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.

Medals shattered at World University Games

Amy Purdy, Winter Paralympic medalist, to perform at Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony

Amy Purdy
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Amy Purdy made her name as a snowboardcross bronze medalist at the Sochi Paralympics and runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.

In September, she’ll combine both.

Purdy will perform as a dancer in the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Sept. 7, in addition to being an NBC reporter during the Games.

She was told her performance will be four to five minutes. On “Dancing with the Stars,” her performances were about 90 seconds, she said. She traveled to Rio for a week of rehearsals in July.

Purdy, 36, survived bacterial meningitis in 1999 but lost both her legs and later needed a kidney from her father at age 20.

“I’m most excited about the concept of this dance,” Purdy said. “Just the idea of man versus machine. A lot of times we feel really limited because of our prosthetics. But this dance, hopefully, will kind of shatter those borders a little bit and allow me to move my body in a way I haven’t done before.”

Purdy is an innovator. She built her own snowboard and is seen as instrumental in getting her sport into the Paralympic program beginning in 2014.

A model, she’s been in a Madonna music video, a Super Bowl commercial, ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and competed on “The Amazing Race” in 2012.

MORE: Rio Paralympic broadcast schedule

Sneak peek at Lindsey Vonn’s episode of ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’

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Lindsey Vonn‘s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” will air on NBC on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

From NBC Universal:

“After roaring across crystal-clear waters in a speedboat, Bear and Lindsey must strip down and swim to shore before inching their way along the rugged coastline. After rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the two get inventive and use a spear-gun to traverse a hundred-foot deep chasm. With the sun setting, they collect a dinner of sea urchins and Bear challenges Lindsey to a swimming competition with hilarious results. Along the way Lindsey shares her journey of love, Olympic glory, and displays the focus and determination that has made her one of the most successful female athletes of all time.”

Vonn is returning from a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures.

With 76 career World Cup wins, she is 10 shy of the record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019