The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

London's Bid

The Labour Party conference, in Brighton, tried to give London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics a kick start on Tuesday.

The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, reportedly said "Let's unite as a country to work for it, win it and give the world an Olympic Games that none of us will ever forget....This is about how ambitious and bold we are as a country. In sport there is no higher place than the Olympics. That must be our goal...."

UGHH!! Utter claptrap.

Mayor Ken Livingstone at least tried to inject a note of realism, by noting that London still had "some way to catch up" in respect of infrastructure.

The bottom line is simple, London does not have the infrastructure to cope with hosting the Games; and will not have it in place in time.

There is not a hope in hell of London being awarded the 2012 Games.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Frosty Games

The mascots for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, starting on 10 January 2006, have been unveiled.

They are Neve a snowball, and Gliz a block of ice.

They were launched at a ceremony yesterday and, after a cartoon show introducing them, made an appearance in person.

They are meant to represent the spirit of the Olympics namely; competition, friendship and fair play. I will look at the contents of my ice box with new respect in the future.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is a tad worried about the laid back attitude of the Italians with respect to meeting deadlines. He is reportedly not wishing to see a repeat of the last minute rush to complete, that occurred at the Athens Games.

The Italians are sanguine, and feel that there will be no problem.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A Lot of Fuss

Paul Hamm's hearing, regarding the disputed gymnastic medal, was held in Lausanne yesterday. It seems that it was quite an ordeal; lasting over 11 hours.

The decision has yet to be announced. However, it seems that all the "stops" were pulled out to make sure that the hearing seemed to be important.

Hamm had 6 lawyers with him, there were also 40 people speaking 7 languages attending the hearing.

The arbitrators will now take a fortnight to deliberate over the issue.

A Jolly Junket

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) team, who will be judging which city hosts the 2012 Olympics, have announced the schedule of their jolly junket.

They will kick off in Madrid then visit London, New York, Paris and finally Moscow.

The IOC claim that the order of cities is logistical. However, from my modest grasp of geography, I would have thought it should be Madrid, Paris, London, New York then Moscow.

The team will be led by Nawal El Moutawakel, Morocco's 1984 Olympic 400 meters hurdles champion. They will meet bid leaders, and city/government officials during their visits.

They are scheduled to report in May 2005.

This will be an especially nice trip for the "lads" from the IOC; as they have not been allowed to travel, since the Salt Lake City corruption scandal in 1998.

Let us hope no one takes any bribes this time round!

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Waiting Is Over

The waiting is finally over for Paul Hamm; winner, for the time being, of the men's gymnastic Olympic medal.

Today the Court for Arbitration for Sport will hear the appeal from the South Korean gymnast, Yang Tae-young, who is disputing the scoring of the event.

Needless to say, with both the Koreans and Americans vowing to battle to the end for their respective sides, the hearing could be every bit as thrilling as the actual event.

Indeed, the US Olympic Committee is sending a bevy of lawyers along; as well as spending $300K on defending their man.

The hearing will take place in Lausanne, behind closed doors. A panel of 3 wise men will hear the case, then make their decision.

However, no one knows quite how these guys will come to a decision; rumour has it they will examine the entrails of a goat.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Never Ending Games

It seems that the 2004 Games are set to go on until 2012, that at least is the case from the drug enforcement perspective.

All the urine and bodily fluid samples, taken during the 2004 Games, have to be stored until 2012; just in case a new test has to be carried out.

As technology develops, it is likely that new tests will be devised over the coming years that can be used on these frozen samples.

It is therefore highly possible that titles won in 2004, will be removed in 2011; if the winners were proven to be cheating.

Imagine the litigation issues that would stir up!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Golf in The Olympics Handicapped

It seems that the suggestion that golf should appear in the 2012 Olympics has not pleased everyone.

It is reported that whilst the Royal and Ancient Club (R&A), which is the world governing body for golf aside from the USA, is backing the bid; the European and US PGA tours are opposing the bid.

It seems that there are issues over scheduling.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hands In The Till, Surely Not?

It seems that there is something of a row going on, over the handling of the finances of the Athens Olympics.

