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The Fast Company Guide To The 2012 London Olympics

  • No matter who wins in what game, innovation always has a spot on the Olympic podium. This year, we've discovered disruptive thinking about the tech and gear that powers competitors or helps them communicate with fans. We've followed the evolving ways we watch events like the Olympics--on second or third screens. We've highlighted the sponsors who've used an Olympic presence to experiment. And we've even explored the branding of competitors who represent no country at all. Here's a take on the London event you won't find on NBC.
  • Because in the end, some of us only need to know who won what.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681347/medal-count-boils-olympics-down-to-hardcore-stats">Read more here</a>
  • Not every Olympian is privileged enough to play for their home country. So what do they wear?
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670404/nike-s-olympic-gear-for-athletes-without-countries#1">Read more here</a>
  • Did you catch a clip of Ryan Lochte’s gold-winning swim in an AT&T ad this weekend? You weren’t seeing things. The brand’s new campaign places winning Team USA results into its advertising in near real-time.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681321/how-att-integrated-olympic-results-into-its-ads-so-darn-fast">Read more here</a>
  • A study by agency Sapient Nitro breaks down who’s got the most Olympian social media following and habits.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681299/who-are-the-most-social-olympians">Read more here</a>
  • Find out which brands have already ascended the podium in the advertising events at London 2012.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681309/the-12-best-ads-of-the-2012-olympics">Read more here</a>
  • In collaboration with photographer Caroll Taveras, agency Mother London has created "You Are Here," a photo project and exhibition during the Olympics that shows lost tourists the way.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681346/you-are-here-makes-art-out-of-lost-olympic-tourists#1">Read more here</a>
  • Fans at an Adidas-sponsored Olympic photo booth are shocked when they find themselves face to face with the man, the myth, the one they call Becks.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681297/david-beckham-surprises-fans-in-adidas-magic-photo-booth">Read more here</a>
  • Was there any chance Banksy would sit out the 2012 Olympics? Probably not.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681285/as-authorities-crack-down-banksy-enters-the-olympic-graffiti-games">Read more here</a>
  • In a pulse-pounding new ad for this summer’s Paralympic Games, which are receiving a big push from London’s Channel 4, differently abled athletes are in it to win it and then some.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681237/meet-the-superhumans-in-this-ass-kicking-paralympics-spot">Read more here</a>
  • GSK enlists TBWA London to create a campaign promoting the anti-doping lab it is running at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
</br></br>
<a href="www.fastcocreate.com/1681227/drug-company-gsk-strives-to-keep-the-olympics-pure">Read more here</a>
  • The BBC’s ambitious Olympics strategy incorporates multiple broadcast and online channels, and large-scale social and data integration. But the broadcaster sees the games as just the proving ground for a broader digital strategy.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1681072/how-the-bbc-is-building-the-first-social-olympic-games">Read more here</a>
  • Coca-Cola extends its music-driven Olympics presence with a building you can play.
</br></br>
Read more <a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1680340/coca-colas-interactive-beatbox-building-for-the-london-olympics">Here</a> and <a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669642/coca-cola-creates-a-beatbox-the-size-of-a-building-for-the-london-olympics">Here</a>
  • With its "Show Your Best" contest, the International Olympic Committee collected videos of ordinary people performing extraordinary feats. Now, some of those videos have found their way into an innovative ad set to air during the Olympics broadcast.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcocreate.com/1680938/olympic-ad-passes-the-torch-with-user-generated-content">Read more here</a>
  • What if your bike ride to work meant you got free stuff at stores? Recyclebank is going beyond just offering rewards for recycling, giving London commuters fresh incentives to walk or ride.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1676107/rewarding-london-residents-for-excercising">Read more here</a>
  • A fleet should be ready by the London Olympics in 2012.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1677856/londons-black-cabs-go-green">Read more here</a>
  • Don’t forget that directly following the Olympics comes the Paralympics. Those amazing athletes will have the benefit of this cutting edge technology to help them try to medal.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680211/the-prosthetic-foot-thats-helping-paralympic-athletes-to-compete#1">Read more here</a>
  • That British icon, the red double-decker bus, is getting an update that will make it sleeker and, more importantly, much cleaner.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679105/london-s-new-red-and-green-double-decker-bus#1">Read more here</a>
  • How much bigger is social media in 2012 than it was in 2008? Three times? Ten times? Try 100 times.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670386/infographic-whats-different-about-the-2012-olympics-social-media-basically#1">Read more here</a>
  • Designed by Hat-Trick, the four stamps fuse pictures of athletes with London’s iconic structures.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670391/stamps-that-meld-londons-olympics-with-its-landmarks#1">Read more here</a>
  • Either the place was blasted by the world’s silliest M60 or a giant octopus has invaded London.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669263/olympics-shooting-gallery-looks-like-a-giant-octopus#1">Read more here</a>
