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No medal for IBM in Olympics, yet

IBM came up short in the first Olympic technology heats, but it says it's still a contender.

IBM is only in the preliminary heats of the information technology Olympics, but sports writers around the country say early results are disappointing.

As the official technology provider for the Summer Games, IBM built--and has heavily hyped--a complex and large-scale network for collating and disseminating event scores so that news organizations can get results faster. But problems with the vast network deployed by IBM delayed the posting of results throughout the weekend, journalists say.

In the case of wrestling and boxing, for example, the network didn't display any results at all. The Associated Press reported that organizers resorted to distributing reports by hand to news agencies.

An IBM spokesperson acknowledged that there were "some issues associated with the startup of the Olympics" but downplayed the reported miscues as glitches inevitable in a new system. "We hope we will be judged by how we do in long haul, not how we do in first few days of competition," the spokesperson added.

Indeed, the undertaking is nothing short of monumental, with more than 250 local networks and two wide area networks communicating with each other. The system links everything from stopwatches and pen-based notebook computers to desktop computers.

In a written statement issued today, IBM said that programming changes made overnight improved performance today for media news feeds. The company also made changes in the official Olympics Web site that it says made things run more smoothly.

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