The Olympics

The Olympics

Text

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big TV

The Scotsman reports that there is a row going on in Edinburgh over the placing of a £500K giant TV screen, ostensibly to be used to show the 2012 Olympics.

Not surprisingly people are not that keen to have such a monstrosity erected in view of their backyards.

Aside from the obvious waste of money, the unasked/unanswered question is what will be shown on the TV once the Olympics have finished?

Aesthetically "pleasing" commercials, or government propaganda films?

Either way a giant TV screen, costing £500K, is hardly a legacy worth boasting about is it?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Security

The former head of London Olympic security and former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Tarique Ghaffur, has put the cat amongst the pigeons by saying that time is running out to ensure that London 2012 is effectively policed and that the £600M security budget is inadequate.

Suffice to say the government disagrees, and claims that decisions will be made in the new year.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Shot in The Arm?

Tessa Jowell referred to the Olympics 2012 as being a "shot in the arm", whilst appearing on BBC Two's Daily Politics programme, at a time when Britain is expected to go into recession.

She noted:

"But, as it turns out, facing a recession deeper than any that we have known, almost certainly, the Olympics is, I mean, it's economic gold at a time of economic need."

Given that the out of control "budget" currently stands at £12BN (including £2BN running costs) and is likely to rise further, as private finance deals fall through, why is so much money being wasted on this white elephant which will not produce any meaningful legacy?

This waste of resources is more akin to a shot in the head, rather than a shot in the arm.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Monday, December 15, 2008

VIP Lanes

Those of you who suffer the daily misery of commuting using the M25, A2, the A282 and the Dartford Crossing may be delighted to learn that certain lanes on these roads may be reserved for Olympic VIPs during the 2012 London Olympics.

Special priority VIP lanes on the roads that form the network will be used to allow athletes, officials, and media to move efficiently between venues during the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012.

I ma sure that the regular commuters on these roads will welcome this idea!

.Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ross Resigns

David Ross, beleaguered ex director of the Carphone Warehouse, has quit all of his roles in the organisation of 2012 London Olympics.

He emailed Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and London mayor Boris Johnson resigning his various positions.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Tad Careless

How very careless of David Ross, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, not to have told his fellow directors that he used £157M of his shares as collateral in 2006 and 2008.

How even more careless not to have told the boards of three other companies that he did the same with shares (approx value £50M) in them as well.

Suffice to say he has now resigned from Carphone Warehouse.

However, he has not yet resigned from the organising committee of the London Olympics, where his role is to assess the legacy of the Games and to ensure that Londoners get value for money.

Let us trust he does so before being subjected to a potential criminal investigation by the Financial Services Authority.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Security Costs To Rocket

Whilst plans for social housing and other Olympics 2012 "legacy" promises are being cut back, the "good" news is that security costs are going to rocket.

That at least is the view of Denis Oswald, the chairman of the IOC's co-ordination committee for London 2012 (as per The Telegraph).

"It's really a difficult budget.

Compared to previous Games, it is really rocketing
."

Are these games really worth all the hassle and cost?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tess Jowell Puts Her Foot In It - Again!

The hapless and hopeless Tessa Jowell has put her put into again, by lecturing so called "junk food" sponsors of the Olympics 2012.

Jowell, who spoke at a local government conference, said that companies such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury and McDonald's "need to be made aware" of increasing concern about healthy eating and childhood obesity.

The Guardian quotes her:

"[They] need to be made aware of the increasing concern about child obesity and the increasing possibility of their leadership to address the eating habits and sedentary way of life by encouraging exercise."

That may well be true.

However, if Jowell and the government are so concerned about "junk food" and the companies that sell it why are they so keen to receive sponsorship from these companies for the London Olympics?

Could it be the £50M funding shortfall in the £12BN plus Games?

Given that companies such as MacDonalds and Cadbury are mainly purveyors of burgers and chocolate, what exactly does she expect them to do - sell salads only?

When you sup with "the devil" use a long spoon.

For good measure, Jowell then said:

"There is no more money and as I have said before we are on time and on budget."

Errmmm...no you are not!

Thee original budget was around £3BN, it now stands at £12BN (including running costs) how can she possibly claim that the Games are on budget?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Enormous Piss Up

ZaNu Labour would still have us believe that the 2012 London Olympics (currently budgeted to cost us £12BN, including £2BN running costs) will produce tangible benefits for the ordinary people of Britain (not just those executives involved in the IOC/LOCOG and marketing/property development companies).

However, a report detailed today in The Times states that the Games are nothing more than an excuse for a "national celebration because the economic rationale is weak" in order to boost morale (much like third world dictatorships use national events to divert the attention of the people from reality).

The real irony in this 250 page report, commissioned by Bliar's DCMS and entitled Game Plan, is the date on which it was published - December 2002.

The only reason that it is coming to light now is that fact that Bliar and the hapless/hopeless Tessa Jowell all but sat on it, permitting only a handful of people to read it.

Why is Jowell still "in charge" of the Games?

Why are we still pushing ahead with them?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moaning Moynihan

The Times reports that Lord Moynihan is moaning that that the target of fourth place in the 2012 London Olympics medal table for Team GB will slip to 8th, if budget cuts of up to £79M are pushed through.

Quote:

"We will be deeply disappointed this week if the Government moves away from their commitment.

To give our Olympic and Paralympic athletes the best chance of success in 2012, the full investment programme agreed by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor must be honoured in full
."

So what?

We are facing the worst recession in decades, there are far better uses for the money than the Olympics.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Alleged Ticket Fraudsters Arrested

Five people from London have been arrested for their involvement in an online ticket fraud for the Beijing Olympics.

Since September the Metropolitan police have been investigating complaints about the failure by companies to supply at least 4,000 tickets for the Olympics and music festivals in the UK.

