After a postponement of the Summer Olympics for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo is set to host the games this summer, despite a surge in cases in the city.
Nonetheless, the games seem set to go on, and USA Today has published two AR experiences highlighting two new sports, skateboarding and sports climbing, making their Olympics debut.
The AR experiences feature American professional skateboarder Tom Schaar and Team USA climber Kyra Condie, with a 3D scan of each athlete anchored in the camera view along with video clips and AR simulations of their signature moves.
Both experiences include narration from their respective athletes as well as USA Today sports reporter Tom Schad and interactive hotspots with more information and content.
The AR experiences are available now via the USA Today app for iOS and Android on devices compatible with ARKit and ARCore.
In 2018, The New York Times debuted its AR news content with a Winter Olympics AR experience (with the Washington Post also publishing AR content).
After a steady year's worth of AR content, however, the publication pulled back on its AR content in 2019, with USA Today filling the void as the presumptive leader in AR news content. According to a company spokesperson, USA Today published eight AR stories in 2020, with plans to increase its quantity of content in 2021.
USA Today has also demonstrated a knack for sports AR content, including past stories on highlighting the NHL and the FIFA Women's World Cup. So, as we come full circle, it's somewhat expected to find USA Today covering the Summer Olympics in AR, and even more appropriate that this latest outing is focused on innovations in the historic international event.
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