4.1.1 Background Information
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games took place in Beijing, People's Republic of China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. On July 13, 2001, during the 112th International Olympic Council (IOC) meeting in Moscow, Beijing defeated the 5 other short listed cities, Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka, to become the host country for the 2008 Games. The Olympics is a major international multi-sport event and takes place every 4 years in different parts of the world. The next Games has been scheduled to be held in London in 2012. According to official statistics, a total of 10,500 athletes competed in 302 events in 28 different sports. The slogan for the 2008 Beijing Olympic was "One World, One Dream'" to represent the world's spirit together in the Olympics. This year's Games was an exceptional one with a total of 43 new world records, 132 new Olympic records set and a total of 87 countries won at least a medal. Two outstanding athletes were recognised in this Games, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Michael Phelps broke the record for having the most number of gold medals in one Olympics and the most number of career gold medals an Olympian has ever obtained. The other athlete, Usain Bolt, earned himself the title of being the "World's Fastest Man" as he broke the world records in both the 100m and 200m dashes.
4.1.2 Importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT)
ICT played a very important part in broadcasting during the period of the Games. There was live telecast of the various matches and sports events worldwide through several different mediums like the television, video cast, podcast and many more. People from around the world could view the Games, without any delays, and root for the athletes representing their country. Also, the 2008 Games was the first ever Olympics to be broadcasted entirely in high definition television. Thus, it can be seen that ICT has been constantly improving and advancing as time passes. According to a report by Nielsen Media Research, a grand total of 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to the live coverage of the Games as compared to the 2004 Games in Athens. This high ratings has made the 2008 Games the most-viewed event in American television history. In this context, credit should be given to ICT, as without ICT, all these would have been impossible. It was due to the fact that ICT is much more advanced now as compared to the past. Thus media coverage is made easier and more interesting, such that a larger audience can be attracted to watch.
18.104.22.168 Online Coverage
The usage of ICT for online coverage has also increased rapidly within the last 2 years. In the 2006 Winter Games, American broadcaster NBC only released 2 hours worth of online streaming video for that year's Games. However, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an estimated amount of 2,200 hours of coverage for the Games was released online and people could view it live. The difference in the amount of online videos between this two Games is phenomenal. ICT will also leave a mark on the history of the 2008 Beijing Olympics "when digital media found their preeminent position at one of the world's most popular broadcast events" (Voight, CNN). There were full online and on-demand videos, which added up to a total of 4000 hours, available on the Internet after the Games. Hence, fans of the Games would not feel dismayed if they had missed the live telecast of their favourite sports event.
Many people worldwide also posted up their recordings of the Games on popular video sharing sites like YouTube, so that others who wanted to view free videos of the Games could watch them online. There were quite a number of such videos circulating on the Internet before the authorities intervened and removed them due to violations of the terms of services. This action was taken to protect the relevant intellectual property rights. Thus, it can be seen that the Internet can be both useful and harmful since it is able to provide users with a large amount of resources but at the same time, encourage the violation of copyrights.
ICT can also provide information accurately and instantaneously. The official website for the Beijing Games was updated very regularly during the period when the events were happening. The results of all the matches were updated once the match was over so fans could know the outcome as soon as possible. Due to the large number of events that had to be competed during the short span of two weeks, there were a few events taking place at the same time everyday so fans were unable to view all the matches. Thus, there were live updates of the scores for certain matches like table tennis. Each time a point was scored, the score table was updated without any delay. It felt as if people were watching the matches live. Hence, the power of ICT is so strong that and it can bring the world closer together.
ICT, when used in the actual Games events, could help in deciding the winner of the match effectively without any possible discrepancies. An example was the men's 100-metre butterfly finals on the 16th of August. Michael Phelps won that match by 0.01 seconds ahead of his other opponent, Serbian-American Milorad Cavic. Due to the very minute difference in the timings, an appeal was made by the Serbian delegation to review the results again as they were suspicious of the results. However, thanks to ICT, the authorities involved were able to view the underwater photographs of the finishing, 1/10000 of a second apart. Furthermore, the official timekeeper Omega, made use of high technology to ensure that the timings were accurate. Hence, there could be no further disputes about the outcome of the match.
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Crouse.K (August 17, 2008). Phelps's epic journey ends in a perfect 8. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved October 22, 2008 from
Newberry.P (August 17, 2008). It's 8: Phelps passes Spitz with another gold. Yahoo!Sports. Retrieved October 22, 2008 from
Olympic.org (May 15, 2008). Beijing 2008: 6th coordination commission visit to begin tomorrow. International Olympics Committee. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/beijing/full_story_uk.asp?id=1805
Olympic.org (July 13, 2001). Beijing 2008 Election. International Olympics Committee. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from
Voigt.K (July 10, 2008). Olympics enter the '2.0' era. CNN.com. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from
Picture of the 2008 Beijing Official Emblem courtesy of http://www.olympic.org
Picture of the 2008 Beijing Official Mascots courtesy of http://www.olympic.org