  • Are the Olympics truly good for the health of a city? A new project from documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit and photographer Jon Pack examines the impact of the Olympics, long after the last TV camera is packed away.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669946/gary-hustwit-on-the-fate-of-the-olympic-city-after-the-games-end#1">Read more here</a>
  • A group of young British design students introduce their podium and costume concepts, which will be seen by millions this summer.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669971/the-podium-and-ceremony-outfits-for-the-2012-olympics-are-crazy#1">Read more here</a>
  • The giant hookah needs more structural engineering--and sewage pipes--before it can be approved.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662098/could-an-icon-of-the-2012-olympics-become-a-stinky-engineering-debacle">Read more here</a>
  • Nike’s new TurboSpeed suit is made from the equivalent of 13 plastic bottles per garment. It can also make runners .023 seconds faster over 100 meters--a massive boost.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669741/inspired-by-golf-balls-nikes-bumpy-tracksuit-may-help-sprinters-break-records#1">Read more here</a>
  • Built for a failed 2016 Olympic Bid, Dominique Perrault’s Olympic Tennis Center transforms the ubiquitous retractable stadium roof into an amazing spectacle.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669862/a-stadium-with-an-infinitely-customizable-roofscape#1">Read more here</a>
  • Amazing animations turn motion capture into high art. Or Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 3.0.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1669232/using-motion-capture-and-code-to-turn-gymnasts-into-data-art#1">Read more here</a>
  • Gustavo Sousa uses the "beautiful and elegant" logo to show discrepancies between participating countries.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670344/infographics-using-the-olympic-rings-to-show-vast-inequalities#1">Read more here</a>
  • Being a designer in Southern California is like doing comedy; it's much harder than it looks. The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was a perfect example of this. 
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/1551906/thinking-back-to-the-1984-summer-olympics-the-glory-and-the-magenta">Read more here</a>
  • Facebook's new Olympics deal treads on territory long held by Twitter. But will it be enough to stake its claim on the second screen? 
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1842806/facebook-nbc-olympics-social-tv-second-screen">Read more here</a>
  • Training full time for the Olympics is, well, a full-time job--but it's not a fruitful one: Athlete stipends can be just hundreds of dollars per month. To fund their dreams, hopefuls get creative.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/167/olympics-training-2012">Read more here</a>
  • London is ready. No matter what it looks like close up, this massive project involving thousands of people, hundreds of groups, and billions of pounds, will be ready when they light the flame on 27 July .
As for me, the experience offered a nice refresher course on a few easily overlooked laws of leadership.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1842579/management-lessons-from-the-london-olympics">Read more here</a>
  • British soccer--or football, whatever you call it--hasn't won Olympic gold in a century. To turn the team around, head coach Stuart Pearce has stuck to four guiding leadership principles that any business would do well to emulate. 
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1843910/turnaround-lessons-from-british-olympic-soccer">Read more here</a>
  • It’s not just a place to throw your rubbish. New trash cans being installed for the London Olympics can’t be blown up, separate recycling, and also display helpful tourist info. That’s service.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679281/the-wi-fi-enabled-bomb-proof-trash-can-of-the-future#1">Read more here</a>
  • PaveGen, a British company that makes sidewalk tiles that create small amounts of electricity, is ramping up to take advantage of the foot traffic during the Olympics. Will pedestrian power pay off?
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678933/taking-steps-toward-more-energy-sidewalks-that-generate-power">Read more here</a>
  • In the 1970s, a fierce power struggle over the future of amateur sports landed the U.S. Olympic Committee in a Cold War-era tactical room in southern Colorado. With the London Olympics around the way, we delve into the strange story behind the city cultivating America’s top athletes. 
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1840907/how-colorado-springs-became-the-heart-of-the-us-olympic-movement">Read more here</a>
  • The recently launched Burst is another system that would like to be the "Instagram of video." But where SocialCam and Viddy are trying hard to appeal to users by the million, with high-profile celebrities using the systems to share clips, Burst is aiming at a very different demographic. It wants to be the app you automatically reach for when you're sharing a video with your family.
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1842664/social-video-sharer-burst-takes-the-family-route-to-market-dropping-by-the-olympics-too">Read more here</a>
  • If you get between a Brit and his chips, your brand may ultimately suffer. 
</br></br>
<a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1843470/when-olympic-brand-bullying-backfires">Read more here</a>
  • 01 /38 | Innovation Olympics No matter who wins in what game, innovation always has a spot on the Olympic podium. This year, we've discovered disruptive thinking about the tech and gear that powers competitors or helps them communicate with fans. We've followed the evolving ways we watch events like the Olympics--on second or third screens. We've highlighted the sponsors who've used an Olympic presence to experiment. And we've even explored the branding of competitors who represent no country at all. Here's a take on the London event you won't find on NBC.
  • 02 /38 | “Medal Count” Boils Olympics Down To Hardcore Stats Because in the end, some of us only need to know who won what.

