A Gold Medal for Portable Sanitation at the 1976 Summer Olympics

Industry Artifacts,

In the February 9, 1976, issue of Sports Illustrated, reporter Sarah Pileggi wrote an article, “Olympic Nightmare for Montreal,” noting that the city was racing the clock to get its facilities in working order.

This is the first Olympics where we can find evidence of the use of portable restrooms. The Olympic Stadium in Montreal would not be completed in time for the Summer Games—and this included most of the permanent restrooms. The fact that our industry had gained recognition in the 1960s, through use at large public events, made portable restrooms an excellent solution for the Olympic Committee. In the photo below, note the construction cranes in the background, even as spectators gathered inside the stadium.

Montreal's Olympic Stadium in Summer 1976

Longtime PSAI member Bill Reynolds of Rent-A-John recounts that his father and his company (then called Johnny on the Spot) provided these units in Montreal—and you may read more about that in a future article.

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