Last Updated:October 30 @ 07:56 am

US Olympic uniforms look French, made in China

By Donna Cassata

WASHINGTON (AP) - Uniforms for U.S. Olympic athletes are American red, white and blue - but made in China. That has members of Congress fuming.

Republicans and Democrats railed Thursday about the U.S. Olympic Committee's decision to dress the U.S. team in Chinese manufactured berets, blazers and pants while the American textile industry struggles economically with many U.S. workers desperate for jobs.

"I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, told reporters at a news conference on taxes.

"If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that's what they should wear," he said, referring to an athletic jersey.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference that she's proud of the nation's Olympic athletes, but "they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America."

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said simply of the USOC, "You'd think they'd know better."

In a statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee defended the choice of designer Ralph Lauren for the clothing at the London Games, which begin later this month.

"Unlike most Olympic teams around the world, the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded and we're grateful for the support of our sponsors," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. "We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company, and excited to watch America's finest athletes compete at the upcoming Games in London."

Ralph Lauren also is dressing the Olympic and Paralympic teams for the closing ceremony and providing casual clothes to be worn around the Olympic Village. Nike has made many of the competition uniforms for the U.S. and outfits for the medal stand.

On Twitter, Sandusky called the outrage over the made-in-China uniforms nonsense. The designer, Sandusky wrote, "financially supports our team. An American company that supports American athletes."

Ralph Lauren's company declined to comment on the criticism.

In fact, this is not the first time that Ralph Lauren has designed the Olympic uniforms. Yet that did little to quell the anger among lawmakers. .

"It is not just a label, it's an economic solution," said Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat, "Today there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing jobs in this country and the Olympic committee is outsourcing the manufacturing of uniforms to China? That is not just outrageous, it's just plain dumb. It is self-defeating."

Israel urged the USOC to reverse the decision and ensure U.S. athletes wear uniforms that are made in America.

Sens. Sherrod Brown and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, sent letters to Lawrence Probst III, chairman of the USOC, complaining about the made-in-China uniforms. Brown suggested that the USOC find a manufacturer with a facility in the United States, suggesting the Hugo Boss plant in Cleveland.

"There is no compelling reason why all of the uniforms cannot be made here on U.S. soil at the same price, at better quality," Gillibrand and Israel wrote.

In a tweet, U.S. track and field Olympian Nick Symmonds, who will compete in the 800-meter run at the London Games, wrote: "Our Ralph Lauren outfits for the Olympic opening ceremonies were made in China. So, um, thanks China."

This is hardly the first time patriotism has been discussed when it comes to Olympic clothing. The must-have souvenir of the 2002 Salt Lake Games was a fleece beret, something that athletes wore in the opening ceremony and prompted countless people to spend hours on lines waiting to purchase during those Olympics.

Those berets were made by Roots, a Canadian company that was the official U.S. team outfitter for that opening ceremony. ABC World News reported Wednesday night that the uniforms were made in China.

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Associated Press writers Tim Reynolds in Miami, Alan Fram and Jim Abrams in Washington and Samantha Critchell in New York contributed to this report.

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19 Comments

  1. Wolff BachnerComment by Wolff Bachner
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    this is utter nonsense. it is a smoke screen from the rinos and sellouts in Washington who haven’t said a word about the foreign spending that really matters. like the billions of Chinese steel building a massive bridge in San Francisco instead of using American made steel or General Motors rebuilding with tax dollars then fleeing to China. gm just moved most of their r and d to china from the USA. HEY POLITICIANS HOW ABOUT THE STUFF THAT MATTERS. STOP USING MINOR ISSUES TO LOOK LIKE YOU CARE AND FIX THIS COUNTRY BEFORE WE ARE ALL STARVING.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (20 votes cast)
    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 13, 2012 @ 11:24 am

      Wolff, the Power Players are in 7th Heaven making money, hand over fist.

      Shifting US manufacturing overseas, has been a Godsend for the Power Players in making money. Call it Free Trade, and the word FREE, as in Freedom, makes it all okey dokey.

      Remind the Great American Sheeple, that graze myopically, that this means inexpensive things. Don’t tell them that this means a lowering of job quality, or that this empowers, Communist China. It’s all about making money money money!

      Don’t tell The Sheeple, that their Sons & Daughters who risk their lives in the Armed Forces, can look forward to working at Wall Mart as an “Associate”, if they are lucky.

      De-industrialization is another key, to ending The Representative Republic, and empowering the Nanny Socialist State!

      Khrushchev once quipped that the fine rope that will finally hang America, will be sold by America. Look closely now Comrade Khrushchev, and said rope will be made in Communist China. What an irony!

      Marv: Yes, it looks like something for a Gay parade. I am sure that it gets an Obama, flip of the wrist, in approval.

      Suggestion: American made, dark grey Fedoras, trench coat, over the double breasted suits and grey pants. Heck, put a smoking cigarette in their mouths, with a glass of Whiskey or Gin in one hand, and complete the Bogart look. That would scare the pansy fluff nations and the silly Saccharine Sweet Olympic atmosphere.

      “Out of all of the lousy stink’n gin joints, we came and kicked a$$.”

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 15, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

      Just tongue in cheek folks, per cigs & drinks. More Casablanca, Bogart… would be an improved serious look.

      De-Industrialization, is a serious problem. Repopulating We the People with 3rd World people, combine the two, and The Nanny State is just that more empowered.

