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Canadian 2014 Olympic team uniforms unveiled, 100 days before Sochi
The Canadian 2014 Olympic uniforms were unveiled Wednesday, on a day marking 100 days until the official opening of the Sochi Winter Games.
Official Canadian Olympic team outfitter the Hudson's Bay Company unveiled the new designs, with the help of some Olympians, during a press conference in Toronto. They uniforms feature images of a beaver, loon and polar bear -- as well as the word 'Canada' in a vintage classic wordmark.
The uniforms will be worn by the team during the opening and closing ceremonies, around the Olympic village, and on the podium in the event that they win a medal.
The Bay president and CEO Bonnie Brooks said the athletes’ clothing is being manufactured in Canada, while replica apparel for consumers are being made elsewhere, mostly in China.
Speaking with reporters after the presentation, Brooks acknowledged the heightened scrutiny on garment factory practices worldwide.
“We are a company with a very, very stringent social compliance policy and obligation to people around the world. And we ethically source every factory that we work in,” Brooks said.
The issue of where the Olympic collection is made is not new: the federal government raised concerns ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics after learning most of the Olympic clothing was being manufactured in China, not in Canada.
Meanwhile, athletes expressed their delight with the colourful T-shirts, down jackets, knit sweaters and tuques.
Billy Bridges, a sledge hockey player from Prince Edward Island, said Canada will be “one of the best-looking countries by far.”
“It’s made us proud to put it on, and that’s what it’s going to feel like in Sochi, Russia, when we’re out there,” he said.
Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Abut said the uniforms are “the ultimate symbol” of Canada’s Olympic dreams and aspirations.
"These uniforms are so much more than just fabrics and design ideas. They are a manifestation of the hard work and determination of countless supporters, including friends, coaches, team supports and family members."
HBC vice-president of design Hilary Kelley said they sought to do something different with the new collection.
The animal icons, which adorn clothing throughout the line, represent the elements athletes will contend with during competition: the beaver for land, the polar bear for ice and snow, and the loon for air.
“The collection is an evolution of Canadian sport and style, exuding a sense of refinement,” Kelley said.
Earlier this month, the Nike-branded Team Canada hockey jerseys were unveiled at the site of Toronto's historic Maple Leaf Gardens.
In September, the Bay also unveiled its latest edition of the Canadian Olympic Team mittens. The red and white mittens sell for $10 online and at Bay stores, with 30 per cent of the sale proceeds going toward the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
The Bay's Olympic mittens from the 2010 games in Vancouver turned out to be a hot-ticket item, with more than 3.5 million pairs sold during a five-month campaign.
In Russia, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Tuesday that the final 100-days will be the "toughest ones" for Olympic organizers and volunteers in terms of preparations.
Russia is estimated to be spending $51 billion on the Sochi games, making them the most expensive in Olympic history.
The games start Feb. 7 and run until Feb. 23.
With files from The Canadian Press