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The IT People Behind the Winter Olympics

Jose Fermoso

September 30, 2010

Your tech skills can take you anywhere you want — even to the rarified air of the Winter Olympics. Don’t believe us?

There are many IT people involved in creating the Olympics experience and it’s time we take a minute to appreciate their contribution. In some ways, they’re almost as important to the event as the athletes themselves.

Some have worked behind the scenes for years to create impenetrable security information systems with open access to media, while others have pushed the limits of performance-enhancing uniform design. There’s even an inventor who used his fast-twitch muscle-enhancing gadget to fit the exercise requirements of snowboarders to help their stability.

These people are not only succeeding within the boundary of their own IT careers but they are proving leadership and direction beyond it.

They might even make you think about the type of impact your own IT skills might have.

Let’s take a look at some of their work.

1. The Olympic Podium — Normand Dumont and Daniel Ducharme (RONA), James Lee and Leo Obstbaum (Designers)

The Olympic podium is more than just a stand used at the end of a tough competition. Its constant presence means it has to embody the unifying message of the Olympics.

For these Games, local natural wood acrylic glass materials were used to create 23 podiums with a “fluid, organic” design that resembles the peaks and ridges of the region’s Coast Mountain Range. Each was made from 200 pieces of wood that were shaped from lumber donated by individual Canadians, reflecting the renewed effort of the Canadian authorities to encourage recycling while providing a direct connection to the land.

Two people responsible for these podiums on the business end are Normand Dumont and Daniel Ducharme, VPs in the RONA company, Canada’s version of Home Depot. Dumont, with a background in bio-agronomics, and Ducharme, the company’s main IT lead, worked with other members of the management team to create an advertising object that would represent the main utility of their company (building homes) with a solid, visible foundation that’s less corporate than usual.

The designers, James Lee and Leo Obstbaum, are well-renowned users of sustainable materials and came up with a beautiful design. Sadly, Mr. Obstbaum, who also designed the models for the torches, passed away this past summer before he could be publicly recognized for his artistic vision.

We think the podium works, even if it does remind us of giant, cut-up angel cake.

Photos: Mocoloco

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