The Olympics are more than 5,000 miles away from Southern California, but they’re affecting the way Los Angeles does business — so much, in fact, that LA’s chief technology officer has implored city employees stop watching the games at work for fear of cyber chaos in City Hall.
"We are experiencing a high volume of traffic due to people watching the Olympics online. I respectfully request that you discontinue this as it is impacting city operations," Randi Levin wrote in an email sent to employees Tuesday.
Olympic fans — and addicts — can stream the games live online, which is apparently taking its toll on municipal bandwidth and slowing down the city's computer network.
Team USA has been well-represented on the podium, scoring 23 medals so far to tie with China.
Among those decorated athletes are several Southern California stars — including beach volleyball legends Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and gymnastics phenoms McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross.
The email to city employees came the same day Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan was to take the field with the U.S. women’s soccer team, and the women’s gymnastics team was looking to strike gold for the first time since 1996.
Several people at LA Live on Tuesday night said they don't think employees should be discouraged from catching a glimpse of the games at work, saying Americans work hard the rest of the year and deserve to see their country in action.
"I don’t know if people are actually going to obey that rule at work. I mean, this is the Olympics. This is a big deal," said one man.
But bosses seem to have a different understanding. FedEx manager Anthony Butler says watching sports on the job is bad for business.
"I don’t have an edict, but it’s kind of an understanding that TV-watching at work is not appropriate," he said.
Time spent watching the Olympics online could cost U.S. companies $650 million. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
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