When asked by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee to sponsor and manage the Torch Relay for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, AT&T decided it was a challenge they couldn't resist!
The relay, which covers over 12,000 miles will require more than 10,000 runners to complete the course. The relay will begin in New York and continue, non-stop, until the torch reaches Los Angeles just in time for opening ceremonies.
AT&T, one of the new tenants at Hacienda Business Park, is the proud sponsor of the longest relay in the 50 year history of the event.
The Olympic flame has been recognized as the symbol of glory and prestige since the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. The tradition was again restored to the games in 1928, and in 1936, at the Berlin Games, the torch relay, as it is carried on today, was begun.
In tackling such an awesome responsibility, AT&T had countless obstacles to overcome. They needed to provide a support team of runners on call 24 hours a day in all parts of the country. In addition, they needed course designers, organizers, permits, and much, much more to put on an event of this magnitude.
However astronomical the task appeared, according to an AT&T spokesman the company was "fascinated by the concept of an event that would link the nation symbolically, as we’ve linked it electronically." Also, they delighted in the opportunity to organize such an event for the benefit of the American public.
Hence, the "Legacy for Youth" run was developed. The program will create a multi-million dollar fund to promote and expand amateur sports training throughout the United States.
The fund will be built by various sponsors reserving 1 kilometer portions of the run at $3,000 each. Sponsorship, (which is tax deductible) will benefit Boys Clubs of America, Girls Clubs of America, YMCA's and many others.
To support the Youth Legacy runners, AT&T will be providing a group of 250 runners who will both escort the benefit runners over half the course and run the other half themselves. Each runner will run 10 miles a day in 5 mile segments.
The AT&T Cadre Runners as they've become known, will travel along the continuous route in AT&T’s Olympic Torch Caravan. The Caravan is made up of 30 vehicles, equipped with sleeping, storage and feeding ("The Diner") capabilities, in addition to a communications and a medical van; all will be staffed by round-the-clock personnel.
Another AT&T link will be the team of volunteers from city to city who have coordinated the relay at the state and local levels. The "Telephone Pioneers of America" are telecommunications veterans who, according to AT&T, form the "largest volunteer organization of current and retired industrial employees in the world." Their duties are many: "getting permits, developing schedules, arranging supplies, preparing runners" and anything else that will be needed to carry out the relay.
For those participating in the relay, and everyone who will remember the dramatic moment when the torch is carried in on July 28 to light the flame in Los Angeles, the tradition of the torch relay will leave an indelible mark. AT&T is proud to ensure that the Olympic Torch will long be a symbol of unity; and the relay will serve as a lasting legacy of the first Olympic Torch Relay ever run on American soil.
To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit: April 2, 1984 Pathways.