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Check into London Olympics via Foursquare
Check into London Olympics via Foursquare
By: Sneha Bokil-Paranjape

Soon curtains will fall on the Indian Premier League and the nation will turn their eyeballs to the most coveted tournaments of all times - Olympics. With mere less than 90 days left, sports fanatics from around the globe are gearing up for the London Olympics 2012.

The London Games have been billed as the first Olympics to fully make use of social media platforms. It is expected that athletes will readily interact with fans on networks like Twitter and Facebook.

As part of its broader social-marketing push around the Summer Olympic Games in London,the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had launched The Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a social media platform that aggregates Facebook and Twitter updates of Olympians.

Taking social media indulgence a step forward, the IOC is giving this summer's Games the social media treatment with the help of Foursquare. Foursquare users can now get up close and personal with their favourite athletes, after the location-based social networking site gave its members the power to check in to Olympics venues across the globe

IOC unveiled check-in locations throughout the world along with an official Olympics badge - giving users the opportunity to learn more about the various stadiums and receive tips from their favourite sports stars.  The official IOC Foursquare page includes historical facts about the world's most renowned games event and will soon include a list of training locations as well as places inspired by the athletes.

Historic Olympic locations - including Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, the venue for the 2016 Games beach volleyball tournament and Rome's StadioOlimpico, where AdebeBikila became the first African to win an Olympic gold medal in 1960 - can all be checked into.

"Our integration with Foursquare and the ability to leave location-based tips from the athletes is one more way to serve highly engaged fans of the Olympic Games and to integrate social media directly into the Olympic fan experience," explained Alex Huot, the IOC's Social Media Director. "We wanted to do something fun and thank our fans who make an effort to stay fit by offering them a chance to win a trip to the Olympics."

The foursquare check-ins will launch on 23 June, the anniversary of the modern games, the first of which were held on 23 June 1894 at the Sorbonne, Paris. Olympic bosses have said London 2012 will be the first "Social Media Games".

If you’re fanatic about your Foursquare badges and have also found yourself swept up in the pre-Olympic hype, you’re going to love what the location-based service has in store for you.The partnership means that fans will start to see a new badge connected to Olympics venues, as well as tips from Olympics athletes.Also, the International Olympics Committee will be giving one badge-holding Foursquare user a trip to see the games in London this summer.

The new Olympic Day badge represents a pulse as well as the River Thames’ zig-zagg route through London; it also reflects the signature colors of the Olympic rings.

Luckily for Foursquare, the spread of smartphones in the last year has led to a jump in the number of users using real-time, location-based data on their handsets. The Pew report found that smartphone users are more likely to turn to geo-social services like Foursquare to check into certain places and share their location with friends. Some 18% did do so as of February -- up from 12% in 2011, equating to 10%.

Launched in 2009 Foursquare has over 20 million users with more than 1.5 billion ‘check-ins’.

The Foursquare Olympic page already contains more than 40 tips as to where people can work out on the upcoming ‘Olympic Day’ on June 23, which marks the anniversary of the first modern day Olympics.Those checking in to at least two venues as well as follow the IOC on Foursquare will unlock the "Get Fit for Olympic Day" - and will automatically be entered into a contest to win a trip to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The site and app will also soon undergo a major redesign so it features its recommendation engine more prominently when people log on.