This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic athletes, from left, swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform. Republicans and Democrats railed Thursday, July 12, 2012 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. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauren, File)
At the next Olympics, the team from the USA will wear uniforms made in the USA.
Designer Ralph Lauren announced Friday that the uniforms it provides the U.S. Olympic team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, will, in fact, be made in the United States.
The U.S. uniforms for the London Games were made in China, which sparked congressional criticism of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the USOC should be “ashamed of themselves” and Rep. Steve Israel called the decision “not just outrageous, it’s just plain dumb. It is self-defeating.”
Ralph Lauren initially declined comment on the criticism, but 24 hours later announced clothes for future Olympics would be made in the United States.
It’s too late to change anything for the 530 American athletes in time for the London Games, which start July 27. The uniforms for Opening Ceremony will remain as planned — blue blazer, cream-colored pants for men and skirts for women and a blue beret with red and white stripes.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who along with Israel wrote a letter to the USOC chairman Larry Probst complaining about the situation, released a statement after hearing Friday’s news.
“When America’s best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods,” she wrote. “The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing. While I am greatly disappointed our athletes will not be dressed head to toe in Made in the USA this year, I thank the USOC and Ralph Lauren for hearing our voices and working to correct this mistake going forward. I look forward to cheering on Team USA.”
The USOC did not have an immediate comment. On Thursday, it defended the choice of Ralph Lauren, saying it was grateful for the support from an “iconic American company.”