The Olympics

The Olympics

Text

News, information and stories about the 2016 Brazilian Olympic Games and the Olympics in general.

Friday, December 23, 2005

London Won By Accident

It seems that those who seek to guide the behaviour of competitors in the Olympics, are not beyond bouts of sour grapes themselves.

Alex Gilady, an Israeli IOC member and a vice-president of the Olympic broadcasters NBC, has said that he believes that London won the 2012 Olympics because one of his colleagues pressed the wrong button during the vote to decide the 2012 hosts in Singapore in July.

The mistake happened during the third-round vote, and it worked in London's favour.

The "culprit" is believed to be Lambis Nikolaou, the organiser of the Athens Olympics.

It is alleged that he voted for Paris, rather than Madrid, in the third round.

Nikolaou interrupted the count in Singapore to complain that he had not voted, but a count back showed that all eligible members had cast their votes and his protest was rejected.

London won the third round vote, but the margin between Paris and Madrid was just two votes in Paris's favour.

Had the vote been in Madrid's favour, then there would have been a tie. A further vote would have been required to decide who proceeded to face London.

Gilady is quoted as saying:

"In the vote-off all the votes supporting London would go to Madrid because the fear was that Paris had a big chance to win.

Madrid would have won against Paris, coming to the final against London, all the votes from Paris going to support Madrid. Madrid would have won. This is what you call good fortune and good luck
."

All rather academic and irrelevant now, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Progress On Olympic Site

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, had some success in trying to clear a 500-acre industrial site for the London Olympics in 2012.

Sortex, a Swiss manufacturer of industrial sorting machines, has agreed a compensation package with the London Development Agency (LDA), which handles property deals for the Mayor.

The official announcement, which will be made in 2006, will put pressure on the other 280 businesses to settle with the LDA.

The LDA will pay Sortex to leave its premises at Lower Lea Valley in Stratford, east London; for a plot at Royal Albert Docks near City airport in the Docklands.

The company hopes to complete the move before October 2007.

The LDA recently increased its budget for relocating the businesses to £1BN, after complaints their valuations were too low and there was a scarcity of alternative sites nearby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Banker Wins Top Olympics Job

Those of you who doubt that the Olympics is desinged to make money, rather than to promote sport, should note the fact that yesterday Paul Deighton was appointed to head the London 2012 Olympics Organising Committee.

He is currently chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs's European business.

Deighton will have responsibility for the running of the Olympics project, and was selected from a broad range of high-calibre applicants.

Lord Coe, chairman of London 2012, said that Deighton was "the right person to lead the London Olympic Games organising committee on its mission to produce an outstanding Olympic Games for the athletes and youth of the world in 2012".

Deighton will start in early 2006, and end his 23 year career at Goldman.

He is worth an estimated £100M.

Tessa Jowell, culture secretary, said:

"Paul will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the task of planning and then staging the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012".

Monday, December 19, 2005

London 2012 Chief To Be Named

The name of the person who will be responsible for organising the 2012 Olympics in London will be revealed today.

It is reported that a number of candidates have been headhunted to front the London Organising Committee (Locog), the post will pay £300K per annum.

The final interviews were held last week, and the successful candidate will start in the spring.

The CEO will work closely with Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012. The CEO will also have to work with the Olympic Delivery Authority, the organisation responsible for delivering the venues and infrastructure for the games.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Piracy Alert

Dan Glickman, the CEO and chairman of Motion Picture Association of America, has urged the Chinese to eradicate on movie piracy and open its markets to additional American films by the time that 2008 Olympics kick off in Beijing.

He was speaking on Tuesday at an industry convention in Beijing.

Quote:

"In 2008, China will be at the center of the world stage, hosting the 29th Olympic Games. It will be a terrific moment of pride for the country. And so I would like to plant this challenge: by 2008, to have more legal than illegal DVDs sold in China, to have more American movies in Chinese theaters and to have more Chinese movies in American theaters."

Motion picture piracy in China costs US studios around $300M a year, according to estimates.

Glickman added:

"It is virtually impossible to find counterfeit Olympics goods in China.

Why?

As one of the Chinese officials said, it is because fakes dilute the value of the logo, the intellectual property upon which the Chinese have invested to finance the games.

The value of that intellectual property is worth protecting for all film producers, everywhere. It's the same value that exists for that independent Chinese filmmaker who was in my office and for all the other filmmakers from around Asia and the world whose collective creative spirit is such a commodity
."

Money is a remarkable motivator!

Monday, December 12, 2005

40000 Violent Protesters Threaten Winter Olympics

The Turin Winter Olympic Games are at risk from tens of thousands of people protesting against the construction of an Alpine high-speed rail link.

Valentino Castellani, the head of the Italian organising committee for the Winter Games, said:

"We need a truce to save the Olympics."

The majority of the Olympic events are to be staged in Val Di Susa, which is the centre of the protests against a new rail tunnel through the mountains.

Dozens of protesters and police were injured last week. Police said that the number of protesters has risen to 40,000.

The demonstrations began when local residents opposed, on environmental grounds, the 33 mile tunnel.

They claim that the tunnelling, through asbestos and uranium deposits, will cause long term health risks and damage the landscape.

Signor Berlusconi said that the demonstrators had been infiltrated by "at least a thousand subversive hardline anarchists" from Italy and other parts of Europe.

Signor Castellani, the Italian Olympic chief, said:

"I am very worried."

Adding:

"It would take only a handful of violent protesters to disrupt the Games."

Sergio Chiamparino, the Mayor of Turin, said:

"We are dealing with a serious emergency that is becoming more dramatic by the minute."

Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, said that he hoped that a solution would be found.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Greece Hands Over Flame

The Olympic flame has been handed over to Italian officials for transport to the Winter Games in Turin, after a ceremony that included actresses dressed as priestesses from ancient Greece.

The ceremony was held on Tuesday in the restored ancient stadium in Athens, where the modern summer Olympics started in 1896.

The flame was handed to Turin organising chief, Valentino Castellani, at a ceremony attended by Greek President Karolos Papoulias and the heads of the Greek and Italian Olympic committees.

The 7,022 mile relay through Italy began yesterday.

The flame will be carried by 10,000 torchbearers, gondolas, a Ferrari sports car and a cavalry regiment.

The final torchbearer, whose name has not been revealed, will light the flame at the opening ceremony in Turin on February 10th.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Over-age

Fifa has decided that men's Olympic football teams will no longer be allowed to field three over-age players.

Argentina won gold at the Athens Games with three over-age players, but for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and London in 2012 all players must be under 23.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said:

"We will ask the Fifa Congress to abolish the three over-age players."

No age restrictions apply for the women's tournament.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Olympic Threat

Hundreds of paramilitary police have broken up a camp protesting against a high-speed railway through the Italian Alps.

The carabinieri dragged demonstrators from their tents in the village of Venaus and 20 people, including five police officers, were taken to hospital after the clashes.

Locals are also opposed to the planned £10BN rail link between Lyons and Turin. They rushed to the punch up, summoned by church bells and text messages from an anti-train website.

Several factories closed in sympathy strikes yesterday in the Susa Valley at the centre of the protest and in Turin, 40 miles away, while demonstrators blocked motorways and railway lines.

Protesters have pledged to disrupt the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin.

Some of February's Olympic skiing events are due to be held in the valley where the demonstrations are taking place.

The majority of the valley's 60,000 residents, including mayors and priests, are against the tunnel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

WiBro Test

WiBro, wireless broadband, will be tested during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

Telecom Italia has signed a deal with Samsung Electronics, to test out South Korea's answer to WiMax technology. The implementation would be the first in Europe.

WiBro allegedly offers wireless data speeds of up to 30 megabits per second, and work is being done to make the standard compatible with WiMax.

Samsung launched a trial version of the service in South Korea last month, and unveiled the first WiBro-enabled phone at that time.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Rogge Stands Up For China

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, has asked that critics of China's human rights keep perspective.

This was in response to Sir Matthew Pinsent's report that he had seen child gymnasts being beaten by their coaches.

Rogge said that he condemned physical abuse, and has ordered an inquiry into Pinsent's allegations.

Rogge is quoted as saying:

"While it is not for us to condone what might not be acceptable, you also have to look at the cultural factor. I don't need to remind you of the fact that physical punishment was still in use in English public schools until, I believe, the 1970s."

Adding:

"The IOC has been very clear in saying to the Chinese authorities that the IOC stands for human rights and that we would hope that they would make the maximum progress."

That's alright then!

Friday, December 2, 2005

The Fraudulent Olympics

Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO which is at the centre of a major sports doping scandal, has said what many have long suspected; namely that the Olympics are a fraud.

He has given an interview to ABC News for their "20/20" show, just as he began his 4 month jail term, in the interview he said "the Olympic Games are a fraud".

He exposed the custom made regimens of performance enhancing drugs for top athletes, including Olympic track and field superstar Marion Jones.

Jones has never failed a drug test and, in a statement by her lawyers, has denied using any banned substances. However, Conte claims that he has shown her how to use drugs that would not be detected by testing.

Conte said in the interview that he believes that over half of the top athletes are using anabolic steroids, and 80% are taking some kind of stimulant before every game.

He believes that the way to "level the playing field" is to legalise these drugs.

Quote:

"It's not cheating if everybody is doing it. And if you've got the knowledge that that's what everyone is doing, and those are the real rules of the game, then you're not cheating."

