A small Lakewood, Wash., business that made Olympic wrestling uniforms for 20 years was passed over by Team USA this year in favor of a company who will make the singlets in Japan.
MatMan Wrestling has designed and manufactured wrestling uniforms for high schools, colleges, children’s programs and some sponsors since 1970 and made the U.S. Olympic uniforms between 1984 and 2004. The company buys its fabric domestically and makes suits to order.
MatMan owner and founder Warren DePrenger said this year’s uniforms are being provided by Asics, a Japanese company with an office in California. Asics sponsors the U.S. governing body for wrestling and DePrenger said the suits for this year’s team will be made in Japan.
DePrenger said his company was never asked to bid.
“We would like to do it, but we didn’t have the opportunity,” said DePrenger. “We’re disappointed. We'd like to do, especially for our U.S. team, Olympic team, it'd be nice if they made the suits in America and we would have been happy to do that on the contract basis.”
A representative for USA Wrestling tells KING 5's Allen Schauffler that it's had a working relationship with Asics for 20 years.
MatMan employs 22 people during its busy season between October and February, including sewers, cutters, designers and office workers.
The news comes a few days after lawmakers voiced outrage that the Ralph Lauren-made uniforms Team USA will wear during the Opening Ceremony were manufactured in China.