Coca-Cola and sports - partnership through competition
A Coca-Cola Great Britain case study

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Page 4: The Olympic Games


Since 1928, The Coca-Cola Company's active support of the Olympic ideal has continually grown in scope and depth. Today, Coca-Cola is the longest continuous Olympic sponsor. The 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam marked the beginning of The Coca-Cola Company's involvement, when a freighter arrived with the U.S. Olympic Team and 1,000 cases of Coca-Cola. As Coca-Cola made its Olympic debut, so did several other traditions that would become familiar sights at later Olympic Games. The Olympic Flame was lit for the first time in modern Olympic history and women competed for the first time, taking part in track and field events.

When the Olympic Games came to Los Angeles in 1932, Coca-Cola rolled out the red carpet. The Company distributed 3 million miniature cut-outs listing Olympic records to young people across the country. During the Games, more than 200 teenagers dressed in white jackets and gloves served Coca-Cola to many of the spectators in the Los Angeles Coliseum.


After a 12 year gap due to World War II, the Olympic Games resumed in 1948 in London. Overcoming lingering effects of the war, Coca-Cola shipped equipment in from Glasgow and Belfast, to meet the thirsty demands of athletes and spectators in London. For the 1952 Summer Games, The Coca-Cola Company brought more than 300,000 cases of Coca-Cola to Helsinki from the Netherlands aboard the M.S. Marvic, a rebuilt World War II landing craft, in what became known as 'Operation Muscle.' Much of the product was donated by the Company for sale by the Disabled Ex-Servicemen Association.

In 1960, Italian Bottlers of Coca-Cola showed their support for the Olympic Games in Rome when they presented athletes, officials and spectators with a 45rpm record of 'Arrivederci Roma' a favourite song of the day. The Company continued creating new ways to enhance the Olympic experience in 1964 by aiding athletes, spectators and the media covering the Tokyo Games with guide maps, sight-seeing information and a Japanese-English phrase book.

70's and 80's

During the 1970s and 80s, The Coca-Cola Company increased further its involvement with the Olympic movement. For example, in 1979 the Company helped the U.S. Olympic Committee create the 'U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame' to honour America'a greatest Olympic athletes.

In 1987, Coca-Cola became the first sponsor of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a pledge of $1 million (U.S.) to the International Olympic Committee. The Coca-Cola Company broke new ground in 1988 when it orchestrated the creation of 'The Coca-Cola World Chorus' for the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. Comprised of 43 young people from 23 countries selected through competitions sponsored by local Bottlers of Coca-Cola, including Great Britain, the chorus performed the signature song of the Games - 'Can't You Feel It?' - before millions of television viewers during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.


In 1992 the International Olympic Torchbearers' Program, presented by Coca-Cola, brought together 150 runners from 50 nations, again including Great Britain, to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay in Spain for the = XXVth Olympiad in Barcelona. This was the first time people from other countries participated in the host country's torch relay. As the exclusive presenter of the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola provided 2,500 people with the chance to select someone special in their lives to be among the 10,000 torchbearers, through various consumer promotions and the International Olympic Torchbearers' Program.

As the Official Soft Drink of the 1996 Olympic Games, Coca-Cola and other products of The Coca-Cola Company were provided to help quench the thirst of the athletes, officials, spectators and members of the media who attended the Games.

Coca-Cola estimated that 20 million servings of their products were consumed at the official venues in Atlanta, more than 830 times the number of servings consumed at the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam. The Company built Coca-Cola Olympic City for the Centennial Olympic Games. Olympic City brought the Olympic experience to nearly one million people. Visitors were able to compete against Olympic champions and judge athletes' performances through interactive activities, enjoy an entertaining variety of live performances and meet Olympic athletes.

Coca-Cola Great Britain | Coca-Cola and sports - partnership through competition