However, were the drugs to be legalised then the "athletic" competition would become a research and development competition between competing drugs companies; who would use the athletes as their guinea pigs.

Now we know why the IOC are so keen to make Italy relax its criminal legislation, in respect of drugs; there is a very real danger that, during the forthcoming Winter Olympics, half of the competitors (if Conte is right) would end up in jail.

Now that would really damage the Olympic cash cow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dopes

It seems that the possible crisis over Italy's tough doping laws may be averted, in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Valentino Castellani, chief of the Turin organising committee, said that he believed a tentative accord had been reached.

Quote:

"I don't know the details, it's not my business."

The Italian law states that athletes can face criminal sanctions for doping violations.

Quite rightly so!

However, this was too much to stomach for the IOC, who are aware that more than a few athletes take drugs to enhance their performance. They were well aware that this law would mean the unedifying spectacle of police raids in the Olympic Village during the games, February 10-26.

Which of course is very bad for their sponsorship deals!

The International Olympic Committee rules state that athletes face disqualification for any doping offense, but no legal penalties.

Athletes, apparently, are above the law.

Government supervisor Mario Pescante said that he would meet with IOC president, Jacques Rogge, at a European Olympic meeting in Dublin this weekend.

Quote:

"I will speak with him about doping. We are optimistic."

Pescante had tried to temporarily suspend Italy's laws for the Olympics. However, the Senate rounded on him; quite right!

Rogge said that he expects "intelligent solutions" will be found within "full respect" of the law.

Why should athletes be treated differently to everyone else?

Oh, silly me, it's the money!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mosque Planned For 2012 Olympics

An enormous mosque, designed to hold 40,000 worshippers, is being proposed to be built next to the Olympic complex in London.

The design, featuring wind turbines and a translucent latticed roof, will be opened in time for the 2012 Games.

The complex is designed to become the "Muslim quarter" for the Games, and will be a hub for Islamic competitors and spectators.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turin Torch Relay

The Olympic flame will begin its Turin relay, in time for the Winter Olympics (which start on the 10th of February 2006), on the 8th of December.

It will be carried by Venetian gondolas, horses and a Ferrari across Italy.

Italy's Stefano Baldini, the marathon champion at the Athens Olympics, will be the first of 10,000 torchbearers.

Each bearer will carry the flame for about 400 yards.

On its first day in Italy, the torch will pass by St. Peter's Square to receive a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.

One small neighborhood association in Rome said last week it would block the Olympic torch from its streets, because the relay is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The £6BN Olympic Tax Bill

David James, a corporate troubleshooter, has warned that mismanagement of the 2012 London Olympic venues could cost the British taxpayer £6BN.

He notes that the lesson from the Millennium Dome fiasco need to be learned.

Not surprisingly James identifies the main culprit of overruns for the Dome, as that of being poor management.

James has produced a set of recommendations, to ensure that the 2012 Olympic Games do not fail financially. They include:
  • Involve Sport England in helping to ensure that local communities can use Olympic venues after the Games

  • Ensure that there is no long-term damage to local community facilities, such as the Hackney Marshes

  • Hire accountants to run the financial control and creation of contracts

  • Ensure that board directors of Olympic bodies have relevant experience — "not just a who's who of the great and the good"

  • Externally vet all sub-contractors hired to work on Olympic venues and ensure that they have a proven track record

  • Abandon the Government's standard procurement preference for the cheapest services, in favour of fitness for purpose

  • Agree standard contracts for all Games sponsors to prevent "freeloading"

  • Contract out the retailing of Olympics-themed merchandise to a professional national retailer

  • Set up and maintain a strictly controlled register of assets for all Olympic venues, detailing purchased and leased items

  • Retain health and safety experts to approve all designs for Games sports venues

  • Do not make advance payments to contractors

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Olympic Fiasco

Ireland's Oireachtas sport committee has described Ireland's involvement in last year's Athens Olympics as a "fiasco".

It is recommending major improvements in how the country prepares for the games.

In a report published today, the committee says a steering group should be appointed to oversee Ireland's preparation for the London Olympics in 2012. They acknowledge that Beijing 2008 is too soon for any changes to make a difference.

The committee is also seeking additional funding for coaches, athletes and a new Institute for Sport.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Korean Olympic Bid

The South Korean city of Busan will bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and will invite the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) capital Pyongyang to join the bid as co-host.

That at least is the wish of the mayor of Busan, Hur Nam-Sik.

He is quoted as saying:

"I would like to unveil the city's ambition here. It is to win the bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. In principle I am agreed on co-hosting the 2020 Olympics (and) as mayor of Busan I fully intend to have co-hosting".

He added that is would be a "dream" if Pyongyang and Busan could host the event together.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Olympics Boost Tourism

The British government said that it believes that the 2012 London Olympics could boost Britain's tourist industry by 25%.

Culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, said that she believed that annual tourism revenue could rise from $130BN to $173BN by 2012.

However, that may require some serious work on the infrastructure; most notably the appalling public transport system in the UK.

Not that this will matter too much to the current government, as they will be out of office by 2012 anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Turin Stadium Named

The main sports arena in Turin for the February 2006 Winter Olympics will be named "Grande Torino", after the Turin soccer team that was killed in an air crash in 1949.

Mario Pescante, the supervisor of the games, said:

"I approved the idea of calling it "Grande Torino" with great enthusiasm."

The "Grande Torino" (Great Turin) side of the 1940's were all killed in air crash on the Turin hills in 1949.

Among those who lost their lives was soccer legend Valentino Mazzola, father of another Italy great, Sandro Mazzola.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beijing Unveils Mascots

Beijing unveiled its Olympic mascots on Friday, 1000 days before the start of the 2008 Olympic Games.

There will be 5 mascots representing the games.

The mascots are cartoon renditions of a panda, fish, Tibetan antelope, swallow and the Olympic flame; each one being the colour of one of the Olympic rings.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said:

"The five friendlies are an incredible little family carefully chosen by Beijing 2008 to represent all of China to carry a message of friendship to the children of the world. China is so lucky to have so many beautiful animals to represent the Olympic spirit."

The mascots are called; Bei Bei, Jing Jing, Huan Huan, Ying Ying and Ni Ni. Collectively this translates as "Beijing welcomes you!"

A clever, and good idea; they are expected to generate considerable sums to offset the costs of the games.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

London Olympic Shambles

As ever, when dealing with all matters Olympic, there is a massive row brewing over land, property and money.

This particular dispute centres on the ownership of land earmarked as the site of London's 2012 Olympic Games.

The London Development Agency (LDA) has issued a compulsory purchase order on the land designated for the site. However, London and Continental Railways (LCR) which owns some of the site says the LDA could "kill off" the development.

The LDA claim that the compulsory purchase order (CPO) has been issued to safeguard the land needed for its Olympic Park, as a result of the breakdown in negotiations between the LDA and LCR.

Needless to say the CPO has severely pissed off LCR, after all we are talking about a £4BN redevelopment scheme (which everyone wants a piece of).

In other news, it seems that the Olympics may face a medieval statutory bar; which prohibits sporting events to take place within a predefined area of Stratford.

Needless to say, if this ancient law is not removed, it will mean that the Olympic stadium etc cannot be built on the land designated for the Olympics.

Oops!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Botched Job?

Last year's Olympics in Athens were memorable for a number of issues:

- The massive overspend

- The frantic last minute rush to complete the buildings on time, using East European labour

It seems, much like Banquo's ghost, that these issues are destined to haunt Greece for the coming years.

The overspend has put the Greek economy into a parlous state. Now, it seems, that in the rush to complete the infrastructure, that the completion of certain buildings may have been botched.

A report by Germanischer Lloyd, a quality testing and certification group, on the steel and glass roof above the main Olympic stadium in Athens noted a number of faults in the web-like construction above the 70,000 seater stadium.

The stadium cost $288M, 36% over budget, and was completed only within a few weeks of the start of the games.

It seems that the roof needed some repair work.

The government said there was no reason for concern. Deputy Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said:

"This report was completed in February 2005 and, based on this, what (minor repairs) needed to be done have been done. The roof is safe and there is no problem as far as its stability is concerned."

That's alright then, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

It's The Money Stupid

Never be in any doubt that the prime motivating force behind the Olympics is money, not sport.

This point is best illustrated by the news about the top sponsor of the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Torino Italy, MacDonalds.

MacDonalds will shortly roll out new global Olympic-Themed Television commercials.

These new global creative will feature its mascot Ronald McDonald vignettes and a spot celebrating Olympic dreams, McDonald's Olympic Champion.

Two official Olympic venue McDonald's restaurants, in the Torino Olympic Village and Main Press Centre, will also feature McCafe for the first time ever.

I trust that the irony is not lost on people?

Monday, November 7, 2005

Camelot CEO To Run Olympics

It is reported that Diane Thompson, the chief executive of Camelot the British lottery operator, has been approached to run Britain's Olympic Games in 2012.

Ms Thompson has been praised for her skills in managing Camelot, whose ticket sales are experiencing their longest period of growth since the national lottery was set up in 1994.

Advertisements for chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) have closed, and formal interviews are due to take place in December.

Camelot already has links with the Olympics. It has been given the job of raising £1.5BN, over the next seven years, from ticket sales towards the games.

This is an "interesting" use of lottery money, as the lottery was originally set up to raise money for the arts, heritage, health and education.

