Outcry over uniforms leads to decision for made-in-USA uniforms in 2014
With just over a week until the 2012 London Olympics begin, it is too late for any of the 530 American athletes to change anything, including their uniforms. Still, many are calling for change when it comes to those uniforms, which were made in China and caused public outcry from many people across the United States.
The criticism extends to Congress, who voiced their disapproval of the national uniforms’ Chinese origin the US Olympic Committee. On Friday, a group of Democrats in the Senate introduced a bill that would require US Olympic uniforms to be made in the United States. Several other members of Congress have voiced their criticism as well.
In response, the USOC Press Box issued a statement asking for the continued support of Team USA despite what has been brought to light.
“The members of Team USA have dedicated their entire lives to training for this one moment,” the press release said. “They are some of the finest men and women this country has to offer and they are prepared to succeed both on and off the field of play in London. Our country should be proud of the individual athletes that will represent them in London.”
The press release noted that starting in 2014, Team USA will wear uniforms made in the United States. Renowned designer Ralph Lauren promised to make this change a reality as well when it announced Friday that the uniforms it will provide the US Olympic Team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia will be made in the United States. As an iconic American brand, Ralph Lauren has the ability to be a catalyst in a shift towards more manufacturing within the United States.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the endorsers for the bill requiring Olympic uniforms to be produced in the United States, accepted the USOC and Ralph Lauren apologies.
“When America’s best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing. While I am greatly disappointed our athletes will not be dressed head to toe in Made in the USA this year, I thank the USOC and Ralph Lauren for hearing our voices and working to correct this mistake going forward. I look forward to cheering on Team USA.”