Olympic outfits spark controversy
The debut of the official team outfits for Canada's 2010 Winter Olympics team has been marred by political controversy over an insignia.
One critic said it's so similar to the federal Conservative Party logo, with a capital "C" for Canada, that the team version should have been redesigned.
The outfits were unveiled in Vancouver on Thursday morning by the Hudson's Bay Co., the official supplier.
Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry accused Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn of not being "on the ball" about the potential embarrassment of part of the design.
Fry thinks the stylized letter "C" on some of the Olympic athletes' clothing looks too similar to the same letter in the Conservative Party's logo.
"If he was on the ball, he might have said, 'I don't know about that. This could create a problem,'" said Fry. "I think the government should have said, 'I think this is too similar.'"
The outfits, featuring parkas, sweaters, tuques and hoodies, mark a return to more classic designs for the team and are also drawing mixed reactions outside the political arena. One commenter on the CBC website dubbed the style "Hoser Chic."The retail line of sports and winter wear follows the critical and commercial failure of more flamboyant team uniforms created by the Bay for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, which many athletes did not like wearing.
Seventy-five per cent of the clothing sold to consumers will be made overseas in countries such as China, but the athletes' uniforms will be made in Canada, said officials.
The competition uniforms have yet to be revealed.
In 2005, the Bay signed a $100-million deal with Olympic organizers to outfit the Canadian team from 2006 until 2012. While the Hudson's Bay Co. is the oldest commercial corporation in Canada, it is owned by U.S.-based NRDC Equity Partners.