The highly commercialised Olympics is as far removed from these causes as one could possibly imagine.

I fail to see why lottery should be wasted in this way.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Mascot To Be Unveiled

The mascot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be unveiled on November 11.

It is widely expected to be either a Tibetan antelope or a giant panda.

The unveiling date marks the 1,000-day countdown to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, which will start at 8 pm on August 8, 2008.

An audience of at least 4,000 people, including International Olympic Committee officials, will attend the unveiling.

Seemingly there were 662 eligible mascot designs submitted for consideration.

Monday, October 31, 2005

No Room at The Inn?

It is reported that Beijing is not planning to construct any new hotels for the 2008 Olympics, despite the fact that 250K foreign visitors are expected to attend the games.

However, as there are nearly 490,000 beds throughout the city no one in China is losing any sleep over the issue.

That of course includes very basic accommodation (1 star and below).

Those of you with a taste for luxury, may well care to start to make your accommodation arrangements now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Change in Gun Law Mooted

The British government has started to talk about relaxing gun laws, in order to help the shooters prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn is to meet Patrick Johnson, secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council, later this week.

Special permission has been given for shooting to be staged in 2012, but Britain's top competitors are currently forced to do most of their training in Switzerland.

The anti shooting legislation, banning most types of handguns, was introduced after the Dunblane massacre in 1996 when Thomas Hamilton killed 16 schoolchildren and a teacher.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said:

"In the seven years between now and 2012 we will obviously keep this under review. But we would be reluctant to argue that we move from the legislation for which we know there is a lot of public support for good reason."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One Planet Olympics

London, which is hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, is working with environmental groups WWF and BioRegional on the concept of "One Planet Olympics".

The theory being that global consumption, and pollution levels, need to be brought back within the Earth's ability to absorb the demands humans place upon it.

David Stubbs, head of environment for the London 2012 team, hopes that the idea will help people make the link between sport and the environment.

Quote:

"We decided that we needed something that gave us a vision to our proposals. We felt One Planet Olympics encapsulated a lot of the values of the Olympic movement and global environmental concerns".

Paul King, WWF's director of One Planet Living, said:

"If everyone around the world was polluting and consuming natural resources at the same rate we are in the UK, we would need three planets to support us".

Quite how these objectives will be achieved, given the fact that the Olympics is based purely on money, marketing and consumerism is difficult to see.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Daft Idea

Lord Redesdale, a British Liberal Democrat peer, is calling for London to open the 2012 Olympic Games with a a display of Morris dancing.

This is a form of traditional dance that comprises groups of people jumping around with sticks and handkerchiefs, with bells on their trousers.

He is quoted as saying:

"There are 14,000 Morris dancers in this country and they should be represented in the ceremony.

People come from around the world to see our traditions, so we should show them off whenever we get the chance.

Having all 14,000 Morris dancers in the stadium at the same time would be a great idea

How many people do beach volleyball in the UK? They get Horseguards Parade to show off their skills. I'm not suggesting making Morris a sport, but let's at least give it a role
."

A totally daft idea, guaranteed to make the 2012 Olympics a laughing stock.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rogge Backs China

The IOC President, Jacques Rogge, has given his support to China winning the most medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Quote:

"The results that you achieved at the Athens Olympics last year have shown Chinese sports is really getting to the top.

I would not be surprised if China leads the medals count in 2008 Olympics in Beijing
."

In the 2004 Athens Olympics, China came third in the medals league after the USA and Russia with 32 gold, 17 silver and 14 bronze.

Rogge is on a six day tour of China, and has met with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

President Hu is quoted as saying:

"China will fulfill its promise and spare no efforts for a high-level Olympic Games in 2008."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Queen Visits Olympics Site

The Queen has visited the site of the London 2012 Olympics Park, she said that the project was "exciting" and "fascinating".

The 500 acre site will house an 80,000-seat stadium, together with other venues.

The Queen was accompanied by London 2012 chairman Lord Coe, who said afterwards:

"I was explaining the project and she said it was exciting. I told her that this is where we took the IOC members who were impressed by what they saw.

She said she could understand that and said it was fascinating. She asked where the stadium was and I pointed out all of the venues
."

He added:

"The Queen and Royal Family were strong supporters of London's bid and it was a delight to show Her Majesty how the Olympic Park site has continued to develop since winning the bid."

The Queen was also shown the Channel Tunnel rail link at Stratford, and was told that it would provide a high-speed seven-minute shuttle service between central London and the Olympic Park.

Let us now see if the promises made can be achieved on time, and within budget.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

US May Not Bid For 2016 Olympics

It seems that after New York lost its bid for the 2012 Olympics, there may be no US cities at all bidding for the 2016 Games.

Peter Ueberroth, Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said that they would like to try. However, he noted that the international rules have changed and that they need to review their bid process.

Quote:

"We don't want cities spending an awful lot of money and not have a full chance to be victorious. You can't just have a city step up and show their skills and not get full support from the state, not get full support from the private sector, not get full support from (federal officials). It's really a joint bid.

I'm not saying we won't bid. I'm saying we're going to be very careful and understand it all before we get excited
."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Chicago Needs a New Stadium

Chicago is deciding as to whether it will bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

However, dependent on that decision is another decision as to whether a new stadium needs to be built to host the track and filed events.

Paul O'Connor, Head of World Business Chicago, believes that it is too early to know whether the lack of a stadium would ruin Chicago's chances.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

British Chief Named

Lord Colin Moynihan, former British Conservative Minister of Sport, has been elected Chairman of the British Olympic Association.

Moynihan, won a silver medal in the 1980 Olympics as cox to the men's rowing eight, won the vote 28-15 ahead of his one rival, former Olympic hurdler David Hemery, who remains vice-chairman.

The term lasts for three years.

BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said:

"I am extremely excited at the prospect of working with Colin Moynihan to deliver the vision of the Olympic governing bodies at this critical time in our history.

I have known Colin for nearly 20 years now and am convinced that his enthusiasm, leadership and passion for sport will enable the BOA to make the necessary step-change to meet the challenges we face in the build up to the London Olympic Games in 2012
."

The irony for Blair and his Labour government is that the two top jobs in the Olympics, this one and Chairman of London 2102, are held by Conservative peers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Olympic Building Bonanza

Building firms in London are gearing up for an expected building bonanza, based on the back of the 2012 London Olympics.

Around £2.4BN has been set aside for 2012 Olympic Games' construction projects.

However, The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has raised concerns that many major contracts could be awarded to firms that use labour and sub-contractors outside of London.

NFB is asking the London Development Agency (LDA) to ensure that controls are in place that recognise the interests of the sector.

Gary Amer, regional director of NFB in the South, is quoted as saying:

"The London Olympics have the potential to be the best ever and though the NFB recognises that the benefits need to trickle down across the UK, I'm concerned many local construction companies and their employees could miss out.

Though it's appreciated the ODA hasn't been established yet and that many of the contracts won't be available until 2008, it's essential that small and medium-sized contractors are involved from an early stage.

We're currently working hard to influence the LDA and hope to have meaningful discussions with the ODA later this year
."

As noted many times on this site, the Olympics is not about sport; it's about money!

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Softball Tries For A Comeback

An international softball delegation will meet IOC president Jacques Rogge today, to try to win their reinstatement in the 2012 Olympics.

Softball and baseball were voted out of the Olympic program after 2008 this July.

Rogge has said the IOC could consider a re-vote, but only if the members ask for one.

Don Porter, International Softball Federation president, said:

"I am optimistic that this unified effort by our softball delegation will show Mr Rogge and the IOC members that almost three months after the vote, we remain committed to getting our sport back on the 2012 program".

Friday, September 30, 2005

Beijing Bulldozed

The government of China is using the Olympics in 2008 as a good reason to redevelop Beijing.

Vast areas of Beijing are being bulldozed.

It is estimated that approximately 300,000 hutong residents have already been moved to clear the way for the Olympics.

The old streets of Beijing will be replaced with skyscrapers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Logo For Beijing Olympics Unveiled

The environmental logo for the Beijing 2008 Olympics was unveiled on September 24th at the Beijing Youth Palace.

The logo is a composition of human and a tree, they are both reaching to the sky representing the harmonious unification of man and nature.

Liu Jingmin, vice mayor of Beijing and executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), said:

"To ensure Green Olympics not only needs the government support and the efforts of BOCOG, but also depends on the participation of the public. The release of the logo will help to promote the various educational activities organized by BOCOG to encourage citizens to live a green life, to take part in green activities and to support the Green Olympics."

"Green Olympics" is one of the three themes of the Beijing 2008 Games, the other two being "People's Olympics" and "Hi-Tech Olympics".

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Daft Advertising Rules Relaxed

The UK government has given in to pressure from the advertising industry, and signaled it will change its proposed controls on advertising during the 2012 Olympics.

However, as with anything promised by politicians, the devil will be in the detail.

The International Olympic Committee requires host cities to prevent "ambush marketing", namely advertisers trying to associate themselves with the Olympics without paying to be an official sponsor.

This rule is there to protect the real reason for the existence of the Olympics, the multi billion dollar consumer companies who sponsor the games.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport, as usual with Blair's government, went obverborard when it prepared legislation to comply with the IOC requirements.

Advertisers would have been banned from using the words gold, silver, bronze, London or summer in conjunction with games or 2012.

