Your Guide to the Vancouver Olympics Online

The flags, the speeds, the gates, the snow, the ice, the blades, the luge, the twirling adolescents — get psyched! The Vancouver edition of the Winter Olympics are starting today. Want to follow along online? Here are a few key resources.

Watch live web video: In the U.S. at least, this is WAY less appealing than it should be. Despite the fact that live video technology is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was a few years ago (meaning people would watch for longer and be more satisfied, so you could actually monetize their viewing), NBC is killing off the opportunity to make this a huge video event. You need to prove that you’re a cable, satellite or IPTV subscriber to watch any live video, and the selection of streams lacks all the big events: figure skating, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, speed skating, snowboarding and short track. Happen to live in another country, say the host nation of Canada? Awesome. They’re planning to offer nine live feeds plus simulcasts of five TV stations, with the goal of showing “every single moment” of the Games online.

See the schedule of events: That’s an easy one. Vancouver Olympics schedule.

Hear from the Olympians themselves: Probably the best place to get the inside scoop or at least a flavor of it is Twitter, which has collected a list of verified Olympian accounts. Facebook is also aggregating updates from Olympians on an official Olympics fan page. There has been a bit of confusion over exactly what athletes are allowed to post, given the IOC released an obnoxious list of blogging guidelines (PDF), preventing athletes from doing things like using the image of the Olympic rings on their blog or publishing images or video from competitions. However a spokesperson for the United States Olympic Committee told Wired.com’s Epicenter that Olympians are free to tweet and blog, saying he expected that “These are going to be the Twitter Olympics…There’s no telling where the updates will come from. It could be the bench during a hockey game, or even on the medal stand.”

See what it’s like to attend: Flickr has created an approved photo group for pictures from in and around the Games. “Although as an attendee of an event you do not have commercial rights (in other words, you can’t sell your photos) you are encouraged to take photos and share them online,” says an announcement blog post.

Meanwhile, other web resources and accounts will surely emerge. One notable omission? From what I can tell there’s very little Olympics presence on YouTube, at least as of yet.

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