At eight o’clock on 8/8/08 the Olympic Games will get under way in Beijing, China. For many of the participants, it will be the realization of a dream and something for which they have trained for a large portion of their sports careers. When the Swedish Olympic team got together for its preliminary meeting – Olympic Camp Beijing – on 8 and 9 November, they chose to spend one of the days at Volvo in Göteborg. About 100 athletes and coaches got to see the factory’s production system and then had the chance to test-drive different vehicles at Volvo’s Demo Centre. One of the tasks they faced was to reverse a truck – without the help of rear-view mirrors. Instead, the person doing the driving had to rely solely on team members who stood beside the truck calling out instructions.
“It was easier than I expected,” says hurdler Susanna Kallur after having driven the 18.5 metre long Volvo truck loaded with gravel. “Getting together like this isn’t just great fun, it’s also a vital tool for forging a good team spirit among everyone on the Olympic team.”
The Volvo Group has long supported the Swedish Olympic Committee in a variety of ways and although the Group does not sponsor the Olympic Games, China and Asia represent major markets for the company’s operations. The Volvo Group opened its first office in Beijing as long ago as 1992 and today the company has almost 4000 employees in China. In the preparations leading up to the Games, Volvo’s products have been used in the construction of the national arena.
Olympic Camp Beijing ended with a dinner at the Volvo Group’s headquarters, to which all previous Swedish Olympic gold medallists were invited as well as the entire current Olympic team and representatives of the Volvo Group.