Totally daft!

Lobbying by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has persuaded the DCMS to make some changes to the legislation.

We shall see.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Green Olympics

Roots and Shoots a US environmental and humanitarian program for young people under the Jane Goodall Institute, founded in 1977 to promote wildlife research and conservation, as well as animal welfare, particularly of chimpanzees has launched a program for environmental protection in Beijing in an effort to help build "Green Beijing, Green Olympics".

"Eco Action Beijing," will invite primary school, middle school and university students in Beijing to participate in the campaign for public welfare.

"Green Beijing, My Home" is the slogan of the program, which will last until the close of the 29th Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

The goal of the program is to pick a group of top "Green Schools", that are committed to promoting environmental protection education.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Religious Freedom

The 2008 Olympics in China could provide the spark for religious freedom, a Hong Kong Catholic bishop has said.

Bishop John Tong said the 2008 games could provide the boost that China's Christians need.

Quote:

"Hosting the 2008 Olympic Games may help China to become more open"

I don't think that the Olympics has any connection at all with relgion, aside that is from it obvious connection to mammon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tokyo To Bid For 2016 Olympics

The Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, has said that Tokyo will bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016 or later.

The Tokyo metropolitan government will appoint an officer to head the bid on October 1st, and set up a preparatory committee by the end of October.

Bids don't need to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee until 2007. The host city will be selected in 2009.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Women's Course Changed

The landscape changes to one of the women's skiing courses for February's Turin Olympics have been completed.

The layout had been criticised for being too flat and easy. Hilde Gerg, from Germany, had led a petition to move the super-G to nearby Sestriere, where men's races will be held.

However, the Turin organisers, the International Olympic Committee and the International Ski Federation ordered that five jumps be changed and a new curve running against the slope be added.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Winter Olympics Off To A Slow Start

The winter Olympics in Truing begin in less than 150 days. However, less than half of the tickets to this event have been sold.

Out of 460,000 tickets sold, only 100,000 have gone directly to the public. The rest have been sold/given to sponsors, corporations, sports federations, broadcasters, national Olympic committees and ticketing agencies.

Giorgio Lauretta, head of ticketing, said:

"I would have liked to have sold more, but our advertising so far has been quite weak".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Beijing To Cost Less Than Athens

The Beijing 2008 Olympics will cost less than the 2004 Athens Games, it is even expect to make a small profit.

That is at least the view of Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG), who said:

"Beijing will adhere to the principle of 'frugal Olympics' in organising the 2008 Games. We use the paper two-sided now."

Not surprisingly these games have been dubbed the "frugal Olympics".

Jiang said that the Games are expected to a profit of about $16M.

Friday, September 9, 2005

The Green Olympics

Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, has promised that the 2012 London Olympics will be the most environmentally friendly games ever staged.

He has just issued a new set of draft rules, to guide the construction of the Olympic facilities.

Mayor Livingstone said:

"The London games will be quite simply the most sustainable ever - leaving a lasting legacy of jobs, homes and environmental improvements for east London, London and Britain."

The new draft principles state that the facilities must meet the best design standards. Architectural competitions will be used to select the designers of the stadiums, and the other buildings, on the Stratford site.

Livingstone wants to combine the environmental record of the Sydney games, with the inner city regeneration prompted by the Barcelona games.

Bidding contractors will have to show their commitment to ethical employment practices, and use recycled materials.

£70m will be spent to bury overhead power lines on the site of the Olympic village.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

LA To Bid For 2016 Olympics

Los Angeles will bid to host its third Summer Olympics, by bidding for the 2016 Olympics.

The organisers claim that this will be tax neutral.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Barry Sanders, chairman of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, have confirmed that the United States Olympic Committee will be notified of the city's intention to bid for the Games.

Villaraigosa said:

"We're a community built for the Olympic Games. We have world-class sporting venues and we have a history of success".

Other cities considering 2016 bids include Chicago, Rome and Tokyo.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Spielberg Annoys Palestinians

Mohammad Daoud, the Palestinian mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics atrocity in which 11 Israeli athletes died, has complained that Steven Spielberg should have consulted him about a new film ("Munich") about the event to be sure to get the story right.

I am sure that Spielberg's first thought is to make sure that the terrorists are fairly represented!

Daoud said:

"I know nothing about this film. If someone really wanted to tell the truth about what happened he should talk to the people involved, people who know the truth. Were I contacted, I would tell the truth,".

Daoud, despite planning the raid, disingenuously blames Israel and West German authorities for the deaths.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

German Appeal Denied

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the January 6th decision, by the International Equestrian Federation, that found Germany's Ludger Beerbaum and his horse Goldfever 3 guilty of a doping offence at the Athens Olympics.

The federation stripped Germany of the title, giving the gold to the United States.

The court said that Beerbaum made a mistake by administering a medication with a prohibited substance.

The court added it makes no difference whether "the ingestion of that substance was intentional or negligent and irrespective of the effect of that substance on the performance."

The federation acknowledged it was a legitimate medical treatment, and Goldfever received no competitive advantage.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Jobs Galore

The British government has started advertising for people to fill strategic Olympic administration positions, in time for the Olympics 2012 being hosted in London.

An advertisement in the Sunday Times invited applications for the posts of chair and chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

The ODA will oversee the construction of key venues and infrastructure projects for 2012.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said:

"We need to ensure we have the highest calibre candidates for these roles. I hope that some of the brightest stars in business and public life will want to take up this challenge.

Ensuring that the venues, transport and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are delivered on time and on budget is an enormous job, and will require great skill in organisation and communication.

The 2012 Games will be a showcase to the world - all eyes will be on London and Britain and what we can deliver for the Olympic movement
".

The closing date for applications is 30 September.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Swiss Air

The air forces of Switzerland and Italy are to work closely together, in order to ensure that the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics are protected from terrorist attack.

The Swiss government is seeking parliamentary approval for a cross-border defence accord with Italy, before the games begin next February.

The Swiss government went on record and said:

"This type of event attracts the attention of the whole world and offers extremist groups the chance to realise their aims through terrorist attacks,".

The objective of the exercise is to enable the exchange of information between Switzerland and Italy, and to improve the possibility of intervention in the event of a specific threat.

During cross border engagements the air forces are only permitted to use infrared warning fire. The neighbouring country's air force is not permitted to engage in live warning fire, or to attempt to shoot down aircraft.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Softball Loses By One

Softball lost its chances of staying in the 2012 Olympics by one vote, according to the results of last month's secret IOC ballot.

It received 52 votes in favour and 52 against, with one abstention, in the July 8 vote of the International Olympic Committee in Singapore.

It needed 53 votes to stay.

Softball will be played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and then can apply in 2009 for reinstatement at the 2016 Games.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Olympics Stealth Tax

Now that the dust has settled on the bid triumph for London hosting the 2012 Olympics, financial reality is beginning to crystalise in the minds of the British.

Taking a lesson from the Greeks, who ended up paying $12Bn for their loss making Games, some British people are beginning to worry about the cost of the Games.

Jacqui Lait, the shadow minister for London, said that the Games could be used to introduce a "stealth tax" on London.

The Olympics are supposed to cost Londoners around 38p a week, but the Conservatives say that the draft legislation contains no provision for a supplementary rate earmarked specifically for the event; the money will instead be raised as part of the overall council tax precept, which is added on to residents' overall council tax bill.

In other words taxes will be raised on the pretext of financing the Games, but the money raised will in fact be used elsewhere.

Ms Lait said:

"The Olympics are a great opportunity to showcase the best that London and Britain have to offer. But amid all the Olympic excitement, we have a duty to ensure that Londoners are not being forced to write a blank cheque to Ken Livingstone or his successors. Conservatives have grave concerns over the extra levy planned for London council tax bills.

Any Olympics levy must be transparent, ringfenced and time limited. Given the Labour government's past poor project management of large public sector projects, such as the dome, we must ensure measures are put in place
."

Ken Livingstone's office rebutted the claims, saying that the tax increase would be nominal and would end as soon as the event was over.

A spokesman said:

"There will not be cost overruns from the games. We are confident that our public funding package will be sufficient, and our financial planning has been meticulous - a point recognised by the IOC [International Olympic Committee] evaluation commission.

The funding package agreed with government means that the average London household will pay 38p per week for up to 12 years
."

I don't believe that for one minute.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oswald Named Chairman of Co-ordination Commission

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Denis Oswald will be appointed as chairman of its Coordination Commission, for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Oswald will lead a team of 15, who are tasked with aiding the London Olympics Organising Committee in the years leading up to the event.

He is a former Olympic rowing medallist and has been member of the IOC since 1991. He is also a member of the IOC Executive Board, and president of the International Rowing Federation.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said:

"Denis Oswald is the ideal person to lead the IOCs partnership with London during the preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games. Denis brings a unique combination of skills and experience, as a medal-winning, three-time Olympic athlete and a sports leader with nearly 30 years of experience organising international competitions of the highest level."

Adding:

"With the success of Athens 2004, Denis has already demonstrated his ability to help lead the delivery of excellent Olympic Games while under great pressure, bringing partners together and resolving a wide range of difficult issues."

Oswald said:

"It is a great honour for me to be given this opportunity to serve the Olympic Movement once again as Coordination Commission Chairman. I am confident that London has all the ingredients for success: from a technically-sound plan to widespread popular support.

