Perkins: U.S. Olympic uniforms should be made in USA

Maybe it's me, but isn't this just going a little too far? As a nation that was once the leading manufacturer of goods for the world market, have we dropped so far that we have to have our Olympic team uniforms made in China?

That is not the end of it, but to make things even worse, Ralph Lauren has blatantly placed his "Polo" logo on the breast pocket of every uniform in a large display of materialistic chutzpah. Couldn't we have the American flag displayed there or at least the Olympic five-ring logo? Instead of the world's games it looks like the Ralph Lauren show!

It's bad enough the little hand-held flags our athletes wave are also made in China. At least you would think with the uniforms being made in China there would be some advantage price-wise, but no ... each blazer cost $795 and the pants cost $295. I could buy a good pair of white chinos for about $39.95 and a blazer for not much more than $150. I don't know how much it cost to sew that large Polo pony logo on the pocket, but we would replace that anyway. So what did we save at the expense of our national pride?

I can only ask, who sits on our Olympic Committee and did they authorize this ridiculous uniform? With the beret, I heard a television commentator refer to these uniforms as looking like an Air France flight attendant costume.

To me they look more like the costumes the kids wore on the old Mickey Mouse show. We might as well put the Walmart logo on the hats, the Target logo on the back of the jacket and the Victoria's Secret logo on the seat of the pants.

You never see the name of any of the committee members, but someone must have OK'd these monstrosities and authorized the Polo logo on the jackets. Why not make the committee names public? I'd like to nominate them for an early Mensa award but I usually don't give those out until September.

Also, the president of Hickey-Freeman, a well respected clothing manufacturer, said that they could remake the uniforms in time for the games and they would include a "Made in USA" label, but in the committee's wisdom they passed on that offer.

I would like to know why the American public has not shown more outrage at this mess? We stand up and protest at the slightest affront to the criminals in our justice system, we rail at our politicians' shenanigans in Washington, and yet the reaction to this incident, which is being seen worldwide, fizzled out after a couple of days on the national news networks.

Let me make this clear, this is not a government fiasco, the Olympic Committee is a private organization, which depends on private funds, but it should not be hijacked by a corporate sponsor or group of sponsors. They are representing the USA, and should be held to account to uphold our patriotic image and spirit. This seems to be just another backward step in our society's acceptance of the unacceptable. The Olympic Committee's mission statement ends with these words: "... to preserve the Olympic ideals therefore inspiring all Americans." Sounds kind of hypocritical, doesn't it?

TOM PERKINS IS A RETIRED ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE WHO LIVES IN WATERFORD. EMAIL HIM AT TNGPERK@SBCGLOBAL.NET.

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