Washington, D.C. – Following reports that American athletes will be kicking off the 2012 Olympics in uniforms made in China, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Steve Israel expressed outrage, and called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to produce uniforms for Team USA for all future Olympics that are made by American workers. Manufacturing Olympic garments in America would bring $1 billion into the U.S. economy.
Senator Gillibrand said, “When America’s best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods. The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing. We shouldn’t be going to the world stage with anything less. From head to toe, Team USA must be made in America.”
Rep. Israel said, “It is disgraceful that our American athletes will be wearing Chinese-made uniforms during the Olympics. We should be promoting American-made goods and supporting our domestic manufacturers and laborers. I urge the U.S. Olympic Committee to reconsider their decision.”
The full text of the letter sent to the U.S. Olympic Committee is below and attached:
Mr. Lawrence F. Probst
United States Olympic Committee
Dear Chairman Probst,
It has come to our attention that this year’s U.S. Olympic uniforms were manufactured overseas in China, this is both shocking and deeply disappointing. We have enormous pride in all of our Olympic athletes and want to ensure they are displaying the same pride we have in our American workers when competing on the world stage. We are asking that the Committee and its Board of Directors take immediate steps to guarantee that this embarrassment does not happen again by voting that any future contracts for Olympic uniforms are made in America. This would ensure that U.S. Olympians are supporting American jobs. As American fans cheer for our Olympians, we should also be cheering for the American manufacturers and laborers reflected in the red, white and blue on their uniforms.
There is no compelling reason why all of the uniforms cannot be made here on U.S. soil at the same price, at better quality. Just as our athletes will be proudly competing in London, American manufacturers compete for the honor to outfit them on the criteria of using solely American workers to make these uniforms. It has been reported by economists that if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.- made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country. We also know that manufacturing is on the rise in the U.S. As reported in June, U.S. manufacturers added nearly 500,000 jobs in the previous 26 months – the strongest growth for any 26 month period since 1995.
We understand the hard work and dedication that the committee puts into the planning and execution of each Olympics Games, and we appreciate the support of all the sponsors involved. We ask that the committee have the same pride in and deference towards America’s manufacturers, laborers and small businesses. With a line from your mission statement in mind – “to preserve the Olympic Ideals, thereby inspiring all Americans” – we look forward to seeing the all our uniforms saying Made In America at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to your prompt response and action.