidance of muscle tears and strains. Kinesio Tape is just a more advanced system for strapping up those valuable thighs.
Members of Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team wore Kinesio tape on their knees during the Tour de France, and Tiger Woods is also a fan. (Not sure which muscle he likes to preserve).
Another man who uses the stuff is David Beckham, pictured here with a more targetted application to treat an existing injury.
The tape is usualy available in pink and blue ribbon, though it seems that the young Whitchurch High School protege had secured a supply of navy blue tape to match his Spurs shorts.