Hickory Area Happenings!

2014 WINTER OLYMPICS: Longview Yarns dyed American's uniforms red, white and blue

February 6th, 2014 10:00 PM by Shane Greene

HICKORY, NC — Like many Americans, Russ Perkins will be at home Friday night watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

He will watch the American athletes enter the stadium in Russia wearing their red, white and blue uniforms.

But unlike most of his countrymen, Perkins has a special connection to the uniforms.

Perkins and his 11 employees at Longview Yarns dyed the yarn used in the sweaters the athletes will wear during the opening ceremonies.

That’s more than 6,000 pounds, or three tons, of yarn Perkins’ employees dyed that is part of 650 uniforms.

“That was a big order for us,” Perkins said.

The wool was harvested at the Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon, and then moved to Kraemer Yarns in Nazareth, Pa., to be spun into yarn. It was then sent to Long View to Longview Yarns to be dyed. From there, the yarn was sent to Ball of Cotton in California to be turned into the Olympic sweaters, according to a video on Ralph Lauren’s website.

The uniforms were made in the U.S. for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Ralph Lauren got some backlash after word got out the uniforms for the 2012 London games were outsourced to places such as China. The designer vowed the 2014 Olympic clothing would be made in the U.S. Forty vendors in the U.S. were used to create the clothing, Perkins said.

Perkins got the call around September 2012 and his company started matching shades.

“That process took a while, and Polo was helpful and patient with us,” Perkins said.

Longview Yarns got the yarn in late December 2012 and January 2013 in several shipments.

Working one shift, it took Longview Yarns employees four to five weeks from start to finish to complete the job, Perkins said. It was a lot of red, white and blue, he said. Perkins’ father, Cecil, started the business in 1955, the year Russ was born.

“We’re really proud and honored to have been asked,” Perkins said. “And we’re proud to have been able to do it and proud that our athletes are going to be wearing them in the opening ceremonies.”

So Perkins will be in front of his TV and admitted he might even shed some tears of pride.

“My hope is we have a safe Olympics and America can do well — bring back the gold,” Perkins said.


Russ Perkins, owner of Longview Yarns, displays cones of red,white and blue yarn at his plant. Perkins' facility dyed 6,000 pounds of wool yarn for the United States Olympic sweaters that will be worn during the opening ceremonies tonight.

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Posted by Shane Greene on February 6th, 2014 10:00 PM


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