Xclusive Tickets Limited, Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality Limited are alleged to have sold tickets online for a wide variety of events including the Olympics.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cancel The Games

Given that the Olympics were cancelled during both world wars, why do the IOC and LOCOG not think outside of the box and cancel the 2012 Games?

Could it be pride and personal gain comes before common sense?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Wartime Olympics

Kevin Gosper, a member of the Sydney Olympic organising committee and chairman of the IOC's media commission, told Locog chairman Lord Coe at the four-day IOC conference:

"I think you will be taking your team through the toughest challenge short of wartime in getting the project to 2012."

A colossal waste of money at a time when we can ill afford it.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, November 24, 2008

British Pluck

Lord Coe displayed true British pluck and guts during a meeting of European Olympic committees in Istanbul, when he told them that the UK organisers of the London 2012 Games would "honour commitments" to the IOC.

He is quoted in the Telegraph as saying:

"We are now in a very different economic and financial environment from when we bid for the Games.

The world is a very different place than even six months ago. We want to reassure you: we are no less determined to honour the commitments we made to you.

Even in the current climate and with the complexities of bringing the private sector to the table, there has been no lack of progress
."

That's all very well, but even ignoring the current recession, the £12BN plus cost (including £2BN running costs) of the Games is a colossal waste of taxpayers' money.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Olympic Report Whitewash

Those in charge of London 2012 are under pressure to release a confidential report by KPMG on Olympics venues, after allegations that it was a "whitewash".

The report considered moving three temporary venues (the equestrian in Greenwich, the shooting in Woolwich and basketball in the Olympic Park) to save costs, but is thought to have recommended they should not be relocated.

Temporary venues provide no legacy, yet the organisers have always promised a legacy for London.

The promises made about the London Olympics simply don't add up.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jowell's Money Saving Master Plan

Tessa Jowell, the beleaguered and inept Olympics minister, has come up with a master plan to save money and reduce the ballooning London 2012 Olympics budget (currently standing at £12BN, and expected to rise to £20BN).

Her plan?

To present the medal winners with "locally sourced plants", rather than bouquets of expensively imported blooms.

Quote, as per The Guardian:

"We have fabulous British flowers in the summer.

It won't be necessary to fly flowers thousands of miles
."

Problem sorted!

Why is this woman still in a job?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jowell II - The Farce Continues

Tessa Jowell has tried to retract her now infamous comment:

"Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost certainly not."

Unfortunately for her the retraction, not that anyone believes her, comes too late.

The French, according to The Telegraph are laughing themselves silly at the mess that we are making of the Olympics.

Specifically the French media note that the British budget was "fantasy".

I fully agree with them, the budget has ballooned from £3BN to £12BN (including £2BN running costs) and looks likely to top £20BN.

What I do not understand is why Jowell is still in her job?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Calls For Jowell's Resignation

Unsurprisingly Tessa Jowell's comments about the Olympics not being a good idea have provoked a minor uproar.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said:

"The case for the Games, if anything, is stronger in difficult times, and I believe that the development under way in the east of London will prove a vital shot in the arm for the city when it needs it most.

London is extremely fortunate to be hosting the Games in 2012
."

Andrew Boff, the Conservative Party spokesman on the Olympics, called for her resignation:

"For her to say that it was a mistake to bid for the Games is utterly irresponsible.

Why should the private sector risk investing millions in the Olympic venues if the minister responsible has no confidence in its long term viability
?"

What did Jowell expect after speaking so negatively about her pet project?

Ironically, she was right.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jowell Admits Olympics Are A Mistake

Tessa Jowell, the minister for the Olympics and Paymaster General, has had an epiphany.

She has finally realised, and publicly admitted, that the London 2012 Olympics are a mistake.

Something that everyone else has been saying for the last few years.

Jowell, who has mismanaged the Olympics budget (which has ballooned from £3BN to £12BN, including running costs) made her admission to 40 leisure industry bosses at a dinner on Tuesday night.

Quote:

"Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost certainly not."

Quite!

She then had a go at the media for giving rise to the impression that:

"The budget is out of control; all the venues are late; and all the people involved with this great project are completely useless."

Unfortunately for Jowell, all of the above seems to be pretty accurate from where I am sitting.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Transport Chaos Hits London Olympics

The dream of hosting the 2012 Olympics in London was, at some stage, always going to come crashing down to earth.

Aside from the ever ballooning out of control budget, the other issue that "dare not speak its name" was that of London's appalling third world transport system.

Needless to say, the officials and politicians "managing" the games could not keep the shame of London hidden for ever. London's appalling transport failings were laid bare to the world yesterday, when World Travel Market (WTM) delegates struggled to reach their venue.

Exhibitors and delegates driving to the first day of WTM experienced a doubling of their journey times, whilst those taking the train had to change to buses at Canning Town owing to a signal failure.

The Turkish culture and tourism minister, Ertugrul Gunay, was 25 minutes late for an 11am press conference; unsurprisingly he was not best pleased:

"It is obvious traffic will pose a problem. I thought Istanbul was bad enough, but having come to London I see the problem isn't any different here."

However, the politicians and organisers are adamant that all will work smoothly in 2012.

We shall see!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Scots Want Their Money Back

The Scottish Government is asking for the return of £150M in lottery funds, which it alleges was diverted from good causes to finance the 2012 London Olympics.

Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell has sent a bid document to UK Sport Secretary Andy Burnham.

Maxwell cites the claim as being "a matter of natural justice".

The BBC quote him:

"We are pressing for the return of the money as a matter of natural justice because we believe it is fundamentally unfair that Scottish good causes should suffer to pay for London 2012.

From the smallest arts groups, through sports clubs, to health promotion centres and local day care facilities, we want to see communities embracing opportunities to make change for themselves and help to improve the quality of their lives and those of others
."

However, "natural justice" or not, it is unlikely that the claim will succeed. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is resisting the claim.

