The 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi are just weeks away. While it wasn’t long ago that Gabrielle Douglas landed her back flips and Michael Phelps swam his way to four gold medals during the 2012 London Olympics, the athletes and venues have evolved exponentially. Even more, the technology used to train, record and share their feats has continued to advance beyond our expectations.
Here are four ways technology is not just changing how we will view and experience the 2014 Olympics in real-time, but also how athletes are preparing for the big Games:
Timing. The days of the simple stop watch are long gone. OMEGA, the official timekeeper of the Olympics since 1932, introduced a hyper-advanced timekeeping system for Sochi 2014 that will include an electronic start system, light-sensitive devices at the finish line and photo-finish cameras capable of taking 2,000 shots per second. According to Olympic.org, “competitors will also wear lightweight transponders on their legs, making it possible for OMEGA to measure, record and display the intermediate times and rankings of the participating athletes while the races are taking place.”
Training. We know that training for the Olympics begins months, if not years, in advance. Exercise regimens, diets and sleep patterns all impact an athlete’s success, whether down the slopes or on the ice. 2014 is becoming the year of the wearable. And as my colleague Jeff Urbanchuk noted in his earlier blog post, Google Glass is “just the tip of the iceberg.” Now, Shaun White is training on a private half pipe with new GoPro camera technology, which “allows White and his coach to precisely track the trajectory of new tricks.” The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team also is using the new Athlete Management Platform (AMP), a new mobile sports training app with Sprint, which allows coaches and athletes to change training and routines in real-time, sometimes even on the mountain.
On-Demand Coverage. The 2012 London Olympics were dubbed the “mobile” Olympics, with millions of viewers tuning into the games via their mobile devices and social media. This year may be no different. Samsung recently unveiled a special mobile application, Samsung-WOW, which allows the organizers and participants to get relevant real-time updates on the events and schedules. NBC also revamped its Olympics app, now known as NBC Sports Live Extra, for Android and iOS users. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram partnered with NBC Olympics this year, and will feature NBC Olympics video content on Facebook for the first time.
Green Games. Olympics officials promise that for the first time in the history of Olympics, the Games will leave a neutral carbon footprint. Dow Chemical, the Games’ “Official Carbon Sponsor,” hopes to mitigate up to 160,000 tons in CO2 equivalent, slightly less than Moscow’s daily emissions. To accomplish this, they’ve done everything from advancing technology for insulation and refrigerants widely used in ice-rink construction to providing funds to offset the travel emissions for athletes, spectators and media.
Technology will continue to change and as it does, the Olympics will too, from star athletes preparing in a way never thought possible to viewing the Games on Google Glasses.
How do you plan to use technology to make the most of your Olympic experience?