How to Follow the Live-Streamed, Twitter-Friendly ‘Smart Olympics’

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The 2012 London Olympics will pack an impressive 302 medal events into a little more than two weeks. In past years, catching all of the action meant hours and hours spent parked in front of the boob tube. Not anymore. NBC and the organizers of the Games have finally realized that people are busy and like to keep up with the Olympics on their own terms — often with gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Welcome to the “Smart Olympics.”
Streaming

NBC has flirted with streaming technology in past coverage of the Games, most notably during the 2010 Winter Olympics when it live-streamed two sports: hockey and curling. This year, sports fans will get to see it all.

(PHOTOS: 2012 Olympic Highlights)

Don’t want to miss a single moment of badminton? Afraid NBC won’t give judo the prime-time coverage it deserves? Now you can simply go to NBCOlympics.com, where every single minute of the Olympic Games will be live-streamed with help from YouTube.

That’s about 3,000 hours of coverage. Granted, to watch the the Olympics live online you’ll need to subscribe to a cable tier that includes CNBC and MSNBC, but it’s still better than nothing. If you live in certain countries in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll be able to watch live coverage of the games directly on YouTube.

There will be a wealth of other Olympics-related content on YouTube as well. Want to listen to U.S. athletes try to talk in a cockney accent? Yeah, that’s on Team USA’s official YouTube page. You’ll also be able to find pre-game clips, interviews and more on the NBC Olympics YouTube channel.

Social Media

Anyone who follows sports closely knows that athletes love to tweet. Olympians are no exception. In fact, Greek triple-jumper Paraskevi Papachristou has already been banned from the Games because of a racist tweet.

Hopefully, U.S. Olympic athletes won’t do anything as short-sighted. Follow all of them on this public list and you’ll be privy to all sorts of intimate details, from the state of two-time gold medal winner Misty May-Treanor’s hair to the tale of a lost coach found posing with NBA stars Kevin Durant and Deron Williams. There are official London 2012 Twitter and Facebook feeds as well, although they aren’t nearly as fun.

(LIST: 50 Olympic Athletes to Watch)

As Forbes points out, back during the Beijing Games, Twitter and Facebook had 6 million and 100 million users, respectively. Today those numbers are 140 million and more than 900 million. That means if you really want the inside scoop on what’s going on inside the Olympic Village, you’ll want to be watching your Twitter feed, not the TV.

Apps

TIME has already published a list of its favorite Olympic apps, but it’s worth repeating that the NBC Olympics Live Extra app will let you stream the Games on your smartphone or tablet (available for both iOS and Android), complete with additional camera angles and instant replay. You can also keep track of how your favorite athletes are doing with the London 2012: Official Results app.

Web

Obviously, NBC and (ahem) TIME will have plenty of Olympics coverage on the web. But there are a few cool websites and apps that should help you keep track of what’s going on. ESPN released this nifty page that explains every single event with animated slideshows. Never again will you be confused by the intricacies of the modern pentathlon.

If you use Google Chrome, you can download the NBC Olympics Scheduler, which lets you pick events you care about and then sends you real-time alerts in your browser when they’re about to kick off. This year, if you miss an event you want to watch, it will probably be your own fault.

MORE: Interactive Panorama: Inside the Opening Ceremony

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