Journalist's Toolbox Newsletter XXXI

Aug. 3, 2021

Google Flourish: Animations of Olympic Results

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the Tokyo Olympics started about 10 days ago, albeit a year late because of the pandemic. We’re always looking for new and interesting ways to cover sports, and Google Flourish has added a couple of gems to its collection of visualization templates just in time for the Games.

Flourish, a visualization tool that lets you build graphics and animations with spreadsheets or raw data, launched three sports animations in late July: track, cycling and swimming. You can load lap times and finish times into a spreadsheet along with a competitor’s name and … Voila! … you have an animated replay of that race.

I pulled data from to recreate USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel’s victory in the men’s 100-meter final. It took me about 10 minutes to rekey the data into a sheet and another 10 to build the chart.

I was surprised by the detail. You can adjust play time to fit the actual length of the race or speed it up to finish quicker (hint: For the 1,500-meter events). You can adjust the swimmer’s suit color and the animation awards medals at the end of the race.

If you want to build it yourself, just open this document and follow along with the video below:

More Olympic Animations

Earlier this summer, Flourish added two countdown tickers to its template offerings. Below are two exercises to create countdown tickers for the 2022 Winter Olympics and next year’s World Cup. They’re very easy to create, just use the interface on the right side of the template once it launches.

Winter Olympics Image Countdown Template (example)

1.Select the image countdown template under Countdown Ticker

2.Enter the start date to the Winter Olympics: Feb. 4, 2022

3.In the header title: 2022 Winter Olympics Countdown

4. In the Display Text When Finished field: Let the Games Begin

World Cup Simple Countdown Template (example)

1.Select the simple countdown template under Countdown Ticker

2.Enter the start date: Nov. 21, 2022

3. In the header title: 2022 FIFA World Cup Countdown

*-You also can do this in the image countdown ticker and sub the World Cup logo for the default Olympic logo in the other template.

Around the Web …

Some useful tools to try out this summer … Twitter Video Downloader
Be careful with copyright videos. Get permission from the video’s owner before downloading.
Find the person behind a username, email address or phone number.

Automatic subtitle generator.

Any reporter-related videos that appear on YouTube or other video sites can be quickly downloaded and subtitled for free and quickly translated into multiple languages.

Cool Tool Tuesday

Don’t forget that at 1 p.m. CT each Tuesday, we feature a new resource on #cooltooltuesday. Be sure to check it out and retweet it.

In Quotes …

“The fish market wraps fish in paper. The content is what counts, not the wrapper.”

--Bernard Kilgore


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