IBM Sets New Internet Records at 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games

Technology Application Unmatched in Size, Scope and Complexity

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Nagano, Japan - 23 Feb 1998: Nagano Olympic Winter Games, making the just-completed Olympic Games the largest, most comprehensive, most heavily-used Internet-based technology application in history.

The Winter Games' official website, powered by IBM, registered an unprecedented total of nearly 650 million hits from around the world during the 16-day event -- compared to 187 million for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Summer Games.

Another milestone was set on Day 14 (Friday, February 20) at 9 p.m. (Japan Standard Time) during two simultaneous high-profile events -- gold medal competition in women's figure skating and the semi-final ice hockey game between Russia and Finland. Avid Olympic fans in the United States and Europe helped drive the traffic on the website to a world-record rate of 103,429 hits per minute as they turned to the Web for more information.

This surpassed the record set only three days earlier, on Day 11 of the competition, when Japan won the K120 ski jumping gold medal. Within minutes of the winning jump at midday, traffic on the website soared to a world-record rate of 98,224 hits per minute.

"Technology did win gold in Nagano," said Francois Carrard, Director General of the International Olympic Committee, at an on-site press conference. "I want to offer a special emphasis and thanks to IBM." Mr. Carrard also characterized the Winter Games here as "the games of high technology, with the human touch."

Altogether a total of more than 4.5 terabytes -- 4.5 trillion bytes (or characters of information) -- of data were processed. This vast amount of information, an amount greater than all of the text contained in the U.S. Library of Congress, was used not only by countless fans around the world via the Internet, but also by over 82,000 accredited, on-site members of the Olympic family (including media, sports federations, National Olympic Committees, and athletes) through the Info '98 intranet system.

"The big news in Nagano was that IBM's systems performed flawlessly," said Walter Bohlin, Director of Results for the Olympic Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), the official Olympic broadcasting group.

"The extensive testing IBM did prior to the Games was critical to its success," said Ulrich Wehling, Manager, Nordic Combined FIS (Federation of International Skiing).

In addition to providing information on the actual Games, the IBM-powered systems allowed fans around the world to send more than a quarter of a million messages directly to athletes in Nagano via the popular IBM FanMail site, which also supported individual home pages created by over 1,500 athletes during the Games. Meanwhile the Info '98 intranet service of Olympic results, news and e-mail for members of the Olympic community recorded more than six million transactions, demonstrating how organizations can use the Internet for collaboration and sharing information.

IBM, the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Nagano Olympic Winter Games and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Summer Games, created an unprecedented network computing technology application in Nagano, seamlessly integrating the Results System, Info '98, the Official Nagano Web site, the Commentator Information System, Games Management Systems and the World News Press Agency system. These systems were supported by over 800 on-site IBM specialists, drawn from 17 countries.

"The Olympic Games can be compared to a highly diversified business with over 80,000 employees attempting to integrate information technology from different suppliers across all business functions," said Tom Furey, General Manager, Worldwide Olympic Technology, IBM. "Our extremely successful implementation in Nagano demonstrates the scalability, security, collaboration, and connectivity that form the essential foundation for businesses wanting to tap the enormous potential of e-business."

"IBM delivered on its promise at the Nagano Olympic Winter Games," said Chris Sherman, Software Development Manager, USA Today Information Network. "The timeliness and accuracy of its systems were fantastic and IBM's work in Nagano was certainly a complete success."

(Note: The following quote may be used in place of the USA Today quote
above in markets where a Kyodo quote would be more relevant)

"At the Nagano Olympic Games, we were able to retrieve competition results quickly and accurately, allowing us to provide precise information to our users very efficiently," said Yuzo Tsuboi, assistant director for the computer system section of Kyodo News Service. "We look forward to IBM successfully moving on to the Sydney Olympics, building on the experience and the achievements that they obtained in Nagano."

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Fact Sheet

1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games Technology Highlights:

Olympic Web Site Traffic (

Total number of hits, February 7-22: 646.3 million

Highest traffic level recorded: 103,429 hits per minute, February 20, 9 p.m. Japan Standard Time*

Highest total number of hits in a single day: 56.8 million, February 13

(*-World Record; highest level ever recorded for an Internet event)

Info '98

Total number of transactions, February 7-22: 5,697,483

Total number of transactions since mid-January (when system was first activated): 6,532,018

Data Volume -- Total amount of data handled by all Olympics information systems, February 7-22: 4.5 terabytes (4.5 trillion bytes)

General Nagano Games Facts

February 7-22, 1998 (Japanese Standard Time)

More than 82,000 accredited participants, including:

Results System -- PC-based system in support of 12 venues and 154 events that stored and forwarded to two S/390s for distribution to other applications.

Commentator Information System (CIS) -- Provides TV commentators with instant results and information

Info '98 -- Intranet-based information retrieval system and communications tool for the 82,000 on-site, accredited members of the Olympic Family

Internet ( -- Official 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games web site, powered by IBM:

World News Press Agencies (WNPA) -- Provided the feed of results to 8 world news press agencies, who serve thousands of media outlets around the world.

FanMail -- 30 IBM Aptivas at the IBM Surf Shack in the Athletes' Village in Nagano

IBM, a partner with the Olympic Games since 1960, will be back as the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Summer Games.

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