Quote:

"Scotland has received over £2BN in Lottery money since 1994, and around £150M in the last financial year alone. Since the lottery began, over £315M has been spent on grassroots sport in Scotland.

The Olympic Games will bring immense benefits to the UK: a legacy of world class facilities; the inspiration of a generation to get active and take up sport; as well as huge economic and business benefits with £6bn worth of contracts.

London 2012 will leave a lasting legacy for everyone in the UK, including Scotland, which will host Olympic football at Hampden Park.

In addition, 29 locations across Scotland are included in the official guide to pre-games training facilities for foreign teams in 2012
."

The Scots don't have a cat's chance in hell of succeeding with their money back claim!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, November 3, 2008

IOC Warns Against White Elephant Legacy

The head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, has stirred up a hornets' nest by publicly stating that London 2012's main stadium does not need an athletics legacy.

He told the BBC that the main concern for London 2012's organisers should be to avoid leaving behind "white elephants".

Quote:

"If the best solution is to transform the track into something else then we would be in favour of that.

We had the same situation in Atlanta where the Olympic Stadium was changed into a baseball stadium, which kept an interest for sport.

We don't have problems with that. I don't want to enter into specifics but we don't want to leave white elephants.
"

This of course means that the stadium can be turned into a football stadium afterwards. All very well, but hardly the "legacy" that the government had promised.

Lord Coe promised that the £525M complex would be a "stadium with track and field as its primary legacy".

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fantasy

The Telegraph reports that London Olympics organising committee chief executive, Paul Deighton, believes that ticket sales for the 2012 Olympic Games will not be adversely affected by the looming economic downturn.

He predicts that they will hit their targets, even in a severe recession.

Complete nonsense!

Nothing is recession proof, least of all this monumental waste of money.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Piece of The Action

Cash strapped British athletes, hoping to compete in the London 2012 Olympics, are offering individuals and companies the chance to buy squares on a grid overlaying images of themselves on the net.

Sponsors will be able to buy different squares for £20, £100 or £1,000.

People browsing the site, called Be Number 1, will then be able to link through to dedicated sponsors' websites with videos and news.

The site claims:

"As a member of Be Number 1, as well as giving financial support to a British athlete, you can show the world what a great sportsperson you are via your own B#1 Sports Page.

Each member is given a page on the Be Number 1 web site where you can show your own sporting highlights in the shape of blogs, photo galleries and video clips.

We’d like this to be very much sports, health and fitness orientated, so perhaps a bit different from other places on the internet where you can post. The most interesting Sports Page each month will be featured on the Be Number 1 Home page – so pick an athlete, sign up and get posting
."

It doesn't say how much the athletes actually receive though.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hackney Emulates China

The people running the libraries in the People's Republic of Hackney have attempted to emulate the Chinese wrt censoring off message individuals, who have the temerity to criticise the London 2012 Olympics.

Iain Sinclair was declared a "non person"and banned from speaking at Hackney Library, for the crime of writing an off-message piece on the Olympics.

This essay, published in the London Review of Books, responded to aspects of the creation of the Olympic Park in the Lower Lea Valley: the destruction of the Manor Garden allotments, the eviction of travellers, and the famous "legacy" revealed as nothing more than a gigantic shopping mall in Stratford.

I thought we lived in a country where freedom of speech was guaranteed?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, October 20, 2008

London Olympics To Be Nationalised

It seems that the financial meltdown is taking its toll not just on the banks, but on the cash "black hole" of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Times reports that two of the main venues in the Olympic Park may have to be nationalised, with the taxpayer paying nearly £900M extra to bail them out.

Could someone remind why we need these games again?

As I have noted many times on this site, the cost of these games will most assuredly balloon from the already overinflated £12BN (including £2BN running costs) to £20BN by the time they're held.

Why is there no one of significance in the government with the courage to stand up and cancel them?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bailout

As predicted, the credit crunch has negatively impacted plans for the 2012 London Olympics.

The contingency fund has been tapped to provide £95M to bail out part of the project.

The Olympic Village project was originally intended to be a public-private partnership. However, the contractors (Lend Lease) have a funding shortfall of £250M. It is likely that further taxpayers' money will be needed to bailout the games.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Coe Calls in Lawyers

The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics have denied a newspaper story that Sebastian Coe said "F*** 'em" after being asked about objections from Wales and Scotland to the idea of a GB Olympic football team.

The committee said it had consulted its lawyers.

Lord Coe was reported by the London Paper to have made the remark during a reception hosted by the British Olympic Association (BOA) at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

A spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games told Wales Online:

"Our lawyers have communicated our very serious concerns to the London Paper. They have taken the story off their website. We are discussing with them the wording of a retraction we want them to publish, but that has not been concluded. We do not recognise the language [attributed to Lord Coe].

We certainly deny the gist of the story, that he [Lord Coe] is not interested in the views of Wales and Scotland
."

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Security Costs Break Budget

It should come as no surprise to learn that the London 2012 Olympics Budget (currently standing at £12BN, including running costs) is set to be broken, as the costs for security spiral.

Anti-terrorism measures will cost an estimated £1.5BN, they were originally "budgeted" at being £500M.

Among the extra measures being considered, to protect athletes and spectators from an attack, include drafting in the Army. Military helicopters will patrol overhead and jets will be on stand-by to protect a no-fly zone over the Olympic stadium in Stratford.

The security operation is expected to be the largest in peacetime Britain, the event is being classed as a major terrorist target.

A cynic might suggest that the police are using the event to push the Home Office into paying for security measures over and above the needs of the Games, such as demands for a new police command and control centre.

Surely not!

The irony is that there is in fact, as yet, no costed security plan. Seemingly one won't exist until the end of this year.

It would not be unreasonable to ask at this juncture how it is that the organisers can claim that the budget is £12BN, when there is in fact no budget for over 10% of the estimated current costs of the games.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Austerity Games

The ongoing turmoil in the financial markets and credit crunch has negatively impacted the ability of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to raise funding to build the 2012 Olympic Village.

