BlackBerry Apps for the Olympic Games PDF Print E-mail

I’m not much of a sports fan. Confessing this is probably akin to sacrilege in a country like South Africa, where rugby and soccer reign supreme. However, I just don’t GET most sports.

I don’t grasp how the scoring works. I often don’t understand what the fuss is about. However, before you promptly strip me off my birthright and banish me: I suppose I am what can best be described as an opportunistic sports fan. Despite my lack of understanding, I have, on occasion, been swept up in the spirit and fever-pitch excitement of major events.

I actually watched the entire television broadcast of the Rugby World Cup final match in ’95 (the first and only time that I sat through a whole match), and, along with the rest of South Africa, was deeply touched at the now historic moment between then Springbok captain Francois Pienaar and former President Nelson Mandela. And in 2010, during the Soccer World Cup, I proudly strutted down part of the Fan Walk in Cape Town.

But I have also always carried a bit of a torch for that epitome of major sporting events, the Olympic Games. I find it downright inspiring to watch the best in the world compete on a global stage in various events. (And typical of anyone who is super skilled at something, they make it look so deceptively easy, don’t they?) With the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London just a couple of days away, I want to keep an eye on the South Africans that will be representing our country in the Olympics and Paralympics.

It can be hard to follow your favourite athlete or team during an event of that magnitude. Luckily, there are a few handy apps that will enable you to hone in on the particular teams and events you want to follow, thereby ensuring that you keep track of your favourite athletes and their events – be it in track, field, aquatics, equestrian events or gymnastics.

First of all, there is the London 2012: Join In App for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The app is a mobile guide which promises to keep you abreast of all those events that you are interested in following. But apart from providing a schedule and spectator guide to all the sporting events, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the torch relay, it also contains useful tourist information about things to do in London during the Games, such as art exhibitions (with maps to the galleries), weather forecasts, attractions, museums, comedy shows, films, and the like. You can also follow all the Olympics related news.

But those of us who are not lucky enough to be in London during the Games can still benefit from the app too. The “My Games” feature allows you to create a personal schedule (simply select What’s On in the dropdown menu, then click on the box containing the three lines that have been struck out to set a detailed filter of exactly what and when you would like to watch a particular event. The app boasts BBM, Twitter and Facebook integration, so you can share all the information with your buddies online and show some support to your team.

One major drawback of the app is that it is rather hefty and requires an additional 7.5 MB to download all the extras required for it to function. I actually had to switch over to Wi-Fi to download the full app. It gives you the option of downloading the extras to your handset’s media card or to the device itself. If you can live with a huge installation, you can download the app from BlackBerry App World for free here.  

The second app I’ve downloaded is the official London 2012: Official results app for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will, just as the name suggests, inform you of your favourite team/athlete’s performance during the Olympics and Paralympics, provide you with the medal count for each country, and so on. It boasts a clean user interface and is, in my opinion, much easier to navigate and set up according to your preferences than the Join In app, probably because it doesn’t contain so much extra touristy information. It actually seems to be a bit of a lighter version of the Join In app, since it also contains an events schedule and news. The results app also has athlete profiles and live updates. It is also free, but contains ad banners, so if you are willing to overlook that, you can download it for free from BlackBerry App World here.

Let the Games begin!
This app was reviewed using a BlackBerry Bold 9790, courtesy of BlackBerry South Africa.

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