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The Bizarre Political History of Where Team USA's Olympic Gear Gets Made The Bizarre Political History of Where Team USA's Olympic Gear Gets Ma...

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Politics

The Bizarre Political History of Where Team USA's Olympic Gear Gets Made

Ralph Lauren announced Tuesday that it made Team USA's clothes in the U.S. for the Winter Games in Sochi.

President Bush and members of U.S. Olympic team at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in August 2008. The Ralph Lauren outfits shown were made in China.(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Our national worry is over: Ralph Lauren announced on Tuesday that the clothing for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics was made in America.

This may not seem like a big deal to many across this country, but the issue of where U.S. Olympians' clothing was manufactured has been a contentious issue on the national stage in the past, even deserving an official comment from the White House.

During the 2012 Games in London, much of the clothing from Ralph Lauren was made in China. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at the time came out strongly against this revelation:

 

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 symbol that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.

When pressed, the White House wouldn't lay blame on Ralph Lauren or the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying they were private companies. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest explained further on July 13, 2012:

The president's views on the high quality of American-made products is well known and something that he talks about quite extensively. That includes American-made clothing; that there are high-quality products that are made here in America. And maybe for future Olympics, those kinds of things will be considered.

In true White House press corps fashion, the line of questioning took a bizarre turn. "Does the president insist on wearing American-made clothes?" one reporter asked. Earnest responded coyly, "I haven't checked the label on his wardrobe today."

Following this debacle, New York Democrats Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Steve Israel wrote a letter asking that American Olympians' outfits be made in the U.S. for future games. And it seems as if their pleas worked.

Ralph Lauren sourced these new outfits—which will be worn during the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as around the Olympic Village—through 40 different domestic manufacturers, the company boasts. Additionally, outfitter North Face announced it made the uniforms for the American freestyle ski team in California.

The 2012 Olympics was not the first time this was an issue. During the 2008 games in Beijing, Team USA's uniforms were made in China. Before then, the Canadian outfitter Roots made the clothing for Team USA.

For those super-patriotic fans out there, you can get the new gear from Ralph Lauren on Nov. 15 before the Olympics begin in February. Take a look at the gear and how it was made:

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