As Team USA hopefuls prepare to step onto the world stage at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August, United's team is preparing to get them there. In fact, United's dedicated Olympics reservations agents have been helping the athletes get to their training and competitions year-round — supporting them every step of the way as they prepare for the U.S. Olympic Trials and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"It's like they're our kids! We know how important it is to them to get to these destinations so they can compete," said Olympics Reservations Representative Mary Van Boven. "We are instrumental in getting them there and getting them home."

Ready at the starting line

Each of our eight Olympics reservations agents are assigned several of the more than 40 sports to manage for each Olympic Games, and they begin early — in fact, as soon as the Sochi 2014 Olympics ended, our agents had already begun booking trips to Rio for U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) members.

"We work very closely with the USOC and their travel," Mary said. "With the focus on different sports, we learn what events the athletes are going to and what's expected, so overall we're able to make their experience more streamlined."

Gearing up for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Once the U.S. Olympic Trials end and Team USA is set, our Olympics reservations agents will begin coordinating flights to Rio for competing athletes as well as their coaches and families and representatives of the USOC.

Equally as important is getting their equipment there along with them. Our Team USA "baggage champions" are dedicated to ensuring the athletes' gear makes it along with the athletes safely. Once the games begin, we'll also have reservations agents on-hand at the Olympic Village to continue coordinating travel plans.

"We're right there cheering them on," Mary said.

And when it's time for Team USA athletes to return home, our airport employees across the nation will be ready to welcome them.

Stay tuned for more stories about how we transport the thousands of pieces of equipment and manage hundreds of flights for Team USA.