Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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America’s Olympic Uniforms Aren’t American-Made

I’ve worked in television long enough to know that it’s pointless to utter phrases like, “Now I’ve heard everything!” But this is the kind of story, had I not learned said lesson, that might make me say such a thing.

Yes, those red, white and blue uniforms United States athletes will be sporting at the 2012 Olympics were actually made in China.

And it’s a story that even both Republicans and Democrats seem to agree  that there’s something very wrong with this picture.

In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he’s so upset, he wants the Olympic committee to “take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”

“You’d think they’d know better,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner said.

Yes, John, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?

The uniforms are being manufactured by American company Ralph Lauren. That part doesn’t seem to bother anyone. But the fact that the American company is apparently producing its American design in a foreign company that seems to be rubbing everyone the wrong way.

Well, not everyone: the U.S. Olympic Committee’s spokesman called the controversy “nonsense” on Twitter:

“[The designer] financially supports our team. An American company that supports American athletes.”

I have no problem with that. But surely Ralph Lauren could have made the uniform for this country in this country. Even if they had to spend a little more to get the job done here, it’s hard to believe that it never occurred to anyone that a foreign-made uniform at the Olympics wouldn’t stir up a hornet’s nest.

When you consider the nation’s economic conditions, the fact that the textile industry is one of many hit hard, and the fact that the Olympics are a source of patriotic pride, one wonders why no one saw this quagmire coming.

Your Turn:

Does it bother you that American athletes at the Olympics will be wearing attire manufactured elsewhere?

4 Comments

  1. I agree with the basic argument here — that it’s very strange to have a patriotic outfit that will represent the US on an international platform be made in another country — but I have seen arguments that it’s just too darn hard to source the materials in the US. I’m not an expert on the clothing industry, so I have no idea if that’s true, but you’d think a company as big as Ralph Lauren could have gotten materials made in the US for these (very important) uniforms. It’s a shame. 

    1.  @annedreshfield Yes, Anne…I don’t doubt that it might be a bit more difficult to source materials here. But it’s the OLYMPICS, for heaven’s sake! Surely there’s a way it COULD be done. 

      1.  @patricksplace My thoughts exactly. I understand it being difficult all the time, but for the Olympics…absolutely, 100% worth it.

  2. I agree with the basic argument here — that it’s very strange to have a patriotic outfit that will represent the US on an international platform be made in another country — but I have seen arguments that it’s just too darn hard to source the materials in the US. I’m not an expert on the clothing industry, so I have no idea if that’s true, but you’d think a company as big as Ralph Lauren could have gotten materials made in the US for these (very important) uniforms. It’s a shame. 

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.