August 11, 2016
Reading time:
8 min

With the 2016 Summer Olympics kicking off last Friday in Rio, every publisher worth a medal or two is producing static and interactive content based on and around the Olympics. Sport events are data-rich anyway and the Olympics is definitely no exception so the content possibilities are endless.  We can only imagine how agonising choosing a format could have been! The BBC, The Guardian and The New York Times have been killing it with content this week and would definitely be the publishers up on the podium in a content olympics. Check out what we’ve stumbled upon this week below.

Katie Ledecky swim USA gold medal world record

Katie Ledecky smashes her own world record in 400 freestyle

The New York Times


If you’ve only been dipping your toe into the water of the Olympics and catching the highlights on social media, you might have noticed American swimmer Katie Ledecky smashed a world record in the 400-metre freestyle swim. What you might not know is that she actually now owns the 10 fastest performances in the 400 freestyle. In celebration of her amazing swim, the NYT put together an animation illustrating Ledecky leaving the other competitors in her wake.

history olympics infographic wired

Check out every Olympic event ever



Ever fancied yourself a potential Olympian? Perhaps a potential gold medal rower or gymnast? Well, at one point in time, croquet was an olympic sport. At the 1900 Olympics, it featured only French players and there was just one spectator. This infographic documents a host of different sports and their history in the Summer Olympics. We would be totally cool with water motorsports coming back though.

o globo interactive content olympic torch

The Olympic Torch

O Globo

Interactive module

This publisher is shining the light on the Olympics in a different way. In this interactive, you can get an up close look at every Olympic torch since the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to this year’s in Rio. O Globo have made sure you can spin and zoom in on each Olympic Torch ever made and a bonus, you can also compare the torches by their height, weight, distance travelled and how many were manufactured. It’s pretty incredible having each torch lined up and seeing the variations and evolution in design.

the guardian olympians to watch rio 2016
The Guardian
Scrollable story
From the track to the pool to the gymnastic floor, there’s bound to be more than a few Olympians breaking world records or setting new personal bests (understatement, possibly!). The Guardian did a round up of 100 Olympians to keep an eye out for, whether it’s for their ability to collect gold medals like there’s no tomorrow or because they’re an up and coming athlete with an incredible story. We’re definitely going to keep this article open until the end of the games.

rio 2016 olympic body match athletes
BBC Sport
Interactive module
There’s over 10,000 athletes competing in this year’s Games so why not find out how you size up? The BBC will show you your top three athlete matches but not before some interesting info on where you are in the grand scheme of things in weight, height and age. Did you know the youngest competitor is swimmer Gaurika Singh who is just 13? Find out more on the BBC site.

NYT interactive christian taylor athlete
The New York Times
Interactive animation
Christian Taylor is a world champion and an Olympic gold medallist. When he was 22, he was faced with a decision when degenerative knee pain struck – continue with a different take-off leg or quit. This content from the New York Times uses data visualisation, interviews, video and animation to really immerse the video in Taylor’s technique and struggles and to answer the question ‘How is he so amazing?!’. We could watch this over and over again. Be sure to check out the NYT’s videos about three other American athletes too.

history of the olympic sports rio 2016
The New York Times
Data blog
History of the Olympics will never cease to be fascinating and it’s something that’s covered by a lot of pubishers. The New York Times nailed it, as they usually do. This beautiful and colourful data set separated sport by sport shows the rise and fall of each country’s success, a pause for war and the re-naming of countries. The blog illustrates not only a history of the Olympics but also offers a history of the world too. Kudos to the NYT – it definitely kept us on the page for more than a couple of seconds.

olympic gold medal athlete comparison
Interactive data blog
Thanks to the BBC and now Vox, we’re 97% sure we’ll never go to the Olympics. Ever. This piece of content requires you to enter your height and then it’ll compare to you a selection of athletes from each sport. As a bonus, it also offers some advice on whether you’re too tall, too short or just perfect for the sport. Looks like one of us will be training for track and field straight away. Maybe.. maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week.