4 Ways Technology has Changed the Olympics

Every few years, athletes from all over the world gather together to celebrate diversity and compete for the chance to be labled as the world’s best in their respective sports. A lot has changed since the last Olympic games, especially in the technology industry. The world has gotten more connected, maybe even smaller, due to advances made in instant connections and the rise of social media. So we can’t expect that these games will be like the ones we remember from our childhood.

Social Media

In my opinion, social media is a technology advancement that really embraces the core spirit of the olympic games. Through social media we are now globally connected, and can learn about and celebrate the diversity that exists in our world. Not to mention that social media sites (especially Twitter) help us to stay up to date on all the latest Olympic news. It also gives people a chance to experience the games on a more personal level, as people who are at the games give their own accounts of the experience over social media.

Interestingly, Olympic spectators use of social media, particularly Twitter, has not taken quite the perspective the organizers of the games were hoping. While they were encouraging the use of social media to further celebrate the spirit of collaborative diversity that defines the Olympics, it has instead taken a more critical route. The majority of comments and updates tend to have a negative and critical perspective, an example being when a spectator told a British diver he “let his dad down” (the athlete’s dad died of cancer last year). Even though not all the comments are that harsh, most of them focus on issues that have arisen as opposed to focusing on the triumphs and sportsmanship that far outweigh the negatives. However, given the types of stories that usually go viral, were they wrong to assume that people would rather focus on the positives of the games as opposed to the negatives? If there’s one thing everyone has learned from the mainstream media it’s that scandals sell. Is it really so surprising that the social media sphere wouldn’t focus on the scandals too?

What do you think about the use of social media during the Olympics? Do you agree that it is scandal-focused this year? Why or Why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Live Streaming

According to this article by CNN.com, it would take a person five months to watch every single competition in the Olympics in their entirety, without eating or sleeping. Needless to say, no one will be watching every event, especially not as they happen, and especially not in their entirety. However, there are many different ways now for people to watch the events live (find out how by clicking here). They are able to keep up with the latest news on the games, thanks to all the different live streaming sites available. And let’s face it, we live in a society where people strive to always have the latest, most up-to-date information.

The Downfall of Television

Although this point is related to the two before, it is worth expanding on how television has failed during these Olympics. With live streaming and social media now available for the games, TV studios don’t have the luxury of editing what potions of the games they air without major push-backs from the public. Choosing not to air a competition when it actually happens (instead saving it for a prime-time spot) or cutting off part of the opening ceremonies, is not acceptable to the majority of those who now get all of their information in real-time. Read more about this here. Clearly TV studios need to change the way they air the games, or accept that they will no longer be the primary way people get their Olympics information.

Substitute for Steroids

After the bathing suit fiasco of 2009, everyone is on the lookout for new types of upgrades that athletes are using. Sailors using water-resistent technology to repel sprays from swells, or Michael Phelps wearing a bathing cap and goggles designed to minimize torque. Heavy debate has sparked over whether or not these new technology upgrades give these athletes an unfair advantage and should be banned. Do you think this creates an edge for the athletes that tips the scales of what is fair? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Technology is a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry, especially over the past couple decades. It is only natural that the advances made in technology will affect the Olympics, as they have affected virtually every other aspect of our lives. The question now becomes, how will the Olympics need to change to keep up with technology?

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