A data journalism round-up from the Winter Olympics

With the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang is in full flow, we skate our way through the best examples of data journalism that have caught Interhacktives' eye over the past week.

A data journalism round-up from the Winter Olympics
A data journalism round-up from the Winter Olympics

With the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in full flow (I really want to say ‘snow’), we see again how global sporting events give news organisations the opportunity to showcase their data storytelling prowess. Lets skate our way through a few of the best examples that have caught Interhacktives’ eye over the past week.

Skater Nathan Chen. Image: NYT
Skater Nathan Chen. Image: NYT

Augmented Olympics

The New York Times (NYT) has decided to use the games to launch it’s new augmented reality (AR) campaign. In their quest to create a ‘bridge between our physical and digital worlds’ the NYT’s immersive platform storytelling team uses activations highlighting figure skating, speed skating, snowboarding and ice hockey to illustrate a technical aspect of each sport. Walking around each athlete opens new points of view while presenting the viewer with data on a particular aspect of the sport. They’ve used an integrated approach to the piece,placing each AR experience inside a traditional story narrative. This, we presume, is to slowly introduce the technology to the NYT readership.

The full AR experience is available only on iPhones (6S, SE and newer) and iPads but will come to Android soon. Click here for system requirements.

FiveThirtyEight's Winter Olympics medal table. Image: fivethirtyeight.com
FiveThirtyEight’s Winter Olympics medal table. Image: fivethirtyeight.com

A new/old table and girls against boys

FiveThirtyEight never disappoints when it comes to novel ways of looking at sports data. Their clever take on the perennial medals table tells the reader not just how each country is doing but also their medal expectation and projected final medal count. Visual journalist, Ella Koeze, takes a look at how men and women would compare if they skied against each other. Tom Perrota looks at the Dutch’s dominance of speed-skating – a topic that had NBC anchor Katie Coutic apologising after stating that “skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam” – It’s not.

A super giant slalom

Our favourite piece of Pyeongchang sports data journalism comes again from the NYT data team with their delightful giant slalom visual. We get to see an animated version of American Mikaela Shiffrin’s victory with all skiers shown completing the course individually, but competing at the same time in a sped-up animation – lots of fun!

The New York Times' Giant Slalom Animation Image: NYT
The New York Times’ Giant Slalom Animation Image: NYT

Winter Botlympics?

And last but not least…as the videos from Boston Dynamics have shown, the robot uprising is nigh. When our metal overlords have taken over the planet it looks like they’ll be having their own Winter Botlympics….


Next week we’ll have piece on the data explosion in sport and the growing field of sports data journalism.

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