Fans and athletes in hot water via Twitter
Wed, 01 Aug 2012 5:38a.m.
By Holly Nott
Social media has given people a virtual backstage pass to the Olympic Games, but it has also provided fans and athletes with a variety of new ways to get themselves into trouble.
Dubbed the social media Olympics by Games' chiefs, much has been said about the impact of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other such tools on London 2012 - and not much of it has been positive of late.
Take the two athletes expelled from their teams for racists posts on Twitter.
After losing to South Korea 2-1, Swiss footballer Michel Morganella was sent home for using Twitter to call his opponents a "bunch of mongoloids".
Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was not even allowed to travel to the Olympics after she posted a message mocking African immigrants.
But it is not all one-way traffic: Brazilian under-57kg judo fighter Rafaela Silva was racially abused via Twitter after her Olympic Games defeat.
"You're no better than anyone else because you're BLACK," one post read.
After young British diver Tom Daley finished fourth in his event on Monday, he was allegedly taunted and threatened via Twitter, resulting in the arrest of a 17-year-old man at a Weymouth guesthouse early on Tuesday.
However, the candid snaps of life as an Olympian, the banter between their idols, and the chance to communicate directly with the world's sporting elite has prompted 15 million people to follow the Olympics via social media.
Their involvement is encouraged by the IOC, but London Games boss Sebastian Coe has warned athletes who are keen Twitter fans they may be damaging their medal chances at the Olympics.
The London 2012 chairman believes the more an athlete tweets, the less their medal chances.
Australia's Emily Seebohm tends to agree.
She says she spent too long on Twitter and Facebook in the lead up to her 100m backstroke final on Monday night, and that was one factor contributing to her medal being silver rather than gold.
Teammates Kenrick Monk and Nick D'Arcy have been directed to leave the athletes village after the swimming competition ends on August 4 as punishment for controversial Facebook pictures of them posing with guns.
IOC communications director Mark Adams still believes social media has its place.
"But we embrace, used in the right way, social media, and if you look at the guidelines we positively encourage it," he said.
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