After a firestorm erupted when it was discovered that Ralph Lauren's U.S. Opening Ceremony outfits were manufactured in China, the clothing company announced the outfits for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi would be American-made.
[ Photos: Team USA uniforms through the years ]
Ralph Lauren released this statement:
For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren has built a brand that embodies the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. We are honored to continue our longstanding relationship with the United States Olympic Committee in the 2014 Olympic Games by serving as an Official Outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams. Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States. We have committed to producing the Opening and Closing Ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games.
Yes, they promise to lead the conversation after members of Congress threatened to burn the uniforms. The U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun also released a statement.
We take seriously the concerns we've heard from members of Congress and the American public regarding the U.S. Olympic Team's Opening and Closing Ceremonies uniforms.
With athletes having already arrived in London, and the apparel distribution process beginning this weekend, we are unfortunately not able to make a change for London. We are absolutely committed, however, to working with our sponsors to ensure that the concerns voiced are addressed. To that end, Ralph Lauren has agreed to domestically manufacture Team USA's apparel for Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
With 406 athletes, changing the outfits would be a logistical nightmare, but this should put it to bed for now. Addressing this issue now is the smart move for both groups because they want the focus to be on the athletes.
Hopefully, it will also knock Congress and everyone else complaining about the issue off their high horses. Anyone spending time and anger on this subject should take a minute to think about when they last purchased something based on where the item was made. Instead, they should be angry over the fact American Olympians are once again forced to wear funny hats.
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