Team U.S.A. will be walking into London’s 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, Friday, July 27, dressed in an outfit designed by famed American designer Ralph Lauren. The problem?
The Red, White and Blue U.S. Olympic uniform is made entirely in Red China.
Lauren’s designs – a dashing blue blazer, with white bottoms and a patriotic beret – were featured in an ABC News segment titled “Made in America” where it was discovered that every piece of the U.S. Olympic opening ceremony uniform was manufactured in China. Congressional leaders in both houses and both parties have expressed their desire to have the U.S. team don another outfit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that the U.S. 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,” Reid said.
Likewise, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH.) said, “You’d think they know better.”
Some congressional leaders have called upon the USOC to ensure all future U.S. team’s uniforms be made only in America, while others have asked they get rid of the current uniforms and have them remade by an American manufacturer before the opening ceremonies in two weeks.
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky made a statement, defending the choice of Lauren’s designs:
“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. 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’s company has declined commenting on the criticism, however the official news agency of the People’s Republic was quick to respond.
Xinhua, China’s official news agency, threw barbs at U.S. lawmakers for their criticisms about the uniforms, and went on further to say that the American outrage over the made-in-China attire is ‘hypocritical’ and ‘irresponsible.’
‘The Olympics spirit is all about separating sports from politics, but these U.S. politicians are going too far and trying to force a political tag onto the uniforms,” it said in the commentary.
Then the news agency set their sights on Harry Reid and his statement about burning the Chinese made blazers.
‘If there is anything that should be burned, it should really be the hypocrisy of the U.S. politics,” it said. “The reason this issue has stirred people up is because the words ‘made-in-China’ touch upon the most sensitive topic of the U.S. election – outsourcing,”