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Multitudes of equipment have arrived at London's Heathrow Airport leading up to the Olympic Games.
Olympic athletes do not travel lightly.
While the average traveler to the Olympic Games might bring a suit case filled with clothes, toiletries and enough room to carry home some souvenirs, Olympians are carrying vaulting poles, archery bows, javelins, sailboats, bikes, horses and guns in their luggage.
"Checking in can be difficult," said Greg Cross, operations manager for USA Cycling. "The airlines aren’t used to seeing that much baggage, especially at one time. You need to give yourself some extra time when you get to the airport."
USA Cycling is sending 22 athletes to London and each will likely be bringing a spare bike.
"I’m guessing that we will be sending about 45 bikes over there," Cross said. "Athletes will bring spare wheels and bikes and fly them over as additional luggage."
Cross estimates those bikes can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000, and require special cases to ensure that they do not get damaged.
"Hard cases work the best,” Cross said. "Damage usually comes from using a soft case or being packed with other equipment."
Pole vaulters use long corrugated tubing to keep their equipment out of harm’s way.
"In the cases where pole have been damaged by the airlines, it’s usually because someone opened the case to inspect manually and they got run over by a baggage cart," ex-Olympian pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig said in an email to NBC4.
"I have never had a set damaged while being carried by the airlines. Several airlines actually have pole vault pole policies and although they typically charge an oversize fee because of special handling, they do accept them as normal luggage."
With proper carrying cases and careful handling by trusted shippers, most athletes do not worry about their equipment being damaged.
"The biggest fear is that they don’t make it, but that’s not much different than going on any trip and worrying the airlines will lose your bags," Hartwig said. "Worst comes to worst you borrow poles but that is not ideal."
Most National Governing Bodies (NGBs), such as the United State Equestrian Federation (USEF), have a wealth of experience when it comes to shipping equipment, or in this case horses.
"We ship them around all year," said Joanie Morris, press officer for the USEF at the 2012 Olympic Games. "We put them on a plane to London and a lot of the horses are just used to it. Often times they prefer it to driving."
According to Morris the transportation process has the same effect on horses that it does on a lot of people.
"They get a little tired after traveling," Morris said. "Just like humans."
Morris and her fellow NGB compatriots have been coordinating shipping plans for months.
"We started collecting stuff in February and sent the majority of it out in April," Cross said. "It was a lot of equipment, including work stands, pumps, stationary trainers, dry erase boards, even tubs for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."
In the end, Cross sent six pallets of materials over to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), who then put it on a boat for Belgium where USA Cycling maintains a residence for its riders.
But perhaps the group that requires the most advanced planning is the U.S. shooting team.
"We had to fill out firearm forms starting in 2011," said Katie Yergensen, spokeswoman for USA Shooting. "Every country requires a gun permit and our athletes check their guns in with their baggage."
When these athletes go through customs, agents must look at the serial numbers on the guns to make sure they match what is listed on the forms.
No ammunition is carried with the athletes. According to Yergensen, it is shipped several months in advance.
Members of the USA Shooting team will not have their guns when they stay at the Olympic Village.
Instead, their equipment will be held in an armory at the Royal Artillery Barracks where competition will be held.
When the Games end Aug. 12, a large portion of the materials shipped to London will have to come back.
Cross says his organization is already prepared.
"We have a packed list of what was sent over," Cross said.
"Our staff will repack a truck and send some stuff back to Belgium. If it needs to come back to the U.S. the USOC will load it up in London and put it on a boat back to the U.S. and then on a truck to Colorado. We’ll have it covered."