How tech brought Tokyo to Team GB

Fourth in the table for gold-medal finishes and 65 medals in total. When Team GB burst out of the starting blocks during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer, a year later than planned, it was definitely worth the wait.

Through Deloitte’s alliance with Workplace from Meta (formerly Facebook), we’re proud to have supported the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, using digital channels to help Team GB get ready for action.

The idea? Use tech to recreate some of the comfort of an event on home turf, by helping the athletes to get familiar with the set-up in Tokyo ahead of the games.

Tom Daley and Matty Lee’s now iconic 10 metre synchronised dive. Charlotte Worthington’s gravity-defying BMX freestyle 360 backflip. Max Whitlock’s second Olympic pommel horse title and the team spirit personified by Team GB Olympians who struck gold together in swimming, triathlon and equestrian events.

It’s fair to say that Tokyo 2020 was a huge success for Team GB.

Despite extraordinary circumstances, the team was able to equal its overall London 2012 medal tally of 65 – won in what had been a familiar environment for Team GB, with considerably less travel and logistics for athletes and their support teams.

In its preparations for Tokyo 2020, the BOA was keen to explore whether recreating the comfort of an event on home turf could help create an advantage in Tokyo.

Technology and an alliance between Deloitte and Workplace from Meta helped them to find out.

Groups from across Team GB were able to share key information and personal updates, building a better sense of community and camaraderie.
Andy Anson

CEO, British Olympic Association

A social solution

Designed for organisations and built around groups, Workplace from Meta mirrors the social network that’s part of the digital furniture for 1.91 billion people each day and helps colleagues build connections and share information while working apart.

“Working with Team GB was the first time we put the Deloitte and Workplace from Meta alliance through its paces,” said Deloitte senior manager Mark Williams. “We’d started supporting the BOA’s plans for a more digital games well before the pandemic hit.”

“Looking to Tokyo, the BOA couldn’t take everyone there to experience it beforehand, so they wanted to bring Tokyo to Team GB.”

The initial plan was for Team GB to use Workplace from Meta to share content on everything from the training facilities and what to expect at the Olympic Village, to advice on culture and customs.

Due to the pandemic, travel to Tokyo was more challenging than expected – and so the tech had to work even harder to bring people together. Groundwork already laid to embed Workplace meant that, when COVID-19 hit during the home stretch, Team GB could continue to prepare and drive performance.

“Effective teamwork is central to our ethos at Team GB,” said Andy Anson, CEO of the British Olympic Association, “and needs to be built on strong communication.

“Groups from across Team GB were able to share key information and personal updates, building a better sense of community and camaraderie.

“This allowed us to prepare for the Games in a more innovative and effective way, fostering a better sense of cohesion across the team.”

Creating moments that matter

Getting athletes ready to perform – and in some cases, to the podium – takes years of dedication and training. It also takes hundreds of professionals working together and logistics that co-ordinate across the globe.

In the run up to Tokyo 2020, tech played a bigger part in these preparations than ever before. For example:

  1. Virtual orientation
    For the large number of athletes, and performance staff members, being able to see the venues and understand what facilities were available in country was a game-changer. Team GB shared 3D, immersive video content through Workplace, enabling the delegation to see the training facilities and prepare accordingly.
  2. Innovation
    Technology provides Team GB with a platform to share key documents and information in a quick and effective way. By sharing information on Workplace, teams were able to access key information quicker than ever before.
  3. Communication
    From athletes to nutritionists, coaches to physios, the tech provided a platform through which Team GB could more quickly connect with a variety of stakeholders before the Olympic Games, sharing comments and ideas ahead of the competition.
Aiming high for Tokyo 2020

25,000 nights of accommodation, 3,000 meals a day, and 2,000 flights – taking Team GB to Tokyo takes a staggering amount of preparation. Having worked with the British Olympic Association (BOA) for the last decade, we’re proud to share behind-the-scenes stories of aiming high for Tokyo and supporting the people who help to power Team GB.

Work to help make sure this year’s delegation was the best equipped yet included co-ordinating 50 projects in areas like visual analytics, immersive technology and more.

Lizzie Tantam, PR manager
+44 207 007 2911 | Email Lizzie