- 17 Aug 08, 09:47 AM
The last time I reported on a global event in Asia was the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.
I was completely blown away by the technology there. I watched a live football match on 3-D television (you feel the ball is flying at you) and I was impressed by the way the Koreans set up top-quality, giant screens around Seoul to show the matches to fans who couldn't get tickets. The Germans copied this at the 2006 World Cup.
I expected to be able to call Beijing the high-tech Games but I've been disappointed.
Although the TV pictures broadcast around the world involve the latest technology like HD and more people are watching the Games in Britain on the internet, the service for both the spectators and the media here has taken a step backwards.
When I went to my first summer Games in 1988 in Seoul, I remember sitting at the rowing events and tuning in to the notorious men's 100 metres final involving Ben Johnson. I took advantage of similar TV links in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens. In fact, I've taken it for granted at the Olympics.
But I was at the cycling this weekend, desperate to know what was going on with the British crews at the rowing and it was only possible to see pictures of the velodrome. It was the same in the main athletics stadium.
This not only makes life difficult for the media - especially from developing countries who cannot afford to send big teams of reporters - but it's also a major blow for spectators. These days it should be possible to link up all the venues through TV pictures.
Spectators should be able to stand in the middle of the Olympic Park and watch an array of screens showing action from elsewhere at the Olympics. But it hasn't happened here.
So we have a spectacular opening ceremony with all the latest technology, followed by below-par service for the actual sporting events.
London is already learning from this and 2012 officials have plans to put screens up around London and the country. I hope they will also put up plenty in the Olympic Park and at all the venues so that the media but, more importantly, the spectators can really get a feel for the action in the 26 sports.
With the digital TV age in full swing, London 2012 could then rightly call itself the first high-tech Games.
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