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Olympics article for DocuWorld
Magazine, Fall 2001 issue
The Colors of Excellence
Xerox Documents the Olympics
Since 1964, Xerox solutions have helped Olympians go for the gold
The Winter Games in Salt Lake City next February will mark the 38th year of Xerox sponsorship and support of the Olympics. A variety of Xerox solutions - using approximately 1000 printers, 350 copiers and 450 faxes at over 35 locations - will meet the needs of the athletes, the press and the Olympic staff for documentation of all kinds. By the time the games are over, an estimated 50 million pages will have been printed, copied and faxed.
The Olympic Games have a long and honored history. The year 776 B.C. is considered to be the founding date of the Olympics in ancient Greece, and the Games continued for more than 11 centuries until banned by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I in 393 A.D.
The modern Olympic Games were proposed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France in 1892. He helped to form the International Olympic Committee, which has governed the Games ever since, and the first modern Games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece.
In 1992, Xerox added the DocuTech publisher system to its solutions, and at the Barcelona Summer Games that year the company also introduced an innovative system called "Xerox Information Points" (XIPs) - a network of 584 free-standing terminals distributed between the main press center and 54 sports venues. Linked to the Barcelona Olympic Committee's mainframe computer, the XIPs enabled journalists to select any one of 28 sports events on a touch-sensitive screen and obtain a laser printout of the latest results in any of the four official languages. After the Games were over, 100 of these devices were taken over by the City of Barcelona as interactive document-generating systems to enable citizens to access the municipality's mainframe and obtain on-demand copies of public documents.
Other recent additions to the Xerox Olympic solutions include the addition of the Xerox DocuPrint system at the Atlanta Summer Games in 1996, allowing electronic documents to be personalized, and the introduction of high-volume digital color printing at Sydney in 2000.
Solutions for the Salt Lake
The first of these, being developed in conjunction with Olympic sponsor Eastman Kodak, is a system that will generate the accreditation documents needed for identification of all Olympic personnel - from athletes to journalists to international support people and SLOC staff. In the past, this application has been Kodak's responsibility. However, this year it was decided to make visas for international personnel an integral part of the accreditation, and the U.S. State Department requires that the visa be printed on a special "currency paper" rather than the photographic paper Kodak was using for the full-color accreditation document. Therefore, Kodak and Xerox will share the responsibility, with Kodak printing the U.S. accreditations and Xerox the international ones.
The second application - one that has been a key role for Xerox since its first participation in the games in 1964 - is the instant printing and distribution of results for every event to the media. Several thousand of these reports, customized in various ways for the different media, must be produced for each Olympic event. The reports will be printed on Xerox DC 432 and DC 480 multifunction devices, using special software from Sema Corp. to customize them for each sport.
A third application is the preparation of results books, which become reference or archival documents containing complete, detailed documentation of the results of every event in the Games. In addition to the hardcopy books (printed on the Xerox DocuPrint 180), this year they will also be made available on CDs. "At Sydney in 2000, we tested putting the books on CDs and developing intelligent search software to help people look things up efficiently," explains Vince Schaeffer, manager, Worldwide Olympic Operations for Xerox, who is leading the task of implementing the applications at Salt Lake. "We found that our search software worked, so this time we expect to print about 6,000 CDs."
A fourth solution, which is also new at Salt Lake, is an on-demand information retrieval system called "InfoPrint." Approximately 50 information kiosks will be set up at key Olympic venues to enable all accredited personnel - athletes, press, volunteers, or staff - to access useful information. "You can get weather reports, and find out if the competition has been changed because of the weather," says Schaeffer. "Or find out about transportation, or get summary reports of events. You can even use the kiosk to check your E-mail."
While the game-time applications are highly visible, Xerox also plays a behind-the-scenes role that is equally important. "To support the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's operations, we've set up office printing, copying and faxing operations equivalent to what you'd need in a good-sized company," Schaeffer points out. "SLOC set up operations about four years prior to the Games, and they're growing at about 100 people a month until they get to a head-count of 2,000 at Game-time."
A Worldwide Sponsor
"Xerox is using the theme 'The Colors of Excellence' this year, both to market our color technology and to galvanize our employees, and we're tying this in with the Olympic colors and the things they stand for," says Terry Dillman, Xerox manager of Worldwide Olympic Marketing. "We've taken the colors of the five Olympic rings - blue, black, red, gold and green - and assigned to them the qualities of vision, endurance, performance, value and support. These, we feel, are really the values of our company."
One of Dillman's most rewarding tasks is organizing special events that allow Xerox customers to meet Olympic athletes. "We'll be doing our 15th Xerox 'Breakfast with the Olympians' in Salt Lake City on February 17th," he notes. "We invite 400 to 500 people - customers and other guests - and usually have one or two Olympic athletes sitting at each table. So our customers have a chance to chat with the Olympians."
Dillman recalls one such event that was especially memorable. "The night before the Opening Ceremonies at Atlanta in 1996, we sponsored a dinner, called 'The 100 Golden Olympians,' honoring 100 of America's greatest living gold-medal winners. We had 93 of them actually attending the dinner, along with about 1100 guests. Tom Brokaw was to be the keynote speaker. Well, our dinner was on the same evening that the TWA airliner crashed off Long Island, and Brokaw was covering that, live. And after his last newscast he jumped on a corporate plane, flew to Atlanta, got to our dinner at 10:00 P.M., and gave a fabulous speech! We felt he demonstrated, as well as anyone could, what the Olympic spirit is all about."