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.

Press monitors at the Beijing Olympic basketball

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.

BBC Olympic screening, Portsmouth

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.

Adrian Warner is BBC London's Olympics correspondent. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


or register to comment.

  • 1. At 9:35pm on 17 Aug 2008, Chaotic_Illuminator wrote:

    As far as the opening ceremony is concerned, all the high tech kit and tech-savvy people are always the same bunch of Europeans, North Americans and a sprinkling of Australians.

    These guys go round the world doing things like Olympic openings, Eurovision, World Cup events, etc... something like the Olympic opening may have a creative director from the country in question, but the tech and the know-how isn't native...

    The Eurovision squad even truck in their own generators for lighting and sound because they know they can't rely on local power in some places!

    There is really no connection between the level of tech in the "shows" and in the actual games... as you have pointed out, Adrian. Pity - if China really wants to be the 21st century superpower it could be, they're really going to have to sort out the tech!

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:12am on 18 Aug 2008, trevrut wrote:

    You think that's bad?? Wait until it comes to Britain!!!........We will have wasted so much 'Tax Payers' money on the ever spiraling cost of building the 'white elephants' of the future that there will be no money left for technology

    I'm affraid it'll be back to pen and paper and the first to the phone box for you lot!!!

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites