It’s time to get into the Olympic spirit now that the London Games are a little more than a month away. The Games of the XXX Olympiad are scheduled July 25 to Aug. 12. The official opening ceremony is July 27 (soccer gets a two-day head start on events).
The 14th Paralympic Games follow in the same Olympic venues from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.
Those not travelling overseas can pick up an assortment of Team USA merchandise at the new Team USA Shop located in the visitors center at the United States Olympic Training Center (2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista).
The shop was unveiled during a special ribbon-“shredding” ceremony Wednesday. Instead of holding a traditional ribbon-cutting, event organizers fed an “Opening Soon” ribbon into a shredder.
Olympic athletes Arielle Martin (BMX) and Kara Patterson (javelin throw) signed autographs for those in attendance.
The Chula Vista store is Team USA Shop’s second physical retail location; the other store is at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Staples Promotional Products, the largest promotional product distributor in North America and a business division of Staples Advantage, manages both retail locations as well as TeamUSAShop.com for the United States Olympic Committee.
The Chula Vista store carries more than 100 Team USA-branded products.
The new Team USA Shop opened for business at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The store’s first customers were resident athletes: members of the U.S. women’s rugby team and U.S. Paralympic men’s soccer team.
“It’s nice — it’s great for our athletes and for people to come out and support the Olympic and Paralympic movement,” said Tom Latch, a midfielder/forward for the U.S. Paralympic men’s soccer team.
“I think it’s great timing,” goalkeeper Alex Hendricks added.
Proceeds from Team USA Shop sales go directly to supporting U.S. athletes. Staples made a direct donation of $5,004 to its Raise Our Flag campaign at the Chula Vista store’s opening.
This program allows supporters to purchase stitches in the U.S. flag that will accompany the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2012 London Games. Staples is helping the USOC celebrate the store’s opening with a donation of up to $15,000 as part of the campaign.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun joined Staples Promotional Products Vice President and General Manager Rich Witaszak onsite for the store’s opening.
“Staples is committed to helping the USOC raise funds for U.S. athletes not only through our donation to Raise Our Flag and our work with USOC sponsors, but primarily through the management of Team USA Shops,” Witaszak said. “As U.S. athletes prepare for London and beyond, we’ll continue to provide gold-medal service at the Team USA Shops and to USOC sponsors.”
Unlike athletes from many other countries, U.S. Olympic athletes receive no government funding.
“We’re thrilled to have a presence in Chula Vista and believe the new store and its products will help Americans show their pride for Team USA and, in turn, help fund the training of U.S. athletes,” USOC Managing Director of Consumer Products and Licensing Peter Zeytoonjian said.
Business hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday for special occasions. Call 656-1500 for details.