By Emma Bird. Last Updated: July 16, 2012 4:10pm
Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier: Getting their GB kit with just 11 days to go
With less than two weeks to go now until the big kick off, what better way to get into the Olympic spirit than to be part of the Team GB kitting out process?
The official Team GB preparation camp at Loughborough University is home to the amazing array of Olympic kit that the British athletes have worked so hard to be seen in over the past four years.
With approximately 550 athletes and 450 support staff estimated to have passed through the GB experience by the time the Games begin, the entire process is nothing short of a logistical success.
Seeing first-hand how the athletes are greeted and treated from the moment they enter the impeccable facilities at Loughborough right up until the moment they leave laden with their huge red kit bags- you realise this whole experience really is something special.
There are volunteers at every turn, making the running of such a colossal project that little bit smoother for all involved, and everyone emits the Olympic buzz that will surely only increase as the opening ceremony draws nearer.
With the kitting out process beginning with the athletes collecting their formal wear from retailer Next- they have issued 80,000 items across 64 sizes for the GB team- it is immediately evident that attention to detail has been of paramount importance.
"It's been very special- what a day! "
Imogen Bankier Quotes of the week
If even the slightest adjustment is required, the alterations team are on hand to get things exactly right. It is these unsung heroes who will make the London Games a success.
There is a Team GB message board, which every single athlete signs on their way through the process, with the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Keri-Anne Payne having made their mark in recent weeks.
With UK Anti-Doping information available at the next station and a very modern, fun BP area, with the focus on a sustainable Olympic Games, the athletes encounter a varied range of activities and useful advice on their journey around.
The Adidas 'shop' is next on the route, and this area is where the athletes are in their element! From t-shirts to shorts, caps to sunglasses, this is where the sporting element to the Games comes alive and really makes the athletes feel part of a bigger British team.
As well as the GB mixed doubles badminton pair of Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, retired heptathlete and 2012 Olympic Ambassador Denise Lewis was also picking up her kit on Monday. There was a real taste of Olympic belief in the air as the three laughed and joked as they tried out various clothes and footwear.
The excitement was reaching boiling point, with the athletes knowing that the Games are now less than two weeks away. The Olympics are nearly upon us and these athletes just want to get started!
Next up, it was the podium wear that really enticed Adcock and Bankier- fully aware that the next time they could possibly be wearing these specific outfits will be if they medal at Wembley Arena in front of a home crowd in a couple of weeks' time.
Once they had finished their experience with the help of a personal shopper, the athletes chose their competition wear and it all began to feel very real.
Speaking after they had been 'kitted out', the pure Olympic fever was evident to see in both the badminton players eyes.
Chris Adcock, 23, told Sky Sports.com: "It's been an absolutely amazing experience, probably one of the best experiences I have had as an athlete. It really makes me feel part of Team GB and it's just been an amazing morning.
"It's where it really sinks in- being part of our greatest team and Team GB for a home Olympics. It hammered it home today that we are getting close!"
His playing partner, Imogen Bankier, 24, added: "It's been very special- what a day! In terms of our preparation, it is one of the final things we've done- it's the first step to becoming part of this greater team which is a fantastic feeling. It is very special and it's been a great day, what can I say!
"Every outfit was so nice, the kit is just fantastic- the small details have been absolutely unbelievable. It just makes the whole process very fun and easy as well."
The London 2012 Olympic Games are now just 11 days away, and the Loughborough kitting out experience has to be one of the best ways to understand just how much these Games mean to the athletes and everyone involved.
The general feeling here is that these will be the greatest Games, made possible by a great team behind the scenes and brought to life by the Greatest Team GB.
London 2012 is coming and it has never felt so real.
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