Seeing red: U.S. Olympic uniforms made in China

With the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics set for July 27, the U.S. Olympic Team’s official uniforms have finally been revealed. And this time around, America will be represented by … China. Clothing-wise, anyway.

The news was greeted with disappointment and condemnation from many Twitterers:

Members of Congress, particularly Democrats, very vocally panned the uniforms as unpatriotic.

“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., said when asked by ABC News today, “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”

Reid said today that the U.S. Olympic committee should be “ashamed of themselves,” and “embarrassed,” that the items were made in China, especially with people in the textile industry in America who are looking for jobs.

Some people expressed surprise at finding themselves to be in agreement with Reid:

Reid even found an unlikely sympathizer in The Donald:

Reid’s sentiments were echoed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Steve Israel, and Rep. Sherrod Brown, among others.

“The USOC holds its athletes to a high moral and ethical standard, and has a no tolerance policy for cheating or violating rules,” Sen. Brown writes in his letter to Chairman Probst, “But China continues to cheat when it comes to international trade. As we work to achieve a level playing field for American manufacturers and workers, the USOC should act immediately to find a domestic manufacturer for this year’s uniforms.”

Brown calls for the USOC to enact policies to ensure that America’s athletes wear only clothing that is Made-in-America in the next 2014 games.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing for Hickey Freeman, a Rochester, New York-based clothing company to remake the uniforms, and the company claims it can fill the order in time for the opening ceremony.

Based on the reports we’ve seen thus far, it seems that Republican legislators haven’t had much to say on the issue, outside of John Boehner’s comment that the Olympic Committee should “know better.”

Some Twitterers felt that the controversy over the uniforms is nothing more than a distraction.

The White House, for its part, is refraining from any ruckus-raising.

“Maybe for future Olympics, those kinds of things should be considered,” deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One en route Norfolk, Va., this morning.

“The United States Olympic Committee has said that they are a—they are privately funded.  This isn’t a government decision,” he said.

Earnest suggested President Obama would prefer to see the team outfitted in outfits stamped with “Made in the USA,” noting “the president’s views on the high quality of American-made products is well known. It’s something he talks about extensively.  That includes American-made clothing.”

It’s interesting to note, then, that Ralph Lauren, the uniforms’ designer, is a proud Obama supporter.

Will the president be holding a polo summit with Lauren to discuss their economic conflict of interest?



Reductio ad Bainium strikes again.

So. Much. Facepalmage.

  • midnightgolfer

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s just as bad that they’re so ugly?

    • TugboatPhil

      No. I’ll move a step further and call them ridiculous.

    • Robert Moore

      I agree! they look like gay sailors!

      • StreekyD

        Gay Chinese sailors

    • jjjjlllllggggg

      I agree. They look like the should hop on their yacht with Muffy and head for the Hamptons. They don’t look like athletes.

      • Cyborg0012


  • stormin1961
  • WackoBird King

    Would that be a source of OUT SOURCING?

  • Robert Moore

    I think it’s a disgrace to every clothing manufacturer and every factory worker here in the USA. I wish the Olympians would boycott the uniforms until they get some made here.

  • Joel A. Edge

    Ralph Lauren: Democrat contributor

  • Stacy H

    Where’s the outrage over military uniforms being made overseas? I don’t care where they are made … they are UGLY. That’s my biggest beef with them. Sure it’d be nice if they were made here, but it’s not economical to do it here.

  • Ginger Edsall Kamps

    They don’t even look American – those are French berets, right? We are losing our national identity. I liked the cowboy hats in the Salt Lake City Olympic games, but then I am a die-hard American I guess. USA all the way! Let’s vote these clowns out of office.

  • JimNEPA2_0

    They look like they’re ready to “welcome” someone to a “re-education center” to “get his mind right”.

