Ralph Lauren is bringing new meaning to the idea of warming up for the Winter Olympics: His Team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes’ uniforms, embedded with wearable heating technology, will actually warm them up.
Because who knows how cold it might get at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in Korea — maybe 10 degrees or even lower? No problem.
USA TODAY got an exclusive look at the patriotic togs that America’s Olympians will be wearing when they parade into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9: Red-white-and-blue down parkas equipped with a button on a slender battery pack inside that the athletes can push to get an instant and long-lasting jolt of toasty warmth.
Call it the coolest heating system ever, says a proud David Lauren, son of Ralph and chief innovation officer for Ralph Lauren Corp., chief outfitter for the U.S. Olympic Committee since 2008.
“It’s the most technologically advanced jacket ever produced,” Lauren says. “There have been heatable blankets for kids before but they have wires. This is a fabric with ink that heats up — it’s weightless, it’s conductive and it’s immediate.”
The electronic-printed inks, printed in the shape of an American flag in carbon and silver and bonded to the interior of the jackets, are flexible and stretchable. The parkas are water-repellent. The athletes can set the temperature (there are three settings) via their cellphones. The heat can last up to five hours on the high setting and 11 hours on the low setting, fully charged.
And the heat button is big enough to be used with gloves, which is crucial because the Opening Ceremony uniform includes large brown suede explorer gloves with fringe and hand beading.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Maria Puente