ATLANTA, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Standing triumphantly at the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in a sweatshirt, Rocky Balboa makes "Rocky" the number one sweatshirt movie of all-time. The Top Ten Sweatshirt Movies of All-Time were announced as part of the 80th birthday celebration of the invention of the sweatshirt. The selection was made by Russell Athletic, the company that produced the first sweatshirt and has been the market leader for more than 80 years. "The sweatshirt came about in a very serendipitous manner. What started as a random thought has grown to become more a part of American culture than any other clothing item, including jeans," noted Alex Hodges, vice president of marketing of Russell Athletic and head of the sweatshirt movie selection committee. Bennie Russell led his father's women's undergarment business, the Russell Undergarment Company, to be one of the top names in performance wear when he started selling long johns tops as football practice jerseys. A Philadelphia distributor liked his idea, and the rest is history - with much of the history recorded in movies with sweatshirts worn by performing athletes, fraternity jocks and even in love scenes as casual wear. "Movies are a reflection of our culture and so are sweatshirts," Hodges continued. "Sweatshirts have become the student uniform at colleges, workout apparel at gyms, casual shirts on casual days at work, and they are even worn by some people to sleep in. All of these uses are reflected in movies over the past 80 years. Initially, sweatshirts were just seen in sports movies. However, later, it was what Harry wore when he met Sally." Hodges said that 90 percent of all Americans own at least one sweatshirt, and the typical person has five different ones. Everyone also has a favorite one that he or she wears during relaxing times or while working out. Over 100 million sweatshirts are sold annually. The Top Ten Sweatshirt Movies as selected by Russell Athletic (with comments from Hodges) are: 1. Rocky. "There was really no debate. Rocky's moment of celebration is one of the top movie images in history." 2. Animal House. "John Belushi is responsible for the millions of 'COLLEGE' sweatshirts on campuses across the country." 3. Knute Rockne, All-American. "It is hard to miss when you have a future president of the United States as well as his coach, both wearing sweatshirts. In reality, the sweatshirt was invented while Knute Rockne was a college coach. His most lasting images are of him wearing a sweatshirt." 4. Flash Dance. "People have always looked for ways to make clothing their own. Jennifer Beals inspired thousands of girls to purchase sweatshirts and cut away the collars and create a more individual, sexy look." 5. Beverly Hills Cop. "The Beverly Hills cops may have worn suits and police uniforms, but Eddie Murphy wore a sweatshirt from beginning to end." 6. The Never Ending Story. "Never has one sweatshirt seen so much adventure. The little boy in the movie wore his sweatshirt in every scene." 7. Meet the Parents. "This ended the G rating for sweatshirts. Ben Stiller did the first love scene wearing a sweatshirt, at least based on our research. Ben Stiller, in fact, is one of many stars who wear sweatshirts as part of their normal wardrobe. We recently sent him several Russell Athletic sweatshirts at his request." 8. Million Dollar Baby. "Sweatshirts are in all sports movies, but this was a unique one. Hilary Swank wore one and so did the boxing old- timer played by Morgan Freeman." 9. Sleepless in Seattle. "Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan wore sweatshirts. Usually it is one star or another who wears sweats in a non-sports movie. In this case, it was both stars." 10. The Longest Yard. "This is a dubious distinction. Burt Reynolds donned what was probably the ugliest sweatshirt ever seen in a movie. However, it definitely stood out and helped make his character." Other notable movies that were in the running: Chariots of Fire. ("It was about training for the 1924 Olympics, and in real life, there were no sweatshirts back then."), Old School ("It was what Vince Vaughn wore as an over-aged frat member, but it couldn't rival Animal House when choosing the Top Ten."), Kicking and Screaming ("If Burt Reynold's sweatshirt in The Longest Yard was the ugliest, Will Ferrell's tiger-striped sweatshirt was the most obnoxious."), Spiderman ("Spiderman wore a sweatshirt when he wasn't in the Spidey suit."), 8 Mile ("Eminen and everyone else in the movie wore sweatshirts throughout, but no one over age 21 saw the movie."), and Coach Carter ("True, it's a sports movie. But Samuel L. Jackson and all his players wore sweatshirts in virtually every scene.") ABOUT RUSSELL ATHLETIC Russell Athletic serves as the main operating division and flagship brand of Russell Corporation. Russell Athletic is dually headquartered in Alexander City, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, and employs 1,800 people worldwide. For more than 100 years, Russell Athletic has supplied America's athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best. This year Russell Athletic will outfit more than 500 Division I teams and offer more than 200 pieces in its fall 2006 retail line alone. www.russellathletic.com ABOUT RUSSELL CORPORATION Russell Corporation is a leading branded athletic and sporting goods company marketing athletic apparel, uniforms, footwear and equipment for a variety of sports, outdoor and fitness activities. The company's major brands include Russell Athletic(R), JERZEES(R), Spalding(R), Brooks(R), Huffy Sports(R), Bike(R), Moving Comfort(R), AAI(R) and Mossy Oak(R). Russell Corporation is dually headquartered in Alexander City, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, and employs 15.000 people worldwide. The company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RML and its Web site address is http://www.russellcorp.com.
SOURCE Russell Athletic