    Read more here
  • 03 /38 | Nike’s Olympic Gear For Athletes Without Countries Not every Olympian is privileged enough to play for their home country. So what do they wear?

    Read more here
  • 04 /38 | How AT&T Integrated Olympic Results Into Its Ads So Darn Fast Did you catch a clip of Ryan Lochte’s gold-winning swim in an AT&T ad this weekend? You weren’t seeing things. The brand’s new campaign places winning Team USA results into its advertising in near real-time.

    Read more here
  • 05 /38 | Who Are The Most Social Olympians? A study by agency Sapient Nitro breaks down who’s got the most Olympian social media following and habits.

    Read more here
  • 06 /38 | The 12 Best Ads of The 2012 Olympics Find out which brands have already ascended the podium in the advertising events at London 2012.

    Read more here
  • 07 /38 | “You Are Here” Makes Art Out Of Lost Olympic Tourists In collaboration with photographer Caroll Taveras, agency Mother London has created "You Are Here," a photo project and exhibition during the Olympics that shows lost tourists the way.

    Read more here
  • 08 /38 | David Beckham Surprises Fans In Adidas’ Magic Photo Booth Fans at an Adidas-sponsored Olympic photo booth are shocked when they find themselves face to face with the man, the myth, the one they call Becks.

    Read more here
  • 09 /38 | As Authorities Crack Down, Banksy Enters The Olympic Graffiti Games Was there any chance Banksy would sit out the 2012 Olympics? Probably not.

    Read more here
  • 10 /38 | Meet The Superhumans In This Ass-Kicking Paralympics Spot In a pulse-pounding new ad for this summer’s Paralympic Games, which are receiving a big push from London’s Channel 4, differently abled athletes are in it to win it and then some.

    Read more here
  • 11 /38 | Drug Company GSK Strives to Keep the Olympics Pure GSK enlists TBWA London to create a campaign promoting the anti-doping lab it is running at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Read more here
  • 12 /38 | How The BBC Is Building The First Social Olympic Games The BBC’s ambitious Olympics strategy incorporates multiple broadcast and online channels, and large-scale social and data integration. But the broadcaster sees the games as just the proving ground for a broader digital strategy.

    Read more here
  • 13 /38 | Coca-Cola’s Interactive Beatbox Building For The London Olympics Coca-Cola extends its music-driven Olympics presence with a building you can play.

    Read more Here and Here
  • 14 /38 | Olympic Ad Passes The Torch With User-Generated Content With its "Show Your Best" contest, the International Olympic Committee collected videos of ordinary people performing extraordinary feats. Now, some of those videos have found their way into an innovative ad set to air during the Olympics broadcast.

    Read more here
  • 15 /38 | Rewarding London Residents For Excercising What if your bike ride to work meant you got free stuff at stores? Recyclebank is going beyond just offering rewards for recycling, giving London commuters fresh incentives to walk or ride.

    Read more here
  • 16 /38 | London’s Black Cabs Go Green A fleet should be ready by the London Olympics in 2012.

    Read more here
  • 17 /38 | The Prosthetic Foot That’s Helping Paralympic Athletes To Compete Don’t forget that directly following the Olympics comes the Paralympics. Those amazing athletes will have the benefit of this cutting edge technology to help them try to medal.

    Read more here
  • 18 /38 | London’s New Red (And Green) Double-Decker Bus That British icon, the red double-decker bus, is getting an update that will make it sleeker and, more importantly, much cleaner.

    Read more here
  • 19 /38 | Infographic: What’s Different About The 2012 Olympics? Social Media, Basically How much bigger is social media in 2012 than it was in 2008? Three times? Ten times? Try 100 times.

    Read more here
  • 20 /38 | Stamps That Meld London’s Olympics With Its Landmarks Designed by Hat-Trick, the four stamps fuse pictures of athletes with London’s iconic structures.

    Read more here
  • 21 /38 | Olympics Shooting Gallery Looks Like A Giant Octopus Either the place was blasted by the world’s silliest M60 or a giant octopus has invaded London.

