Hello @Twitter world!!! I’m at #Olympics. Shd be training not tweeting ... LOL.
Laugh if you like, but there was a bit of a buzz Friday about athletes risking their medal chances with every “tweet” and “like” on Twitter and Facebook.
“I have found quite a close correlation between the number of tweets at competitive times and the level of under-performance,” said Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meters and the head organizer of what is being dubbed the “Social Media Games.”
“From a personal perspective, when I was an athlete I just wanted complete and total focus,” he said. “I knew it was my time and that they don’t come around that often. If I was focusing on trying to defend a title I wouldn’t be reading Twitter, I wouldn’t be interested in it. Why would I?”
British tennis star Andy Murray echoed those sentiments.
“You don’t want to be on it (Twitter) too much,” Murray said. “It’s a bit like sitting on a computer 20 minutes, 30 minutes before your match. You wouldn’t be advised to do that.”
While agreeing that social media is popular and fun, “Can’t talk. #training” may be the most apt tweet or status update, especially at the games. And it’s far less than 140 characters.
“It’s good to keep in contact with your family and friends,” Australian shooter Alethea Sedgman said. “But sport-wise, it’s better to focus without Facebook.”
At the London Games, the tweeting will tell you more than you need – or maybe want – to know about their lifestyles and everyday habits.
For instance, Michael Phelps doesn’t like the new U.S. swim team caps. Usain Bolt is hungry for chicken. American hurdler Lolo Jones is a virgin.
It’s a window to what they think, what they eat, what they listen to and watch. Basically, how they live.
Jones, by the way, says she’s waiting for the right man. TMI?
“There is no doubt that social media has been and can be a distraction,” said Nick Green, the Australian chef de mission. “I’ve also said it can be used in a very positive way and the athletes are working out where those boundaries are.”
DRUG CHEATS, BEWARE
Before a starting gun has been fired or a medal awarded, one of the most intense competitions of the London Olympics is already being waged behind the scenes.
From training grounds across the world, to rooms in the athletes village, to border checkpoints around the U.K., the cat-and-mouse game between drug cheats and the doping police is in full swing.
The goal: to deter or catch dopers before they line up to compete. And those who slip through the pre-games crackdown will face the most extensive anti-doping program in Olympic history, with more advanced testing techniques.
“The more cheats we can catch is the better for the clean athletes,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told The Associated Press.
The IOC and London organizers will be conducting more than 5,000 urine and blood tests overall, up from 4,770 in Beijing four years ago. Nearly 40 percent of the tests are being carried out before the games start July 27 to try to nab athletes when they’re more likely to be doping.
Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt pulled up shortly before the home stretch in the men’s 400 meters at the Herculis meet in Monaco after feeling a twinge in his left hamstring. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was challenging for a win and afterward said he’s optimistic he’ll be able to compete in the London Games. … French steeplechase runner Nordine Gezzar has tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO and will miss the Olympics. … Serena Williams said she is pulling out of a World Team Tennis match for the Washington Kastles on Sunday to rest her back for Olympic tennis, which begins July 28 at Wimbledon. … The Spanish Olympic committee says basketball player Pau Gasol will replace Rafael Nadal as the country’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Nadal will not defend his Olympic tennis title after pulling out with an undisclosed injury.