The official website for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt
Lake City contains plenty of treasures--and you can enter it
through two doors. Those coming via nbcolympics.com will open to
stories and features geared to the interests (e.g., figure
skating and hockey) of the U.S. audience. Olympics.com (also
available through saltlake2002.com) will be more global on its
home page, which might focus one day on ski jumping (especially
popular in Japan) and another on cross-country skiing (all the
rage in Scandinavia). "Ninety percent of the information is the
same on both sites," says Tom Feuer, the coordinating producer.
"Only the front pages will be different."
Like the Sydney edition, this combined site (now run by Microsoft
after the 2000 Games' producer, Quokka, folded last April) is
loaded with athlete biographies. Almost 800 were posted as of
Sunday, and sketches on all 2,500 athletes at the Games will be
up by the time the flame is lit, on Feb 8. This site will feature
faster-running software than did the one for the Sydney Games.
The upgrades include Flash animation to help demonstrate such
maneuvers as figure skating's quadruple jump; interactive
timelines illustrating trends, such as the progression of speed
skating world records; and Be Here cameras (first seen during
last season's NBA Finals), which put a user in the middle of an
event and allow him or her to manipulate the view by zooming in
or swiveling up to 360 degrees.
Feuer says that nbcolympics.com won't withhold results from
events whose telecasts are tape-delayed. When an event is shown
live, he says, the NBC site will supplement the broadcast with
interactive features, like one that will permit fans to be their
own judges of the figure skating competition. At those times
olympics.com will continue with general coverage.