Congressman Jim Langevin, a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus, and U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun commented today on proposed changes made to USOC policy as a result of discussions with lawmakers about the manufacturing of this year's Team USA parade ceremony uniforms in China.
Last Wednesday, Langevin was one of a group of Representatives and Senators to meet individually with Blackmun, who also spoke with the Congressman by phone following their written correspondence about the importance of the USOC addressing the issue. After concluding that it was not logistically possible to make new uniforms for the upcoming Olympic or Paralympic games in London, the USOC announced steps the organization would take to support American manufacturing in subsequent years.
"We were pleased to work with Representative Langevin and his colleagues in Congress to address their concerns regarding Team USA's parade uniforms," said 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."
"I appreciate Scott's responsiveness to altering the Committee's policies in support of domestically manufacturing future uniforms," said Langevin. "As a co-chair of the Olympic and Paralympic Caucus, I have had the great pleasure of working with the USOC and our amazing athletes on many initiatives that use the power of the Team USA brand to build stronger communities and help those in need throughout our country, and we are all excited to cheer them on in London.
"Recognizing the pride we take in the men and women who represent us on the world stage at the Olympics and Paralympics, I commend the swift action taken by Scott and his colleagues to send a message about the strength of American manufacturing and American workers."
The following shall be the USOC policy for all future agreements with respect 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" as defined by the standards of the Federal Trade Commission, with the following exceptions allowing for a deviation from the policy:
Obtaining such parade ceremony uniforms would be in violation of U.S. law or would not comply with any applicable trade agreements or treaties to which the United States is a party;
Essential 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;
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 shall make publicly available information explaining the reasons why it cannot do so.
As a part of its Quadrennial Report to Congress, the U.S. Olympic Committee will include an assessment of its performance under the policy, providing justifications for any instances where it has had to diverge from the policy, as well as any changes it has made to the policy.