The Team GB Preparation camp has officially opened at Loughborough University.
Approximately 550 athletes and 450 support staff are expected to pass through the Team GB Experience and 13 sports are to base themselves in Loughborough to undertake final preparations.
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The Preparation Camp will see hundreds of athletes and support staff pass through the “Team GB Experience” which includes the official kitting out process and an opportunity for athletes and support staff to sign up to the five “One Team GB” core values of Performance, Respect, Unity, Responsibility and Pride.
adidas alone are issuing 175,000 units of kit across 23 sizes and 349 items, with female athletes receiving 65 items of kit and male athletes receiving 59, not including their sport specific competition wear. While retailer Next issuing 80,000 items across 64 sizes, it is expected that each athlete will spend three and a half hours passing through the entire experience.
Team GB Partners UPS, BP, BMW and Powerade are all part of the TG Experience. UPS are responsible for all the logistics including the picking and packing of all kit bags. BP Target Neutral, BP’s not-for-profit carbon offsetting programme, will, over the coming weeks, be an integral part of the Team GB prep camp. This provides an opportunity for athletes to show their personal support by signing up to offset their travel, creating awareness of the environmental impact of all journeys to and from the Games. BMW are providing vehicles to facilitate athlete transport and Powerade have set up a lounge in the athlete accommodation to allow them to relax, socialise and refresh in a sports themed entertainment area.
Team GB Chef De Mission Andy Hunt acknowledges the importance of the athletes and staff going through the “Team GB Experience”:
"Everyone involved in sport knows that receiving your team kit is a hugely important milestone. Receiving and wearing your team kit is a very special moment and the kit you wear is a key part of what binds you together as one team and it enables supporters to show their pride and passion for the team.
“Our challenge was to deliver Team GB kit that brings together 550 Olympic athletes from 26 sports, 750 support staff and volunteers – all very different shapes and sizes – and also inspire 60 million people across the UK to get behind Our Greatest Team."
One of the first sports to go through the “Team GB Experience” is rowing and fresh from the final test event in Munich before the Olympics, Olympic Gold Medalist from 2008 Zac Purchase commented on the Team GB experience:
"It's been an amazing experience today. Coming through the kitting out process makes you realise that the Games are now really close. You certainly get a unifying feeling all going through the same kitting out together and becoming part of Team GB."
Of course it isn’t just the athletes and support staff who are part of the “Team GB Experience”, hundreds of staff from both adidas and Next as well as volunteers are involved in making the experience as seamless and speedy as possible.
One of those people is Phil Harker, Next Master Tailor who spoke about his the experience is going for his:
"It has been going really well. Next have done the sizes really well but as you would expect when you have very tall and broad rowers, we've done quite a few alterations but we've flown through them with our team today. We are looking forward to seeing other sports coming through and expect we'll get to see further changes with athletes from sports like basketball and weightlifting."
With 13 sports set to use the Team GB Preparation Camp at Loughborough as their main training base before the games, including the men’s and women’s volleyball and handball squads, weightlifters, wrestlers, fencers, taekwondo fighters, triathletes and endurance runners many of the nation’s top athletes are due in the East Midlands area.
Mike Hay, Team GB Preparation Camp Director said,
“It is anticipated that every Team GB athlete will pass through the prep camp in Loughborough to go through the Team GB Experience and some as part of their training; this makes the camp a massive logistical operation. The amount of detailed planning and foresight that goes into a camp which is working with over 500 athletes and 750 support staff is incredible.
“Through the Prep Camp we bring together a variety of athletes and nations, for example a Northern Irish rower, Scottish cyclist, Welsh swimmer and an English triathlete, making this Team GB Prep Camp our chance to bring together all 26 sports and the home nation athletes into One Team GB ahead of the Olympic Games.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for all the Team GB support team to provide gold medal service to our athletes as part of their important journey to the London 2012.”