Aside from massivley overspending, current estimates put the total costs at around $12BN, there are now accusations about the honesty of the bookeeping.

An audit report issued this week has caused the Athens Games chief, Gianna Angelopoulos, to state that the report into the 2001 accounts does not give an accurate picture.

Angelopoulos is quoted as saying that every euro would be accounted for.

The audit report claims that the Games organising committee (ATHOC) did not follow proper hiring procedures, awarded tenders without signing contracts and had several thousand euros in unaccounted payments. As an experienced fraud investigator, I can say that these are very serious control weaknesses; which would not be tolerated in a listed, reputable comapny.

It seems that the charges include the following:

  • Large sums were spent on receptions and out of town expenses

  • 39 of the 41 directors and general directors were hired by bending local labour laws offering large salaries, and awarding considerable compensation for employees who resigned and were not eligible for payment

  • Payments were made of about 4,000 euros for flowers sent to ATHOC itself, and several hospitals.

Angelopoulos has said that all unaccounted expenses would come out of the salaries of the relevant employees.

The audit reports for the years ending 2002, 2003 and 2004 will make very interesting reading.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

No Limits

It seems that there are no limits as to what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are prepared to consider as a sport for inclusion in the Games.

It is reported that golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports are all being considered for inclusion in the 2012 Olympics.

The IOC has notified the governing bodies of these 5 sports that they will be "studied further", for possible inclusion.

This is part of a review of the 28 sports used in the Athens Olympics. Changes made will not become effective until the 2012 Games.

However, any new "sport" included in the 2012 Games will be at the expense of another already in the Games; which will be dropped to make way for the new one.

The IOC has sent out a questionnaire to all 28 of the Olympic sports federations, plus the 5 "wanabees".

Those fans of bowling, ball room dancing!, chess and bridge will be disappointed to know that they are not on the list for possible inclusion.

Basket weaving anyone?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Tick Tock

The countdown to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing has started.

Jiang Xiaoyu, vice-president of the Beijing organising committee for the games, unveiled a countdown timer yesterday in Tiananmen Square.

The Games, known as the humanitarian Olympics, are scheduled to start on the 8th of August 2008.

Less than 1,417 days to go!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Breed All About It

China is leaving nothing to chance, as it prepares for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Ping Ping, the polar bear, is leaving his home in Sea World on the Gold Coast; and returning to his original home at the Beijing Zoo.

Ping Ping must do his duty for his country, and breed; it's a tough life!

The Chinese feel that the zoo needs to have an injection of youth, and vitality, in time for the Games; what better way than to have a few new polar bear cubs?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Peasants' Revolt

The planning for London’s bid for the 2012 Games may be going smoothly, in terms of the planning applications. However, there are problems on the community relations front.

People living in the East of London, where the some of the Games will be held, are more than a little sceptical about the benefits of playing host to this bloated circus in their area.

They are still smarting from the Dome fiasco, which had promised a cornucopia of untold wealth and opportunities for those in the area. The reality was somewhat different; no extra jobs, and massive disruption caused by the construction of the country’s largest white elephant.

This time the residents of East London are not going to be so easily swayed. In fact, in order to make their point, they are threatening to hold demonstrations against the Olympics when the IOC inspection committee come to town next year.

Needless to say, the thought of a “peasant revolt” has caused Tony and his cronies some sleepless nights; Tony does not like to be embarrassed in front of the media. Therefore the London Olympic bid team have employed “community liaison” people, armed with pro forma answers to awkward questions, to try to keep the “peasants” in line.

However, I suspect that the residents have the upper hand; they wont settle for sweet promises without guarantees.

Power to the People!

A map of the sites for the proposed 2012 Games can be viewed here click map.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Dirty Voting

Those of you who think that the voting for the host city for the 2012 Olympics is based purely on economic, and infrastructure, considerations are deluding yourselves.

The reality is that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is dominated by Europeans; the leading European city in the race is Paris, the leading non European city is New York.

It is known that if a European city wins the bidding for 2012 then, in order to appear fair and unbiased, the 2016 Games will not be held in a European city. This causes a few problems for some of the European members of the IOC.

