It is, of course, not true. And you'd be surprised what might be to blame.
For a start, as I was clear to point out on Media UK's discussion area, it's not the BBC's cycling coverage. It's the coverage of Olympic Broadcasting Services ("OBS"). While the BBC provided the commentary, also derided by some, it wasn't the BBC's coverage, so the headline and description here is not accurate. But that's not, really, the point.
The main point is that Twitter did not, and could not, have 'jammed' transmissions of race information.
It wasn't TwitterMark Adams is IOC Communications Director. He's quoted as saying: "From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don't want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates."
Sending a tweet uses a ridiculously small amount of bandwidth. Want to know how much? This much.
Actually, there's a bit of OAuth authentication before that, which is a little harder to show you, but in total it's probably around 400 bytes; or about three text messages' worth. It's tiny. The response from Twitter acknowledging this is 872 bytes; or about six text messages' worth. In total, that's less than 1.2kB. That's tiny. Assuming you send one tweet every minute, you'll send 72kB's worth of data in an hour. Additionally, Twitter compresses this data using gzip, which could save significant bandwidth on top.
(It's actually considerably more complicated than this: there's HTTP headers and other things to add to this tally. But you get my point).
To be clear about this: simply sending a tweet will not cause any appreciable network load. There is no reason, whatsoever, to "consider only sending urgent updates". Your phone probably uses that amount of bandwidth an hour just checking whether you have any email to download.
So, what is taking the bandwidth?Well, I'm no "IOC Communications Director". But, if I were a betting man, I would put a fiver on something a little closer to home.
The BBC's Olympics app has been a great success. The BBC themselves are crowing about the first few days of their Olympics app, including a tweet that reads, in part:
For watching the bits of the Olympic road race happening where you aren't, I heartily recommend the BBC Olympic app
...so highly likely that at least a few of the spectators were streaming live video to their mobile phones.
Assuming the app uses 64kbps as its lowest video bitrate (as recommended by Apple), it would use 72kB of data in just eight seconds.
Send one tweet every minute for an hour? Or watch eight seconds of streaming video?
Could it be that the BBC's cycling coverage was "ruined" by... the BBC's Olympic app?