In 1995, United Parcel Service instituted a program designed to let some of its employees test their limits and help them get faster and better at what they do best.
The result? Three UPS employees will compete in the Sydney Olympic Games. Ray Dunmeyer, a database administrator will represent the USA on the paralympic team for Judo, while Monique Hennagan, a worker in sorting operations in South Carolina, will run in the 400-meter relay race. Karlene Haughton, an international document auditor, will run in the 400-meter hurdle race for Canada.
They won't be wearing brown uniforms.
The company's Athlete Training Assistance Program (ATAP) has assisted employees in training for the Games by providing flexible hours (yes, the Olympians get time off to compete), as well as covering some expenses for travel, equipment, and sportswear.
Thirty-four UPS employees worldwide have trained for the past two Olympic Games under the program. In 1996, a US and a Swedish employee qualified for their nations' teams in their respective sports.
A spokesperson for UPS, says: "We hire employees. We don't set out to hire people because they are Olympians. What we do to help our employees who are aspiring Olympians is a true employee benefit.
"It also helps the morale of the entire company and unifies our employees across the world."
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society