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Athletes Made In USA - Just Not Their Clothes

(c) Sky News 2012

Ralph Lauren has promised that the uniforms Team USA will wear at the next Olympics really will be made in the USA.

The New York-based firm insisted the uniforms it would be handing out to members of the US Olympic team at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia would be of US manufacture.

The fashion giant was forced to make the pledge after it emerged that the US uniforms for the Opening Ceremony of the London Games were made in China, which sparked congressional criticism of the US Olympic Committee.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said members of the USOC should be "ashamed of themselves", while Republican Steve Israel said of the decision: "It's not just outrageous, it's just plain dumb. It is self-defeating."

Ralph Lauren initially declined to comment on the criticism, but 24 hours later announced clothes for future Olympics would be made in the United States.

The company has a contract with the USOC which runs until 2020.

"Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States," the company said.

But it is too late to change anything for the 530 American athletes in time for the London Games, which start on July 27.

The uniforms for Opening Ceremony will remain as planned - a blue blazer, cream trousers for men and skirts for women, and a blue beret with red and white stripes.

The USOC initially defended the choice of Ralph Lauren, saying it was grateful for the support from an "iconic American company".

But CEO Scott Blackmun later admitted the federation was taking the complaints seriously.

"We are absolutely committed ... to working with our sponsors to ensure that the concerns voiced are addressed," said Mr Blackmun.

"In the meantime, we ask for the American people's support. The members of Team USA have dedicated their entire lives to training for this one moment."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who along with Mr Israel wrote a letter to USOC complaining about the situation, released a statement after hearing the latest news.

She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) 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.

"While I am greatly disappointed our athletes will not be dressed head to toe in Made In The USA this year, I thank the USOC and Ralph Lauren for hearing our voices and working to correct this mistake going forward.

"I look forward to cheering on Team USA."