MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

The XXII Olympic Winter Games (or the 2014 Winter Olympics or the Sochi Winter Games or whatever you'd like to call them) are drawing to a close. Almost a hundred events have taken place with medals being awarded in each and new Olympic heroes are being lauded loudly and passionately. There is one hero that never gets enough credit, however. This is a hero that works behind-the-scenes and ensures that everything goes as smoothly as it can.

That hero is technology. We saw it at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, just as we saw all sorts of cool tech at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London too. Yes, often abused and never given the credit it's due, cutting-edge tech also played a big part in these Olympics. This is just a small sample of its vast influence.

Such Surreal, Very Money

MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

The Internet raised $25,000 in Dogecoin to fund the Jamaican Bobsleigh team. Remember the 1993 movie Cool Runnings? It's sort of like that, but with digital currency based on an Internet meme. Don't worry, I'm having trouble grasping it too. A spinoff of the increasingly-popular Bitcoin cryptocurrency, Dogecoin was used to raise money to send the Jamaican Bobsleigh team to the games. Not only did they succeed by raising 26 million Dogecoins (and $25,000), they also doubled the value of the currency in doing so.

Bobsled, James Bobsled

MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

While it sounds like something out of a pre-Daniel Craig James Bond flick, I assure you this is very real. If you can believe that Dogecoins helped fund an Olympic team, you should have no trouble believing that BMW designed the carbon fiber bobsled for the USA bobsledding team. It took sixty-nine iterations, but BMW did it, delivering a sled that was 50 lbs lighter, more maneuverable, and helped the US bobsledding team win their first medal in 62 years.

The Good Kind of Drones

MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

Unmanned aerial drones have gotten a bad rap in the recent past, probably on account of all the missiles they fire and all the secret spying that they do, but it's still an incredible technology. Drones were in heavy use at the events, but rather than being used for security purposes, they served as camera operators, delivering closer and more personal coverage than traditional cameramen and women could get.

Feels Like I'm Wearing Nothing At All

MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

If you got that Simpsons reference, I love you. The unlikely duo of Under Armour and Lockheed Martin, a sports clothing company and an aerospace & defense company, teamed up to design the Mach 39 speedskating suits that were used by the US speedskating team. Like BMW's design of the bobsled, several prototypes were tested before landing on a final design that consisted of five different fabrics. While the US speedskating team may not have won, they've extended their deal with Under Armour all the way to 2022, which says a lot about their confidence in the supplier.

Wi-Fi Makes the World Go Round

MEGATech Showcase: The Tech of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

Wi-Fi has to be one of the most underappreciated developments in Internet technology. We've become so accustomed to having Internet wherever we go, that a lot of us feel entitled at times, myself included. However, if Sochi's Olympic Village didn't have a killer Avaya-powered network capable of handling an estimated 54 Tbps of traffic, we wouldn't have had all the amazing coverage that we did.

By comparison, the network at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver could only support 4 Tbps. That's a big jump.

Onward and Upward


As I said, this is just a small sampling of the role that technology played at the Winter Games, a role that's going to keep increasing in size. Not only has technology made the games more competitive by better outfitting the athletes, it's also increased the way we experience the Olympics by leaps and bounds and that will only get better as time goes on. Here's looking forward to the amazing tech of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil!

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