634 million hits

Yet another record was broken at last winter’s Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, and it wasn’t on the ski slopes or skating rink. The Nagano Games have been recognized as the “Most Popular Internet Event Ever Recorded” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Over the 16 days of the Winter Games, February 7-22, the official Web site of the Games recorded 634,716,480 hits, by far the highest number of hits ever measured for a single sporting event.

The Nagano site also set another record for “most hits in one minute”: on February 20, at 11:55 a.m., there were 110,414 hits in a single minute, a staggering level of traffic never before seen at that time. But, as we all know, records are made to be broken, and the site for the 1998 Championships at Wimbledon has already rung up 145,478 hits in a single minute.

Altogether, a total of more than four terabytes of data — four trillion bytes (or characters of information) — were processed by the site during the 16 days of the Games This vast amount of information, an amount greater than all of the text contained in the U.S. Library of Congress, was used by fans around the world and by over 84,000 accredited media, sports federatis, National Olympic Committees, and athletes.

Built and run by IBM, the site was originally launched in late 1996, and is still operational. If you missed it in the winter, it’s worth a peek today, and the traffic should be light.