Skip to main content
Press Release

Every Second Counts: Why Seconds Matter When Powering the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

July 22, 2016

ATLANTA - July 22, 2016 - The athletes competing in next month’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil count their wins and losses, Olympic Game Gold, Silver or Bronze, by hard-won metrics measured in seconds or even milliseconds[1].

These fractions of time are also crucial to GE’s (NYSE: GE) work at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. To light and power every Olympic-Games moment, GE is deploying a host of systems across the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - from critical power distribution and protection to the LED lighting for sports venues and the electricity generation that brings power to more than a third of Brazil.

“For all of our customers, uptime matters,” said Russell Stokes, president and CEO, GE Energy Connections. “This couldn’t be more true than during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. We will monitor our performance every second to help ensure reliable power distribution.”

Power to Measure Every Second of the Games

At every event of the Olympic Games, sensors, cameras, lasers and digital clocks that measure time in thousandths of a second[2], do more than just record winning times; these systems create a history of Olympic Games performances. Helping to ensure the quality and reliability of the power for these timing systems, lighting and other operations at more than 36 Olympic sports venues will be more than 3,000 single- and three-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units and power distribution systems deployed by GE Energy Connections.

“Every Olympic Games venue, sporting event, race and match depends on the delivery of reliable and ‘clean’ power to timing systems,” said GE’s Alfredo Andrade de Mello, commercial leader, Olympics Global Growth & Operations. “Helping to ensure that not a second - or even millisecond - of the Olympic Games is lost is the job of our UPS units, which provide continuous and backup power to make sure venues, stadiums and arenas stay energized during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

A team of 35 GE power professionals will be on-site monitoring the performance of hundreds of these UPS systems 24/7, collecting tens of thousands of readings every hour as part of their on-site service and support.

Missing 15 Million Hours of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games

Imagine, for a moment, what a single second of lost Olympic Games broadcast coverage means - when viewed through the lens of more than 900 million global television viewers[3] tuning into the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. That lost second adds up to 15 million hours of blank TV screens around the world.

Helping to ensure every second of the 5,000 hours of broadcast coverage produced by 10,000 media professionals at the Olympic Internal Broadcast Center (IBC) reaches a global audience of 1.5 billion people is the job of GE Energy Connections. GE is equipping the IBC with a complete low- and medium-voltage electrical distribution system - including 65 transformers, power panels, switchgears and other electrical power components - to get enough power, 24/7, to the IBC’s operations. Three-phase UPS power protection units are also being deployed and monitored to provide both power backup and to help ensure reliable, quality power to reporting, editing and broadcast equipment at the broadcast center.

“GE’s job at these Rio 2016 Olympic Games is to help ensure that every Olympian, official, attendee and viewer across the globe sees every second that creates the stories of these Olympic Games,” continued Stokes.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.

About GE Energy Connections

GE Energy Connections designs and deploys industry-leading technologies that turn the world on. We transport, convert, automate and optimize energy to ensure we provide safe, efficient and reliable electrical power. Uniting all the resources and scale of the world’s first digital industrial company, we connect brilliant machines, grids, and systems to power utility, oil & gas, marine, mining and renewables customers, that keep our world running.

[1] A millisecond is a thousandth of a second, or 0.001 seconds. Most Olympic events are timed in milliseconds.

[2] Science of the Olympic Games - 360 Video/-NBC News / National Science Foundation Video - 2012

[3] Number of international views tuning into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games -

Ellen Zeidler
GE Industrial Solutions
[email protected]

Matt Falso
Soteryx Corporation
[email protected]
+1 518 886 1076

Howard Masto
Masto Public Relations
[email protected]

business unit