The olympics, a time for athleticism, enthusiasm, and patriotism. It’s when hometown stars turn into national heroes, statewide champs become gold medal winners, and world records go down in the books. And it’s technology that allows the world to experience it all as it occurs. NBC reported an estimated 1 billion people watched the 2008 opening ceremonies, with 34.2 million viewers from the US alone. That means 15 percent of the world’s entire population was able to participate in an event that only comes around every four years.

What is even more spectacular is the use of technology to run the Olympic games. As the projector analyst here at gap intelligence, I could brag on and on about the 150 projectors utilized for the opening and closing ceremonies (which were phenomenal), but I’ll save that for later. Plus, Michael Phelps would probably rather I focus on how technology helped him to become the winningest Olympic athlete ever with eight gold medals and seven world records. When Mr. Phelps swam away with our nation’s hearts, it was thanks to piezoelectric sensors, which verified that he was the winner. Two of the eight gold medals that he won in these games were determined by just hundredths of a second, and not even Ben Franklin would have been able to distinguish that one.

Also thanks to technology, uniforms, helmets, goggles, and shoes are scientifically designed and athletes can practice without even being at the track. Kristin Armstrong, an Olympic gold medalist in road cycling used GoogleEarth to train for her 15-mile, mostly uphill course. Using a GPS, Armstrong visited Beijing, tracked the course length and changes in elevation, returned home to Idaho, synced this data up with , and was able to outline the course from a computer. She then used GoogleEarth to find an equally elevated route in Idaho and next thing you know, Armstrong brought home the gold.

Check out our place on GoogleEarth!