Sports manufacturers join forces to kit out 53 athletes in PyeongChang
At PyeongChang 2018, 18 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have benefited from the Uniform Support Programme initiated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) together with the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries (WFSGI). A first for the Olympic Winter Games.
Six world-leading sports brands have designed and provided free competition wear to NOCs and athletes that would not otherwise have had an opportunity to source Rule 50-compliant uniforms for the Olympic Games.
"We are really very pleased about this programme," said IOC President Thomas Bach during an event last night at the Olympic Club to thank WFSGI and the sports goods manufacturers. "We can see all the 18 National Olympic Committees, with the equipment, with the national identification, so that the athletes have got something of which they can be proud […] and this helps them also in the competition."
He added: "I really hope you (NOCs) do not only benefit from this programme but also enjoy it, and that you are as happy for your athletes as we are grateful to the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries for this great cooperation, which we would like to continue and even strengthen."
The uniform distribution in the Olympic Villages in the days leading up to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games was a testimony of solidarity in the truest sense. As some athletes were faced with the predicament of some kit being too big or too small, the different sports goods manufacturers joined forces, sharing clothes and sewing machines, to ensure the athletes had fitted and comfortable gear for their big moment on the Olympic stage.
The programme, which reaches athletes and NOCs that have difficulties in procuring uniforms, was first piloted at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. It proved hugely successful, with 350 athletes from 69 NOCs benefiting from this first edition, as well as for the brands involved. Some have consequently re-joined the programme for the winter edition of the Games.
Beneficiaries of this uniform distribution for PyeongChang 2018 have included the NOCs and athletes of Albania, Armenia, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Moldova, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal and Uzbekistan.