Preparing for the Games requires a team effort: the group named today as Coordination Commission can be expected to make a significant contribution to that effort, on behalf of the IOC
."

The Coordination Commission executive will make visit London tomorrow, with further visits expected before the end of 2005.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Atlanta Bomber Apologises

Convicted serial bomber, Eric Rudolph, apologised yesterday to the victims of the bomb that he exploded at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

"I sincerely hoped to achieve my objectives without harming innocent civilians"

He was then awarded 4 life sentences for the bombing, at a federal court in Atlanta.

The explosion killed one woman and injured more than 100 others.

Despite the last minute attempt at apologising, Rudolph insisted that he was right to wage his own personal war against abortion clinics and the U.S. government that he said protected them.

Sounds like he is not at all sorry.

Monday, August 22, 2005

£3BN Olympic Shortfall

Projections indicate that far from being a revenue earner for Britain, the costs of hosting the 2102 Olympics will outweigh revenues by approximately £3BN.

It is estimated that Britain's gross domestic product will rise by £1.9BN against a projected cost to the taxpayer of £4.9BN, according to confidential figures presented to the government.

Needless to say the government is trying to "rubbish" the figures, because they don't tie in with the positive image that they have been presenting in the media about the Olympics.

Culture department officials won't comment on the identity of the consultants who prepared the report. However, one insider let slip that the government has quite a challenge on their hands:

"We hope that we can maximise the economic and business gain by getting things set up properly. We recognise that we don't possess all the relevant expertise within government. We have to face up to the fact that this is a project of incredible size and complexity and there's real expertise in the private sector to ensure we deliver the Games on time and on budget".

As we all know, governments are the last organisations on earth that should be entrusted with running complex long term projects.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Anti Terror Squad

China is setting up special anti terror police squads in 36 cities, in readiness for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This is partly in response to the terrorist threat, and also in response to the increased domestic unrest.

Land disputes are becoming more common and violent. Some 74,000 protests and riots occurred nationwide last year.

The authorites have no intention of allowing these land dipsutes to disrput the Games.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's The Money Stupid

In a fine example of greed, the organisers behind the London 2102 Olympics have published a bill designed to outlaw the use of "illegal" words such as "Gold" and "2012", by anyone other than accredited organisation.

The Olympics Bill lays out strict rules to prevent the use of Games-related words, and images by non-official advertisers.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has complained, saying that it will prevent most companies benefiting at all from 2012.

The bill was drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to establish the legal framework for London to stage the Games.

Existing legislation already prevents non-official sponsors from using distinctive "Olympic marks" like the Olympic rings.

But the new bill will make it illegal to use words such as "games", "medals", "gold", "2012", "sponsor" or "summer" in any form of advertising.

When it comes to greed and money, the Olympics is world beater.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ferret Olympic Name Change

In a display of bully boy tactics the US Olympic Committee, ever mindful of how much money it can wring out of the Games, has forced the Ferret Olympics to change its name after 9 years of successful competition.

Approximately 75 ferrets will compete for medals at the Ferret Agility Trials this year, in events including; the tube run and the paper bag escape.

The Ferret Olympics were started in 1996, and gained publicity in 2004 after a local newspaper story was picked up by the mass media.

Consequently the US Olympic Committee threatened the games with legal action. Needless to say, small organisations do not have the deep pockets of the US Olympic Committee and therefore have to back down in the face of such a threat.

As I have always maintained, the Olympics has nothing to do with sport; it is only about money.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hockey Deal Close

It seems that there may be an agreement for NHL participation in the Turin Olympics.

Officials from the NHL, the league's players association and executives of the International Ice Hockey Federation will meet today.

Bill Daly, the new NHL deputy commissioner, said:

"I understand the IIHF will have further meetings with participating federations later this week, and we expect to have a definitive answer on the contract by Monday,".

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman travelled to Moscow last Thursday, to negotiate with Russian hockey officials. The Russians refused to sign the agreement because its clubs unanimously rejected it. The Czechs then also refused to sign it.

The NHL's participation at the Olympics depends on the Russians and Czechs signing the player transfer agreement, which increases the compensation the NHL pays European federations in exchange for signing players.

Under the new plan, the NHL would pay $12.5M annually to a development fund managed by the sport's governing body; an increase of $3.5M.

The IIHF distributes the money among the national federations and clubs that lose players to the NHL, based on a formula devised by the IIHF and the national federations.

A new formula has been created to placate the Russian clubs, who regularly lose their top prospects to the NHL. Russian teams want to negotiate their own transfer deals directly with NHL clubs so they can get more money.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Artistic Licence

The organisers of the Beijing Olympics 2008 have announced a worldwide competition for such Olympics related artwork, designed to reflect China's aspiration of the Olympics and help promote the Games.

The work should be related to the theme of Beijing 2008 Olympics which is "One World One Dream."

The calligraphy should preferably be in Chinese characters.

Li Beng Hua, deputy director of Beijing's department of cultural activities, said that the competition would be open to global participation; via Chinese embassies and consulates overseas, as well as international agencies and institutions.

A total of 290 designs will be short-listed from all entries during the first half of next year.

Three replicas of each selected entry will be made to take part in an exhibition tour of major Chinese cities.

In the second round of selection, 110 pieces will be selected based on public votes and appraisals by a panel of experts. A final 29 entries will be chosen for the gold, silver and bronze awards.

There will be no prize money, as the kudos will be reward in itself.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Human Rights Issues

Amnesty International has urged China to release all its political prisoners and abolish the death penalty, in efforts to improve its human rights record before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Beijing Sharpshooters

Beijing is taking no chances in respect of security for the 2008 Olympic Games.

200 sharpshooters of the Beijing public security organisations took part in a shooting competition in Xihongmen, for their chance to safeguard the 2008 Olympics.

The competition will last a month, and is being held to choose top sharpshooters for a special police force which will be established for the Beijing Olympics.

Out of the 200, 10 will be awarded to be top sharpshooters and 20 others will acquire the titles of excellent sharpshooters.

The 30 sharpshooters will then join the special police force.

The competition includes tasks such as rescuing hostages and defusing bombs.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Cost Of Athens Olympics Keeps Rising

It seems that, despite the fact that the Athens Olympics ended a year ago, the costs just keep rising.

The Games, seen as the most expensive ever, are now expected to top £9BN.

It seems that many items, spent by local authorities, were simply excluded from the original budget. Doubtless this was done deliberately by the then government, so as to ensure that they got an "easy ride" from the opposition.

The new costs, just submitted by local councils, were not in Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis' estimate last year.

The games have left Greece with a hefty budget deficit of 6.1% of gross domestic product in 2004, breaching the European Union's cap of 3%.

EU finance ministers have given Greece a 2006 deadline to bring its deficit to below the EU limit.

In other words, hosting the Games have totally screwed up the economy.

I wonder if the good people of Greece still feel that the Games were worth it?

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Coke Extends Sponsorship

Coca-Cola has extended its Olympic sponsorship for a 12 year stretch up to 2020.

The deal was signed Monday in a ceremony at the Great Wall in Beijing, which will host the 2008 Summer Games.

The agreement starts in 2009 and covers the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 2012 Summer Games in London and the games of 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Coke is the Olympics' longest-serving sponsor, dating to 1928.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said:

"The contribution of Coca-Cola to the Olympic movement has always been the model of a true partnership. This is a natural partnership that we hold most dearly."

Coca-Cola chairman Neville Isdell said:

"Our investment in the Olympic Games underscores our faith in the games and how they continue to make our world a little bit better."

Money has nothing to do with it then?

Monday, August 1, 2005

Montreal's Interest In 2016 Olympics

Montreal Mayor, Gerald Tremblay, said that his city will consider making a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

That year would mark the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Games in Montreal, which ran such a massive deficit that it won't be paid off until next year.

Tremblay said:

"We'll catch our breath first, but a lot of people ask questions like that. We'll do a review (of the world championships), we'll think about it and we'll answer that question when the times comes. I don't exclude anything. On the contrary, watch the last thing I say at the closing ceremony and you'll see the answer to your question is in the affirmative."

Concluding:

"Montreal will not wait another 30 years to renew acquaintances with the world."

Given that financial shambles, I can't but help question the wisdom of the good people of Montreal wishing to host the games again.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Housekeeping Olympics

Teams from 21 hotels in the New Orleans area competed Thursday in bed-making contests, mop-bucket shuffleboard and other contests as part of the ninth annual Housekeeping Olympics.

The event is sponsored by the Crescent City Hotel Executive Housekeepers Association, in conjunction with the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association.

Overall winners in the competition were Hilton Riverside, first place; Astor Crown Plaza, second place; and St. James Hotel, third place.

The team from the J.W. Marriott hotel was named grand winner in the bed-making contest.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Olympic Lottery Launched

The first lottery game to raise funds for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is to be unveiled.

The National Lottery has to raise £1.5BN for the Games.

To this end, a new scratch card game will be launched today.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012, will be joined by Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and other of gold medal winners to launch the game.

In addition to the scratch card, there will also be internet-based as well as themed around one-off events such as the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Olympic organisers are keen to screw as much money out of people as possible, whilst they are still enthusiastic for the idea of holding the Olympics in Britain.

Once the reality of the costs and disruption sets in, it will be far more difficult to raise money.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Munich Remembered

Steven Spielberg's next film has been given itss a title: Munich.

