Olympic fans and media encouraged

Lausanne – Switzerland, July 19, 2012: Olympic fans, Live chats between fans and Olympians, a widget for media websites and a host of new platform integrations are among the latest social media initiatives unveiled today by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The offerings are part of a concerted effort by the IOC to reach out to fans and media by providing them with new and exciting vehicles with which to experience the Games. This included the launch of the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, where the Twitter and Facebook streams of past and present Olympians are aggregated for quick and easy reference, allowing users to track top tweets and trending athletes in real time.

Inside the Olympic Village is a new addition to the Hub that offers the public an opportunity to put questions directly to Olympians at the Athletes’ Village in London and receive real-time responses. A different athlete will be featured every day, before and during the Games.

Also new to the Hub is Faces of Olympians, where photos of athletes will appear on a “wall” in what is designed to be one of the most entertaining online photographic chronicles of an Olympic Games edition to date. The IOC, in conjunction with Instagram, will ask Olympians in the Athletes’ Village to pose for photos with their best “Olympic Face,” while fans can join the fun by following a live photo feed of their pictures @facesofolympians. The final product will be a huge photo collage of Olympic faces from London 2012.

The IOC is also offering a searchable widget to media outlets worldwide that can be embedded on their websites to provide instant access to an athlete’s Twitter and Facebook feeds via the Hub. Interested media are invited to contact the IOC Press Office at pressoffice@olympic.org for more information.

New social media platform integrations recently unveiled include an Olympic Games G+ page and an Olympic Instagram account (@Olympics), while an Olympic Tumblr mobile and web integration* will be launched in the coming days. The IOC has welcomed more than 30,000 followers on Instagram in only 60 days, while approximately 600,000 followers have already joined our G+ page.

“The Athletes’ Hub has already compiled the Twitter and Facebook feeds of over 2,000 Olympians, and over 100,000 people have visited the site,” said IOC Director of Communications Mark Adams. “The additions we are announcing today further demonstrate the IOC’s continued efforts to socialise the Olympic Games and create a better, more engaging experience for fans and Olympic athletes around the world.”

Another light-hearted addition that will join the Hub in the next few days is the Olympic Challenge, a social game that asks fans to predict the outcomes of the sports competitions at London 2012. Participants will compete against their friends and other fans around the world, with rankings, updated daily, posted on a leader board. The Olympic Challenge is integrated with Facebook and Open Graph, allowing Facebook users to share their predictions with their friends and encourage social competition.

The public can earn a chance to win free tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games when they check-in to off-site venues on foursquare and unlock a special badge called the “Olympic Ticket.” Olympic fans can also win free tickets starting on July 26 by taking part in a photo contest on the Olympic Facebook page.

The IOC held a press event last night in London for tech journalists and athletes that outlined the new social media features and integrations. Athletes included Oscar Pistorius (South Africa, athletics) and six-time Olympian Allison Williamson (Great Britain, archery).

“Social media has been a great way to connect with fans and share not just my stories, but the stories of other amazing people and athletes,” said double amputee athlete Pistorius. “I regularly use it to share my experiences and provide inspiration for those who are overcoming obstacles or just need an extra push to remember that hard work pays off. I am truly blessed and thrilled to be participating in the 2012 London Olympics, and look forward to sharing my Olympic experiences with the social media community and inspiring young athletes to do amazing things!”

“When I went to the Games for the first time it was back in Barcelona in 1992 – those Games had an internal email system and it was groundbreaking,” added Williamson. “In London I will be sharing photos of the Athletes’ Village and other fun things. I really hope everyone enjoys these Games!”

* The IOC’s Tumblr blogs (coming soon) will include:

– olympics.tumblr.com – An aggregation of various existing social feeds

– facesofolympians.tumblr.com – Live from inside the Athletes’ Village, real-time photo feed from the Instagram Faces of Olympians campaign

– olympicmoments.tumblr.com – Photos from Getty Images

– olympicfashion.tumblr.com – Follow Olympic fashion in this live feed that will include colorful photos and commentary. —– IOC

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