The ODA says that has only raised half of £1BN needed for the athletes' village and media centre in Stratford, East London.

The shortfall may have to be taken out of the Olympics contingency fund.

As noted many time before the budget for the games, even before the credit crunch, was a work of fantasy; ballooning from £3.4BN to currently £12BN (including £2BN running costs).

The last time that the games were held in London, in 1948, the UK was experiencing an austerity economy as the country struggled to get back on its financial feet after the war.

It seems that the organisers of the 2012 Games may have to adjust their expectations accordingly, to an "austerity" mindset.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Polish Emigration Threat To Games

An exodus of skilled Polish workers, leaving recession hit Britain for their motherland, is threatening the Olympic building programme for the 2012 games.

There are currently not enough skilled British workers to replace them. The government, ever keen to maintain its "employment figures" has neglected the skills base of the UK; as employing people flipping burgers is not necessarily as "value adding" as a skilled trade.

In order to combat the expected skills shortage, a fast-track training scheme is being put in place to teach British workers basic construction skills, including how to use a digger.

The Olympic Delivery Authority, the London Development Agency (LDA) and other partner organisations will spend £20M (23% of their training budget) on this scheme.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Perils of Advertising

The Guardian warns that the rules governing the use of words in advertising associated with the Olympics are draconian.

Quote:

"Under the 2006 London Olympic Games and Paralympics Games Act, normally innocuous words such as 'Game', 'Medals', 'Gold', '2012' and 'Summer' cannot be combined in any form of advertising around the Olympics, with anyone flouting the law facing a fine of up to £20,000."

How did it come to pass that words such as "game" and "summer" are forbidden?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Credit Crunch

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics had been banking on rising property prices to encourage the private sector to bankroll the ever increasing budget for the games (currently estimated at around £12BN, but more likely to hit £20BN by 2012).

However, as a result of the ongoing credit crunch, property prices are falling.

Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, is of the belief (according to the Chicago Tribune) that the crunch is a temporary setback.

Optimism is all well and good, but anyone who believes that the current turmoil in the world's financial markets is only temporary is one sandwich short of a picnic.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Challenge Ahead

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics, spoke about the responsibility of hosting 2012 Games:

"It is a massive responsibility.

We don't find it daunting.

I think that I can only relate it to sitting in a stadium when I was a competitor watching an outstanding performance in my own event. I didn't feel cowed by it. I went out and wanted to emulate it or even do better.

Beijing has delivered a spectacular games and we will also deliver a spectacular games
."

Will they be on budget though?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit www.theolympicswarehouse.com
www.olympicsdiary.com brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Olympic Scam

The BBC have uncovered an alleged scam whereby hundreds of East European workers have been conned by a promise of non-existent jobs at the London 2012 Olympic site.

550 Slovakians paid cash deposits of £600 to convicted fraudster Nigel Lewis, who is based in East London. They were promised accommodation on a cruise ship in Docklands, and jobs on the site of the Olympic Village.

Mr Lewis has insisted that he made no profit from his UK Cruise Line venture.

The BBC will show the programme today, in which they claim that Mr Lewis advertised for catering staff and tradesmen to work in East London.

After deposits were transferred to Mr Lewis's firm UK Cruise Line Ltd in 2006, the BBC alleges he vanished.

BBC London tracked him down to a hotel in Dartford, on 1 September, and quote him:

"I've worked on this project almost 12 months solid and I've got nothing for it, just heartache."

He also said he had intended to buy three cruise ships and secure jobs at the Olympic site but that "it just went out of control".

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

London Stadium To Be Flattened?

Reports that the London Olympic stadium will be demolished after the 2012 Games, and replaced by a Premier League football ground, have been "denied" by the London Development Agency (LDA).

They would of course deny those reports, as demolition would blow an enormous hole in their claim that there will be a "legacy" of the games. It has already been mooted on this site in November that the stadium will be used by a football club.

Boris Johnson's office has stated that he was "not aware of any plans to demolish the stadium."

That of course does not mean that there are not plans to demolish the stadium.

The LDA's "denial" states that "no stone had been left unturned" in exploring all the options for the venue, and the drawing up of a range of possible scenarios was part and parcel of the legacy planning process.

The astute amongst you will realise that this is not a 100% denial, merely a sop to the press to try to convince us that they are trying not to demolish it.

At the end of the day, money talks louder than words; if the football clubs come up with enough money, the LDA will demolish the stadium.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Monday, September 8, 2008

British Government Incapable

Approximately 90% of Britons do not think that the government is capable of managing the 2012 Olympics. That at least is according to a survey taken by Opinion Research.

Only 12% of the 2,000 people surveyed believe that the Games will come in on budget, or within 10% of the budget. The budget currently stands at £12BN (including £2BN running costs), but it could in my opinion hit £20BN.

A government, unsurprisingly, does not quite agree with the opinions of its citizens.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said:

"We have in place the experience and expertise - both within government and The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and The Olympic Delivery Authority to deliver a fantastic Games and long term legacy that will benefit millions of people for decades to come."

Why has the budget ballooned from the original tender of £3BN then?

Olympic Medals Won at Beijing Olympics

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Face of Hoof

The Face of HoofKatie Price (aka Jordan) is to become the face of Hoof, a campaign run by the British Equestrian Federation in the run up to the London Olympics 2012 to encourage the young to become horse riders for the London Olympics.

Ms Price has begun to compete in dressage events, learnt to play polo, and has written equestrian books aimed at children called Katie Price's Perfect Ponies.

Mary King, who won silver in Athens in 2004 and bronze in Beijing for Team eventing, said:

"She is dedicated to her riding. I understand that she even had her breasts reduced to help her with her riding. That shows real dedication. And she's good with children."

