INPHO/Morgan Treacy "How do I tweet on this?" Pat Hickey gets social media advice from sprinter Paul Hession.
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Tweet dreams: Irish Olympic athletes free to use Twitter at London 2012

Pat Hickey knows what a London Bus looks like but, by the looks of it, he prefers vintage technology.

IRISH OLYMPIC ATHLETES will be allowed to use their Twitter accounts during the London 2012 Olympics.

Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, announced that the International Olympic Committee has ‘complicated’ restrictions on broadcasting updates from the athlete’s village but personal messages should be allowed.

He said, “The (rules) are complicated but they are allowed to do certain things. They are not allowed do it commercially, as far as I know.” Hickey added:

It is just like in the old days. An athlete could not operate in the village for a newspaper or a radio or television station. The IOC have dressed (the rules) up to look for the modern technologies. Socially tweeting, as far as I understand, is no problem.

Hickey says he is not worried about media sensations or controversies being struck up because of a thoughtless tweet.

He said, “It is just the days we live in. That is the way (the athletes) grow up now and that is what they do. It is all part and parcel of the games. However, I would hate to see athletes being exploited in that other people could use and exploit them.

Our job would be to try and protect the athletes and make sure they are not in contact with anything like that. Their job is to be there to perform and do the best they can.

Hickey also laughed off suggestions that Irish athletes should not shake hands with fellow competitors and officials during the games.

The issue of hand-shake avoidance arose when Dr Ian McCurdie, chief medical officer of the British Olympic Association (BOA), advised that a shaking snub would be ‘not such a bad thing’.

Embracing different cultures

Hickey remarked, “When I read that, I mean, how the British Olympic Association ever devised such a thing … but there is a great embarassment about it and I saw that the British government came out and decried it.

“The whole experience of athletes living in the Olympic Village is to meet all the different cultures from around the world and to meet new friends. I wouldn’t have any worries.”

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