The uniforms worn by the U.S. Olympics team’s athletes have come under criticism; designed by Ralph Lauren, the uniforms were made in China. Their point of origin has drawn congressional condemnation from both sides of the aisle.
“I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “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. If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear.”
Commenting from Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner said: “You’d think they’d know better.”
Six Democratic senators are set to introduce legislation next week that would compel the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to dress the U.S. Olympic team with U.S.-made apparel going forward. The bill, Team USA Made In America Act of 2012, would require the committee to “adopt a procurement policy that requires ceremonial uniforms the USOC purchases or commissions be sewn or assembled in the United States.”
While it is too late to affect this year’s Olympic wardrobes, the USOC has committed to U.S.-made uniforms for the 2014 Winter Olympics. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun says: “We take seriously the concerns we’ve heard from members of Congress and the American public regarding the U.S. Olympic Team’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies uniforms. With athletes having already arrived in London, and the apparel distribution process beginning this weekend, we are unfortunately not able to make a change for London. We are absolutely committed, however, to working with our sponsors to ensure that the concerns voiced are addressed. To that end, Ralph Lauren has agreed to domestically manufacture Team USA’s apparel for Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.”