Congressional lawmakers from New York and Long Island joined a growing chorus of outrage following reports that American athletes will be sporting uniforms made in China at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) fired off a letter Thursday to the U.S. Olympic Committee calling for Team USA to only wear uniforms made in America. Democrats and Republicans both criticized the move.
“It is disgraceful that our American athletes will be wearing Chinese-made uniforms during the Olympics,” Israel said in a statement.
“When America’s best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods,” added Gillibrand.
The red, white and blue uniforms are made by iconic American designer Ralph Lauren but the caps, blazers, pants and skirts that bear their logo have all been manufactured abroad.
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky reportedly defended the uniforms and noted that the team is privately funded.
Ralph Lauren declined to comment on the criticism, according to The Associated Press.
In their letter to the committee, Gillibrand and Israel wrote “if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on US-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country.”
They cited estimates that manufacturing the uniforms in America would pump $1 billion into the struggling US economy.
The two, conceding that it is too late to change the uniforms before the London games start in two weeks, called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to ensure American athletes have uniforms made in the USA in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.