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Former Olympians call Olympic committee’s potential American flag logo rebranding ‘disrespectful’

American Flag
Unsplash/Joshua Hoehne

Father-son former Olympians expressed their opposition to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s proposal to reimagine its American flag logo ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, saying, “Old Glory doesn’t need rebranding.”

The two former Olympic swimmers shared with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday night how proud they were to represent the American flag and why changing its design is “disrespectful.”

Gary Hall Sr., a three-time Olympian who held 10 world swimming records and named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969 and 1970, appeared in the 1968 Mexico City, 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympiads. He is a silver medal holder. 

However, his highest honor was when he was selected to carry the American flag for the Olympic team. 

"The greatest honor of my life was in Montreal in 1976 when I was selected to carry the American flag for the U.S. Olympic team leading into Montreal Stadium," Hall Sr. said. 

"And the American flag is iconic,” he continued. “It doesn't just represent the greatest country in the world. It represents and symbolizes millions of Americans who have worked hard, who have sacrificed, some of them, with their own lives."

Hall shared how his nephew, a Navy SEAL, gave his life for his country five years ago in Iraq.

"That Amerian flag means so much. No one has the right to change that other than U.S. Congress. And to me, it's disrespectful to even consider changing the American flag," he continued.

His son, a three-time Olympic swimmer and a gold medalist, Gary Hall Jr., said representing the U.S. in the Olympics is the greatest honor as an athlete. Changing the Stars and Stripes should be out of the question, he said. 

“Does the American flag, Old Glory, need rebranding? The answer to that is no. Next question,” he said. 

“The concern that I have, what irritates me out of this whole thing is that there’s some marketing, branding firm out there that has already been paid a lot of money for the drafts even and these resources [to design the new logo],” he expressed. “Couldn’t they have been better applied by supporting our athletes, giving it to an anti-bilking agency to catch cheaters? Old Glory doesn’t need rebranding.”

Hall Jr. appeared in the 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. 

The USOPC, however, told Fox News the committee has no intention to redesign the American flag. A spokesperson said the image was only one of many brainstormed concepts for a branding update. 

“It’s inaccurate to report that we are exploring a redesign of the American flag,” Kate Hartman, the chief communications officer at USPOC, said in a statement to Fox News.

"The image featured on last night’s broadcast was one of the many concepts being brainstormed as part of a branding logo update for the USOPC."

“We want to be clear that we love our country and respect the Amerian flag," Hartman added. "We do not have any intention, not to mention the authority to change our country’s flag."

The USOPC released a branding logo that featured an altered version of the American flag with five stars and a different portrayal of stripes. The flag still resembles the original American flag and would not replace the flag hung over the podium. 

The USOPC asked U.S. Olympian and Paralympian associations to fill out an online survey about changing the logo's design to be used in USOPC materials, Fox News reported. 

Hannity had a monologue earlier this week condemning USOPC, saying, "Here is my message: stop wasting your team’s time and money with a redesign of the American flag. It’s an awful idea.” He called the rebranding a “waste of time.” 

American Civil Liberties Union campaign strategist Brian Tashman criticized Hannity’s comments and pointed out how the conservative commentator never complained when the Bush-Cheney campaign and Trump-Pence campaign used altered versions of the American flag.

Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: emily.wood@christianpost.com

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