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Facebook's Explore London 2012: Get Social With The Summer Games

A social network portal helps you get Facebook updates from your favorite athletes, national teams, and sports during the Olympics

Facebook is getting into the Olympic spirit with Explore London 2012 on Facebook, a portal where you can find and get Facebook updates from your favorite athletes, national teams, and individual sports during the Olympic Games in London.

Facebook says it intends to add national Olympics broadcasters such as NBC and Olympic sponsors to the London 2012 portal in the coming weeks.

The Facebook portal is the first of several efforts from the International Olympics Committee to get social during London 2012. The IOC also plans to launch London 2012-themed pages on Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+, as well as a partnership with Foursquare.

How To Like London 2012

To get Olympic updates on Facebook, all you have to do is “like” the pages for your favorite athletes, sports, or national teams via the Explore London 2012 portal. Then updates from that person's or sport's page, including personal status updates, medal standings, and photos, are pushed to your news feed. It's a simple way to keep up with personal updates from athletes such as swimmer Ryan Lochte or all the latest news from Team USA.

Explore London 2012

Facebook's London 2012 portal is well organized with a cover photo at the top, and then two profile photos for the Olympic Games and London 2012. Below that is a section of highlighted Olympic athletes, including LeBron James, swimmers Dara Torres and Michael Phelps, beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, and U.K. soccer star David Beckham. The site features about 200 of the several thousands of Olympic athletes competing in the games.

Below the athletes section are links to the Olympic national teams, and then to specific Olympic sports such as boxing, gymnastics, tennis, triathlon, and volleyball. Thirty-six sports are represented at London 2012, but the portal currently has links to 25.

Each Olympic sport is linked to the page for that sport's official international body. For example, liking aquatics will give you Facebook updates from Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA), the world governing body for swimming. Liking Tennis means you'll get updates from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

A Facebook spokesperson says the company will add more sports and athlete pages to its portal before the Games begin.

Effective Use of London 2012

Facebook's portal is a handy way to find your favorite parts of the Olympics, but you might want to check out each individual page before liking to make sure you'll get updates during the games.

In my perusal of some of the top athletes' pages, most are maintaining their official pages with regular updates. But some weren't particularly active. That may change once the Olympics kicks into gear, but just be aware that some pages may not be as active as you'd like.

The Summer Olympic Games begin Friday, July 27 in London.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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