DreamWorks and Universal, which are co-financing the movie, announced the name Monday for thriller, which covers the aftermath of the killings of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Eric Bana (Troy) stars as a Mossad agent who leads a secret Israeli squad assigned to assassinate 11 Palestinians suspected of planning the killings. Munich co-stars Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Craig and Mathieu Kassovitz.

The film is due out Dec. 23.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Beijing On Target

There are still over 1000 days left until the start of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

However, China is well on target to be ready long before that. Eight of the 11 new venues planned for the Beijing Games are under construction, the rest will started before the end of this year.

Liu Qi, president of the 2008 Beijing Olympic organising committee, said:

"Preparations for the Beijing Olympics are going according to schedule and progressing relatively smoothly..All the venues will be finished in 2007, and surrounding roads and bridges will also be completed on time,".

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Drugs

It is amusing to see that that the leaders of the Turin Olympics are worried about the Italian tough anti drug laws.

It seems that doping offences, even in sport, would be treated as criminal.

Good!

It is high time the cheaters in the Olympics got a sharp shock.

Mario Pescante, the government supervisor for the Turin Olympics and an influential member of the IOC, is quoted as saying:

"I do not know what we are going to do about this, but I must find a solution,".

Pescante said that several options are being explored, including an exemption from Italian law for the period of the Olympics.

Nonsense!

Let the law do its job; stop bleating, and imprison the drugs cheats.

Pescante went on to say:

"The problem is not the police in the Olympics. The power of the judiciary, that is the problem. We can't control the judge, we can't control Torino,".

That is a disgraceful attitude, why should the Olympics be above the law?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Four Cities Added To 2008 Olympics

Beijing Olympic organisers have added an additional four cities as official co-hosts for the 2008 Summer Games.

The northern cities of Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao and the eastern city of Shanghai will host soccer matches.

The four cities are hoping that their new status would bring urban renewal and renovation, as well as international sporting recognition.

A new 80,000-seat stadium will be built in Tianjin, the closest of the cities to Beijing, while the three other cities would refurbish existing arenas to Olympic standard.

Seven cities are now involved in the 2008 Olympics.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

China Launches Satellite

China will launch a micro-satellite next month, especially for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The satellite will monitor the surroundings of the venues in Beijing during the Olympics.

The 130-kilogram satellite will send pictures and messages to the control centre once a week.

Monday, July 18, 2005

London Bombings and The Olympics

A Populus poll carried out for The Times, following the London bombings, has confirmed that most British people continue to back the 2012 Olympics.

59% said that they thought hosting the games in London would increases the danger of a further terrorist attack on Britain.

68% said that the benefits of having the Olympics in Britain would be "well worth" the money the government will spend on the games.

Those living in London and the South East are least pessimistic about the chances of Britain becoming a target for terrorists as a result of hosting the games.

Public support for the Olympics is higher in London and the South East, where most of the sporting events will be held.

Of those questioned in the area, 72% said that they supported the games, compared to Scotland, where support is at its lowest, at 56%.

70% said that they thought the UK would face a "real struggle" to complete the large scale projects on time.

85% said that they thought the cost of staging the Olympics would exceed the current estimates of planners.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Italy To Fight Terrorism

In the wake of the recent London bombings, security looms high on the Olympic agenda.

To this end, Italy has promised that it will fight terrorism "with every tool that we have" to ensure the safety of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Government officials and Turin organisers unveiled plans for a symbolic "Olympic Truce" for the games next February.

It seems that there have been threats on the internet mentioning Italy as a possible target for future attacks.

Mario Pescante, a government minister and supervisor of the Turin Games, said:

"We're doing everything in our power to ensure that the Turin Games represent a white flag...The other day I took part in a four-hour meeting on security. We will confront terrorism with every tool that we have."

Pescante refused to divulge details of the security plans for Turin.

Valentino Castellani, head of the Turin organising committee, said:

"The safest places in Italy in 2006 will be the Olympic sites...They will be protected and checked before by police, (access) will only be by accreditation, and X-ray security checks will be carried out."

Pescante, who is also an International Olympic Committee member and head of the European Olympic Committees, said that the truce appeal was not "explicitly related" to the London attacks.

Inspired by the cease-fire between warring city-states during the ancient games in Greece, the Olympic truce was reintroduced on a more symbolic level for the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

No French Bid For 2016 Olympics

Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, is still upset about losing out to London in the race to host the 2012 Olympics.

He has decided not to bid for the 2016 Olympics, saying:

"Paris will not be a candidate . . . and if I can support a South American or an African bid, I will do it gladly,"

The Olympics have never been held in Africa or South America. With the 2012 Games in London, it's unlikely the 2016 Games will be held in Europe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

French Still Fuming Over Olympics

In the true spirit of the entente cordiale, Betrand Delanoe the mayor of Paris is still crying fowl over the decision to award the 2012 Olympics to London.

Delanoe, president of the Paris bid, said that London had not respected the rule of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stating that meetings between bid officials and IOC members should be only informal.

Quote:

"The IOC knows that (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair had written to IOC members to offer to meet them,".

Delanoe said that Blair had then met IOC members in his hotel suite in Singapore, before Wednesday's vote.

Delanoe shrilly squawked:

"Everybody was aware of it and could see it..that's against the rules. I saw people coming out of Blair's suite."

My message to Delanoe is simple:

Shut up, you have lost, get on with your life!

Monday, July 11, 2005

No Wembley Fiasco

Lord Coe, leader of London's successful Olympics bid, promised that there was no danger of the 2012 Olympics in London being plagued by the same problems, which affected the new Wembley national stadium.

The Wembley project almost collapsed, after being besieged by political rows and financial problems in its early years.

Lord Coe said measures would be taken concerning the building of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London, and other Olympic sporting facilities to ensure that no similar problems occurred.

Quote:

"This is a wholly different project and structures will be in place to make sure that government, the British Olympic Association and all the other agents of delivery will work, and will work extremely well."

London mayor, Ken Livingstone, said that the appointment of key personnel to the London organising committee will keep the project on track.

Quote:

"The key thing now is we attract someone with a track record of delivering things to budget. I want to see someone who has done this sort of thing successfully somewhere else in the world...There's no need for someone to be learning it on the way up. We want to bring to London people who have built great stadia without last-minute hitches and cost over-runs..We want the best and brightest people who want to come to help us put these Games together."

Coe added:

"Anybody that is involved in organising and delivering a Games has to be of the highest quality and that was very clear in, for instance, Sydney. We had a number of the Sydney team on board during the bidding process so I know the calibre of the people we are looking for...You don't want to hurry those decisions because you want the right person but we don't sit around for the next year deciding how that is done. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone with Olympic experience, management is a skill that crosses all sorts of environments."

Whatever they promise, it is a sad reality that politicians and long term projects are a recipe for disaster.

Expect to see the costs of the Olympic project explode, and the deadlines fail.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Baseball and Softball Excluded

Baseball and softball have been voted off the 2012 London Olympics.

The two sports failed to win a majority of votes in a ballot of members, at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Singapore, and became the first sports to be axed from the Games since polo in 1936.

Their ejection allows two other sports eg golf, squash, karate, rugby sevens and roller sports to be added.

Softball federation chief Don Porter said:

"This is payback for Mexico City..They wanted us out in 2002. It has taken them three years but they have got us...We didn't expect this at all. The discussions we have had all week led us to believe we were safe to assume the program would remain unchanged for 2012...I don't want to say it's an anti-U.S. thing, but they are two native American sports."

Baseball federation president Aldo Notari said:

"The problem with baseball is that the best players are not going to the Olympics Games...But baseball is still in Beijing. It is still necessary to work for the future in 2016...Needless to say, these sports will be disappointed..But this does not disqualify them for ever...Olympic sports they are in Beijing, and Olympic sports they will remain. As such they will remain eligible for the Olympic program after 2012."

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Blair's Victory Dance

Tony Blair led the celebrations in Britain yesterday, after London beat Paris and three other cities to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

Over 10,000 Londoners partied, cheering and waving the Union Jack in Trafalgar Square.

As with all successful bids, the bid team promised that the Games would be the best ever; they promised that they would transform the rundown eastern part of London into a modern sporting ground.

Blair, who is in Gleneagles for the G8 summit, said:

"It's not often in this job that you punch the air and do a little jig and embrace the person next to you...It's a fantastic thing and I'm thrilled,".

When he arrived in Scotland for the G8 summit, French President Jacques Chirac said:

"Like all French people I am, of course, disappointed. Nevertheless, I wish to congratulate London and the London authorities with all my heart...And I'm going to have an opportunity shortly to pass on my warm and personal congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen and Prime Minister Tony Blair,".

He then went on to the banquet hosted by the Queen where he, following on from his rude comments about British trustworthiness and cuisine, dined on humble pie and sour grapes.

The celebration in Trafalgar Square was rather apt, given the fact that the centre piece is a statue of Admiral Lord Nelson who defeated the French at the Battle of Trafalgar 200 years ago.

Now that the party is over, it is up to the bid team and the politicians to make good their promises.

I shall be watching with interest.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

London Wins Vote

In a nail biting climax to the vote in Singapore, as to who would host the 2012 Olympic Games, London stormed in with 54 votes against runners up Paris.

One in the eye for a rather cocky Chirac, who had belittled English cuisine and London's chances earlier this week.

