Your digital guide to the London 2012 Olympics
- — 26 July, 2012 22:00
After four long years, the Summer Olympics are upon us once again. We take a look at how you can use the internet and technology to make the most of your Olympics experience, whether you want to schedule ahead of time, watch events live, or follow the latest updates.
Social media: Who to follow
So many accounts dedicated to the Olympics, and so little time. Who should you follow to get the quickest updates?
@nzolympics – This one’s a no-brainer. You want live updates from the New Zealand Olympic team? This account is active and up-to-the-minute. Seconds after Nick Willis was announced as the flag-bearer for the New Zealand team in the opening ceremony, this Twitter account tweeted the news. You can also follow the New Zealand National Olympics team on Facebook, although the page doesn’t appear to be nearly as active as the Twitter account.
@olympics – For more general information, it’s obviously a good idea to follow the official Olympics Twitter account. From there, a team of people is posting pictures from London and updates on the Games from inside the Olympic Village. Occasionally, an Olympic athlete takes over the account for an #asktheathlete session, too.
There’s an app for that
London 2012 Join In app – So you want to have a good look at the Olympics schedule? There’s an app for that and much more, on iOS, Blackberry and Android. It’s got a countdown to the games Opening Ceremony, as well as a schedule of today’s events – since some of the competitions have already begun. You can break down the app by events – so just look at the swimming, or the archery – and star your favourite things for future refence. You can even set up push notifications to notify you when an event’s coming up.
The app is also useful for those who are present in London, as it has maps, social media check-ins, and more.
London 2012 Results app – This is where you find out about the cool stuff after the fact, and even Windows Phone 7 users get this app! And this one’s easily customisable – you can go into the Settings and choose a preferred country, so once you select New Zealand you’ll be shown more New Zealand content. You can even set it up to give you a daily summary for top countries, as well as a daily summary for New Zealand and a push notification every time our Olympic team wins a medal.
You can find links to both apps on all platforms on the official London 2012 website.
Watch it live
There are going to be many places running live streams of Olympic events – some of them legal, some of them not so legal.
Sky TV is running a free, online livestream of Prime TV’s coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games. If you’re away from a TV, you can always head to iSky for a gander. You don’t even have to be a Sky subscriber to get access. It’s almost 24-hour coverage – the only exceptions are Prime News, which will be full of Olympic coverage anyway, and episodes of The Crowd Goes Wild.
None of the other major broadcasters in New Zealand will have coverage of any sort, unfortunately – Sky TV owns all the rights, but at least there’s one free channel and livestream for those who just have free-to-air TV available to them.
Watch it not-live on YouTube
Sixty-four territories have access to the YouTube livestream of the Londond 2012 Olympics. However, New Zealand is not one of them – boo! But if you want to watch official interviews and other coverage of the Olympic Games, there are YouTube channels delivering the goods.
The official London 2012 YouTube channel is currently broadcasting highlights, ‘hangouts’ with athletes, and loads more.
The International Olympic Committee also runs a YouTube channel, where it runs highlights and more video. Unfortunately, much of it isn’t available in New Zealand until 15 August, but if you’re really keen, you can check back then.
Wiki your way through the Olympics
Wikipedia has a frequently updated site dedicated to the Summer Olympics in London.
The website includes fascinating facts about how the two mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, got their names; details of the opening ceremony; and the schedule of dates each sport is held. Within the main page, you’ll find a sub-page for every sport – such as equestrian - and pages for each country. So if you’d rather just keep track of the Kiwi team, try the dedicated New Zealand at the 2012 Summer Olympics page.
You can also keep track of our Paralympic team on Wikipedia.
The nice aspect about Wikipedia is that you can click your way through links to discover more info about individual athletes, historical results, and trivia that will come in handy when completing the Stuff quiz or competing in your local trivia comp. Do you know how you qualify for the equestrian events? What about the situation regarding which drugs are considered performance enhancing? Or why the US doesn’t dip its flag during the opening ceremony? Actually, that last one isn’t up on Wikipedia - yet.
Keep up in your web browser
If you don’t have a smartphone, or just don’t like the idea of keeping up on an app, there are plenty of great websites dedicated to Olympics coverage.
Of course, you’ve got the official website for the London 2012 Olympic Games, featuring the full schedule, results, athletes, countries... it’s basically like the official apps, except even more comprehensive. If you go to the page on New Zealand, you can see all the athletes on our team, where they are in world ranking, and what they’re competing in.
The New Zealand Olympic team also has a website, and we must say it’s a very well-designed one. Big images, and a Pinterest-style look make it easy to navigate and nice to look at. There are pictures, tweets, blog posts and more in one continuous Kiwi-specific stream, some of them posted by athletes and coaches.
If you’re just after news... well, every major news website in New Zealand has already established an Olympics hub for you to check out.