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Launch of bbc.co.uk/olympics

Claire Stocks | 11:53 UK time, Monday, 10 December 2007

The Beijing Olympics are still more than seven months away but this week we're launching our new Olympics section on our website.

In the past we might have waited until a month before the Games before launching a dedicated section. But this time we wanted to get in as early as possible.

The last few months of the year are traditionally a quiet period in the sporting calendar so it is a good time to do a spot of housekeeping.

Over the coming months, bbc.co.uk/olympics will be the home for our coverage of the build-up to the Beijing Games. It will receive an overhaul for the event when demands will radically change as we're suddenly thrust into our busiest sporting event.

Football World Cups may inspire more passion, but in terms of workload, there is nothing to compare to the Olympics, with non-stop action for about 15 hours and up to 35 finals a day across the 28 different sports for more than a fortnight.

The website will look very different when it switches into 'live' mode, with up to six streams of live video and a constant flow of stories, statistics and photos that will require us to bring in many new staff.

But that still, thankfully, seems a long way off and for now the site will allow us to create a more coherent journey to the Games themselves.

Olympic qualification (a complex process, with each of the 28 sports, and the disciplines within them, having their own set of events, criteria and timetable) is under way, but the real scramble for places will begin in earnest in early spring.

We will be following a series of candidates, at least one or two from pretty much every sport, on the site - we've set up a specific Team GB section where you can read their latest diary or scan the photos we hope they'll be taking for us.

Tom Daley


Some of them - such as 21-year-old heptathlete Jessica Ennis, 19-year-old cyclist Shanaze Reade and 13-year-old diver Tom Daley, last night voted Young Sports Personality of the Year - are featured in a new TV series, Olympic Dreams, the first run of which goes out from Monday 19 December.

We're working with the show so chunks of the footage they film ahead of the next run post-Beijing, will appear on the site.

Those three in particular seemed set to be superstars by 2012 as far as I can tell - young, driven and in love with their sport and the thrill of competing (as Daley showed in his incredibly composed speech to the packed Sports Personality crowd in Birmingham on Sunday night).

With research by the IOC showing that young people in particular are less interested in the Games, seeing it as a distant, confusing event that only happens once every four years, young people have been telling us that they would like to see more about the competitors - usually also young like them - and more about how to get into the sports themselves, from our coverage.

So we're looking at building more of that into what we do on the web.

We want to take up the 'legacy' challenge so firmly issued by Seb Coe during the bid, and do our bit to help increase participation in sport and improve the health of the nation.

The government target is to increase the number of people playing sport by 2m by 2012. There are rumbles from a few people in sports administration that we are already some way behind in delivering this but for our part, we think one way to do that is to create content that can inspire young people to actually take up sport and to weave that content not only into our event coverage, but into other bits of the BBC, such as BBC Switch the new teen-focused strand, and indeed the wider web (so we've set up groups on Flickr and You Tube).

It is the kind of content we've been creating on our Sport Academy website since 2002; tips and tricks from stars and coaches designed to help young people learn more about sport and be inspired.

So, as the site goes live this week, all 28 Olympic sports will be firmly brought under the Olympic banner - making more of their Olympic status and the fact we are the Olympics broadcaster in the UK.

One small consequence of this is that we have moved some sports such as badminton from within our 'Other Sport' section on the website, into the 'Olympic' section. We hope this doesn't confuse too many of you for too long and are adding links around the site to direct people to the new location.

Anyway, as ever, let us know what you think.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:24 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Wow love the new style page - will this be implemented across the BBC Sport website? The banner is far more enticing and the page looks much more hi-tech than the rest of the Sport site, and therefore more encouraging to click around. I hope the rest of the site will look similiar soon.

  • 2.
  • At 01:20 PM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

That looks really good, and i'll be certainly visiting nearer to the time the Olympics begin.

But when will the Euro 2008 football section be available - or have you given up on it - as England and none of the home nations have qualified?

Hey there, really like the new Olympics web-site appears full of stuff to keep me occupied over the next few months and during the games itself.
Just hope that there will be some blogs from the athletes while they're out there, or will that be asking too much of their schedule?
I just hope that there's enough people working on the site to keep it going during the Games, it seems as though it could well be a big job.

  • 4.
  • At 09:12 AM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Ieuan Johns wrote:

Here's hoping that 'at least a few in every sport' means just that and minority sports like Archery and Shooting will get some much deserved press.

  • 5.
  • At 11:02 AM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Mogsy wrote:

Would it be possible to highlight when Olympic sports are going to be shown on the BBC?

  • 6.
  • At 12:16 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Love the new site.

A few suggestions to add in the months ahead:

1. Some video of past olympic highlights.

2. BBCtv themes to the various Olympics - I loved the one for Athens and would love to see what you did for others, as far back as Tokyo perhaps?

3. A section on mascots for the youngsters. Not just the 5 mascots for Beijing, but all the Olympic mascots right back to the first Summer mascot, Waldi for the 1972 Games in Munich

  • 7.
  • At 05:16 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Claire Stocks, Interactive editor, Olympic sports wrote:

Thanks for your comments,
Matt - glad you like the look. If and when we redesign the whole bbc.co.uk/sport site I'd expect some of the principles you see here will be applied. And lots more besides.
Dave - we will still be giving Euro 2008 full treatment despite the home nations' absence. Probably won't be launching a separate site anytime soon though but come June we'll be all over it. Personally, I am 'looking forward' to more detailed analysis of the football with the distraction of the three Lions circus.
Online betting Boss - yes we will be lining up athletes to write regular diary pieces in the run up to the event - but as I understand it, it is still not clear whether the IOC will allow athletes to blog from the athlete's village so we'll have to see what we can do from Beijing.
Ieuan - yes we'll dip into all the Olympic sports, for instance last week we went filming with archers Alison Williamson & Alan Wills.

Mogsy - we do have coverage pages for many of the Olympic sports - the athletics one is linked here.
And there's a general page on plans for Beijing.
But yes, very much aware that we often don't make it easier enough for you to find out when stuff is on.
Andy - unfortunately we do not have permission from the IOC to use archive footage on our website. Which is a shame - especially as the BOA do have some highlights (of our coverage) on their site.
We're working on them though...As for the mascots I take the view somethings are best left to others (there's a web maxim somewhere that goes 'do what you do best and link to the rest') - so take a look at the official site's mascot pages.
Wikipedia's Olympic symbols entry is quite comprehensive too

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