London, bidding for the first time to stage sport's biggest event, started as outsiders but they won through in the end.

London has staged the Games in 1908 and 1948. It becomes the first city to hold the Summer Olympics three times.

Lord Coe said:

"It's just the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we ever dreamed of in British sport. This was the most splendid team performance..We are taking home the biggest prize in sport."

People hugged each other in Trafalgar Square, as they watched the announcement in Singapore on a huge screen.

Champagne was sprayed around under Nelson's Column and at Waterloo station, and thousands danced in the streets after the announcement was made.

A great waste of money, in my view. However, there is something innately satisfying about beating Chirac.

Let us hope the East End of London really does benefit form these Games.

Voting Underway

Voting is currently underway in Singapore, as to which of the five hopeful cities will be awarded the dubious honour of hosting the 2102 Olympic Games.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

The Value of Cherie Blair

Precisley what value does the presence of Cherie Blair, in Singapore this week, add to the British bid to host the 2012 Olympics?

A cynic might argue that she is merely there on a "jolly".

Monday, July 4, 2005

France and Britain Go Head To Head

The run up to the 2012 Olympics vote this Wednesday has become more frenetic.

The French have been upset by criticisms of their Stade de France stadium, during a London press conference. However, they have decided not to make a formal complaint.

Tony Blair, who arrived at Singapore on Sunday, is expected to meet members of the International Olympic Committee to promote the UK bid.

England football captain David Beckham is also expected to lobby for London.

The IOC executive board will meet on Monday to discuss a number of Olympic issues, such as the contract for the Games.

Paris is still the favourite to win the bid. The recent spat between Chirac and Blair, over the EU, has added zest to the competition between the two countries.

Should France lose, it is widely expected to herald the death knell for Chirac as President of France; he has already been humiliated over the EU constitution debacle.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Rogge's Guts

IOC President Jacques Rogge has said that he has a "gut feeling" that the July 6 vote, for the 2012 Olympics, will come down to one or two votes.

Quote:

"This is a gut feeling because I cannot read the hearts and minds of my colleagues," said Rogge.

Rogge, as he is president, will not vote in the 2012 election.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blair Erection

Tony Blair has reiterated his support yesterday, for the London bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

He has stated that London's bid stands apart, from its four rivals, because of the long-term benefits the games would offer Britain and the capital city.

Quote:

"We're bidding not just for the 17 days or three weeks that the games are on - we're bidding for the time before and after...If there is a unique selling point for London it is the legacy."

The bid will allegedly regenerate a run-down area of east London, where a 500-acre plot of land would be developed into a main Olympic precinct and one of the largest urban parks in Europe.

Blair went on to say:

"Legacy for the Olympic movement is the biggest thing we can offer..We will have new stadiums, we will be regenerating an entire area of London, and we're building an entire strategy for sport around our Olympic bid."

Blair will travel to Singapore to lobby for London, before next Wednesday's vote by the International Olympic Committee.

As with all politicians nearing their end of office, he is keen to have a monument to him erected.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sports To Be Eliminated

Taekwondo, baseball, softball and modern pentathlon are facing elimination from the Olympics in 2012; when the International Olympic Committee has a meeting in July in Singapore.

The IOC will hold a ballot to determine which among its 28 sports it may eliminate; to cut down on the size of the Summer Olympics, while increasing global interest for the games.

Any sport with less than 50% support.

In the event that a sport is dropped, there are others waiting to be admitted; golf, karate, roller sports, seven-a-side rugby and squash.

Doesn't that rather defeat the idea of cutting the Olympics down to size?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sven Backs British Bid

Sven-Goran Eriksson has flown to Singapore to show his support for Britain's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

Sven will not be the only big British name at the gathering, others include; David Beckham and Tony Blair.

The London 2012 chairman Lord Coe is still optimistic.

Quote:

"It will be tough but we can win it..The prize is massive and this is a fantastic opportunity for us."

Monday, June 27, 2005

One World, One Dream

The slogan for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be "One World, One Dream."

Liu Qi, president of Beijing's Olympic organising committee, said that the slogan:

"embodies the common aspiration of the 1.3 billion Chinese people in establishing a world of peace and better future,".

The slogan was picked out of 210,000 proposals in Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages.

The slogan was announced on Sunday, at a gala in the city's Workers Stadium featuring; breakdancers, basketball players performing with a military band, and television celebrities.

The ceremony was televised live.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Unions Back Paris Olympics

Five French trade unions, including the CGT and CFDT, have delivered a declaration to the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, supporting Paris's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Paris 2012 bid leader, Philippe Baudillon, is quoted as saying:

"A candidature can only work if everyone is informed and up to date ... whether it is the ecologists or the unions..It is an open discussion and never closed."

This sudden burst of enthusiasm is in marked contrast to the strikes and street protests against government policies that crippled public transport, during March, when the IOC delegation visited Paris.

Doubtless money, and the fact that French political pride has been wounded by the death of the EU Constitution, has more than a little to do with this volte face.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

China Pushes Ahead

The Chinese are proving to be no laggards, when it comes to organising the 2008 Olympics.

Putting many previous host countries to shame, the Chinese will being formulating their plans for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics this year.

The tickets for the 2008 Olympic Games will be going on sale in 2006.

A production team for the ceremonies will be selected in September. The Chinese are working on a spectacular opening ceremony, which is hoped will outdo all previous ceremonies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ali Backs Olympic Bid

Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight champion, will form part of the USA delegation in Singapore when the International Olympic Committee picks the 2012 host city July 6.

Ali won a gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics, and lit the cauldron in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Ali is quoted as saying:

"When I look back and remember my greatest, most exciting moments as a boxer, competing in New York and competing in the Olympics are at the top of that list. To bring them together and hold the Games in New York City would be unforgettable for everyone involved, including myself."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Race For 2012 Games Hots Up

New York's chances for hosting the 2012 Olympics are still strong.

That is according to the Around the Rings Olympics Bid Power Index.

The index ranks Olympic bid cities based on inspections by the IOC and Around the Rings, bid books and bid strategies.

Paris is top, with a score of 89 out of 110.

London has 87 and New York 83.

Madrid comes in with 74, and Moscow trails at 64.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Helicopter Crash At Turin

A helicopter crashed Thursday on the slalom ski slope for the 2006 Winter Olympics, in Turin.

The pilot and a worker on the ground were injured, but not seriously.

The helicopter was carrying light poles to illuminate the slope in Sestriere at night during the games.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kenteris Saga Continues

Those of you with long memories may recall the sorry tale of Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris and his partner, Katerina Thanou, who fell foul of the doping rules in the 2004 Olympics.

Well, th is sorry saga is not yet over.

Kenteris had to testify in front of a prosecutor yesterday, on charges of avoiding a doping test on the eve of the 2004 Olympics and faking the now infamous motorcycle accident hours later.

Thanou and coach Christos Tzekos have already given their testimony, on June 6.

Kenteris' lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, is quoted as saying:

"Kenteris was set free without any conditions because there was not even the slightest indication that he committed the acts that are accredited to him,".

Doubtless this will go on and on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New York Race

New York is racing to revise its plans for the bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Specifically it is rushing to complete new plans for a stadium in Queens, at a cost of $600M, after the West Side stadium plan was vetoed.

The NYC2012 bid committee executive director, Jay Kriegel, has said that the team are working flat out to complete the new plans; which he hopes will be ready by next week.

Quote:

"We have no question that this plan technically will be outstanding, will demonstrate the games will be an outstanding games,".

Both Kriegel and Mayor Bloomberg are hoping that the IOC appreciate that New York has managed to recover quickly, after the original plan collapsed.

Kriegel is quoted as saying:

"Faced with adversity, New York has gotten back up off the mat very quickly and has demonstrated the capacity to put something big, bold and incredibly complicated together in just a few days,".

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Taekwondo

The Korea Olympic Committee (KOC) is fighting to keep Taekwondo, the traditional Korean martial art, as an official sport in the 2012 Olympics.

They will dispatch 3 delegations to 15 countries to support their campaign in countries including; the United States, Argentina, Finland and Mexico.

The IOC will decide on the issue at the general assembly in Singapore in July.

Taekwondo first appeared at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and will be retained for the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Met Stadium

Mayor Bloomberg of New York has tried to resurrect New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics, by promising to substitute a planned baseball stadium for the football stadium which was rejected by state leaders earlier this month.

Mayor Bloomberg said that the new stadium would be built on land owned by the city, next to Shea Stadium in Queens, and would be used by the New York Mets.

Quote:

"New Yorkers aren't quitters..We just don't walk away from our future."

The stadium will be completed by 2009.

It is hoped, by the mayor, that this will put New York back in the running for the 2012 Games.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Plan B From New York

It seems that all is not yet lost, for the plans to build a stadium in New York for the 2012 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee is going to allow New York to submit a Plan B, for the Olympic Stadium, thereby "pulling New York's nuts out of the fire" in respect of its desire to host the 2102 Games.

Giselle Davies, IOC spokeswoman, is quoted as saying:

"The IOC would allow an alternative proposal..It would need to go to the executive board for review [and] approval."

Davies noted that, as a "general rule", the city's bid was closed when the IOC evaluation commission completed its visit to New York in February.

The use of Plan B, contradicts Mayor Bloomberg's insistence that an alternative was impossible.

