Using Twitter hurts athletes' performance, says Lord Coe as he attacks Olympic failuresLord Coe said he found a 'high correlation' between tweeting and underperformanceThinly veiled attack against Olympic diver and keen tweeter Tom Daley
01:23 GMT, 31 December 2012
01:52 GMT, 31 December 2012
Lord Coe has attacked sports stars who use Twitter too much, saying it is linked to ‘underperformance’.
The Olympics organiser, who has been made a Companion of Honour in the New Year honours list, said he found it ‘bizarre’ that athletes spent their time writing banal comments online during competitions instead of concentrating on winning medals.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Olympic gold medallist said: ‘I’ve always found quite a high correlation between people who spend their time in competition texting and tweeting and underperformance.
Correlation between tweet and fail: Lord Coe said that athletes who spent time on their phones underperformed during the games
Distracted Divers Tom Daley and Tonia Couch enjoying a meal in the Olympic Village in one of the photos posted online during the games
‘I just can’t imagine why you would want to be doing that when at the most important moment in your career you’re thinking about telling the world you’ve just had a haircut or seen a movie.’
While he did not refer to anyone, his comments may ring in the ears of British stars whose promise did not quite live up to the hype.
Diver Tom Daley was expected to reach the gold standard. But the 18-year-old, who has more than two million followers on Twitter, took home only a bronze medal.
At the height of the Games, Daley was tweeting up to nine times a day.
As well as posting pictures of the Olympic Village, he chatted to celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Mollie King, of pop group The Saturdays, and even attempted to drum up a TV appearance on comedy quiz show Keith Lemon’s Celebrity Juice.
Keen tweeter: Tom Daley, who posted this picture of himself to two million followers on Twitter, 'only' won a bronze despite being expected to reach a gold
Criticised: Lord Coe said Olympians should stay off their phones during competitions – Tom Daley clearly does not agree
Not deserving of time off A picture from Tom Daley's Twitter of himself and fellow athletes relaxing in the Olympic village
On his two competition days in the individual event, August 10 and 11, Daley posted on Twitter at least 18 times.
One message read: ‘Competing in the individual prelims tonight at 7pm 🙂 aaaaaaahhhh!!!!’
later one read: ‘Nap time before the finals! China seem unstoppable at
the moment! But anything can happen! See you on the other side!’ His
spokesman did not return calls last night.
the Games, swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won two gold medals at
Beijing, swore off the internet after cruel taunts about her appearance.
But it didn’t last long and she tweeted several times during her swimming final on July 29.
Pre-contest post: Tom Daley sent this tweet on the evening before the finals
Team Twitter: Tom Daley, seen being photographed by his teammates during a training session at the Aquatics Center during the games, tweeted up to nine times a day
Miss Adlington, who has more than 300,000 Twitter followers, posted: ‘Just sneaked into tonights final in 8th place!
‘Not expecting anything tonight, all I can do is my best 🙂 thank you for all the support x’
she wrote: ‘Ahhhhhhhh bronze medal!!! Can’t believe it! SOOO happy it’s
unreal! The crowd was incredible! THANK YOU to everyone, your support
Her spokesman declined to comment last night.
Thanking supporters: Rebecca Adlington tweets after her bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics
By comparison, Jessica Ennis, who stayed off Twitter during the fortnight of the Games because she did not want the distraction, took home gold in the heptathlon.
Lord Coe, who received a life peerage in 2000 for his services to sport, said that during his career he was so focused he did not even notice the people around him.
He added: ‘I’ve walked past my parents. I’ve walked past close friends an hour before a race and not even recognised them or registered.
‘So I just find it bizarre that people can be sitting there, figuring out in 140 characters what they would say to the world at that moment. Just go out and win the bloody race.’
During the Games, a number of athletes were criticised for using Twitter to promote their sponsors’ products. Diver Tonia Couch wrote about her new car, while synchronised swimmer Jenna Randall tweeted almost daily about her five main sponsors.