Olympics: US about-turn on uniforms

Olympics: US about-turn on uniforms

At the Winter Olympics in Russia, the American team will wear uniforms made in the US.

The uniforms for the London Games were made in China, which sparked congressional criticism of the US Olympic Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the committee should be “ashamed of themselves” and Steve Israel called the decision “not just outrageous, it’s just plain dumb. It is self-defeating”.

Designer Ralph Lauren initially declined comment on the criticism, but 24 hours later announced clothes for future Olympics would be made in the United States.

Ralph Lauren has an apparel contract with the committee until 2020.

It’s too late to change anything for the 530 American athletes in time for the London Games, which start on July 27. The committee initially defended the choice of Lauren, saying it was grateful for the support from an “iconic American company”.

Yesterday, committee CEO Scott Blackmun said the federation took the complaints seriously. “We are absolutely committed to working with our sponsors to ensure that the concerns voiced are addressed,” Blackmun said.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to commitee chairman Larry Probst complaining about the situation.

“When America’s best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods,” she wrote.

“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.”

– AP

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