    Read more here
  • 22 /38 | Gary Hustwit On The Fate Of The Olympic City, After The Games End Are the Olympics truly good for the health of a city? A new project from documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit and photographer Jon Pack examines the impact of the Olympics, long after the last TV camera is packed away.

    Read more here
  • 23 /38 | The Podium And Ceremony Outfits For The 2012 Olympics Are Crazy A group of young British design students introduce their podium and costume concepts, which will be seen by millions this summer.

    Read more here
  • 24 /38 | Could an Icon of the 2012 Olympics Become a Stinky Engineering Debacle? The giant hookah needs more structural engineering--and sewage pipes--before it can be approved.

    Read more here
  • 25 /38 | Inspired By Golf Balls, Nike’s Bumpy Tracksuit May Help Sprinters Break Records Nike’s new TurboSpeed suit is made from the equivalent of 13 plastic bottles per garment. It can also make runners .023 seconds faster over 100 meters--a massive boost.

    Read more here
  • 26 /38 | A Stadium With An Infinitely Customizable Roofscape Built for a failed 2016 Olympic Bid, Dominique Perrault’s Olympic Tennis Center transforms the ubiquitous retractable stadium roof into an amazing spectacle.

    Read more here
  • 27 /38 | Using Motion Capture And Code, To Turn Gymnasts Into Data Art Amazing animations turn motion capture into high art. Or Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 3.0.

    Read more here
  • 28 /38 | Infographics: Using The Olympic Rings To Show Vast Inequalities Gustavo Sousa uses the "beautiful and elegant" logo to show discrepancies between participating countries.

    Read more here
  • 29 /38 | Thinking Back to the 1984 Summer Olympics: The Glory and the Magenta Being a designer in Southern California is like doing comedy; it's much harder than it looks. The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was a perfect example of this.

    Read more here
  • 30 /38 | Facebook, Twitter Compete For Social Gold At The Olympics Facebook's new Olympics deal treads on territory long held by Twitter. But will it be enough to stake its claim on the second screen?

    Read more here
  • 31 /38 | 7 Creative Ways Pro Athletes Fund Their Way To The Olympics Training full time for the Olympics is, well, a full-time job--but it's not a fruitful one: Athlete stipends can be just hundreds of dollars per month. To fund their dreams, hopefuls get creative.

    Read more here
  • 32 /38 | Management Lessons From The London Olympics London is ready. No matter what it looks like close up, this massive project involving thousands of people, hundreds of groups, and billions of pounds, will be ready when they light the flame on 27 July . As for me, the experience offered a nice refresher course on a few easily overlooked laws of leadership.

    Read more here
  • 33 /38 | Blimey, An Olympic Turnaround! The Leadership Principles Behind Britain's Shot At Soccer Gold British soccer--or football, whatever you call it--hasn't won Olympic gold in a century. To turn the team around, head coach Stuart Pearce has stuck to four guiding leadership principles that any business would do well to emulate.

    Read more here
  • 34 /38 | The Wi-Fi-Enabled, Bomb-Proof Trash Can Of The Future It’s not just a place to throw your rubbish. New trash cans being installed for the London Olympics can’t be blown up, separate recycling, and also display helpful tourist info. That’s service.

    Read more here
  • 35 /38 | Taking Steps Toward More Energy: Sidewalks That Generate Power PaveGen, a British company that makes sidewalk tiles that create small amounts of electricity, is ramping up to take advantage of the foot traffic during the Olympics. Will pedestrian power pay off?

    Read more here
  • 36 /38 | How Colorado Springs Became The Heart Of The U.S. Olympic Movement In the 1970s, a fierce power struggle over the future of amateur sports landed the U.S. Olympic Committee in a Cold War-era tactical room in southern Colorado. With the London Olympics around the way, we delve into the strange story behind the city cultivating America’s top athletes.

    Read more here
  • 37 /38 | Burst, The Family-Friendly Instagram Of Video, Goes For Olympic Gold The recently launched Burst is another system that would like to be the "Instagram of video." But where SocialCam and Viddy are trying hard to appeal to users by the million, with high-profile celebrities using the systems to share clips, Burst is aiming at a very different demographic. It wants to be the app you automatically reach for when you're sharing a video with your family.

    Read more here
  • 38 /38 | When Olympic Brand Bullying Backfires If you get between a Brit and his chips, your brand may ultimately suffer.

    Read more here

Take a closer look at the innovation behind the XXX Olympics—from the ads to the medals and uniforms to the unprecedented social storm.

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