We've seen the Team GB kit, but how does it all happen behind the scenes?
We've seen the Team GB kit, but how does it all happen behind the scenes?

Behind the scenes at the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out – Part 1

You’ve probably seen the new Stella McCartney-designed Team GB kit, recently unveiled for Rio 2016. But ever wondered how they get their athletic hands on it? Andrew Hartopp went behind the scenes as a kitting out volunteer…

Part 1  |  Part 2 


“The process started back on 2 June when over 70,000 items of kit were delivered by lorries into hall 3A of the NEC in Birmingham. These items will kit out over 1,200 members of Team GB, from athletes to coaches and back-up staff.

Huge lorries look tiny in the cavernous NEC Birmingham

Huge lorries look tiny in the cavernous NEC Birmingham

The first job was to split the 300 pallets of boxes in to the different parts of kit that people would get – formal wear, village wear, training wear and accessories. This included suncreams, insect repellents, hats, hoodies, t-shirts – all the way up to a full 3 piece suit for the men.

A large team of volunteers was tasked to count every single item, to makes sure that the delivery matches the orders placed, continuing 9 ’til 5 for over a week, including the weekend.

We then stacked, ordered and filled blue pick bins of stock for the warehouse at the venue. These were long and tiring days, but a great team of volunteers made it a great time – we had many laughs along the way. And it gave us a chance to see all of the items that Team GB would get.

Palettes as far as the eye can see at the kitting out event

Palettes as far as the eye can see at the kitting out event

We were also were tasked with building tables and clothing rails for the showrooms and lounges at the venue. While the volunteers were doing all this, there was a team of 60 people in another hall setting up the venue for the kitting out process (see part 2), which would include a lounge area for the athletes to sit and relax, four showrooms, a warehouse and check outs.

The final week before we opened to officials our role was to move all the stock from Hall 3A to the Pavillion venue, and here we got our first glimpse of what would be in store for the athletes and team officals when they arrive.

The showrooms were:

  • Show room 1 for formal wear and closing ceremony outfit. No pictures of the kit were allowed as its a secret, but what I will say is that it is spectacular!
  • Showroom 2 for opening ceremony wear (again, no pictures, as it’s a surprise), village wear and training wear
  • Showroom 3 for all the different types of footwear they will be given
  • Showroom 4 was for competition wear. adidas run this showroom and the athletes will have all their competition kit fitted and tailored to each athlete’s bespoke needs.”

Just some of the hundreds of volunteers at the kitting out

Just some of the many volunteers at the kitting out

Now read Aileen’s blog post about the next steps of the kitting out

– Drop by our blog in a few weeks to read Andrew’s follow-up story, bringing to life the process as the athletes and officials see it, including the different roles that the many volunteers will do.

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