With their bright white pants, double-breasted blazers and bizarre berets, the uniforms designed for the United States Olympic athletes to wear at the opening ceremonies in London won’t be making anyone’s summer fashion list.
But days after Ralph Lauren released images of its 2012 outfits, U.S. lawmakers responded with a surprisingly visceral reaction to the news that the red, white and blue uniforms were made in... China.
“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 (D-Nev.), told reporters Thursday. “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear.”
And he wasn’t the only one worked up about it.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.): “It’s not just a label, it’s an economic solution. 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.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.): “There is no reason why U.S. Olympic uniforms are not being manufactured in the U.S. This action on the part of the U.S. Olympic Committee is symbolic of a disastrous trade policy which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and must be changed.”
In Milltown, N.J., residents found one more reason to knock the uniforms — for the barely visibile American flag on the Ralph Lauren logo patches.
“When you say the Pledge of Allegiance, they’re covering the Ralph Lauren logo,” 68-year-old Army veteran George Borgstede told the Star-Ledger. “The flag’s always supposed to go over your heart. The company logo shouldn’t be larger than the American flag. It is the U.S. Olympic team, not the Ralph Lauren team.”
What’s your take on the uniforms? And is Congress getting carried away, or is this really a big issue?
More 2012 Olympics coverage from Washington Post Sports:
Profiles in Speed: Speedy Olympians scrutinized as much as celebrated
The Style Blog: Team USA Olympic uniforms: Meh
ComPost: Team Made in China