As happens with things put together by committee, U.S. Olympic parade uniforms have long been polyester city. At opening and closing ceremonies the Soviets have appeared in rich Siberian furs, the Spanish in bullfighter capes, the Canadians in Hudson's Bay coats. But the U.S. athletes? Tacky! The best you could say about their uniforms was that they had touches of red, white and blue.
But no more. At the Pan-Am Games in Puerto Rico next month and 1980's Winter and Summer Olympics in Lake Placid and Moscow, respectively, U.S. athletes will be outfitted in authentic Western gear. The wardrobe was supplied by the famed jeans-making firm of Levi Strauss, which footed the $1 million-plus bill, and includes almost the whole kit and caboodle—cowboy hats, jeans, turtlenecks, vests, denim shirts, skirts, belts, buckles and bandannas. Cowboy boots complete the picture. Most striking of all will be the outfits for the Winter Games shown on these pages, which feature plaid flannel shirts in a variety of colors and team sweaters as well as luxurious shearling jackets for parading in Lake Placid.
Levi's Olympic task force asked athletes what they wanted. In warmups it was jackets that didn't ride up in back, deep pockets, long leg zippers and absorbent collars. Otherwise, it was jeans, jeans, jeans. They got 'em.
Marching on Sun Valley, U.S. ski team members' Cary Adgate, Christin Cooper, Susie Patterson and Steve Mahre preview the 1980 winter parade.
June 24, 1979
A cowboy hat tops off Western look for U.S. downhill skier Patterson.
At Olympic parties, Viki Fleckenstein and Adgate will wear Levi's sport jackets and slacks.
Shearling work boots will provide an extra wild Western kick.
While traveling, Mahre and Cooper will wear outfits that will make them feel right at home.