Google Doodle: Olympic Hurdles if You're Not at the London Games

VIDEO: Online game lets players run and jump at their computer keyboards.

Image: Google.

Today's Google Doodle, which celebrates track and field at the London Olympics, is a reminder of why only a select few people ever win gold medals.

The doodle, if you haven't been playing it for hours already, is an interactive game, and it's hard until you get the hang of it. You play a hurdler, running down a track. The left and right arrow keys will speed you up. Be ready to hit the space bar on cue. And be ready to have some spreadsheet to pop up on your screen if your boss comes by. Jokes about reduced office productivity are rampant on days such as this.

"Having fun is not wasting time," said Ryan Germick, the Google Doodle team leader. "We always aim to surprise and delight."

He added that you'd be surprised how hard it is to create a game that people will understand without instructions - and one that can be played by millions of people at once.

Lolo Jones, Kellie Wells and Dawn Harper are among the American hurdlers to watch in London. They may worry about Australia's Sally Pearson, the current world champion, but not about any of us at our computers … or, conceded Germick, anyone at Google.

"There is a fencer here," he said, "and when she saw the doodle of the fencer we had the other day she thought it was her. Other than that, we at Google are more of the nerdy sort."

Is anything else in the works before the Olympics end? Germick turned coy. But he let us in on a little trick: Look at Google's home page for a country where it's already tomorrow - like, say, Japan - if you want to see what's coming.

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