Follow your favourite Olympic athletes

New Zealand eventer Mark Todd on the day he won his first Olympic medal, on Charisma in Los Angeles in 1984.
New Zealand eventer Mark Todd on the day he won his first Olympic medal, on Charisma in Los Angeles in 1984. © Kit Houghton

A new area where fans can follow their favourite Olympic athletes has been launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It is one of several social media initiatives unveiled by the IOC to provide fans with new vehicles with which to experience the Games.

Live chats between fans and Olympians and other new platform integrations are also among the initiatives.

The Olympic Athletes’ Hub, where the Twitter and Facebook streams of past and present Olympians are aggregated for quick and easy reference, allows 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.

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 soon. The IOC has welcomed more than 30,000 followers on Instagram in only 60 days, while about 600,000 followers have already joined its G+ page.

“The Athletes’ Hub has already compiled the Twitter and Facebook feeds of over 2000 Olympians, and over 100,000 people have visited the site,” said IOC Director of Communications Mark Adams.

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.

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