Once upon a time, we fixated on the gold around athletes’ necks, not the label on their uniforms. But over time, athletic wear has become a multibillion-dollar industry, with sponsorship deals and melon-sized monograms. And on a world stage, highly visible branding campaigns can lead to astronomical sales . . . or congressional outrage. From Spalding shortie-shorts to Team Polo pony, here’s a look at some less-controversial American uniforms.
1936In 1936, A.G. Spalding became the first official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic team, designing the uniforms for the Summer Olympics in Berlin. The men wore shorts that were as itty-bitty as the women's.AP/AP
Members of Congress and the public have criticized Ralph Lauren for manufacturing U.S. Olympic uniforms in China. The debate over where the clothes were made highlights an ongoing employment tragedy: the loss of American manufacturing jobs.