SBD/July 31, 2012/Olympics

Cycling Tech Problems Could Have Been Avoided With Advance Network Notice

Networks became overloaded due to the number of fans lining the race course
LOCOG organizers “could have avoided the technical and timing problems that plagued the men's cycling road race on Saturday if they had notified mobile networks in advance,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Sources said that race organizers “failed to warn them they were using the mobile phone network to carry crucial GPS data.” When networks became overloaded due to the "number of spectators lining the course, LOCOG was unable to provide accurate timing information to broadcasters, the riders on the course or their coaches following in cars.” But sources said that at “no point did LOCOG organisers warn the Joint Olympic Operators Group -- a coalition of the major mobile networks formed to deal with Games-related issues -- of their plan.” If LOCOG had informed the networks in advance, they said that they “could have put in extra capacity and prioritised certain types of traffic to ensure the information was not caught up with public use” (GUARDIAN, 7/31).

LIFE'S A BEACH: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes Horse Guards Parade, which is hosting beach volleyball, is “a stunning setting, the jewel of these Olympics and the go-to event for photographers and cameramen wanting to get the iconic shot of the Games.” It also is a “mecca for horn-dog lechers who have come to watch women in bikinis hug each other.” Prince Albert of Monaco yesterday said, “I still am amazed they got the permission to have the beach-volleyball competition here” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/31). In N.Y., Lyall & Robertson write under the header, “Beach Volleyball’s Lure Isn’t Just The Athletics” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31). In Miami, Dave Barry writes, “I have a message for the officials in charge of men’s beach volleyball: This is the 21st century. Your sport is never going to gain widespread public acceptance until you open the competition to allow hot women in microscopic swimwear. I would give the same advice to officials of other little-known Olympic sports seeking TV coverage, such as skeet-shooting, horse-riding, kayaking, table tennis and the luge” (MIAMI HERALD, 7/31). Also in Miami, Linda Robertson writes under the header, “No Matter The Weather In London, Beach Volleyball Goes On.” Even if the skies “are gray and the downpours drenching, as they were Sunday, the matches will continue because neither players nor Britons are deterred by the elements” (MIAMI HERALD, 7/31).

CENTER STAGE: In N.Y., Mary Pilon notes yesterday around 50,000 fans poured into Greenwich Park for the equestrian events, which are “center stage, taking place downtown.” In a country with a “rich equestrian tradition, fans know their horses (and crowned riders), and organizers eagerly amped up the pomp of the sport, which this summer is celebrating its 100th year at the Games.” Well before the 12:30pm local start time, the grounds “were packed, hundreds of fans lining up around the Wind in the Willows-themed water jump and around the sundial” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31).

SCHEDULING DILEMMA: The SPORTS NETWORK’s Jim Brighters noted golf returns to the ’16 Rio de Janeiro Games “for the first time in over a century.” The scheduling “figures to be a nightmare,” and in fact, it “already appears to be.” The Int'l Golf Federation “promised no major tournaments during the Olympics.” The PGA Championship is "normally played during this time,” but the PGA of America “graciously said it will move the PGA Championship to the last week of July.” The R&A considered moving up the British Open “a week earlier in 2016 to accommodate the Olympics.” However, the “problem with that scenario is that Wimbledon has been pushed back a week starting in 2015, so the two would be played the same week.” In addition, the moves still do not address “how screwed up the Playoffs, Ryder Cup and some LPGA Tour events, including possible majors, could become” (SPORTS NETWORK, 7/30).
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