London 2012 gets jazzed up, but sport comes first

Every session at the Olympics will be jazzed up with mood-setting videos, music and lighting but nothing will dwarf the sporting spectacle, London 2012 chiefs said on Wednesday.

Whether it be cycling in the velodrome, archery at Lord's or gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena, by the time action gets going all the spectators will know their keirins from their omniums, their bow sights from their fletchings and their double backward somersaults from their front hand springs.

Educating the ticket holders, many of whom will be watching sports such as handball and water polo for the first time, is a major part of making the Games tick, according to organisers.

"We have been innovative and have come up with something different so that people will be able to connect to the sports they are watching," Debbie Jevans, LOCOG's Director of Sport, said at a news conference on the first day of competition.

"Things like modern pentathlon, handball and water polo there is not a lot of that in the UK, so what we wanted to do was present it in a way allowed people to understand what they are watching, then there enjoyment is that much more."

Before each session a "A to Z" guide video will be shown to familiarise the public with rules, techniques and tactics while "mood" sequences will help build the atmosphere.

A small number of selected sessions will include live musical acts from leading British artists while major bands such as Muse and the Chemical Brothers have written music especially for some of the main venues during the Games.

A playlist of 2,012 songs will be used over the sporting festival, but Jevans said they were sensitive not to turn the Olympics into a rock concert - a criticism of the recent Euro 2012 soccer championship where fans had their eardrums assaulted by deafening music before every match.

"What is absolutely paramount is the integrity of the sport and the atmosphere that naturally surrounds it," Jevans said.

"What we are doing is being mindful. All the music will be themed to the sport and the venue itself. In no way are we going to drown out the atmosphere.

 "There will be mood VTs and the A to Z VTs while many of the announcers will be walking around interviewing fans before the event starts so there will be lots of fan interaction.
 
"We have gone to great length to enhance the sport, not interfere with it."
 
Spectators will also be able to listen to in-ear commentaries of 12 sports after purchasing earphones for 10 pounds ($15.53) - particularly useful in the athletics stadium in which multiple disciplines unfold at the same time.

 "When you're looking at the stadium when there is a race going on at the same time as the pole vault, we can educate people to know when a potential medal vault may be about to happen. We believe that will be very popular."

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