Milan, Budapest, Prague, Lisbon and Berlin have all shown interest in bidding for the 2016 Games. They know that a vote for Paris will stop their chances of winning the 2016 bid, therefore they will not vote for Paris.

Grubby business, isn't it?

Scotland's Parliament, A lesson To Be Learned

The debacle over the Scottish parliament raises issues beyond Scotland.

The parliament building, which was recently opened at Holyrood, was budgeted to cost around £40M; instead the costs ballooned to over £400M, spectacular incompetence by anybody's standards.

This confirms what has long been known by people with half a brain, politicians and governments in the UK are incapable of managing construction and investment projects.

The same inept and incompetent politicians are now trying to convince the British public, and the International Olympic Committee, that the infrastructure necessary to hold the 2012 Olympic Games will be in place, on budget and on time.

Don't fall for it, they know not what they say!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

No Growth At The Olympics

It is reported that one in ten drugs samples, taken in Athens, had been tested for human growth hormone (HGH).

The idea according to Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), was to surprise drug cheats by re-testing samples kept over from the Olympics for new designer drugs.

Out of the 300 tests for HGH, none have rated positive so far.

However, there were 24 other doping violations announced during this year's Olympics.

In another move to stop cheating, the samples taken at the Olympics are to be kept for eight years for retroactive testing.

However, Dick Pound is "pissed off" with government's lack of enthusiasm for funding the work of WADA. They are still awaiting the US contribution, which accounts for 10% of the 2005 budget.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Struggle Continues

The highest court in the world of sport will be in action on 27 September; as it hears an appeal from, Yang Tae-young, the South Korean gymnast who lost the title to Paul Hamm because of a scoring error.

Needless to say Hamm wants to keep his medal and, together with the US Olympic Committee, is doing everything possible the keep it draped around his neck.

The hearing, just like a real court hearing over something important, will have all the trappings of a real court with lawyers etc; it will take place at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne Switzerland.

In addition to the fight over the gymnastics medal, the Canadians are also going to be heard; as they kick up a fuss over the men's vault final.

I understand that the Hungarians are also "pissed" about something as well.

Does anyone really care now that the Games are over?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Record Breaking

It seems that the doping issues from the Athens Olympics, won't go away.

Ferenc Gyurkovics, the Hungarian weightlifter, has been stripped of his silver medal; after testing positive for banned substances on Saturday. Puerto Rican wrestler Mabel Fonseca has also been expelled for a positive drug test.

This now brings the total of those expelled from the 2004 Olympics, to 22; a record, up on the previous record which was 12 during the LA Games.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Prudent Swiss

The Swiss have pulled out of bidding for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

They believe that the costs of hosting the Games, especially the security aspects, are totally prohibitive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Calling in The Feds

It is reported that Greek investigators examining the Kenteris and Thanou, the "dynamic duo" of sprinting, doping scandal have asked for information from their colleagues in the USA.

The investigators are very interested in information about BALCO, the drugs laboratory suspected of producing and distributing the banned anabolic steroid THG.

You will recall that the "dynamic duo" missed a drugs test; then found themselves in a motorcycle "accident", which is suspected of being faked.

Their coach, Christos Tzekos, and his nutritional "supplement" business is also being investigated.

It seems that our heroic "dynamic duo" can at least claim one gold medal, that being in the category of missing drugs tests. They have managed to miss 3 during 2004 alone.

Quite some achievement!

A Quick Statistic

The $12BN cost of hosting the Athens Olympics, has taken the total Greek public debt to over 112% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

This is the equivalent of $75K for every Greek household.

Canada, which hosted the Games in 1976, ended up with a public debt of a "mere" 68%. They expect to finish paying for the Games in 2006.

Monday, September 13, 2004

No Bid

It is reported that New York may pull out of the bidding to host the 2012 Olympics.

It seems that there has been some local opposition to the proposal to build a $1.4BN stadium for the New York Jets.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued an ultimatum that, if agreement is not reached soon on the new stadium, New York will pull out of the bidding.

Do you believe that?

I don't!

