As seen in Virtual City magazine:

Olympic Torch Burns Online
1996 Olympic Games Home Page: On the official ACOG site, you can order tickets, buy merchandise, and follow the Olympic torch as it makes its way across the U.S. SportsZone:Visit this one-stop-shopping site for scores, standings, and stories
Atlanta Rentals: Looking to rent a home, condo, or campsite during the games? Here's the scoop on what's available.
Olympics Trivia: I scored a 16, earning a silver medal. Try to top me.

Atlanta Games: This site, sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, offers Olympics-related job listings, restaurant suggestions, a BBS area, and a downloadable Virtual Atlanta.
NBC Presents the Games of The XXVI Olympiad: Check here for broadcast schedules, the 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History, and a downloadable recording of the NBC Olympic Theme.
The 1896 Athens Games: Take a trip back to the beginning of the modern era. 2000 Summer Games in Sydney: It's never too early to order tickets for the badminton finals.
1998 Winter Games: It may be sweltering in Hotlanta, but it'll be nice and cool in Nagano, Japan.

The Summer Games in Atlanta mark the 100th anniversary of the first Olympic Games of the modern era. In 1896, 311 athletes from 13 countries convened in Athens, Greece. The first medal winner (only one was awarded per event in those days) was the American James Connolly, who won the triple jump with a leap of 13.71 meters. Considering how slowly news traveled back then, however, I wonder just how long Connolly's friends and family had to wait for reports of his victory.

These days, information whizzes around the globe at a dizzying pace. And perhaps nowhere is more information—both vital and trivial—shared by more people than on the Internet.

Baron Pierre de Courbertin, the Frenchman who organized the first modern games, believed that international competitions between amateur athletes would serve to promote friendly relationships between people from different lands. But few of us ever have the opportunity to experience the Olympics in person. For most, the Games are a television event, like the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards. They are no more likely to foster a sense of warm and fuzzy affection for our fellow man than a late-night rerun of Bewitched. In fact, U.S. television coverage of the Olympic focuses so sharply on American athletes, both victorious and vanquished, that it tends to inspire, instead, a nationalist fervor—an us-versus-them attitude.

This type of coverage is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. NBC's Bob Costas, who will anchor the network's coverage of the Atlanta games, admits, "Television is much more likely to revisit, for a fifth time, a dramatic event involving a U.S. gymnast than to spend five seconds on a kayak race won by somebody from Peru."

Unlike television, which is not a give-and-take medium, the Internet thrives on interaction among people all around the world. So I was curious to learn how different the Olympic experience might be online. Can it be the Internet is the tool that will allow the Olympic Games to finally achieve the sort of international good will of which Baron De Courbertin dreamed? I decided to do a little surfing to find out.

I learned that the Internet offers a wealth of Olympics information. Whether you're seeking a list of previous gold medalists in the team handball competition or trying to download a GIF of that gorgeous German swimmer who grabbed the bronze in the 500-meter butterfly, a little searching will probably turn up something useful.'s SportsZone has been covering, for some three months, all 29 major categories of Olympic competition. Mitch Gelman, features editor, reports that this popular site is attracting sports fans from all over the world with its coverage of breaking stories that range from the sudden death, by heart attack, of 22-year-old South Korean judo standout Chung Se-hoon to the final results of the U.S. shooting trials. It's an impressive resource but still lacked the communal atmosphere I was seeking.

So I turned to Usenet to see if any Olympics-related newsgroups existed. I found a couple of them: and atl.olympics. I wondered what people might be discussing in these forums. Would I find a heated discussion raging on the pros and cons of allowing professional athletes, like basketball's Dream Team III, to compete? Was a thread of conversation devoted to the stellar career of Jackie Joyner Kersee? Were American badminton buffs seeking the inside scoop from their Indonesian counterparts?

Um ... no. Instead, both groups were dominated by threads like "Prime Location Olympic Home Rental!" and "Olympic Tix For Sale!" Poor Baron De Courbertin must be turning in his grave. These Olympics, it appears, are inspiring a different kind of race for the gold.