On Monday, a state panel rejected plans to build a stadium on Manhattan's West Side. This gave rise to Mayor Bloomberg suggesting that New York withdraw.

Quote:

"There's no chance the stadium could be built elsewhere and help us with the Olympics because what the rules of the IOC are - you have to submit a plan..It can't have backups or anything. It can have one plan, and you have to follow that plan."

As yet no details as to what Plan B actually is, have been provided.

It is also suggested that the bid committee might go to Singapore with a modified Plan A, that would include the West Side stadium and an alternate site.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Games Morale Boost For French

Philippe Baudillon, the leader of Paris's bid for the 2012 Olympics, is reported to have said that France needs the games to boost morale; after the French rejected of the EU constitution.

Quote:

"If Paris gets the games, it will be a fantastic moment for France to imagine the future very positively, and we need that,".

Adding:

"The people who said 'no' are frightened by the future...Getting the games would be a very positive moment for the country."

What utter nonsense.

The French rejected the EU constitution because their economy has been wrecked by the straight jacket of the Euro, and by the restrictive labour laws imposed by their own government.

Winning the Olympics will only put further strains on their already recession bound economy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

IOC Evaluation Report

Paris is still front runner, one month before the vote for the 2012 Olympic Games host.

In an evaluation report issued by the IOC Paris received the best overall review; London, New York and Madrid also got positive ratings, while Moscow was criticised.

The report focused on technical issues including; venues, financing, transportation, accommodation, security and public/government support.

The report acts a guide for the 117 IOC voting members, who vote in Singapore on July 6.

The report noted Paris's sports concept, "excellent accommodation," "high capacity and quality" transportation systems and "well-documented" budget.

It also noted that Paris had "fully taken into account" the IOC's framework for controlling the cost and size of the Olympics.

London was praised for the "significant sports and environmental legacies" involved in its plans for regenerating the city's rundown east side.

However, the IOC noted that "careful planning would be required to ensure that all facilities are completed on time." It also said that London's improved transportation plans were workable if "fully delivered" before 2012.

In reality, the transport system in London is unlikely to be upgraded in time for the Olympics; there is no way that the IOC can take that risk.

The report noted the uncertainty in New York over its proposed $2BN stadium on Manhattan's West Side.

Madrid was criticised for having hotels too far out of town.

Moscow was criticised the most:

"A lack of detailed planning in the candidature file and background information made it difficult for the commission to evaluate the project,".

Monday, June 6, 2005

Paris's Final Push

Paris went for broke yesterday in the race to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Champs-Elysees was transformed into a sports arena lined with wrestling mats, a running track and a swimming pool.

Thirty-eight Olympic sports were on display in Paris, one day before the International Olympic Committee issues its key report evaluating the five candidate cities.

The contest for the 2012 Games enters a final stretch Monday, there will then be 30 days left until the IOC's decision about which city will be the host.

Paris is confident that it will win.

Madrid also held a party.

However, not everything went according to plan. A flag measuring 1 1/2 miles long and 21 feet wide, claimed to be the world's largest, ripped in two when 1,500 volunteers unfurled it along the boulevard.

Castellana Boulevard was closed to traffic as athletes demonstrated their sporting prowess among children, alongside musical performances, clown shows and other festival events to show the city's "Olympic Passion."

The city also staged a round of the Triathlon World Cup in the morning, and hosted an exhibition handball match in the afternoon to raise funds for victims of the Asian tsunami.

Three of Madrid's landmark buildings also have been illuminated with the colors of the five Olympic rings for the celebrations.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Beijing To Make A Profit

It seems that Beijing may host the most profitable Olympics ever, by exceeding the $224M profit by Los Angeles in 1984.

That at least is the view of Hein Verbruggen, the International Olympic Committee official overseeing preparations for the 2008 games.

Quote:

"I would not be surprised if Beijing makes more money than any Olympics".

Eight sponsors are on board so far. The IOC also has 11 international sponsors paying $866M in total for the four years to 2008.

The IOC claim that every Olympic Games since 1976 has made a profit, with Athens having a surplus of 7 million euros.

However, what these guys don't tell is that the numbers exclude the costs of the worthless infrastructure that is left behind.

To claim that Greece made a profit, after squandering $13BN, is an insult to people's intelligence.

Verbruggen is quoted a saying:

"It's perhaps hard to believe but there's nothing negative to say."

LOL!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Beijing Will Be Ready

The IOC say that the facilities for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be ready on time, thereby avoiding the delays that befouled the preparations for the Athens Games last year.

Kevan Gosper, part of the International Olympic Committee's team tracking Beijing's progress, said that the IOC had Beijing to slow preparations.

Quote:

"We are completely confident that the venues will be completed on time..I have no doubt."

Beijing will spend $30BN to stage the games.

Beijing's National Olympic Stadium, which is shaped like a bird's nest, will be completed before the end of 2007. It will be able to stage test events a year before the games open.

The Aquatic Center, known as the "Water Cube", will be ready in October 2007. It will be the world's largest swimming centre.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Japan Not To Boycott The Olympics

There have been concerns about whether Japan would boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The IOC have confirmed that Japan will not boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics, despite security concerns following massive anti-Japan demonstrations in China last month.

Boycotts are now a thing of the past, according to IOC Coordination Commission Vice President Kevan Gosper.

Gosper said that the two countries can settle their differences through political channels.

On April 18, after a string of anti-Japan demonstrations in Beijing and other Chinese cities, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan asked Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura about rumors that Japanese athletes would shun the Games.

Machimura told Tang there was no boycott plan, but that vandalism during the April demonstrations "prompts worries" about whether the Olympics can be held in an orderly manner.

Concerns also surfaced after Chinese people broke a Japanese diplomat's car window and struck journalists, after China lost to Japan last August in the Asian Football Confederation final in Beijing.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

New York Moves Up

New York is reported to have moved up on a list of cities competing to host the 2012 summer Olympics.

That is at least according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg who said:

"The report will be very complimentary on New York, but the one caveat is a question about the stadium,"

The stadium is the proposed $1.9 billion football stadium on Manhattan's West Side.

The mayor is counting on the stadium for the National Football League's Jets as a centerpiece in New York's bid to win the Olympics, but the project has met strong opposition from some politicians who say it would leave other needs neglected.

A key vote on the stadium could be held as early as next week by a state board.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ken In Olympic Row

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, has managed to land himself in trouble over the Olympics bid by London for the 2012 Games.

There is a row going on about how many jobs will be lost, if the Olympics comes to London and various commercial sites are redeveloped.

Mayor Ken has accused some firms of inflating the number of jobs at stake, and of trying to hold the 2012 bid to ransom by excessive amounts of money for their land.

The Mayor said some firms were seeking a "huge windfall".

Angie Bray, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, has said to the Mayor:

"I think your tone is slightly unfortunate and does imply you regard them with distaste."

Mayor Ken has been accused of being hostile in his negotiations with 300 or so firms based around Marshgate Lane in Stratford, near where the Olympic stadium and athletes' village would be built.

If London wins, the London Development Agency will be able to compulsorily purchase the 250 acres of land required and the firms will get market value.

The counter claim is that the businesses will be forced out by 2007, but have to wait five years for a land tribunal to decide on the amount of compensation they will receive.

Bottom line, the Olympics is a total pain in the backside to host.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Close Call

International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge, has said that the race to host the 2012 Olympics is "very close."

Quote:

"I do not expect many votes difference between one and two,".

He was attending an unveiling of a memorial, honouring the winning medallists of the 1908 London games.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More Corruption

Mercedes Bresso, regional governor of Piedmont, is offering his support to the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

She plans to increase help for the February 10-26 Games.

Unfortunately she has an uphill task, Turin’s Olympic ambitions have been marred by cash problems and building delays.

Bresso is quoted as saying:

"The building work is going well now, there have been some difficulties but now it’s all going according to schedule and all the construction will be finished by the end of this year,".

Last year a row broke out over the hole in the Olympic budget, and an investigation was launched into possible bid fixing for building contracts.

The probe into bid fixing for Olympic building works is still ongoing, there are also reports of illegal labourers working on some of the construction sites.

Money corrupts, and the Olympics is about nothing but money these days.

Monday, May 23, 2005

IOC Avoids Further Corruption Embarrassment

The IOC, always a "tad mired" with the stench of corruption, has managed to avoid some embarrassment by the resignation of their vice president Kim Un Yong of South Korea.

Kim was due to face a vote for expulsion on corruption charges, his resignation saved the problems that this vote would have brought; namely the fact that he probably would have won it.

For those of you who don't have long memories, Kim was implicated in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal; where he was found to have made the organisers arrange a job for his son and musical appearances for his daughter, he had been resisting the IOC's attempts to expel him.

He currently resides in jail in South Korea, on charges of bribery and embezzlement. The good people at the IOC did at least manage to suspend his membership a year ago, when he was jailed.

Hardly an effective counter corruption policy, is it?

His resignation means that the vote on expulsion will now no longer be required. That vote would have, for reasons that only the IOC can explain, seen him supported by the membership.

Despite being corrupt, he was elected an IOC vice president two years ago.

Doesn't this tell you something about the IOC?

However, Kim was convicted of embezzling from the World Tae Kwon Do Federation, including $676K that had been donated by Samsung.

It seems that he used the money to buy the votes that won him the vice president's job!

I tell you, it really is about time that the Olympics were cut down to size and the IOC reformed.