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IOC blames social media overload for lack of broadcast information during road races

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 31, 2012, 5:35 BST,
Updated:
July 31, 2012, 6:37 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Race:
2012 Olympic Games
The peloton winds their way up the Box Hill climb

The peloton winds their way up the Box Hill climb

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Commentators say experience was "frustrating"

Following criticism of the television coverage of the London Olympic Games men's road race, the International Olympic Committee has asked spectators to be mindful of sending 'non-urgent' messages out on social media networks which overloaded telecommunication networks over the weekend.

The relaying of time gaps by Olympic Broadcasting Service were kept to a bare minimum during the road races, leaving international commentators and therefore the viewers at home, in the dark. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games provided fixed time checks at Box Hill and at the start and finish line but the information from the GPS transmitters on the rider's bikes was largely disrupted otherwise due to the overloaded communications network. At several points in the race, riders in the early breakaway could be seen asking race officials in vehicles for time gaps.

It's estimated around 1million people lined the 250km men's road race course alone.

"Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people," said IOC communications director Mark Adams. "It's just - if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy."

BBC commentator Chris Boardman calculated time gaps using his watch while Australian commentator Scott McGrory told Cyclingtips that the lack of information made it difficult to predict the way the race would play out.

"Before the Olympic Road Race coverage started Phil [Liggett] and I had no idea that we wouldn't be getting regular updates on time gaps and distance remaining," he said. "That increased the challenge of providing valuable information to the viewing audience and was frustrating to say the least."

Official 2012 Olympic communications services provider BT, Vodafone and O2, told Reuters that they had not seen any network problems.

 

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Olympic games