The U.S. Olympic Committee and Ralph Lauren Corp. are taking some lumps after introducing on July 10 the China-made official Team USA uniforms for the Olympic opening ceremonies later this month.
“ABC World News” focused on the uniforms’ Chinese origin in a prime-time report Wednesday, questioning why such a high-profile outfit for U.S. athletes was manufactured abroad.
“The U.S. uniforms were made in China? How could it be?” asked anchor Diane Sawyer, before airing a report that had top U.S. fashion design Nanette Lepore say the garments could easily have been made domestically.
In a statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee stressed that it is privately funded and dependent on sponsors like Ralph Lauren for support. "We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company," the committee said.
The 2012 garb is the third time Ralph Lauren designed the duds for Team USA.
Other media outlets zeroed in on berets and the large Polo logo that are part of the ensemble, both of which have adorned the U.S. uniforms in past Games.
The New York Post crowed that American athletes look “as if they’re decked out for a Hamptons’ lawn party” as a headline asked, “What happened to cowboy hats?”
The Associated Press noted that the 2002 U.S. uniforms included berets, which became popular and sold out widely during the Salt Lake City Games.
After “Fox & Friends” hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson questioned the choice of berets, some viewers wrote to the show to point out that U.S. special forces wear berets as part of their uniforms.
“It's a privilege to play a part in the London Games and to celebrate the achievements of these premier athletes as they represent our nation on the world's biggest stage,” said David Lauren, executive VP of advertising, marketing and corporate communications for Ralph Lauren, in a statement.