Ms Price has also launched her new equestrian clothing range, wearing a luminous pink polo shirt and pink velour hot pants, while her white horse was wearing a matching pink blanket.

As I have said earlier, the only way the Britain can "top" the Beijing games is to do them in a thoroughly British way.

The appointment of Ms Price to the promotion team, coupled with Boris Johnson leading the pack, adds a very British touch to the games.

Olympic Medals Won

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Heathrow Lets The Country Down Again

The gateway to Britain should, in theory, provide those entering the country with a positive first impression of the country and its people.

Unfortunately many people use Heathrow as the gateway, and its performance has been far from "stellar".

The T5 debacle earlier this year brought home to many quite how decrepit and badly run Heathrow really is.

Having humiliated the nation once, one would have thought that those running Heathrow (BAA) would be pulling all the stops out to ensure that performance improves; and that by the time the London 2012 Olympics come round, Heathrow is running smoothly like a well oiled machine.

Unfortunately BAA don't seem to be capable of doing that.

BAA have let the cat out of the bag, and owned up to the fact that "at best" only part of Heathrow East (the replacement for Terminals 1 and 2) will be open on time for the 2012 games.

Seemingly several major building contractors will not start work until next year.

China managed to build and open a spectacular new airport terminal in Beijing (shaped like a dragon) on time for their games, yet BAA cannot.

I would not trust those running BAA to sit the right way on a lavatory, let alone run an airport terminal. Their monopoly, most especially Heathrow, must be taken away from them asap.

Olympic Medals Won

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cometh The Games, Cometh The Scams

Much like flies around shit, scammers and con artists are attracted to large cash rich events.

The forthcoming London 2012 Olympics will prove to be no exception to that rule.

Event though there are still four years to go until the London Games, police have been already been put on alert for widespread fraud. There are reports circulating of websites offering fake tickets and "boiler rooms" selling shares in companies with fake games contracts.

In response to the threat, City police and Scotland Yard have joined forces and published a document entitled "Policing the Olympic Economy".

Unsurprisingly the police are asking for money, £5M in fact, to help prevent frauds such as procurement corruption, currency counterfeiting and cheque and credit card crime.

The Olympic pot of gold attracts everyone!

Olympic Medals Won

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Scrap The Games

Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula 1, has put the boot firmly into the testicles of the London 2012 Olympics by claiming in a BBC interview that in comparison to Beijing it will be a massive let down and would be better off scrapped.

Then, to add fuel to the fire, he called for an earthquake so that the Games would have to be cancelled.

He said:

"There is only one way down for anyone involved. If it goes well, you're not going to get any credit and if it goes bad you're going to get the blame."

When asked how London will cope following Beijing, he said:

"With great difficulty. I can't see how anyone can follow that.

We've got to do something completely different and not try and do a 'Las Vegas' if you like - or we are going to look idiots
."

Asked what London could do he said:

"I suppose pray there's going to be an earthquake or something so it doesn't happen."

I wonder if he would have had the same opinion if Formula 1 was an Olympic sport?

Olympic Medals Won

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Olympic Stamps Issued

Royal Mail and China Post have jointly issued a special set of stamps to mark the handover of the Olympic Flag from Beijing to London.

See them on The Telegraph's site.

Olympic Medals Won

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Laughing Matter

The Daily Telegraph reports that some Brits are a little unhappy with the quality of the British handover ceremony during the Beijing closing ceremony.

Quote:

"Britons proud of their athletes' achievements have vented their frustrations at being left 'the laughing stock of the world' by the show, which featured rocker Jimmy Page, X-Factor winner Leona Lewis and footballer David Beckham."

They need to remember two things:

1 Beijing spent far more money on the games, than we allegedly are going to do

2 It is the British way to self deprecate

The 2012 games face enough challenges (eg lousy budgeting, lousy organisation etc) to live up to the Chinese games. Quite simply put, we will not outdo the Chinese on their terms.

The best way for us to try to make the best of a bad job is to put on a thoroughly British games, ie quirky and humorous.

Olympic Medals Won

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Closing Ceremony Beijing 2008

The closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and handover to London for the 2012 games went without a hitch, and Boris Johnson's speech was a hoot.





Olympic Medals Won

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Karma

Gordon Brown, Britain's Prime Minister, finally made it to Beijing to watch the tail end of the games and to attend the closing ceremony.

Needless to say, given Brown's penchant for attracting bad luck, some wags have pointed out that his arrival will herald the end of Britain's better than expected performance at the games.

The Prime Minister's presence at sporting events to watch home teams compete has invariably resulted in defeat.

Olympic Medals Won

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Respect is Due

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, has criticised the double gold medallist Usain Bolt for unsporting behaviour following his victories in the 100m and 200m.

In the final part of the 100m race Bolt slowed down and turned to the crowd, and opened his hands in a gesture that looked like he was mocking his seven other opponents.

Rogge said:

"I have no problem with him doing a show.

I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 metres.

I understand the joy. He might have interpreted that in another way, but the way it was perceived was 'catch me if you can'. You don't do that. But he'll learn. He's still a young man
."

Olympic Medals Won

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Closing Ceremony

All good things come to an end, so it is with the Olympics as thoughts now turn to the closing ceremony in Beijing on 24th August.

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo will perform with Chinese soprano star Song Zuying on the last day. Following on from the fuss over certain TV "enhancements" made to the opening ceremony, it is assumed that they will both be live and not CGI animations!

The closing program will also feature elements of southwestern China's Yunnan culture, together with a kung fu display featuring 350 practitioners from a local martial arts school and 60 players of the Chinese string instrument "erhu."

There will also be an 8 minute dance show to mark the handover from Beijing to London for the 2012 games. Seemingly David Beckham will appear during this segment, atop a London bus.

The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will also finally turn up; unless of course he manages to find an excuse not to.

