Systems behind the Olympics

Systems behind the Olympics

We’re in the first week of the 2016 Rio Olympics so I thought it would be fun to take a deeper look at the systems involved in pulling off the Olympic games. With 11,551 Olympians, from 208 delegations, competing in 28 sports, just coordinating the athletes is a complex undertaking. Not to mention all of the other people and activities involved, plus the indirect effects on Brazil and other countries.

The articles and documents linked to in this post dive into some of the details and issues related to Olympic organizations, politics, technology, infrastructure, logistics, funding, and risk management.


Organizations & Politics

Ever wonder how sports are chosen? Who picks the next location and how? These sites and articles talk about how everything is organized, how decisions are made, and some of the good and bad politics behind the games.



High-tech clothing or the latest equipment may come to mind when you think about Olympic technology. You might not have thought as much about the IT systems that let you track results and medal counts in real time.



As a host city, preparing the infrastructure to support the games means meeting requirements while minimizing the environmental impact. You also need to figure out what to do with everything once the two weeks are up.



Apparently, there are around 30 million items involved in this year’s games. Ever wonder how they get all of that stuff to the host city?



A ton of energy and resources go into pulling off the Olympic games. Where does all the $ come from?


Risk Management

With the crowds, supply chains, and international attention, there needs to be a risk management plan to handle threats from cybersecurity and terrorism to natural disasters.


Hope that it was inspiring to learn some more about the complex systems behind the Olympics. Back to curling up on the couch and watching the Rio coverage!


Share your thoughts