The U.S. Opening Ceremony outfits look like the Russian flag

Kevin Kaduk
(Ralph Lauren Polo)
(Ralph Lauren Polo)

Russian representation may be thin in Rio thanks to the country’s doping scandal, but those back in Moscow were able to see the Russian flag on another big delegation during the Opening Ceremony.

Ralph Lauren and the United States Olympic Committee unveiled the outfits American athletes will wear in next week’s Opening Ceremony late last month and it didn’t take long for some to notice they might be better suited for athletes representing another country.

[Related: Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms throughout the years]

As sports design maven Paul Lukas and others pointed out on Twitter, the pattern of the striped t-shirt follows the order of the white, blue and red bars of the Russian flag. When paired with a buttoned-up navy blazer, only three bars are visible and it looks like the Russian flag.

See for yourself:

Seeing the outfits on American athletes down in Rio didn’t change our initial opinion either:

From our viewpoint, it’s nothing a few well-placed stars wouldn’t have fixed, but then again we’re not Ralph Lauren. (We thought the athletes could also leave their blazers unbuttoned, but it just looks like two Russian flags stacked atop each other.)

This isn’t the first time the USOC and Ralph Lauren have come under fire for their choices. A controversy erupted in 2012 when it was discovered that the American outfits were made in China and not the United States. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi agreed for maybe the only time in their time in Congress and Sen. Harry Reid said publicly that the uniforms should be burned.

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Learning from their mistake, Ralph Lauren and the USOC made sure that the opening ceremony clothes for the Sochi Games in 2014 were made in the USA. The 2016 outfits also carry the “made in the USA” label, even if it looks like they were sewn by a Russian hacker.

If you want to look like a member of this year’s Russian American team, it’s going to set you back a few rubles dollars. An entire men’s outfit costs $1,414 on — a package that includes the blazer ($695), t-shirt ($89.50), pants ($195), shoes ($350), wrist strap ($98) and belt ($85).

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Kevin Kaduk is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!