The Olympics in London will kick off on July 27 with an Opening Ceremony that’s already been cut back a bit so that those attending will be able to get home on the trains. Of course, that’s if there are trains running at all. The AP is reporting that about 400 employees of the train system are threatening to strike. If that weren’t enough, border guards at Europe’s largest airport, Heathrow, are also saying they’ll walk off the job the night before the Games get started. Enjoy London, everybody who shelled out big bucks to get there. At least visitors can hop on one of the hard-to-miss sponsor-wrapped buses that CBS Outdoor UK is creating for the likes of Visa and other brands. More below on the latest from London.
Athletes Getting Boost on Twitter and Facebook
It used to be that you’d see an Olympic athlete every four years and then they’d pretty much disappear again until the next Games came around. Now the beauty of social media allows every single person who pulls on a Ralph Lauren-designed Made in China uniform to be a constant presence in your lives. According to Yahoo!, lots of fans are signing up to hear from their favorite athletes on Facebook and Twitter. The International Olympic Committee is not one to let a self-promoting opportunity go to waste, of course, and so it has created the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a website (as promised) that “is focused on the athletes and their social media connections.” More than 2,000 athletes are already signed up so it’s not hurting for content — and it will certainly come in handy now that today marks the beginning of the IOC-imposed blackout on athletes Tweeting, Facebooking, wearing or otherwise hobnobbing with their non-Olympic sponsors.
Britain Aiming for Best Medal Total In a Century
Who says there is no home-field advantage in the Olympics? Britain’s Olympians could bring home more medals in this Games than it has since it last hosted the Games in 1908. Various studies show that this is Britain’s year, the Washington Post reports, and one has it that Team GB will claim more golds than the Russians. Now all the athletes have to do is make this a reality. No pressure, lads.
Another Day, Another Coke and McDonald’s Olympic Sponsorship Challenge
Olympic partners Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have taken plenty of flak from many quarters, including International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge, about how pitching their snack, beverage and fast food brands via the Games is sending a poor message to the world. The companies aren’t pushing messages that say their products are the most nutritional things people could eat or drink, of course. Instead, they are focused on motivating kids to be more active and for adults to get off the couch and get involved, too. All good sentiments, naturally, but CNN notes that “there is little evidence that these short-term pushes will have a lasting effect in increasing children's physical activity levels.” Click here to read the brands' responses to CNN's critic.
Eight Billion Devices Expected at the Most Connected Games in History
While the people pour into London to witness the Games, a large majority of them will be texting, emailing, and checking the web on whatever wireless device they’ve got handy. And that means there will be a massive overload on the infrastructure not only at the Olympics site, but in London and the entire U.K. Agence France Presse reports that the 2012 Summer Games are “expected to produce almost one third more data than the 2008 Beijing Olympics.” And the devices won’t just be in overdrive in the U.K. People will be checking on the Games from all over the globe. "We have calculated there will be about eight billion devices connected to Internet by the time of the Games including smartphones and tablets: more than the number of human beings on earth," said Patrick Adiba, executive vice president of Atos, the technology company leading a group of six firms (including Cisco) creating the tech network for these Olympics Games, to AFP.
Games Fans Can Immediately Jam to Digital Tunes
When fans walk out of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, they will immediately be able to get hold of the music they just heard, thanks to the beauty of digital. (Of course, they might not be able to catch a train anywhere, but that’s a different item altogether.) Both soundtracks will be available in the hours after the ceremonies end — more details here.
The Who Uses Olympics Stage to Market — Who Else?
The Who doesn’t exactly need help marketing itself. They are only one of the world’s most famous rock bands, but Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend aren’t afraid to use their coming appearance that the Olympics as a jumping-off point to let the world know that they're on the comeback trail — and will soon be touring the U.S. and playing their album Quadrophenia in its entirety. They may not have died before they got old, but they’re still angry young old men with an axe to grind windmill.
Kate's Cartier Olympic-themed Necklace
Anywhere you turn in London, it will be difficult to escape the Olympics. Even the National Portrait Gallery has gotten into the act with an exhibition (dubbed Road to 2012) featuring photographs of the preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Duchess of Cambridge Catherine (otherwise known as Kate Middleton) showed up there Wednesday morning in a Stella McCartney dress (not, alas, one of her Team GB duds for Adidas) and a stunning $77,000 Olympic-themed Cartier necklace. The Middleton family business, meanwhile, is being scrutinized for a less charming Olympic tie-in — unauthorized London 2012 party favors.
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Below: AT&T continues showing the love to its roster of its Team USA-sponsored athletes in its latest spots, including these featuring marathoner Ryan Hall and swimmer Ryan Lochte (new non-athlete online spots include "Fencing" and "Hurdlers"):