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By Zach Fox, Spartanburg Herald Journal
The outfits American athletes will be wearing during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games have close-knit ties with Spartanburg County. Workers at the Inman Mills plant in Enoree produced the unfinished white fabric that was used to design the pants and shorts Team USA will wear at the beginning and end of the games in Rio. The products came together thanks to a partnership between Inman Mills and two companies in North Carolina.“This is a real Carolinas project,” said Inman Mills CEO Rob Chapman. “There's a huge sense of pride. Made in America, made in the Carolinas, and our Olympic athletes are wearing them — how do you beat that. One of the criticisms you had in the past is, Americans are wearing these, and where are they made — not here.” Inman Mills produced the combed cotton used in the white bottoms athletes will wear. The combed cotton was woven at the Ramey Plant at Inman Mills' Enoree site. The yarn was produced by Parkdale Mills in North Carolina. Inman Mills has historically worked with Polo Ralph Lauren, and the partnership for the 2016 games is the product of a strong relationship between the two companies. The plant also makes woven fabrics that go into uniforms for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, as well as what goes inside footballs used by the NFL. Friday night's exposure at the Olympics will give Inman Mills a global audience. The unique outfits sported by American athletes will be a point of pride for the country, for American textile workers and for Spartanburg County.