Taking a Nation to the Olympic Games

Apparel and Equipment

The official clothing sponsors of Team USA have a very large investment in providing apparel and funds for sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team. Each sponsor has specified roles for the Games. For example, in 2004, Adidas provided team wear for leisure activities and training sessions.

If clothing was determined to be a critical piece of performance equipment, such as for swimming, that piece of attire could be provided by another manufacturer. Approval for this change has to be done well in advance of the Games.

The clothing company Roots, provided parade apparel (opening and closing ceremonies), luggage and some leisure wear.

In 2004, there was a multiple-page policy statement that outlined what was to be worn by all members of the U.S. team and for which occasions. There were allowances for National Governing Body (NGB) clothing contracts; but advertising restrictions were outlined as well. (USA Triathlon is one of the NGBs. More information on Olympic organization can be found here.)

I have not seen the details for which sponsors are providing clothing at the 2008 Games, but you can see the distinctions for yourself when they air on television.


As you might imagine, a finance department exists to help NGBs manage the expenses associated with developing, selecting and getting a specific sport team to the Olympic Games. Because most expenses associated with the Games are covered by the USOC, accountability to the USOC is critical.

Logistics and Radios

Multiple systems are used to communicate with team members in a foreign country. Certainly cell phones are easy and very common; however, cell phones can be expensive. Portable two-way radios can be used, but coordinating radio frequency is important. Some frequencies are not allowed to be used.
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