Wednesday, August 20

Olympics meets Data Visualisation

I can't keep quiet about the Olympics any more - what an absolutely fantastic job so far by the British team! As the East Coast of Australia is only a couple of hours different to Beijing, the TV coverage here has been extensive (although because it's not on the ABC most of the events have to compete for air time against the adverts - any given hour of programming could have up to 20 minutes of ads).

These are some of the things I know for sure about the Olympics.
  • I know that London is going to struggle to match the spectacle of the Beijing Opening Ceremony, and probably shouldn't even try to compete.
  • I know that Michael Phelps is a machine, and I know that I've been making the mistake of eating his diet without doing his exercise for far too long. (Joke, by the way. Honest.)
  • I know that the pressure of 1.3 billion people's expectations resting on one man's shoulders is too much for anyone to bear.
  • I know that no other countries need to bother turning up to the velodrome in four years time.
  • I know that despite this, none of the cyclists will get more than a passing mention come December and SPOTY.
  • I know that if we can stay in third in the medals table, and be behind second place by less than one Michael Phelps-worth of medals, there should be an open top bus tour when the athletes return.
  • I know that our success is really winding the Australian media up, though the general populace doesn't really seem all that concerned, as long as Australia is doing well.
On that last point, I was driving home yesterday listening to Will and Lehmo and I was almost crying with laughter at their "The Brits must be cheating, call in with your proof" section (my favourite one - "They must be shipping in good athletes from elsewhere, I saw one of them smile the other day and he still had all his teeth". Followed closely by "One of their cyclists had an engine in his back wheel! He tried to hide it with a cardboard disc and claimed the noise was coming from spokey-dokeys!"

Qualifications required to survive in Australia: Sense of humour (check).

I also know that the New York Times medal map is one of the most visually pleasing ways of representing data that I've ever seen. And believe me, I've seen some web dashboards in my time!


MarkA said...

Would Londons percieved inability to compete with the chinese opening ceremony be anything to do with the use of computer generated imagery and prerecorded images along with lip synching a different girl singing?

Had to laugh at what you said the media is saying about the brits winning. Heard on bbc that when the dutch won the womens points race one of their commentators when and found Hugh Porter (bbc commentator) shook his hand and thanked him for leaving them a medal to win.

The GB cycling squad have been a bit good this year, but then we dominated the world championships this year as well so everyone else knew how good they were riding.

Don't think the london olympics will be the same spectacle that the bejing games have been. But that is down to the british government being unable to make a decision for the good of the country and the chinese government wanting to project a certain image to the world, and with the way they run the place they will make things happen even if it upsets some people.

Martin said...

London 2012 is going to be a good time for one and all, no doubt about it. If there aren't big screens up pretty much everywhere showing events live, like Trafalgar Square, Broadgate, Tower Hill etc, I'll eat my hat.

I'm just a bit concerned that we're going to be doing the Tesco-Value range of stadiums and infrastructure. If they build something for this, then it should be built to last, and not be some kind of flat pack stadium that gets dismantled after the event.

Crossrail to be delayed, anyone?