London Olympic opening ceremony

London Olympics feared opening ceremony cyber attack

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Fears that the lights would be turned off by a cyber attack during the London Olympic opening ceremony led to extensive precautions from officials, according to the BBC.

The head of cyber security for the 2012 Games was woken on July 27, 2012, the day of the opening ceremony, at 4:45 a.m. by a phone call.

“There was a suggestion that there was a credible attack on the electricity infrastructure supporting the Games,” Olympic cyber security head Oliver Hoare told BBC Radio 4. “And the first reaction to that is, ‘Goodness, you know, let’s make a strong cup of coffee.'”

The initial response to the threat came from the Olympic Cyber Co-ordination Team (OCCT), based at MI5 headquarters in Thames House.

There were two priorities. The first was to investigate how credible the threat might be. The information had come in overnight and was based on the discovery of attack tools and targeting information that it was thought at the time might relate to the Olympics.

While this investigation continued, officials also put in place contingency plans in case the attack materialised. Time was not on their side. “The clock was absolutely ticking,” recalled Mr Hoare, who worked first for the Olympic Delivery Authority and then the Government Olympic Executive.

Thirty minutes before the opening ceremony, Hoare asked someone for a status update.

“Good news,” he was told. “If the lights go down we can get them up and running regardless within 30 seconds.”

Hoare’s response?

“Thirty seconds at the opening ceremony with the lights going down would have been catastrophic in terms of reputational hit,” he said. “So I watched the opening ceremony with a great deal of trepidation.”

Hoare did so at his home with his family, twitching every time the lights dimmed.

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WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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