We recently took a look at how the exponential growth of social media since the last Summer Olympics in 2008 will reshape this year’s Games in profound ways. But tracing the evolution of Olympic communication back more than 2,000 years proves just as fascinating.
Forget livestreams, score alerts and Twitter — back in the day, Olympic results were delivered by homing pigeon. Then the advent of the “modern” Games in 1896 came during the same year as the introduction of the wireless telegraph. The first Olympic radio broadcast came more than a quarter century later, in 1924, and 1936 saw (get it?) the first live telecast. In 1960, the Games were broadcast worldwide for the first time ever. Finally, the 1996 Games in Atlanta were billed as the “Internet Olympics” — offering the first real sign of what was to come in 2012.
The network solutions company Acme Packet recently dug up all these stats and more from a variety of sources from around the web to produce the infographic below.
Among Acme Packet’s other notable findings: a billion people will receive updates, get results and watch events via digital devices this summer; mobile traffic worldwide is expected to increase by 211% during the London Games; and the Olympics’ estimated operating cost this year would be enough to cover more than 10.5 billion hours of international Skype calls.
Even more impressive though? By the time Rio 2016 rolls around, there will be more mobile devices than people in the world, and this summer’s “first social Olympics” will seem antiquated by comparison.