Why Were Team USA’s Uniforms For The 2012 Summer Olympics Made In China?
It’s official. Everything that Americans use has “MADE IN CHINA” stamped on it. Seriously. How else can you explain the fact that all of the U.S. athletes who are participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be doing so in uniforms that are made in—gulp—China?
That’s right. Recently, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that Ralph Lauren would be supplying the team with outfits to wear during the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics. And, Nike will be supplying the U.S. teams with uniforms to wear during competition. But, both of those companies have outsourced the creation of their clothing to China. So, while the U.S. athletes will be representing America during the Olympics, they’ll be doing so in uniforms that were made in another country. It’s caused outrage amongst the country’s lawmakers. And, it’s not just Republicans or Democrats complaining. It’s both sides of the political spectrum.
“I am so upset,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said late last week. “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. If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear.”
He wasn’t the only one to blast the USOC for their decision to have the uniforms made in China, either. “You’d think they’d know better,” said House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
And, Rep. Steve Israel of New York took it a step further. “It is not just a label, it’s an economic solution,” he said, noting that the USOC could have created thousands of jobs by making the uniforms in the U.S. “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.”
The USOC did defend its decision. “Unlike most Olympic teams around the world,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement, “the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded. We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company, and excited to watch America’s finest athletes compete at the upcoming Games in London.”
So, which side are you on? In this situation, I would have liked to see the U.S. uniforms come from America. Even if it cost a little bit more to produce uniforms here, it doesn’t seem right that the USOC relied on China to get the job done. But, I also understand that the USOC was paying for the uniforms and that they had the right to pick where their Olympic gear was made. Is that the way you see it, too? Let us know.