LONDON – Facebook on Monday launched an official London Olympics page for fans to connect with their favorite athletes and teams, a move it says can help make this summer's games the first "truly social" one.
Many athletes — as well as the London Games organizers — already connect with their fans on the online social network, but Facebook says its new "Discover London 2012" page is a portal that brings together the profile pages of hundreds of athletes, national teams, and official organizing bodies to make them more accessible to its 900 million users.
"I'm sure that through Facebook and all of our other social media channels we will manage to bring a new dimension to the games for a new audience," said Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee's communications director.
The site features pages dedicated to specific Olympic sports and links to the official pages of about 60 national teams and 200 athletes, including household names such as swimmer Michael Phelps, basketball stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and soccer's David Beckham.
Facebook has promised to add more in the run-up to the Olympics, which are to be held from July 27 to Aug. 12. But a spokesman admitted it would be impossible to get all countries up on the site. Team China, for example, is missing because Facebook is banned there.
The page is available in 22 languages.
Discover London2012 is at www.facebook.com/pages/olympics