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Updated: July 29, 2012 16:39 IST

Olympics goes hi-tech

NEETI SARKAR
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In the ring The telly is so last century! Photo: AP
AP In the ring The telly is so last century! Photo: AP

The Olympics has kicked off to a grand start. And thanks to technology, fans are keeping up with the action to the minute

If Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games had to say: “The Olympic Games are the quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity,” he couldn’t have been wrong! The four-year wait makes everything about The Games exciting so much so people aren’t content waiting for the opening ceremony to air on TV. Log into Facebook and it isn’t just the status updates that are about the Olympics.

In the run up to the Olympics, Indians living in and around London thronged the various Olympic torch trails to catch a glimpse of it before it made its way to The Olympic Stadium and photographs of the same are grabbing eyeballs and “likes” on Facebook!

“I took the day off to watch the torch relay outside Islington Town Hall. I wasn’t able to procure tickets to the Games in time so this was something I wanted to watch live and I managed to do so. I even had a few friends over from neighbouring boroughs to go with me and catch the action,” says Anisha Srinivasan, an engineer in London.

Doctorate student Manisha Garewal says: “Despite a long night of study and research, I made sure I was at the St Paul’s Cathedral to cheer the Olympic flame. Groggy as I was, it was well worth being there. It was a rather surreal moment for me.” In a land that reveres cricket, there are those who wish the Olympics didn’t involve a four-year wait.

“Cricket might be what we’re best at but too much of anything is bad! It has been my dream to watch the Olympics at least once in my lifetime and I cannot believe I’m actually in London. I even managed to watch the flame travel on to Regent’s Canal where it was taken on board a boat before appearing at St Pancras Station. That really kick-started the excitement for me and two of my friends who are with me,” says Jeremy George, a software engineer.

An estimated 80,000 crowd had gathered at Hyde Park to witness torchbearer Tyler Rix, a young footballer and musician, carry the flame on to the stage and light a huge cauldron to mark the start of a special concert to celebrate the torch's arrival. A large number of Indians were a part of this colossal gathering. Ideally, those who don’t get to watch the Olympics live rely entirely on their TV sets. But this time around, the scene is rather different. Social-media apps are making a statement of their own for the 2012 Olympics.

Given the alarming growth in the field of technology, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are now a number of mobile apps that are helping spectators at the Games keep tabs on the action. For example, TorchTracker uses GPS tracking to pinpoint where the Olympic Torch is — and how to reach it. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games released two apps-the 2012 Results App, which posts the latest scores, schedules and results, and the 2012 Join In App, which tells spectators about events, celebrations and activities during the Games.

Another group of apps was designed to keep stay-at-home fans close to the action before the Games officially opened. The apps allowed users to digest the Games as a social experience in a way not seen in previous Games.

“This is the first time people like us who are so far away from the action can actually be a part of it all. There’s no need to take leave from work or stay up all night to watch an event. With this kind of technology, impossible is nothing!” quips Rohan Menon, an HR executive.

The Olympic fever is on and is only rising. And in a world where social media is an omnipresent force, there’s no way you won’t catch the virus!

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