Participating in the Olympic Games is most kids’ dream. Originally from Herzogenaurach, I started the sport of athletics when I was four years old and always loved the sport. Just like many other people, at some point, I had to realize that participating in the Olympics as an athlete was not going to happen.
Today, I am working at adidas in the Athlete Services department, which is for me, one of the most exciting jobs I can think of. Our responsibility is the daily interaction with our professional athletes and the products, making sure their footwear or apparel supports them to perform at their very best. As part of this function, our team has been working together with our athletes in the months leading up to Olympic Games.
An amazing experience
For the last three weeks, we were on site in London to provide them with the best possible support. After Beijing, the London 2012 Olympic Games were my second Olympics, and as you can imagine, it is a dream come true supporting the world’s best athletes in their quest for Gold. An amazing experience!
Every day was great. We planned most of the appointments in our facilities, but of course we were also facing short notice requests from our athletes and were able to provide them help immediately.
But what does the process look like in detail?
We guide our professional and contracted athletes through the creation process and involve them in testing a long time before a product hits the stores. The athlete feedback and findings from testing are then implemented into the final products which you can buy in the stores, so not only the professional athletes but also the consumers benefit from the feedback gathered. Of course some athletes have specific requirements or wear patterns which we know or identify during the testing process. We then work together with them and make adjustments to their equipment to ensure they are satisfied with our products prior to their competitions. So, the biggest part of our work is being done prior to the Olympic Games.
In addition, we also guide athletes through big sporting events, such as the Olympic Games. For London, we had our socalled Athlete Services event unit in place.
It consisted of three main elements: feedback, assessment and service.
Always room for improvement
Listening to the athletes is our daily business, so we utilized this unique opportunity together with our colleagues from Development, Design and Marketing while engaging as many athletes as possible from all over the world in product conversations in order to receive their honest feedback. There is always room for improvement even if the feedback is already positive.
We, of course, want to make sure that we put the athletes’ feedback into context. For this, we were using the athlete assessment where we measure and scan the athletes.
The entire process takes between 30 minutes and one hour per athlete.
Instant help for the athletes
Lastly, we had a small workbench on site where we assisted with a couple of “quickfixes” for the athletes. Stretching shoes is a classic example. From experience, some athletes notice only a couple of days prior to their event if a product is slightly tight for their footshape. We had tools onsite to stretch their shoes in the areas where they needed more space.
This workbench was only to ensure the athletes would receive instant help. Before the Olympics began – and if the athletes gave us roughly two days to fix their problem during Games time – we were able to properly solve the issue with the help of our made-to-measure facility or the warehouse in Germany within just a few days.
Once our work was done in the evenings, sometimes we had the chance to witness the athletes in action. Being able to see the result of your work on the field of play is always special.
Well, the Games of the XXX. Olympiad came to an end yesterday evening with a breathtaking closing ceremony but the number of lasting impressions is endless. And since after the Games is before the next Games, we will now go back and work together with our colleagues to ensure the feedback we collected over the last two weeks will be implemented into future products in order to provide “Only the best for the athlete.”