Sunday, September 12, 2004


The $12BN cost of hosting the Athens Olympics, has put a very large hole in Greece's public finances.

It is reported that, in order to "shore those finances up", the Greek government will be cutting defence expenditure by $0.6BN; and selling off certain nationalised industries.

The first lined up for privatisation is the postal saving bank; and, appropriately enough, Olympic Airlines.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

All The Fun of The Fair

It is reported that China will complete Asia's longest roller coaster by the beginning of October 2004, in readiness for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

The roller coaster has a track over 800 metres long, and is based the Shijingshan Amusement Park.

I understand that it cost around $6M, and is up to 33 metres high, that's one hell of a ride!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bird's Nest

I understand that work on the $0.6M "bird's nest", the new Olympic TV tower in Beijing, has been halted.

It seems that cuts in funding for the Games have caused designers to reconsider their plans.

The official explanation is, that fears of traffic congestion are the main reasons for the delay in construction.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Political Tosh

In the dying embers of the 2004 Olympics we see a fine example of political tosh.

It seems that the Iranian government has been greatly pleased by the fact that the Iranian judo champion, Arash Miresmaeili, did not fight an Israeli opponent in the first round of the under 66kg judo competition of the Olympics.

Much like the ostrich with its head in the sand, the Iranians do not recognise Israel. Therefore, by definition, how could they fight a representative from a country that doesn't exist?

All clear?

This, show of "principle", allegedly cost the Iranian a gold medal. To reward him for his "principled" stand, the Iranian government has awarded him $125K; the ceremony was shown on Iranian TV.

However, there is one small problem with this show of "principle"; it seems that Miresmaeili was over the 66kg limit, and would not have been able to fight anyway.

Sometimes the lies and posturing of countries and politicians just make me feel like retching.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Frugal Games

It seems that talk of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing being the most expensive and elaborate ever, may be premature.

It is reported that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, has called for there to be budget cuts. He is calling the 2008 Games "the Frugal Games".

Olympic construction projects will be reduced from 10 to 5, and others will be reduced in size.

The Beijing city government now says it will reduce new construction projects by half, from 10 to five, and scale back the size of others.

Among the cuts are plans to build a hotel, offices and shopping mall at the Wukesong centre.

Building plans are reportedly being postponed from 2004 to 2005.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Hands in The Till

It is some four years until the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However, there are already accusations of impropriety regarding money.

It is reported that some of the money allocated for Olympic construction, may be being "nicked" by certain nefarious individuals.

I understand that the Chinese State Auditing Commission, which is highly respected for its professionalism and integrity, is about to investigate the matter.

The story seems to be the good old "officials on junkets" one; namely, officials and other individuals find reasons to tour cities that have held the Olympics in the past in order to "learn".

Needless to say, they don't use their own money, but that which has been allocated to pay for the construction.

It seems that the accusations go back to 2000, when certain individuals from Beijing went to Sydney on a "learning exercise". Athens, also hosted a very large group of Chinese officials during the 2004 Olympics.

The excuse, "how can we learn, if we do not see?", runs a little thin; when individuals from provincial towns, with no connection to the forthcoming Games in Beijing, take a "jolly". An additional problem, it seems, with these trips is that some of the provincial visitors cannot speak English; hence severely limiting "their learning experience".

Needless to say it is the poor old Chinese tax payer who has to fund these "jollies".

Monday, September 6, 2004

Filthy Lucre

Those of you who thought that the $12BN expenditure by Greece, on the 2004 Olympic Games, was a "tad excessive" should take a deep breath.

It seems that China intends to spend a stonking $35BN, on the 2008 Games being hosted in Beijing, now that's what I call serious money!

The Chinese, it seems, intend to do "the full monty" and build; roads, subways and another airport.

The costs of the Games rise each time for a number of reasons:

  • The host country's ego in trying to outdo the previous Games

  • An increase in the number of events considered to be Olympic sports. I understand that the ancient, and noble, "sport" of darts is being considered for inclusion

  • Increased security costs

  • The costs of bribing, oops sorry, "bidding" for the Games

That being said, there are some rewards to be had; if the host country doesn't "cock it up". I understand, for example, that Athens earned $1.5Bn from the sale of the TV rights; together with another $1.2Bn from those health conscience companies Coke and McDonald's.

