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U.S. Olympians Won’t Wear ‘Made in USA’ Uniforms Until 2014

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Olympians won’t be sporting uniforms “made in America” until the 2014 Winter Games.

The U.S. Olympic Committee came under fire from members of Congress for commissioning uniforms that were manufactured in China. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the outfits should be put in a pile and burned.

Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said yesterday it was too late to have new uniforms made for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Summer Games in London, which begin July 27.

“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,” Blackmun said in an e-mailed statement.

Ralph Lauren Corp., maker of the Summer Games’ outfits, said it would ensure that the uniforms are made in the U.S. for the 2014 Winter Games.

“Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States,” the New York-based company said in a statement. “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.”

Shortly after Reid was made aware of the Chinese-made uniforms, he said, “If they have to wear nothing but singlets that say ’USA’ on it painted by hand, that’s what they should do.”

Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown wrote, in a letter to the USOC, “Our athletes -- and the apparel they wear -- should represent America. We know how to make things in America, which is why it’s such an embarrassment that Chinese factories were used to manufacture Team USA’s uniforms.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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