HBC, and Roots before them, were quite reliable for Olympic wear prior to coming up with these monstrosities. You couldn't make me wear that outfit on the right if you held a gun to my head.
A little better. The lady at the left end did okay for herself. But I agree with Mrs THIT that this is reminiscent of that brutal Zubaz phase in the 80's, which was garish even by 80's standards.
There's some heat over the fact that these were made in China. Never mind the whole deal about how Team Canada's gear should probably be made in Canada, considering the quality of toys and pet foods to come out of China lately, if I started getting a little itchy while wearing them, I'd dial up a doctor pronto, Tonto. Being that I'm making every effort to avoid buying Chinese-made products, and preferring to not look like a dancer from Elton John's "I'm still Standing" video, I shouldn't have to face that issue.
The news is not all bad though. CTV explains...
...About 80 per cent of the uniforms will be made in China, and that number goes up to 90 per cent for Olympic wear sold to the public.
Critics say Canadian athletes should wear clothing manufactured strictly in Canada.
Liberal MP Denis Coderre said Canada is missing a "tremendous opportunity" to promote this country's textile industry on the world stage -- and called it an "unacceptable" snub considering the industry's struggles.
HBC stresses the uniforms and gear are "100-per-cent" Canadian and designed by a Toronto-based team, and that uniforms the athletes will wear on the podium and during the opening parade will be 100-per-cent Canadian-made.
But manufacturing the rest of the clothing required the company to turn to the Chinese market, said Hillary Marshall, director of corporate communications for HBC.
"There are some unique aspects to this collection. In particular, it's the first eco-friendly Olympic collection that's been designed for Team Canada, perhaps for any Olympic team," Marshall told CTV Newsnet on Friday.
"It required that fabrics be sourced -- fabrics that are made of things like bamboo, cacona, organic-blended cotton. These are items that help with the technical nature of the product. They help to keep the athletes cool, they have moisture wicking properties, they have cooling properties. Because those are items that are hard to find in Canada, they're sourced mainly in China, (so) we made the product there as well."
Marshall acknowledged cost was a factor, especially considering the quantities of clothing required -- enough to fill 600 stores, including the Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters, as well as those sold online.
Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, told The Canadian Press the government has not raised the issue of uniforms with the Olympic committee, adding the government likely believes it's impractical to insist on 100 per cent Canadian-made uniforms.
"The reality is that there's no longer manufacturing capacity in Canada that can meet the volume needs that are necessary to manufacture particularly the replica clothing that is sold to the public,'' said Rudge.
Canada's manufacturing industry has been hit hard by the rising Canadian dollar and the flood of cheap foreign imports, especially from China.
Dewar, the NDP's foreign affairs critic, said he hopes the government and HBC will make sure the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver will feature uniforms that are made in Canada.
"Wouldn't that be an embarrassment to have our uniforms made in China or anywhere else for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics? So hopefully someone is doing their homework on that," he said.
Marshall said HBC has already started to design the uniforms for Vancouver, and told CP that the company would be "very happy'' to sit down with Canadian textile and garment manufacturers to explore their ability to provide the volume of clothing needed at competitive prices...
Good to know. Now take it away, Elton!