U.S. Olympic Fundraising Mittens Produced in China
This week, the Associated Press reported that the red-white-and-blue mittens being sold by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to raise funds for winter athletes were manufactured in China. The words "Made in China" are clearly imprinted on the inside tag of the 100 percent acrylic mittens.
According to the release, the USOC is charging $14 a pair for the blue mittens that have the word "Go" embroidered in red on the left mitten and "USA" on the right. The original inspiration for the mittens comes from Canada, the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Raising more than $14 million for Team Canada, the "Go Canada" mittens were also produced in China.
This is not the first time the USOC has faced controversy over product sourcing. Last year, the organization drew heavy criticism from the public after it was discovered that China had manufactured the red, white and blue uniforms to be worn by U.S. Olympic athletes. However, news broke in late October that all clothing made by American designer Ralph Lauren Corp. for U.S. Winter Olympic athletes, including opening and closing ceremony uniforms, had been produced on American soil.
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the "official" mittens being worn by the athletes at the opening ceremony are made in the USA. The mittens are being sold on the Ralph Lauren website for $98 a pair. The wool mittens feature a knit stars-and-stripes pattern, along with inspirational verbiage at both palms. But, most importantly, they boast a "Made in the USA" label.
Why, then, were the fundraising gloves manufactured overseas? Because the federation does not receive government funding, it went for the more attractive price point, said the Associate Press. To date, it has raised $500,000 from the mitten sales.