Swimming, track and field, and gymnastics are classic Summer Olympic events. Who knew canoe and kayak, handball, and trampoline are as well? Beyond their playing surfaces, what is the difference between volleyball and beach volleyball?
We’re about to find out, when the London Games begin on Friday, July 27 and end Sunday, August 12.
The primary website, www.london2012.com, is the place to bookmark. Olympic Movement, NBC, ESPN and of course the BBC offer more content than you can consume. Summer Olympics assures variety with over 30 individual sports and glimpses into the preparation and endurance of the athletes who compete for their countries.
2012 marks the first fully digital Olympic games. Your SmartPhone and Tablet will let you see competitions live as you go about your day. Estimates range as high as 2,500 hours of professional video will be available, according to the BBC.
The International Olympic Committee announced they will stream video live via YouTube to 64 territories, according to Trevor Mogg’s article in Digital Trends. Be sure to bookmark the YouTube Official Channel.
What about other social networks? They have ramped up to meet the challenge. Follow the athletes themselves, as well as discuss what’s going on in a particular sport. Here are a handful of options to explore:
- Google+ has already begun offering hangouts with athletes such as the one on Monday, July 23, with some members of the USA’s Diving Team.
- Flickr photographs have begun appearing in the Group London 2012, as well as the photo streams of individuals. Boards on Pinterest have begun sprouting favorite images.
- Facebook has a new hub with nearly three billion “likes” already, and the Games haven’t even yet begun! Check it for content on athletes, national teams and individual sports.
- Perhaps the social network best suited to narrate and share real-time Olympic news is Twitter. Their Olympic hub is a partnership with Comcast and NBC Universal. Twitter will fulfill a unique narrator role for social networks, with its team of curators and editors. If basketball is your sport, follow LeBron James. He's one of the most prolific Olympic tweeters, with thousands of followers.
And then there are the apps! iTunes and Google Play offer free apps for Apple and Android systems respectively. Catch the news, schedules, biographies and stories with “London 2012 for Olympic and Paralympic Games”, “Team USA”, and “NBC Olympics.”
Which sport will you follow most closely? Who is the athlete about whom you're most excited? Tell us in the comments section, and include which technology you're using to keep up-to-date.