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article imageOlympics 2012: Twitter users blamed for disrupting TV coverage

By Anne Sewell     Jul 30, 2012 in Internet
London - Games organizers are blaming Twitter users for overloading data networks with their tweets, as they attend the London Summer Olympics. According to organizers, the deluge of tweets has already disrupted TV coverage of the cycling road races.
Each competitor's bike has a GPS chip, which transmits vital data to chart their progress in the race. Commentators were apparently unable to advise viewers of the positions and timings of the racers, because the data could not get through from the GPS satellite navigation system.
The BBC blamed the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) for the lack of information, which left commentator Chris Boardman using his own watch to estimate timings.
A former Olympic champion, Boardman apologized to viewers after the men's race. He tweeted: "Folks, got to apologize for issues today, gutted. Tomorrow we aim to have stuff like information and a monitor we can see for commentary!"
However, the International Olympic Committee said fans sending updates to Twitter while watching the race had, in effect, jammed transmissions of race information.
A Games organizers spokeswoman told media, "There are fixed timing points at the start and finish line, as well as one at Box Hill which Locog provides. These worked well and the result and timing of the race are not in doubt."
As these problems emerged, Games officials called on spectators to avoid non-urgent messaging.
"From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don't want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates," said Communications director Mark Adams.
The BBC received more complaints, this time over the coverage of Saturday night's gymnastics. Viewers complained that BBC One showed little of the men's team making it to the finals.
However, a BBC spokesman stated, “The BBC carried extensive coverage of the gymnastics yesterday across BBC Three as well as in its entirety on and the Red Button,’ he said.
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