If Motorola, Hewlett Packard, Tektronix, IBM, Analog Devices, and Xerox
had corporate songs, you'd hear the band playing them as athletes accept their
medals in the upcoming Olympic Games. That's because those companies, and
hundreds of others, are involved in the competition almost as much as the
Motorola, for example, has loaned the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) cellular telephones, pagers, computer modems, and secure two-way communication equipment. It also donated microprocessors for use in an electronic scoring system to be used by judges in the boxing competition.
IBM is providing everything from systems integration and networking, to notebook computers, while Xerox and AT&T have designed a mobile Olympic Technology trailer with equipment to print results of competitions, and full communications facilities. Other companies who have donated equipment or offered significant discounts include Minc, Inc; Melcor Corp.; Diamond Multimedia; Cortland Cable; Accel Technologies; Linear Technology Corp.; Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.; and Harris Semiconductor. Still other companies are sponsoring individual athletes such as would-be Olympic sailor Michael Butz, who is benefiting from the financial support of ANSYS.
Meanwhile, a few individual engineers are helping too. For example, Don Van Dyken, of Minc, has helped secure donations, and Jon Dutra, of Linear Technology Corp., has helped the technical staff at the U.S. Olympic Training Center develop various devices to help athletes perfect their performance.
And speaking of the technical staff at the Olympic Training Center, they provide evidence every day of the inventiveness and ingenuity that characterizes the engineering field. Working out of Spartan quarters with a bare-bones budget, they use elements of virtually every technology imaginable to develop rough-looking but elegantly designed equipment to help coaches and athletes gain incremental improvements in performance and technique.
All of which points out the prevalence and importance of engineering in the Olympic experience. Behind virtually every medal-winning performance is an array of electronics, software, materials, or other technology that contributes to success.
The Olympic Spirit is more than the thrill of victory: it's the total commitment behind the effort. The athletes who compete have that commitment, and the engineers who help them do too.