Getting a head start on the Olympics


Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Given the wide selection of official and not-so-official sites dedicated to the upcoming Olympic Games, we thought readers should become acquainted with a handful of what's out there. We left out the big networks, sports magazines and newspapers because, well, everyone knows what they'll be doing (but do check out our own www.dallasnews.com/sports_day/olympics). So check out the pages here and customize your own coverage. Let the games begin.



Official Site


of the Sydney 2000 Games


www.olympics.com



Oh, sure the official site of the Sydney summer games is nice. IBM partnered up to get its logo right up there with the official logo for the host city. A search engine soon follows for those who want to cut to the steeplechase, but our eyes locked on two features from the navigation bar: Countries and Paralympics. From watching the opening night's parade of athletes in past Olympics, we wanted to know what teams were being fielded from, say, tiny Bahrain. But that didn't happen. The Countries selection only gives a profile and what sports are most popular in that particular nation. The Paralympics, however, sound wonderful: more than 4,000 disabled athletes meeting in Sydney in October to compete in 32 events. It's nice to see some shared space on the official page for these dedicated Olympians.



Sydney2000


www.sydney2000.com



Be sure to pick your favorite of 11 languages before moving past the opening page of this "definitive unofficial guide" to the Sydney games. This page may be easier and better organized than the official site, and we liked how the designers got something in for every age and interest: a coloring book, virtual and 3-D tours of the facilities, parties, cute little pin collections and maps. Oh, yeah, and the events. The first page sports medal tallies for each country, along with news highlights that will get rolling with the opening ceremonies. The events logos and competition date ranges are nice for keeping track of, say, track and field. And when you see football listed as an event, don't forget the Aussies are talking about what Yanks call soccer.



United States Olympic Committee


www.usoc.org



The cover page is a traffic jam of subsections, photo montages and scrolling news tickers. For the truly patriotic Team USA fan, this is a great spot to track the home team's progress. The countdown calendar lets us know when it starts – as well as when the winter games fire up in Salt Lake City in 2002. There's much more to study here, such as the U.S. baseball team roster, recaps from the past few Olympics, athlete diaries and profiles. We wanted to see if we could get a listing of every U.S. Olympian competing in Sydney, but we think the final list isn't final yet, given that former Olympian Sen. Bill Bradley is still listed as a contender for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.



Corey and Laura's Olympic Site


www.janecky.com/olympics



Look what two seemingly normal people have put together without massive corporate sponsorship, banner advertising out the wazoo or doo-dads for you to buy. Corey and Laura Janecky have a simple, easy-to-navigate site of the Olympic Games that acts as a basic overview of what's happening in Sydney and what's happened in other modern Olympic Games since 1896. Where it's available, they link to related sites for those games. Unfortunately, the folks in Athens in 1896 had yet to perfect Hypertext Markup Language, but for those hunting down Olympic Committees for other nations – the best way to get a look at national teams – they include a pretty good list. We still couldn't find out if Bahrain is fielding a team this time around, though.



The Ancient Olympics


www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics



Believe it or not, the result of winning an Olympic event didn't always mean an automatic athletic gear endorsement contract. We surmised this from briefly wandering through a list of links, posted by Tufts University in honor of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. The four main sections include a comparison of modern and ancient competitions, a tour of old Olympia, the spirit of the games then and now, and athletes' stories. For example, read up on Milo of Kroton, a six-time Olympic champ whose John Henry-like strength kept him competitive into his 40s. And they didn't even have Wheaties then.



Salt Lake City Winter Games 2002


www.slc2002.org



Now, back to corporate sponsorship and official pages, such as Salt Lake City's page for the 2002 Winter Games. It appears that a large home repair chain has jumped on sponsorship early. That aside, ticket requests to events will start being accepted in October, but souvenir shopping is already under way. The hosts are also recruiting volunteers for the big event, and visitors can get a look at an updated, complete event schedule, a venue listing by event or city and an outline of Olympic Park rides that will give spectators a chance to try out a bobsled or ice rocket or take their own ski-jumping lessons. Hey, and they've got about 525 days to finish it all, too!