Ralph Lauren has been designing Team USA's Opening Ceremony outfits at the Olympics since 2008, and they usually get mocked by those who don't care for the preppy, repetitive style the designers come up with. This year, Team USA walked through Tokyo's Olympic Stadium wearing blue blazers over blue-and-white-striped shirts, with the Ralph Lauren logo and Team USA logo as patches on the front. They also wore dark blue jeans, a U.S. flag-print scarf, and white sneakers.
The Team USA outfit was unveiled earlier this month, with surfer Caroline Marks showing them off in PEOPLE. "It's such an honor and it's so incredible. Even doing a few photoshoots in the outfits already, it felt really, really cool," Marks, 19, told the magazine before the Olympics began. She later said she plans to keep her Opening Ceremony outfit as a keepsake, no matter what Twitter thinks of the design. "I'm definitely going to keep in a safe place or always have it in my closet. I'll definitely always have it there," Marks said. "I will always keep that forever."
Ralph Lauren also designed the outfits with special technology. Each Team USA athlete was actually waiting for the brand's new "RL Cooling" technology, designed with the Tokyo summer heat in mind. "Through the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Ralph Lauren celebrates America's pioneering spirit and tradition, while embracing modernity and innovation — and it is with that ethos in mind that we approached the development of the RL COOLING technology," David Lauren, Chief Branding and Innovation Officer & Vice Chairman of the Board, explained in a statement.
Why do the Team USA outfits look like they'd report you to HR for cursing pic.twitter.com/ZjsBKcFAGb— Molly Mulshine (@mollymulshine) July 23, 2021
It's not exactly clear how the cooling technology works though, notes the New York Times. Ralph Lauren said they used the same technology to cool advanced computers, which seems fitting since Olympic athletes are the most advanced at their sports. The label also made sure all parts of the outfit were made in the U.S. to avoid the backlash they faced when it was revealed that the 2012 Opening Ceremony outfits were made in China. The belts were made from recycled polyester made from plastic water bottles. The jeans were also made from a new material "free from synthetic plastics," Ralph Lauren said.prevnext
society if America stop letting Ralph Lauren embarrass us every Olympics pic.twitter.com/eOk9FjHF1u— Astead (@AsteadWesley) July 23, 2021
The Team USA flag-bearers were baseball player Eddy Alvarez and basketball star Sue Bird. After the ceremony, Alvarez said it was "such an emotional moment" for him and his family. "Just to get the honor to represent the United States of America, to hold the flag, a symbol of liberty and freedom — my family came over to this country from Cuba in search of opportunity, and if it wasn't for them doing that I wouldn't be in the position that I am now, the privilege that I had to hold the flag and lead Team USA through the opening ceremony," Alvarez, 31, told Today. "I mean, this has been such a whirlwind of emotions." Alvarez is the son of Cuban immigrants and a multi-sports star. He won a silver medal during the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a member of the U.S. short-track speed skating relay team.prevnext
I've always loved Ralph Lauren's designs for the Team USA Olympic opening ceremony outfit. 💀 pic.twitter.com/gq2E563Eqn— "I don't know, you tell me" 🖤🌹 (@ShaunaReporter) July 23, 2021
Bird, 40, is a four-time WNBA champion and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who is engaged to Bird, said she "couldn't be prouder and happier" for Bird, reports PEOPLE. "She told me on text, she heard at practice," Rapinoe continued. "In typical Sue fashion she was very low-key about it but I did see the video when [Diana Taurasi] told her and I think that says it all, unlike me, she doesn't like a lot of the attention but I think you could tell in that moment just how much it meant to her."prevnext
Every 4 years somebody lets Ralph Lauren make America's athlete's look like a clique of preppy pricks from a raunchy 1980s teen boarding school comedy. pic.twitter.com/wlsWUTRaFP— Ryan Adams 🎞️🏳️🌈 (@filmystic) July 23, 2021
ralph lauren fits make us look like we're still under british rule smdh https://t.co/pRSG6sCz9Z— Kimmy The Pooh (@kimmythepooh) July 23, 2021
"Abolish Ralph Lauren from designing the USA's Olympic Opening Ceremony outfits. Have we learned nothing?" one person demanded.prevnext
Ralph Lauren has Team #USA looking like the bad guys in a Disney Channel Original Movie.
These guys would have definitely bullied Johnny Tsunami and told him he didn’t belong. pic.twitter.com/QJjRWUHbJ5— Tyler Lawrence (@ahrealtyler) July 23, 2021