Olympic Medals Won

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Empty Seats

Before the Olympics began, Beijing Olympic organisers claimed that that all the 6.8 million tickets to Olympic events had been sold.

However, it seems that there are empty seats in the Bird's Nest and other venues.

Organisers are trying to "save face" by bussing in people from soccer fan clubs, high schools, and local neighborhoods to fill the empty seats. However, it is still not working, on 11th of August there were 20 competitions in the 18 stadiums attended by 40,000 spectators. Only two of stadiums were more than 90% full, six were more than 80% full and over half had at least 30% of seats empty.

One factor being blamed is the weather. However, the most likely cause is the fact that corporate sponsors and VIP's are allocated vast swathes of tickets that they never use.

The key to making future Olympics successful, wrt crowd attendance, is to give the games back to the people and allocate less tickets to faceless corporate sponsors who never turn up.

Olympic Medals Won

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

China Bashing

The hypocrisy of some parts of the western media appears to know no bounds when it comes to having a go at China.

On Friday, reports emerged that the children who carried the Chinese flag in a show of national unity at the Beijing opening ceremonies were not from the 56 ethnic groups they were purported to represent.

Given the lies and distortions published by the media in the West, to criticise the Chinese for this is hypocrisy of the highest level.

Olympic Medals Won

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Blue Skies

Contrary to the expectations of some people before the games, the air quality in Beijing has actually been reasonably good thanks to the anti pollution measures taken by the authorities and a heavy storm that blew it away.

The skies above Beijing are currently clear and blue.

International Olympic Committee's medical commission chairman, Arne Ljungqvist, said:

"The information so far is very encouraging. The recent... days have had very good air conditions indeed.

There is no indication that there will be a problem in the near future
."

However, World Health Organisation China chief Hans Troedsson noted that pollution in Beijing still presented long-term health risks to residents.

Olympic Medals Won

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Verbal Punch Up at Press Conference

Wei Wang, the secretary general of the Beijing organising committee, expressed his displeasure about the behaviour of some members of the international media for coming to China "to peek, to be critical, to dig into the small details and find fault" in the country's human rights record".

He vented his spleen during the IOC-Bocog press conference, as journalists pressed him to reveal how many Chinese citizens had been granted permission to use the three Protest Parks set up for the Games. Wei Wang claimed twice that he had not been given figures from the Office of Public Security.

"After 30 years of reform China has developed greatly. People enjoy more freedom. People are living a good life. Everyone is happy. That's a fact. Of course there are exceptions, like in any other country. But they need to take the legal process and procedures to resolve any issues. We cannot allow this country to be in chaos.

There are a few people who have come here to peek, to be critical, to dig into the small details and find fault. This does not mean that we are not fulfilling our promises [over human rights to the IOC]. The whole country can see how can China has developed; how China has genuinely welcomed the world to enjoy everything with us
."

The IOC was given a rough ride by Alex Thomson, a Channel 4 journalist, who asked as to whether it was "in any way embarrassed" by the Chinese government "lying through its teeth" about keeping its promises to improve human rights and press freedom.

The IOC communication's director, Giselle Davies, did not answer the question but instead said:

"We have to note that there have been enormous steps forward in a number of areas".

Thomson kept pressing and asked how the IOC felt about the "manifest failure of the Chinese government to keep their promises." Davies refused to answer, saying that the IOC was "very proud about how these Games are progressing".

Thomson kept up the attack:

"I'm not asking about how well the Games are being run, or how wonderful the Games are.

Are you embarrassed by China?

I don't think anyone thinks you have answered the question
."

Davies said:

"The Olympic Games is largely about the athletes and they have given us extremely strong feedback about how things are going."

Thomson was by now fending off two volunteers, who were trying to take the microphone from him. However, he soldiered on:

"We're not getting anywhere are we?

Are the IOC embarrassed about the Chinese governments record on human rights? One more chance
?"

Davies ignored the question and said:

"We have to note the enormous steps in the wider area.

The world is watching and the IOC is appraising
."

Olympic Medals Won

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fakery Accusations

Having basked in the glow of excellent viewing figures, NBC and the Beijing Olympic Committee are now having to face accusations from some quarters over fakery wrt their broadcast of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

The organisers have been accused of adding fake CGI fireworks to the opening ceremony. NBC have been accused of adding a bogus "Live" stamp to their prime time delayed feed of competition coverage this weekend, and edited the "parade of nations" segment of the opening ceremony to delay the entrance of the US Olympic Team.

Can anyone ever truly believe what they see on TV?

THR.com runs through the accusation point by point, including NBC's responses:

Accusation: Viewers were misled by the use of CGI fireworks during a sweeping helicopter shot ( video clip here) leading up to the Bird's Nest. Organizers note the fireworks were there, but the footage was created in advance due to the danger of shooting live from a nearby helicopter.

NBC Response: An NBC Sports spokesperson says U.S. viewers were informed of the manipulation. Commentators Matt Lauer and Bob Costas said the fireworks were a digital effect. From the opening ceremony transcript during the fireworks in question:

Lauer: "You're looking at a cinematic device employed by Zhang Yimou here. This is actually almost animation. A footstep a second, 29 in all, to signify the 29 Olympiads."

Costas: "We said earlier that aspects of this Opening Ceremony are almost like cinema in real time. Well this is quite literally cinematic."

Analysis: Mixing real and CGI fireworks during an Olympic event is visually misleading, though NBC did try to address the issue. The question is, during a spectacular-looking shot, do the phrases "cinematic device" and "almost animation" really convey that the image wasn't real?

It seems more to hint that something about it wasn't quite literal, while coming shy of saying - in far more clear and simple terms - "this is a digitally manufactured shot to represent what's happening right now outside the stadium."

Accusation: NBC is time stamping West Coast feeds of competition coverage with a "Live" tag even though the coverage is not live.

