Forget Gold Medals – How About All of the Plastic Products!

I think our athletes did an amazing job winning 46 golds, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals at the Olympic games in Rio. But metal is not the point of this blog. How about all the plastic products that had to be manufactured for this incredible event?

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Imagine all of the stadium seating that had to be manufactured for the Olympics.

 

If you’re like me, you were glued to the TV for the last two weeks watching the USA dominate the world in medals won during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Go USA! While I was disappointed that our Men’s and Women’s volleyball teams (indoors and sand) didn’t win gold as expected, I think our athletes overall did an amazing job winning 46 golds, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals. But metal is not the point of this blog. How about all the plastic products that had to be manufactured for this incredible event?

I couldn’t help myself as I took note of the many injection- and blow-molded plastic products being used during the swimming, gymnastics, track and field and diving events, among others. I looked at the spectators and what they were sitting on. Imagine the molds that had to be designed and built to manufacture all of the stadium seating in Rio. The seats in the Maracana stadium in Rio, where the opening and closing ceremonies were held, were designed and manufactured by UK-based Ferco Seating Systems – all 78,838 of them, and that’s just one of many stadiums used during the games. Wow! If you watched Olympic basketball, Shenzhen, China-based Avant Sports Industrial Co., Ltd. designed and manufactured 4,500 retractable seats for the first floor of that stadium.

Did you notice that each athlete received a colorful “trophy” item along with each medal won? That was the 2016 Olympic Emblem – molded from plastic and designed using 3D modeling, a critical part of the process according to an article I read. You can read more about it here. It was developed under deep secrecy by Brazilian design firm Tátil Design de Ideias.

It’s no secret that Lake Forest, California-based Oakley corners the market on special eyewear for Olympians, and Brazil was no exception. I heard Oakley designed and injection molded 2016 Olympic sunglasses for the USA team. (The company interestingly got its start in 1975 when founder James Jannard created and sold motorcycle grips for motocross – dubbed “The Oakley Grip”. The first pair of Oakley sunglasses didn’t appear until 1984, though the company did introduce its O-Frame goggles in 1983.)

Hosting the Olympic games is such a huge undertaking that it requires the services of skilled manufacturers from all over the globe. I’m wondering what other US companies had a hand in designing and building the molds that molded the products used at the Summer Olympics in Brazil – or for previous games. If you participated, let us know by commenting here or email me to share a story!

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