Perform Group is no stranger to the most-watched mats.
Having outfitted a range of gymnasts from Olympic gold medalists to college athletes, executives of the North York apparel firm have frequently watched their designs move along with lithe competitors.
"It's such a proud moment to see your garment on the big screen," said Wendy Martin, sales manager for Alpha Factor, the gymnastics division of Perform Group.
She'll soon get to see the company's clothes on TV again soon, after Friday's opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games, as Russian Olympians wear uniforms made by Alpha Factor.
The company worked in concert with Bosco, sponsor of the Russian team, to design and develop custom garments emblazoned with the Russian
Those designs will outfit the Russian Olympic men's and women's gymnastics teams, and the men's trampoline and tumbling teams.
First time, 1992: Alpha Factor first made uniforms for Russian teams during the 1992 Olympics and also outfitted the U.S. teams in 1996-the first and only year they won gold. It's gymnastic apparel has also been donned by teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Venezuela and other countries.
Having worked with Alpha Factor previously, Bosco contacted the company in late May to manufacture uniforms for the Russian teams.
Typically, an order of 230 uniforms is a six-week process for the company's East Prospect plant, but Alpha Factor was able to rush order the request and ship the outfits by June 29.
That an American company is making uniforms for Russian teams, and U.S. teams' uniforms are being made in China, isn't lost on Martin.
"There are two sides to every coin. It has a lot of politicians chiming in," she said.
Olympic uniforms were a subject of discussion last week when U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and five other senators drafted legislation in response to the U.S. Olympic Team uniforms' being designed by Ralph Lauren and made in China.
The bill would require the U.S. Olympic Committee to adopt a policy requiring uniforms be sewn or assembled in America.
Sports journalists have the U.S., Russia and China will be responsible for sending the top three teams to this year's Olympics. And though employees at Alpha Factor are honored to outfit a talented team, their hearts haven't wavered, she said.
"We're thrilled to outfit such a respectable team and regarded team in the gymnastics community, but we're always rooting for the U.S. team," she said.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.