NBC Response: A spokesperson points out the constant "Live" tag is accompanied by twice-per-hour time stamps that inform West Coast viewers that the event was only live on the East Coast (ex. "10:05 ET").

"The audience makeup of the Olympics is very much like that of 'American Idol' and 'Dancing with the Stars' which have 'live' season finales presented in much the same way," an NBC Sports spokesperson says. "You assume there's a large amount of intelligence in the viewing audience, so when they see those twice-an-hour time stamps they'll understand what is being presented."

Analysis: If a sporting event's feed isn't live, a broadcaster should avoid using an omnipresent "live" tag. The best reason to have this tag on a West Coast feed (and to not put a clear "tape delayed" notice) is for the same reason some are incensed – it gives viewers an impression of live urgency that isn't quite there. Like with the fireworks, the original complaint is mollified by the facts, to a degree: to a casual viewer the coverage shows one thing, while to somebody paying close attention, it shows something slightly less exciting.

Accusation: NBC edited the "parade of nations" from the original order to delay the entrance of US. athletes.

NBC Response: An NBC Sports spokesman says the order was unchanged.

Analysis: Editing a sporting event like a reality show to save the most eagerly awaited moments for the conclusion would be an issue - if it were true. As it is, online reports have provided no real evidence.

The Times also reports that the "cute" girl who sang at the opening ceremony was merely lip synching, the real girl who sang was deemed to be too "ugly" for TV.

Oh dear, it really is rather silly to try to pull the wool over people's eyes like this!

Olympic Medals Won

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Record Audience

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics pulled in a record number of TV viewers around the world.

NBC in the USA, despite not showing the event live and delaying it to primetime, managed to score its highest ever rating (over 34 million viewers) for a non-American hosted summer Olympics aside from the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

In China between 63% and 68.8% of China's total audience, a record, watched the opening ceremony.

In Australia, the Seven Network said that its audience was over 3.3 million viewers. In Germany, 7.7 million watched it on ARD; in France, 4.4 million watched it on France 2 and in Italy, 5.5 million watched on RAI. The BBC had an audience of 5 million.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Special Protest Zones

Mindful of criticism over the lack of free speech during the Beijing Olympics, China has authorised the right of protest in specially designated "protest zones" dotted around Beijing.

They are hidden away in hard-to reach suburbs, seven miles from the main Olympic stadium. There are also rules about who can demonstrate, and what they can demonstrate about.

In order to protest, the "protestee" must apply for a permit at the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) five days before the planned protest. They must fill out an application that specifies the purpose and time of the protest, what will happen during it, the slogans that will be written on banners and posters, the estimated number of protesters and whether megaphones or any form of amplified sound equipment will be used. Foreigners have to go through the same procedure, and make sure their application is in Mandarin.

The protest must also comply with Chinese law on public demonstrations.

Protests that threaten the territorial unity of China are illegal, so protests demanding freedom for Tibet are of course banned.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Scenes From the Opening Ceremony

Scenes from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games 2008:







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Opening Ceremony

The Beijing Olympics will kick off in less than an hour (8:08PM local time) today. Unfortunately, Beijing is shrouded in fog and haze, and is sweltering in hot and humid conditions.

Those who are in the Bird's Nest stadium tonight will experience temperatures in the low 30s Celsius and humidity above 80%.

However, Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) remains optimistic, he is quoted on Bloomberg:

"The fog does not mean necessarily pollution.

We prefer clear skies but the most important thing is that the health of the athletes is protected
."

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Olympics Junket

With the Beijing Olympics due to kick off tomorrow, the British government has come under fire over the cost to the public purse (estimated at being £7M) of sending public servants to Beijing.

Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who is avoiding the opening ceremony will fly out to attend the closing ceremony and will be accompanied by 20 aides at a cost of £114,000. On top of that many other bodies, involved in organising the 2012 London games, are sending representatives.

In total, 639 people at a cost of £6,846,700 will attend.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said:

"While appreciating the importance of the UK being represented in Beijing, questions have to be asked if this many people are necessary.

I'm staggered by the amount of money some departments are spending on sending their staff.

It almost looks as if some public officials have been dreaming up excuses to go on a junket
."

Unfortunately, people do love a jolly junket!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Bullshit

The Sweet Smell of Bullshit
The IOC would have the world believe that internet access in China, for the period of the Olympics, is more or less free and unfettered for the foreign journalists who are camped en masse there.

The IOC released a statement:

"The media should be seeing a noticeable difference in accessibility to websites that they need to report on the Olympic Games.

Open Internet access has always been assured by [Beijing Organising Committee] and the Chinese authorities, and the IOC is pleased to see these reassurances being upheld
."

All very nice, except for one small problem.

It is bullshit!

Thousands of sites remain unavailable to both journalists and Beijing residents; including TypePad, LiveJournal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Technorati, parts of Wikipedia and the Huffington Post.

WebSitePulse.com has a "China Firewall test" tool, which lets users input a site's address to see if it's working in Beijing. Why not try it out for yourself?



Free Website Test tools by WebSitePulse




The IOC does not come out of this very well at all.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ticket Scam

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking action against www.beijingtickets.com that has allegedly been operating an Olympic ticketing scam.

It is reported that many hundreds of people in Britain, America, Belgium and Australia have paid the site approximately £30K for non existent tickets and accommodation.

The hapless purchasers have been arriving in Beijing only to find that their purchases have yielded them nothing.

The site is now offline and "parked".

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Haze Returns

Despite a recent bout of clear skies and breathable air, with the Olympic games due to start this Friday, Beijing has woken up today to a return of the dreaded haze. This despite that fact that organisers have closed factories and removed over 1.5 million cars from the roads.

There are now plans being considered to seed the clouds to induce rainfall to clear the skies.

Failing that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that it may reschedule endurance events, such as the marathon, to prevent health risks if the pollution continues.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Web Access in Beijing

The IOC have announced that Chinese and international organisers are working on a compromise to unblock censored websites for the foreign media.

