My entire life I have been an Olympic Games junkie. No matter if it was the Summer or Winter Games, I found myself counting down the days until the opening ceremonies, and would then watch as much of the competitions, athlete personal interest stories, and news from the Games as I could fit in without causing serious concern among my friends and family (I don’t ordinarily watch much TV).
While waiting for the London opening ceremonies (July 27, BTW), I began looking into ways to be even more plugged in this year, and knew the impact of social media would be key. Olympic organizers have dubbed the London games the world’s “first social Games” and I was thrilled to learn that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) created an online hub for the “ultimate Olympic fan” (they mean me, right?).
The main purpose of this community is to strengthen the digital connection between fans and competitors. This is great, especially for star athletes in non-mainstream sports like Greco-Roman wrestling and modern pentathlon, or those sports you may only follow during the Olympics, like diving and fencing. Social media offers these athletes a way to connect with—and stay connected to—a fan base long after the games are over.
The Olympic Athlete’s Hub pulls together the verified social media feeds of 1,000+ current and former competitors, across a wide variety of sports. The community offers fans the ability to follow their favorite athletes, and to learn more about and connect with new athletes as they follow the game.
The hub also posts content directly from Facebook and Twitter accounts, and incorporates gamification. Fans can play “Game for the Games” and earn virtual medals, as well as real rewards (e.g., collectable pins, autographed T-shirts, etc.) when they follow athletes, watch videos, etc.
Just like women athletes, coverage of the Olympics has “come a long way, baby.” Take a look at this infographic published by the IOC showcasing the evolution of the coverage of the games. To my delight, this year it will be more sophisticated than ever before.
The Olympic Games have always brought the world together. Thanks to social media, this connection is stronger than ever before, and will continue long after the closing ceremonies.
I am already earning medals on the Olympic Athletes’ Hub as I wait for the Games to begin. And, I am happy that I can now make it look like I am online “working” and not just watching the games.
How much Olympic coverage do you plan to take in? What role will social media play? I’d love to hear and learn of any other fun Olympic-dedicated sites you plan to engage in.