Atari joins the U.S. Olympic Team
The 1984 Summer Olympics have not yet opened in Los Angeles, but Atari is already having a major impact on the Olympic effort. As befits a company of Atari's stature, it is sponsoring the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team, which is considered to be one of the top contenders for the gold medal in this Olympic sport. This sponsorship is only one of several agreements Atari has entered into with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (L.A.O.O.C.) for the 1984 Summer Games.
Atari has also contracted with the L.A.O.O.C. to be the Summer Games' sole sponsor of home computers, arcade games and home video games. This contract gives Atari the right to use the Olympic symbol, language, and logo on any of its promotional materials.
In addition, Atari has contracted with ABC Sports to air 25 commercials during the Winter Olympics in in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (February 8-19), and 60 commercials during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles (July 28 to August12). Consequently, it should be difficult to watch the 1984 Olympics on television without being aware that Atari is on the scene!
Atari is also donating approximately $75,000 worth of equipment to be used in conjunction with the Summer Games.
Thus far, Atari has arranged to provide computer games for use by athletes in the Olympic Village, and to set up arcade games at the ABC International Broadcast center for use by some 2,000 media representatives from around the world.
To further dramatize its commitment to the U.S. Women's Volleyball team, Atari is sponsoring the team's current cross-country tour, which pits the women against some of America's top- ranked, men's collegiate varsity teams. In support of this commitment on the part of Atari, team members will be wearing Atari patches on their uniforms.
The tremendous strides that the Women's Volleyball Team has made in recent years are due in large part to its computerized training camp. At the Coto Research Center in Coto de Caza, California (70 miles south of Los Angeles), computers are providing coaches and trainers with such detailed images of their athletes' performance that the word "guesswork" is quickly disappearing from the Olympic vocabulary. Five years ago, the Women's Volleyball Team was unranked in world competiion. Today, it is an internationally recognized contender for the Oplympic gold medal.
The computerized facilities in Coto de Caza operate under the guidance of Dr. Gideon Ariel, a pioneer and renowned leader in the field of biomechanics, the computerized study of human movement.
Dr. Ariel uses high-speed cameras to film the movements of athletes. The frames of film are then projected onto a special screen, traced with a magnetic pen, fed into a computer for analysis, and then output as "three-dimensional" stick figures. The result is a highly-precise, graphic image of the physical movement involved. From these images, Dr. Ariel can determine such elusive variables as the optimal angle at which to spike a volleyball, or the most efficient way to make a lateral move on the volleyball court. He does this by comparing the graphic image of the actual motion with a hypothetical "optimum" motion developed in the laboratory. His aim, which fits in well with the ideals of the Olympics themselves, is to bring the actual closer to the optimum.
Dr. Ariel has also used biomedical analysis to study opposing volleyball teams. In the process, he has dissected their movements, studied their strengths and weaknesses, and provided fresh new insights about their styles of play to the rapidly improving U.S. Women's Team.
Stay tuned for more news about Atari's involvement in the 1984 Olympics in a future issue of ANTIC. In the meantime, you may begin to find yourself looking at your Atari in a different light. After all, it's now the Official Home Computer of the 1984 Olympics.
David F. Barry is a technical writer in the computer field, and the author of an upcoming book on the word-processing program Wordstar.