Who are the unsung heroes of major world events like the Super Bowl, the Olympics and World Cup soccer? Field service technicians. That’s right. Without them, stadiums wouldn’t exist, scoreboards wouldn’t work, and skiers couldn’t race. Read on to see how field service techs the world over are doing a lot more than keeping the lights on:

Techs Toil on a Ledge in Rio

Christ the Redeemer, the iconic statue of Christ and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, gets struck by lightning about five times a year — usually without incident. Recently, though, a bolt chipped a finger off the 98-foot statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, according to Business Insider. The wound will take workers about four months to repair. It’s not for the faint of heart — but not a bad office view, either.

Read more at Business Insider

U.S. Experts Make Snow in Sochi

The Winter Olympics in Russia, are just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean Mother Nature got the memo. The Games can’t begin without snow, and Olympic officials aren’t taking any chances. Teams of scientists and snow-making experts, armed with 500 snow machines, have been blanketing the mountain resort with white stuff. Jon Wax, an on-site tech in Sochi who, for a day job, manages the Mission Ridge ski resort in Washington state, tells Jefferson Public Radio: “It’s the same equipment that Mission Ridge uses, it’s just a much, much larger scale. Many more machines, massive pumping capacity. It’s really pretty humbling. When it’s running, it’s quite incredible.”

Read more at Jefferson Public Radio 

Wax Techs Are the Cross-Country Skier’s Best Friend

Competition is fierce for a coveted spot on a country’s Olympic team. The odds, it turns out, are much better for support staff, which includes wax technicians who tend to cross-country skiers’ equipment. According to New Zealand publication Stuff, the Kiwi team’s support staff, which includes two wax technicians, will be twice as large as the number of athletes who will compete in Sochi.

Waxing is both art and science — and it’s serious business. New Zealand’s Katie Calder tells the New Zealand Herald: “Crosscountry waxing is really technical, matching the wax with the humidity, snow temperature, terrain and length of the race. … If you get the best waxing options, the opportunities are limitless, but get the waxing wrong and your race is over.”

Read more at Stuff and the New Zealand Herald

At the Super Bowl, It Takes a Village 

The game and glitz of the Super Bowl is only part of the story. It takes an army of cooks, bartenders, security staff, ticket collectors, sound and lighting technicians — you name it — to pull off the spectacle. Many will still be on the job long after the last fan leaves. Not that they need extra motivation — most are ecstatic to be in the stadium — but the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the workers a pep talk last week.

Read more at USA Today

In Soccer, the Stakes Are High — and the Jobs Are Dangerous

No matter how big the event, field service isn’t all fun and games. Two workers in Brazil were killed late last year when part of a World Cup stadium collapsed during construction. And just this week, risk consultancy agency Maplecroft rated working conditions as “extreme” for Qatar, the Middle Eastern country hosting the 2022 World Cup. Almost 200 Nepalese workers died last year working on site, and experts predict that more than 4,000 additional workers, most of whom are migrants from South Asian countries, could die before the 2022 World Cup.

Read more at CNBC