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IBM Delivers Gold Medal Performance

IBM Delivers Gold Medal Performance For Olympic Games Technology

Official Olympic Web Site Sets Records for Internet Traffic

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, October 2, 2000 -- IBM reached the climax of a 40-year association with the Olympic Movement by delivering a technology performance worthy of a gold medal during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Building and managing the technology infrastructure for the Sydney Games was the "largest, most complex information technology challenge in the world," according to Tom Furey, IBM general manager, worldwide Olympic technology.

The official Games Web site, powered by IBM, handled unprecedented Internet traffic with 11.3 billion hits, a 1,700 percent increase over the Nagano Games official site in 1998. More than 13 million lines of software code were written and thoroughly tested before the Games began. Almost 6,000 people provided technology support for 300 medal events in 37 sports competitions held at 39 venues.

IBM's technology performance generated praise among Olympic and international sports federation officials. "Sailing is one of the more complicated sports, and IBM did a great job," said Jerome Pels, technical delegate for the International Sailing Federation. "With the technology, we achieved more than ever before at the Olympic Games. The Internet was key for involving sailing fans all over the world."

IBM designed, developed and hosted the official Olympic Web site, Olympics.com, the most popular destination on the Internet during the Games. More than 8.7 million unique visitors accounted for 230 million Web page views from September 13 when competition began until the closing ceremony October 1. Olympics.com was the only site that offered comprehensive results for every sport, every athlete and every country.

The majority of visitors, 62 percent, were from countries outside the United States. Countries generating the most traffic were: United States, 38 percent; Australia, 17 percent; Canada, 7 percent; United Kingdom, 5 percent; Japan, 3 percent; and 2 percent each for Germany, Italy, China and France.

IBM also hosted other Olympic-related Internet sites, including nbcolympics.com, one of the most successful Olympic Web sites in the U.S., and ibm.com/fanmail, where fans from 199 countries sent 371,654 messages to athletes and teams competing in Sydney.

"The Olympics have been an unmatched marketing platform for showcasing IBM technology on a global stage," said Eli Primrose-Smith, vice president, worldwide Olympic and sports sponsorships. "We have achieved our sponsorship goals, and it is fantastic to end on a high note with an impressive demonstration of IBM's ability to manage the technology for the world's most complex and greatest sporting event."

IBM capitalized on its association with the Olympic rings through an extensive marketing program that included advertising on TV, in print and on the Internet. One of the company's most successful promotions involved the FanMail Web site and IBM Surf Shacks. Athletes visited the Surf Shack in the Olympic Village to read and respond to FanMail messages from all over the world. Athletes from Cuba, Russian Federation and the Ukraine created the most of the more than 4,237 home pages on the site. Additionally, more than 78,000 fans visited the first ever IBM Surf Shack for the public, floating in Sydney's Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour, where they sent FanMail, surfed the Web and participated in demonstrations of IBM's Via Voice speech recognition technology.

IBM has been involved with the Olympic Games since 1960 when it used computer punch cards to tally results at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. As the Worldwide Information Technology Partner and Official Internet Provider for the Games, IBM has performed an integral role in helping the Olympic Movement and Games orgainsers bring the Olympic Games to the world. IBM's relationship with the International Olympic Committee ends December 31, 2000.

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