Despite the fact that Beijing has unblocked a number of banned sites, including Amnesty International, there are others that remain blocked.

IOC President Jacques Rogge has promised free and unrestricted net access for foreign journalists during the games.

The IOC and the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, have set up a working group to determine which remaining censored websites can be opened up to reporters.

With nine days to go, they will have their work cut out!

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Opening Ceremony Video Leaked

The details of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics (8 August) have been kept strictly under wraps, so as not to spoil the surprise.

That at least was the plan until South Korea messed it up, and showed a 30 sneak preview on TV.

The footage was obtained by a reporter with the Seoul Broadcasting system, who walked into the National Stadium during a rehearsal on Monday.

The images are now on the net, and show floating 3D humpback whales, kung fu fighters and trapeze gymnasts.

In one segment, thousands of white cubes are moved by people to form waves suggesting the explosive growth of high-rise cities in China. A giant green and blue globe can be seen. Large whales will figure, as will dancers dressed as ancient soldiers from the Tomb of Unknown Warriors.

Not unsurprisingly, China is not best pleased with this leak. The Beijing Olympics spokesman, Sun Weide, said last night that the footage was obtained by "irregular means" and questioned the professional standards of the reporter.

The video was on YouTube until it was pulled for copyright reasons, and the fact that the Chinese are furious. However, it still can be viewed here: Huffington Post.

See it before it is pulled.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beijing Air Clearing

As the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics approaches, organisers have been anxiously monitoring air pollution levels in and around Beijing hoping for the air to clear and the traditional summer smog to lift.

It would seem their prayers are being answered, wind and rain has helped clear Beijing's air and all are keeping their fingers crossed for the start of the games on the 8th of August.

The recent haze was the worst seen in Beijing in the past month, this in spite of the fact that over 1 million cars have been pulled off the road and work on construction sites has been stopped.

Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told reporters that Beijing could institute emergency measures if air pollution worsens during the games, and said a contingency plan was already in place.

The National Meteorological Center said that rain is forecast for the next few days in Beijing.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Great Firewall of China II

For those who have problems in China wrt accessing the certain sites on the net, Amnesty International Australia have set up the Chinese Internet Censor Index for you to record you frustrations.

The Telegraph reports that politically sensitive sites, including those dealing with Tibet and Taiwan and the BBC (technical problems are blamed), are still blocked.

However, you can buy porn in the Games village bookshop, which sells erotic books featuring pictures of naked women with titles such as "Drawing book for the Nude".

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Monday, July 28, 2008

"Religion" The Root of All Evil

The Times reports that a militant Islamic group, the Turkestan Islamic party, has threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics with suicide bombers and biological weapons.

A video allegedly has been released by the group that warns athletes and spectators, "especially Muslims", to stay away.

The world would be a much more peaceful place without "religion".

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

IOC VP Praises China's Preparations

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Chiharu Igaya, in a recent interview with Xinhua, stated:

"As the Beijing Olympics boasts many outstanding sports venues, I believe athletes around the world could achieve better scores in the better conditions.

Sports competition, sports culture and sports environment constitute the core of the modern Olympic, and excellent sports facilities will be an important part of a successful Olympics
."

Igaya was generous in his praise for Beijing's adoption of new designs and advanced technologies in Olympic facilities.

"In the systemic project of hosting the Olympics, Beijing's presentation of a series of fine architectures, including the 'Bird's Nest,' is especially praiseworthy.

China has overcome a series of challenges, including the recent Sichuan earthquake, during the past seven years since the bidding success, and we are grateful for China's significant efforts to prepare the games
."

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hotel Rates Slashed

Hotel room rates in Beijing are being dramatically slashed ahead of the forthcoming Olympics, starting on 8 August, as room occupancy rates are falling.

The fall in occupancy rates is as a result of increased security and worries amongst prospective visitors about air pollution and terrorism.

Two to four star hotels have reportedly reduced prices by between 10%-20%, compared to May and June. Some have even cut rates by up to 30%.

The Beijing Tourism Authority reports that in June the number of visitors to Beijing, including overseas and domestic, was down by 19.9% compared with the previous year earlier.

The average room prices in some three-star hotels are down to 400 yuan ($60) per night from 700 yuan ($100) in previous months. Four star hotels have dropped to about 800 yuan ($117) a night, from 1,500 yuan ($220).

Beijing initially expected around 500,000 foreign guests for the Olympics. However, that estimate has now been reduced.

It seems that bargains, if some tough negotiations are conducted, can be had.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Great Firewall of China

Those of you who are travelling to China for the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, who want to be able to access all of the web during the visit will need to use a proxy to get around the firewall.

When I go to China I use www.anonymouse.org. There are of course others, do a Google and look them up before you go.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Putin Says Da

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said "Da" to attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on 8 August.

Putin will join the "great and the good" at the opening ceremony including; George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are shying away from the event.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The "Unseen" Adverts

Amnesty International has managed, rather cleverly, to highlight an issue that vexes them without even resorting to an official advertising campaign.

Amnesty's French offices commissioned TBWA to create a series of adverts highlighting China's alleged human rights abuses, in the run up to the Olympics.

The adverts included images of a man being pushed headfirst into a swimming pool, a policeman walking away from a man who has been shot while lashed to an archery target and a woman chained to a dumbbell in the colours of the Olympic rings.

The tag line is:

"After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on."

Amnesty in the end decided never to show them, because they were too graphic. However, they were entered for a website competition and inevitably ended up circulating on the web even crossing the Great Firewall of China.

The adverts, despite never being officially shown, have caused a huge amount of controversy in China and resulted in a large amount of publicity for Amnesty.

There is one more irony here.

TBWA, which produced the advertisements, also put together a series of adverts aimed at the Chinese Olympics market, including a series for Adidas featuring local athletes and their fans.

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