A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations
Friday, February 21, 2014
Olympics Become Socialympics
by Kiley Skene
Coverage of the Olympic Games has come a long way, to say the least. From newspaper coverage at the start of the modern Olympics in 1896, to today’s coverage where you can practically ski down the mountain yourself with the athlete’s GoPro helmet cams.
The first modern Olympics took place over 100 years ago in 1896 in Athens, Greece. The games were quite the success, but the coverage was at a bare minimum. The only way for fans to hear stories, know results, and
Following the newspaper was the radio. In 1936 the Berlin Games were the first to receive extensive radio coverage. This coverage included over 2,500 broadcasts in over 28 languages.
Almost 30 years later, in 1964, the Tokyo Olympics set a huge milestone with the very first live satellite broadcast ever. In total, there were 40 countries that tuned in to catch any glimpse they could of the Games.
Then, something great happened in the 1996 Atlanta Games… for the first time, the Olympics had a dedicated web page complete with news, photos, results and ticket sales. This marked the beginning of a whole new Olympic era.
Right now, if you were to go to any search engine, news, sports, or fan websites, or blogs, you would, without a doubt, find something regarding the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. It’s practically impossible not to. Type in the phrase “2014 Olympics” into Google and see what happen, more than two billion pages of results pop up in a matter of 0.20 seconds.
The internet has become one of the main source for the majority of fans to keep up with the Olympics. But, what is the most popular form of Olympics on the internet? Social media.
There are numerous different social media websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest that allow networks, athletes and fans to connect with one another. The development of social platforms has changed how we play, enjoy and cover sports. Now, along with watching ESPN’s Sportscenter each night, if we want to see a quick Olympic highlight we can also look on YouTube just minutes after it’s happened. And, not only can you catch up on Olympic news on the radio on your way to work, but you can also check out the medal count on your phone while you walk to lunch.
Social media has also changed the world of the Olympics for journalists. They are now expected to have news posted to the company’s social media platforms the second it happens, whereas in previous years they were often given the next day as their deadline.
“It’s definitely more stressful than it was back then…” said Yahoo sports writer Eric Adelson.
Although it may make it more stressful in the aspect of timing, it has also made it quite a bit easier in general.
“I even use Twitter as a search engine sometimes to research my subjects, so Twitter is a tool that I love having…” Adelson continued.
Overall, social media has revolutionized the Olympic world. But it’s not the only thing.
Have you ever watched the Olympics and wished you could compete in an event? Or wonder what it feels like to go 85 miles per hour down an icy mountain? This year, we are able to watch the Olympics from an entirely different view, literally. Thanks to the GoPro cameras, we are now able to step inside the athletes shoes as if we were the athlete. Numerous competitors, like luge Olympian Matt Mortensen, have worn GoPro cameras on their helmets during this year’s events, and now news companies are sharing them with the public.
With all of these new advances in technology, we begin to wonder what the future Olympics will hold. ESPN writer, Dave Evans, has an idea.
“Viewers at home will have even more options than what’s available today. I foresee technology that will allow home viewers to see what someone in the stands is recording on his or her video camera or smartphone. Because holding a camera steady for long periods of time can be tiring, we could soon see wearable cameras that attach, for example to someone’s glasses. Imagine sitting on a park bench in Boston and watching a match on your tablet through the real-time perspective of a fan’s sunglasses in Brazil. The technology advances required to deliver that experience – enhancements to the device and the camera – are in the works.”
“You will be able to switch from person to person to get different angles and reactions. Devices will be GPS-enabled and/or connected to Wi-Fi at the venue, so viewers will be able to triangulate the location of different fans relative to one another. You will see a map of the venue and be able to choose the perspective from which you wish to view the event – adding levels of depth to watching a long-course event such as the marathon.”
But what else is in store? It’s going to be an exciting ride.