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
  2. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    More trash intended to change us to a european clone

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (14 votes cast)
  3. MarvComment by Marv
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    For the uniforms not to have been made in America is disgusting. The style looks like it was designed for
    a gay parade. Who were the “Politically correct” clowns that approved this mess and replace them.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (17 votes cast)
  4. mudguyComment by mudguy
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    Why doesn’t Scary Reid get up set at all illegals that are taking jobs away from people in his state. Whats difference between that and giving jogs to China that could be done here?

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (19 votes cast)
  5. sethdsComment by sethds
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    I read the comments regularly for many articles but this is the first time I have posted. It seems to me an appropriate response is not quite as simple as righteous outrage. The article indicates that Ralph Lauren is a sponsor and infers that they provided the uniforms for free along with a lot of other clothing and financial support to the US Olympic effort which is essentially a charity. SO, if we want the Olympic Committee to turn down the support in favor of having to raise other funding to BUY American made garments isn’t this like boycotting any foreign made products so that we can strengthen US (arguable non competitive) industry. Now that is not simple either because of wages and regulation and the myriad of other impediments that work actually conducted in the US must face when trying to compete with foreign (mostly Asian) produced goods. So I empathize with the outrage but unless we are willing to demand a “level playing field”, or impose protective tariffs (which has been tried numerous times with poor results), or find the moral courage to independently personally boycott all goods made outside the USA (very, very difficult to actually do by the way)… our outrage is empty. I do not have a clear solution and I LOVE America but it just simply is not bumper-sticker simple.

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (15 votes cast)
    • godsgirlComment by godsgirl
      July 14, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

      Good points, Sethds!

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      Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  6. DudleyComment by Dudley
    July 13, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Perhaps congress should have voiced its displeasure at foreign made goods years ago when NAFTA and GATT were approved. This feigned outrage is transparent to anyone who has born witness to the continued outsourcing of jobs over the last 20 years. Guess Wal-Mart sold Chinese manufactured clothes are ok of the rest of us unwashed masses but not the US Olympic Team who is not subsidized and must provide their own uniforms. Which is the bigger issue, uniforms or how the Justice department allowed guns to walk into the hands of ruthless Mexican drug cartels killing hundreds? If this wasn’t so pathetic it would be funny.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (20 votes cast)
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  8. marlioComment by marlio
    July 13, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    They should have let a united states manufacturer such as Doncaster, make the clothing for the Olympic Team, which would be far superior to any of the crapola clothing, the Chinese make. Its usually flimsy junk, to be thrown away after you wear it a couple of times!

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    Rating: 3.8/5 (4 votes cast)
  9. ladyswissComment by ladyswiss
    July 13, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Well, the answer is to make EVERYTHING in America, then.
    Which is impossible in a global economy.
    But, would certainly help our economy.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  10. ladyswissComment by ladyswiss
    July 13, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    Well, finally some words from the pipsqueak Reid!
    He can talk, but won’t do the right thing – 1. a budget,
    2. Do what the American people want, repeal Obamacare,
    3. stop being an Obama puppet.

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  11. cxComment by genesal
    July 13, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    I don’t care who made them or how much they cost THEY ARE UGLY!

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    Rating: 3.7/5 (6 votes cast)
    • cxComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

      I’d add some Korans to the bonfire though.

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      Rating: 3.4/5 (5 votes cast)
  12. andrew96Comment by andrew96
    July 14, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    looks like the new Hitler youth poster child

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 15, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

      I think that The Hitler Youth, would be dressed in a much more serious, military way, not attending some gay yacht club meeting.

      Recall, that DEVO, a musical group in the ’80′s had this kind of plastic, formation look. De-evolution was their theme. They, DEVO, were way way ahead of the curve!

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
  13. wedeyComment by wedey
    July 14, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    Sometime ago I decided I was only going to buy American made.
    I was browsing through the stores and could find almost nothing to fit this criteria. What I find really funny is that people like Harry Reid are outraged about this. How about O’s tour bus at a cost of $1,000,000 was made in Canada.
    How about the stimulus money going for overseas green energy products, how about Fast and Furious where hundreds of people were murdered and two of our border patrol agents who were trying to secure our borders, how about O’s latest amnesty for illegals that have been here a long time and not deserve one red cent of our tax money, how about the attack on Christians and our religion because we might offend some other people that do not agree with our faith (and I say to this if you don’t like it leave the USA. How about the jobs loss and unemployment that has not been addressed since O took office. I could go on and on but you get the point. Also what about all the flags that are flying or perhaps put on our soldiers caskets that were made somewhere else.
    Give me a break Harry Reid and all those other outraged congressmen. I don’t think this outrages O, as he is getting exactly what he set out to do when he got elected, was destroy everything that made America the greatest country on earth.

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  14. godsgirlComment by godsgirl
    July 14, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    Let us first and foremost remember that this is not the fault of the athletes. Good luck, team America!

    Was Mr. Reid equally concerned about the outsourcing of American money that created all those jobs in Denmark, Finland, and China, to name a few? This complaint seems hypocritical, at best.

    I can’t imagine the poor judgement involved by this particular clothing designer – I won’t be buying any of his garments this year.

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    Rating: 2.7/5 (3 votes cast)
    • capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:22 am

      dont forget to be safe team america.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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