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US sailing team wearing Buffalo-made vests at Tokyo Olympics

ORO Sports is a woman-owned Buffalo-based company.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — When you watch the U.S. sailing team in the Olympics, team members will be wearing something made in Buffalo.

It's a special cooling vest that helps them before and after competitions.

2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik met with the team from Buffalo that's outfitting some of our Olympians.

"We all have forged ahead knowing what the carrot might be. We never dreamed that our first carrot would be an Olympic one," says ORO Sports' Founding CEO, Luanne DiBernardo.

ORO Sports' Olympic journey started earlier this year when someone on their team heard the U.S. Sailing Team was having a problem with heat.

"They were given a cooling vest from the Olympic committee, but they didn't like it," DiBernardo said.

The ice packs were too stiff. But the ORO vest, made in Buffalo, has flexible coolants that adapt to the body. 

So DiBernardo sent them one, and it was a hit.

"Probably about six weeks later, we heard how can we make this happen?" DiBernardo said.

Instead of the half-vest, the athletes liked the full vest better - with one request.

"The only thing they asked of us was, can you make this in white, and who am I to say no?" DiBernardo said. "So coolants go all the way down the front on each side. The belt construction is what eliminates any weight from the packs on the sailor's body because it creates the sides of the vest, and the cooling goes all the way down the back."

The athletes are wearing the vests while they're warming up so they aren't overheated by the time they compete. They are also using them to cool off when they're done.

"We'll get feedback, and then we'll go back and sit down and discuss how can we be, how can we enhance the athletes' performance even more," says Tom Burns, Part-Owner of ORO Sports.

While a lot of the focus has been on sailing, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, and people who work in the heat, the ORO team is branching out to hockey, too.

"It's really ideal for professional and college where they're going in the locker room in between periods. The ability to kind of have a pre-cooling effect before they go back out to the ice," says Matt Colpoys, president and COO of ORO Sports.

And making this all happen for those athletes and the Olympians in Tokyo are the stitchers. 

"They were once in refugee camps, and they came here from Burma, Myanmar, and the quality of their work, and the pride they take in their work, they have become like family," DiBernardo said. "They are like family. So they're really, really excited to see this happen. They're Americans, and they're proud of being here, and to think that our vests are in Japan right now and are going to be represented by America there, we're all on the moon."