The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and a group of U.S. Senators today announced a deal that requires U.S. Olympians opening and closing ceremony uniforms to be made in America starting in 2014.
The announcement, made from the office of Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ. today, comes after fierce pushback from lawmakers on the Hill after ABC World News reported that the U.S. Olympians opening ceremony outfits at this year's London games were Made in China.
Menendez and eleven other Democratic Senators introduced legislation in the senate last week that would require the U.S. Olympic Committee to outfit the US Olympic team in clothes made in America for all future Olympic games. On Wednesday Sen. Menendez met with USOC Chairman Larry Probst and USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun in Washington.
As a result of those discussions, the USOC drafted and adopted a new Team USA uniform policy which mirrors the "Team USA Made in America Act," legislation filed by the Senators in Congress.
"I'm incredibly pleased that the USOC has formally adopted the requirements outlined in the Team USA Made in America Act," said Senator Menendez today. "This new policy - which will not be altered without informing the Congress - is a clear win for both America's athletes and America's workers. "
"We were pleased to work with Sen. Menendez and his colleagues in Congress to address their concerns regarding Team USA's parade uniforms," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "After listening to feedback from members of Congress, we have committed, along with our partners at Ralph Lauren, to make future parade uniforms in the United States."
The new USOC policy applies to uniforms to be worn by athletes during parade ceremonies that are part of the Olympic, Paralympic, and Pan-American Games.
All uniforms provided by sponsors, partners, licensees, or suppliers for parade ceremonies shall be "Made in the USA" with the exception being that ssential materials or parts needed to produce parade ceremony uniforms are not available in the United States, obtaining such parade ceremony uniforms would cause undue delay or create material financial detriment to the U.S. Olympic Committee, or it would violate IOC, Local Organizing Committee or host country laws, rules or regulations to adhere to the policy for the particular event.
If the U.S. Olympic Committee cannot obtain parade ceremony uniforms in conformance with this policy, it is requires to make publicly available information explaining the reasons why it cannot do so.
The USOC also committed to not changing the policy without first consulting with Congress.