Team USA’s uniforms evoke China (and France)

Harry Reid calls for the uniforms to be burned—but not with the athletes in them

Should Ralph be in the doghouse for his gratuitous logo placement?

When you think of the U.S. Olympic team you envision patriotism, teamwork, heart and maybe some stars and stripes. Not China. However this year, when people look at our athletes in their opening ceremony uniforms, China will come to mind for many.

The opening ceremony uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren have sparked a lot of controversy in past weeks after it was discovered that all of the $1,200 uniform was made and manufactured in China. Over 90 percent of the clothing purchased in the U.S. is imported from abroad, but shouldn’t the U.S. Olympic team wear uniforms made in America?

And it’s not just that U.S. uniforms made an ocean away feel unpatriotic, the uniform itself also looks more European in design. Athletes will be wearing berets that include a red, white and blue stripe on the side, which looks like a French flag. And the Ralph Lauren’s navy blazer is also sparking controversy. While the brand is known for the signature Polo horse on the upper left hand side on its designs, Olympians should wear the flag over their hearts, not a horse.

The uniforms have politicians outraged, too. Senator Harry Reid said the U.S. Olympic Committee should be “ashamed of themselves” and “embarrassed” that the uniforms were made in China when the local textile industry is hurting for jobs. He even called for the uniforms to be burned. Although nothing will be done to change the gear for London, the origin of uniforms for the 2014 winter games or any games that follow will not be an issue. A bill requiring all ceremonial uniforms worn by the U.S. Olympians and Paralympians to be made in America was adopted and has been formally named the “Team USA Made in America Act.” It’s not just a win for Team USA athletes, but the American workers, as well.

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Devin Altschul

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