SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Chris Campbell is the first to say that his comeback has been possible only through the indulgence of his employer, the Carrier Corporation, a division of United Technologies Inc.
Carrier supports Campbell's wrestling through the Olympic Job Opportunities Program (OJOP), in which companies pay employees as though they were full-time while giving them time off to train.
Campbell figures he missed 64 days of work for wrestling last year; he will miss at least that many this year. Richard Whiston, vice president and general counsel at Carrier, estimates the company's contribution to Campbell's wrestling is in excess of $100,000.
Mary Klever, manager of the athlete assistance department at the US Olympic Committee, says OJOP is "strictly an opportunity for corporate America to do goodwill."
There are no tax write-offs or other financial incentives for a company to participate. Still, some 400 companies now help more than 1,000 athletes.