9 Small Companies Making Waves at the 2012 Olympics
Go for the GoldGibson AthleticMancino ManufacturingPalmer Power SpringsGill Athletics24 Hour FitnessConnor Sport Court InternationalLoudmouthClark SynthesisTYR Sport Inc.
From accessory designers to equipment manufacturers, check out nine companies that help the world’s best athletes.
The Denver-based company specializes in gymnastics and dance equipment and is the sole North American distributor of Reisport grips, the leather hand and wrist guards favored by many U.S. gymnasts, including U.S. national all-around gold medalist Danell Leyva. The company, founded in 1976, has 60 employees and is on track to generate $8 million in sales this year.
This Philadelphia-based company provides folding and landing mats, spring floors, and wall padding to schools and recreational facilities around the world. CEO Bob Mancino’s father started the company in 1966, after 18 years of working in factories that made gymnastic mats. Today, the company has 23 employees.
In 1981, former acrobat Leonard Palmer came up with a unique design for spring floors, which would be strong enough to support dancers and gymnasts tumbling about, but also flexible enough to not cause injuries. Today, the $1 million company, based in Bloomingdale, Illinois, helps to supply roughly 300 spring floors a year to gyms and schools around the world.
Gill Athletics, based in Champaign, Illinois, manufactures track and field equipment, including pole-vaulting poles, javelins, shot puts, hammers, and discuses for schools and professional training facilities around the country. Founder Harry Gill won the AAU all-around championship (equivalent to today’s Olympic decathlon) in 1900 and started Gill Athletics 18 years later.
Carlsbad, California-based 24 Hour Fitness became the official U.S. Olympic Team fitness center partner in 2003. The company provides equipment and staffing in the United States Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs, Lake Placid, and Chula Vista. Opened in 1983, the fitness chain now has over 400 gyms in 17 states and more than 3.5 million club members.
This Salt Lake City-based business designs and manufactures wood and synthetic flooring for both indoor and outdoor venues. Run by president and CEO Ronald N. Cerny, the company has partnered with various high-profile athletic organizations, including NCAA Basketball and USA Volleyball.
Scott “Woody” Woodworth founded Sonoma County, California-based Loudmouth in 2000 with the goal of revitalizing golf course fashion. The brand’s popularity increased in 2010, when the Norwegian curling team wore Loudmouth pants during the Winter Games in Vancouver. Loudmouth Golf recently expanded its product line to include beach apparel and swimwear.
The Littleton, Colorado company is the official sound system supplier for the United States Synchronized Swimming team. At the Colorado Springs Olympic training facility, Clark speakers are placed in open air and below water so that athletes can hear music throughout their routines. Founded in 1994, the company is led by Curtis Clark and Bill Phillips.
The company is an official partner of the United States Triathlon team. Joseph DiLorenzo and Steve Furniss, an Olympic bronze medalist and former captain of the U.S.A. Olympic Swim Team, started Tyr Sport in 1985 in California. The company makes swimming and triathlon gear for professional athletes around the world. --Judith Ohikuare