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( and check into two related sporting venues – allowing us- ers to unlock an Olympic Day Badge and access to an online contest form. The in- tent is to inspire people to get active.

LONDON’S DIGITAL TOOLS According to the London Organising Committee of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), more than 800,000 people are currently follow- ing London 2012 on social media sites and Games-related videos have been watched four million times on YouTube. This traffic is expected to increase to

around one billion visits to the official website in the lead up to the Games. Offering a comprehensive, unbiased provi- sion of results and Games information the London 2012 website is fully accessible, with content in British sign language and easyread formats. Included in the family of London 2012

digital tools is an enhanced presence on Facebook and Twitter with new accounts,

The IOC has estimated that London 2012 has up to 10 million social media subscribers

sports and image feeds. These include a Twitter-based competitive tweeting challenge, improved visualisations and in- fographics, as well as official London 2012 mobile, online and social games. Allowing easy access to Games informa-

tion, LOCOG’s free Official London 2012 Join In app ( will help fans share their Games experi- ence on social media. Key features include comprehensive event listings for thousands of events across London and the UK as well as spectator information, interactive

maps, news and photos – all of which are integrated with Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. The app also features a detailed Olympic

Torch Relay route, including a Torch track- er, Torchbearer details and information on evening celebrations. Its companion app, the Official London

2012 Results app, will provide the latest news, schedules and results – allowing users to keep up to date with the latest action live across all Olympic and Paralym- pic sports. l



y memories of Olympic ath- letes include Mark Spitz and David Hemery in 1972; Bren-

dan Foster and Lasse Viren in 1976; but it was during Moscow 1980 that the UK’s great middle distance trio of Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram really captured my attention. I remember listening to the 1976

Olympics in Montreal on a small radio during a family holiday to Cornwall. By 1980, TV coverage was central to my Games experience as well as reading day-old newspaper reports. Throughout my formative Olympic

‘experiences’, TV, radio and newspa- pers were the principle forms of media through which I engaged with and consumed the Olympics. It was strictly arms length, with any social component coming from the family and friends sat around you, a chat in the pub or a letter one might send to the local paper. By Beijing 2008, prevailing notions

of ‘social’, ‘media’, ‘engagement’ and ‘experience’ had changed dramatically. Yet Beijing was a paradox: the epiitome of 21st century sport, a mega event in many ways – at the same time though, heavily controlled by the Chinese state and thus hardly emblematic of our age.

could become the 21st century’s era-de- fining Games, the prelude to a radically different age for the Olympics. One need look no further for evidence of this than my desire to find out ‘whatever hap- pened to Lasse Viren?’. This led me to run a Google search, browse through Wikip- eadia and then post a link to my followers on Twitter – all of which I did on some-

London’s will be the most talked about,

most open, most social Olympics ever staged

thing that has morphed from mobile phone to a hand-held computer device. My engagement with the 2012 Games

has thus already started, largely thanks to new technology and the commercial de- velopment of the Olympic ideal. The way in which the Olympics is marketed ensures that the Games is a very different one to that which many of us experienced in pre- vious decades. Yet the nature and pace of these changes has been heightened by the

emergence of new technology – particu- larly the proliferation and convergence of mobile devices and the content which they can access. The meaning of ‘social’ is much broader and more global than it has ever been, while ‘media’ refers to something more powerful and pervasive than anything print-copy newspapers have been able to achieve. The open and inclusive nature of so-

cial media is such that, throughout the summer of 2012, people will be posting details of their Games experience on Facebook, networking with other pro- fessionals through LinkedIn, displaying their photos on Picasa, and feeding tit- bits of information via Twitter. London’s will be the most talked

about, most open, most social Olym- pics ever staged. As such, there will be immense opportunities for the Games’ organisers to utilise social media in ways that will add value to the event they are delivering, while at the same time en- gaging people like never before. Professor Simon Chadwick is director of the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University

48 Read Sports Management online

Issue 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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