12 Hidden Gems from Rio

There were so many stories that came out of Rio but what I enjoyed the most from the SmartNews Rio Olympics page were the lesser reported stories that bubbled up on the page. Over the past couple weeks I kept a list of my favorites and below are the best.

ONE: Before the games even started, The Independent’s incredible profile of Yusra Mardini had us rooting for the Olympic’s first refugee team.

TWO: During the opening ceremonies everyone looked sharp but USA Today’s sports site, For The Win, caught wind of the secret hidden in Team Australia’s blazer lining. Elle gave us the skinny on what each athlete got in their swag bag.

aussie-olympic-blazer

THREE: ESPN wrote about a high school in California that has been sending athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1952.

FOUR: Most outlets flock to the high dive platforms to catch still frames of the athletes but Buzzfeed took pleasure in the trampoline shots.

FIVE: Golf returned to the Olympics after a long absence (hilariously celebrated in an advertisement) and it only took four holes for the very first Olympic hole-in-one to be recorded.

SIX: Sharing the thrill of victory is why we all love to watch the Olympics. Deadspin shares a clip of two young Irish rowers doing an interview on Irish television and it’s hard not to get caught up in their youthful exuberance.

SEVEN: No one can forget the fateful collision of Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin during the 5000 meter qualifying round. The story of the two helping each other to the line will remain in our hearts as a shining example of Olympic Spirit. The pair was later awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for their behavior – something that The Telegraph tells us has only happened 17 times in Olympic history.

EIGHT: The Telegraph also dug into a question that we didn’t even think to ask. What’s involved in getting the equestrian horses get to the Olympics?

NINE: Meanwhile Fox Sports asks why Michael Phelps was laughing during the national anthem while Complex tries to find out more about his playlist.

TEN: Every Olympics has athletes that premier a sport for their country. Sports Illustrated covers Trinidad and Tobago’s first rower and SB Nation writes about a sprinter for the Marshall Islands.

ELEVEN: FiveThirtyEight is famous for its statistics and data-oriented view of the world. For the Olympics they dug into the science of pacing.

olympic-pacing

TWELVE: While acrobatics is not an Olympic sport, it did feature in an opening exhibition. Thanks to Cosmo for sharing what they called, Human Jump Rope.

I hope you enjoyed this list. Football season is coming up and we’ve got a Football channel on SmartNews so you can start to collect your own list of hidden gems.

Tables – poking fun at tech advertising

I finished Season Three of Silicon Valley, the HBO comedy series built around the mythical company Pied Piper.

One of the episodes opens with a brilliant takedown of every over-produced tech commercial you’ve ever seen.

What do you do when you have a technical product that defies simple explanations? You string together a bunch of stock video of happy people over an acoustic guitar instrumental.

Kagura, making music with your body

Brian Eno once said, “The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them.” The interfaces we use to interact with computers are too digital, not fuzzy enough to sense analog inputs. We’re stuck with mouse and keyboard.

Kagura is a game that runs on a laptop and uses the camera to detect movement of the players as they interact with musical instruments projected on the screen in front of them to play along or riff on a musical track.

Part Dance Dance Revolution and part Guitar Hero, the UI is intuitive and easy and fun to pick up. All that’s required is a Windows laptop (Mac coming later) and they launched a Kickstarter today to fund the final development and release in August.

Shunsuke Nakamura, the inventor of the game, stopped by the SmartNews offices on Friday to show us how the game works. He’s been working on the concept of using your body to make music for 14 years but only now has technology reached a point where his dream could be realized.

We truly live in amazing times.

SmartNews TV commercials featuring Tamori

SmartNews (where I work) is running a series of TV commercials in Japan featuring Japanese celebrity, Tamori. The tagline for the campaign is “禁断のニュースアプリ” which roughly translates as “The forbidden news application” as in it’s so addicting that you binge use it when you’ve got time alone.

News Junkie are you? Check out the US Edition.

SmartNews shoutout on Google Play

The crew running @googleplay account gave SmartNews a nice shoutout this morning. Thanks Google!

The cool animated GIF and tagline was all them. Love it! Posting here for posterity.