  • obathos


  • William M. Kemp

    Private capital raised by a non-profit. Any comment by Congress is totally irrelevant and frankly not in their sphere of influence. The US Government has no jurisdiction over the USOC…plain and simple. These are just politicians spouting off in an election year about something they have no involvement in. I would expect the USOC, since they are a non-profit, to maximize their dollars so, buying American makes no sense. What do you want to bet that Reid, Pelosi, Brown, and Boehner all have a car from a German or Japanese auto-maker? Reid should be outraged over something else, like lack of a budget.

    • jjjjlllllggggg

      And even so, without the support of their sponsors and the American people, the USOC is nothing.

    • George Hale

      Just like they have no influence over privately held Christian institutions like Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals, right William? For payments to be made from a Member’s Representational Allowance (“MRA”), a leased vehicle must be selected from the list of vehicles designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) as “low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles.” Sedans must have a Greenhouse Gas Score of at least 7; SUVs must have a Greenhouse Gas Score of at least 6. To find out which vehicles qualify Representatives are instructed to use the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide for their state. They may drive other vehicles. However, if the vehicle is not on the list they will not qualify for the tax payer quarterly subsidy.

    • Terika

      If it was about the $ bottom line, WTF did they go to Ralph Lauren for??? Was it a “private” DEM-favoring decision as a “thank you” to Lauren via the Olympics exposure??? (Like he needs it???). I smell……:.. crony cr@p. Again.

  • Zuzana Parrette

    the issue here people, is that Ralph Lauren is the maker of these “American” uniforms. And his company manufactures in China, or he (Ralph) decided to keep more of a profit for himself by manufacturing in China. The USOC should have specified to RL that they wanted the clothing to be made here in the USA!!!

  • Jeff Adamo

    It’s also a disgrace that the Ralph Lauren logo appears. It should be hidden inside on a label, not displayed prominently for the world to see. This is supposed to be about the pride of the USA, not about a clothing designer’s ego.

  • George Hardy

    Sad – but I`m glad I became aware of the issue; just came back from Sears store having skipped over a made in china tool and bought a Made In the USA one instead. I do remember though the days when many Americans took their jobs for granted simply because if they didn`t like what they were doing or got fired, they could easily go down the street and get another one. No one will ever take their jobs for granted again after this discusting mess.

  • Eric Johnson

    SO typical, and please tell Romney Condi Rice is not a good choice,

    • Garland Gene Walker Jr

      I don’t this this is a cost/savings issue. I think this is just another BS ploy to let China know we’re still their BITCH!

    • ARC1111

      Everyone can thank the UNIONS for forcing all manufactures off shore!!!

  • Vicki Bougere Fleming

    Our USA Olympic uniforms made in China look gay!

  • Mac Camp

    How about those gay caps.
    Something out a gay swishy French movie.
    Forget gay Ralph.


    Pathetic threads, indeed. Lauren lost his luster in the 80’s. Obama loses his in 2012.

  • DianaHall

    gimme a break……we are reading labels, boycotting and campaigning against the atrocities forced on Chinese citizens on a daily regular, buying American ……. and now this……….ludicrous, absolutely…….good comments made by everyone. yes, they are hideous, un-American and ditto to midnightgolfer:) redesign? hell–ooooh…they better get busy, only fourteen days to throw together some sweats in Stars and Stripes!!!!

  • Snarky D

    The horror. Next thing you know they’re going to start holding the Olympics outside of America and letting other countries compete.

  • Xypher2000

    are they going to boarding school?

  • Rgroce

    Those are ugly uniforms anyways.. Who picked them?

  • Terika

    Is that a Chmn Mao shaped hat? Looks more like that, than even a French beret.
    Go back to the cowboy hats!!! The other countries will be wearing outfits reflecting their countries, you can bet on it. If Canada shows up w/ cowboy hats, and we have berets… maybe we can swap! ; /

    Redo the uniforms now, while there is time. Our athletes should not hv to feel less than proud at the opening ceremony! Ditch that freakin beret, at least & get them all white cowboy hats!

  • Frank Ferraro

    The picture looks like a promo for the Young Communist Party, or maybe Starship Troopers (want to know more?)