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Under Romney Leadership, Salt Lake City Olympics Uniforms Made in Burma

Under Romney Leadership, Salt Lake City Olympics Uniforms Made in Burma

So yes, the USA Olympic uniforms were made in China. As it turns out, the uniforms for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics were made in Burma and the  Salt Lake Organizing Committee thought that Burma and Myanmar were different countries.

Now we know why Mitt Romney has been a bit more than reticent about the matter and has not seized on the issue as part of his call to “get tough on China.” Says  on the Huffington Post:

According to reports in 2002, the decision to outsource the torchbearer uniforms to Burma caused an uproar among human rights advocates and trade groups. It prompted the head of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions to write a letter to the International Olympic Committee, stating that “No responsible organization or body should make use of products originating in Burma.”

The American Anti-Slavery Group and the Free Burma Coalition launched a campaign to protest the uniforms and called on the IOC to apologize and “promise to never support — indirectly or directly — the Burmese regime.”

Siddiqui cites a Guardian interview with 2002 torchbearer, 57-year-old Susan Bonfield of Washington DC, who said that she “went nuts” on seeing the labels; she commented that “When you are sending work representing the U.S. to a military dictatorship, I have an issue with that.”  More than 10,000 runners wore the made-in-Burma uniforms.

In 2002, Burma was an isolationist state run by a military junta t hhatad jailed thousands who expressed dissenting views and kept Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi detained for over fifteen years.  Released from house arrest in 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi only recently finished a two-week tour of Europe on which she sought support for a democratic transition in Myanmar.

Responding to the criticism about the 2002 uniforms, the Commmittee said in an email that:

“The torch relay clothes were NOT made in Burma. They were manufactured in Myanmar. In fact they were made in the exact same factory that produces clothes for GAP, North Face and other major clothing labels.”

In some ways, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee realizing that Burma and Myanmur are the same country is even more troubling. (I’m reminded of a previous vice-presidential candidate confusing South Korea and North Korea.) In addition, both the GAP and the North Face said at the time that they do not buy products manufactured in Burma.

As Maggie Habermann writes on Politico, the Olympics-uniforms-made-in-Burma issue will likely follow him over the Atlantic on his upcoming trip to London, keeping the Bain-outsourcing-when-did-Romney-leave controversy very much in the background.

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Photo of Romney at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics by Uncleweed

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25 comments

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7:03PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

That explains why Willard Romney who claims that he will be tougher on China than President Obama has not opened his pie hole to give an opinion about the US Olympic Team's uniforms being made in China. The US Olympic Teams uniforms for the Salt Lake City Olympics that Willard may or may not have left Bain Capital to save were made in Burma / Myanmar. You know what the say "No matter how bad things look Mitt makes them worse!"

6:44PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

And to think that at one time we had a product called Burma Shave that was made right here in the USA.

5:43PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Pot calling the kettle black is probably not in the Mittens best interest. Goes to prove that neither O or R have much real concern for Main Street America jobs.

Folks, this may get very ugly over the next few years and can be made worse with droughts and a huge yoke of debt.

A second currency, a US Treasury Dollar is the answer, I believe. Break the FED monopoly and make US currency work for Main Street again, not only Rothchilds of London.

12:39PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Poor Sarah H, afraid of ....all the political correctness, a christian and still she doesn't care if Romney is a terrible candidate for President. Personally, I hate that my tax money goes to religions that refuse to allow people to use birth control in the hospitals they own but I just have to sit and sigh. I wouldn't want to be politically correct or to have to talk about Romney when the thread is about Romney. Seriously are you really that old? It's like you are 14.

11:52AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Why am I not surprised . . . . . .

11:30AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Interesting... and I have seen comments on the China subject against Obama for it.... Romney was involved in 2002 unless as Marianne so eloquently puts it, "retroactively took sick leave that day".

11:02AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

At that time we weren't even supposed to be doing business with Burma (Myanmar) and their military dictatorship. But they sure did have spiffy uniforms.

10:11AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

what? outfits not made by loving little ol Mormon ladies at home?

9:43AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

sigh. Thanks.

7:10AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

What will Romney's excuse be for this one? Maybe he would say he was with Bain at the time, so couldn't be held accountable?

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