Planes, Manes and Javelins: Olympic Equipment Transport

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Though a lot of attention is paid to a torch being moved to the Olympic site, a lot more manpower and money is used in transporting other Olympic equipment. (AP)

Getting to the Olympics can be a challenge. Getting bicycles, sailboats, poles, shoes and all the other things required for participation in the summer Olympics can be an even greater challenge.

Shira Springer of The Boston Globe is in London and joined Only A Game to talk about how those special objects make their way to the competitions.

[sidebar title="The Olympics In 388 B.C." width="630" align="right"]Unsanitary conditions, animal sacrifice, and an early form of MMA? Bill Littlefield spoke to Neil Faulkner, author of A Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics. [/sidebar]Given the state of airport security, how do so many pieces of equipment that could be construed as weapons, including javelins and actual guns, make it to London? "Very carefully and with lots of permits and paperwork," Springer told Bill Littlefield.

According to Springer, cyclists ship enough parts and bikes "to make a large bicycle shop happy." Apparently, you can never have too many spare bicycle parts.

Packing equipment is one thing. Getting it into another nation is another.

"When they head to certain countries that aren't familiar with the sport, the [customs agents] may not know enough about what the athlete is bringing in," Springer said. "They may not recognize an archery bow for what it is and not think it's there's a lot of hit-and-miss with security."

It's an even bigger challenge when you have to ship living cargo, such as horses. Springer said riders started sending their steeds to London at least a couple weeks ago.

"They get sort of a first-class trip, albeit in FedEx cargo planes."

This segment aired on July 28, 2012.


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