The motto of the Games is in fact:

"Mo Money!, Mo Money!, Mo Money!"

Sunday, September 5, 2004

A Small Statistic

Mr Yuan Weiming, director of the State Sports General Administration (SSGA) of China, has done some sums.

He has worked out, and I have no idea how, that for each gold medal won at Athens; China spent around $40M to $100M investing in the training etc.

Wouldn't it have been easier, and cheaper, just to mine the gold instead?

Environmental Aspects of 2004 Panned

Worldwide environmental groups have panned the Athens Olympics 2004, for being environmentally worse than Sydney's Games in 2000.

Greenpeace noted, without deliberate irony, that it was surprised at the lack of solar energy used in the Athens Games; given the amount of sunshine Greece enjoys.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) noted that, efforts must now be made to undo the environmental damage done by the Games.

Needless to say the International Olympic Committee (IOC), don't seem to be too bothered; their prime concern is the money made from sponsorship deals.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

The Long March To Beijing

The group, Human Rights Watch, have asked the Chinese government to improve its human rights record before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

A website, China Olympics Watch, is pressing for the end to censorship and for trade unions and other organisations to be legalised.

Human Rights Watch are hopeful that the IOC, and sponsors, of the Games will put pressure on the Chinese to improve its human rights record.

I think this will be a "long march".

Friday, September 3, 2004


Even though the Olympics 2008 in Beijing are still four years away, people are setting their minds to what should be the symbol for those Games.

I understand that three students, from Ningbo University, have started a campaign for the Tibetan antelope to be the mascot for the 2008 Olympics.

They have started a bicycle journey, with a banner proclaiming their support for the symbol; and are collecting signatures in support of their cause.

I understand that they have covered over 3500KM.

The antelope is on the endangered species list, and there is a campaign to protect it.

To read more about the antelope, and to see a very cute picture of one, visit Tibetan Antelope.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

The Party is Over

It seems that post Olympic reality is about to hit Greece.

It is reported that as a result of budget deficits hitting 5% (the $12BN cost of the Olympics will have had something to do with that), the government will be introducing emergency measures such as; increasing taxes and one off levies on businesses.

Other countries who, for reasons that escape me, are scrambling to secure the 2012 Games should take note.

In my view, the Games in their current form are unsustainable; both logistically and financially.

A Little Bit of Controversy

The Olympics, wherever they are held, have one abiding characteristic; they cause controversy.

Shortly after the handover of the Olympic responsibility from Athens to Beijing, controversy reared its head again.

This time the issue of Tibet, and its freedom, has been thrown into the Olympic melting pot.

It is reported that two members of the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN) displayed a banner; reading "No Olympic for China until Tibet is Free", at the Ethnic Minorities Park in Beijing.

This park will be part of the 2008 Olympic complex. The two protesters, Han-shan a US citizen and Liam Phelan from Australia, were arrested by the police together with two journalists.

It seems that this is one small action, in a series of increasingly intense protests being planned by ITSN.

The ITSN are campaigning for the Chinese occupation of Tibet to end.

In another action, just before the Games in Athens ended, the campaigners attempted to deliver a banner with 5 bullet holes (akin to the Olympic symbol) to the IOC.

They were stopped by the police, doubtless the police were concerned that the use of the symbol breached the trademark rules which are so jealously guarded by the IOC.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The Butler, Sorry, Coach Did It

It seems that one half of the "Dynamic Duo" of sprinting, Kenteris, can't keep his mouth shut; and is still protesting his innocence, in relation to the earlier doping scandal that got him kicked out of the Games.

My sources tell me that Kenteris has had non-stop coverage on his home island of Lesbos; being kissed by all and sundry, posing for photo's with old ladies, babies and even a priest. He is still proclaiming his innocence, and blamed it all on the coach; he thought that he was only taking vitamins.

Methinks he doth protest too much!

In other news...

Having gotten rid of the Olympics, Greece is now on war footing for a football match between Greece and Turkey; word has it the riot police are already on the streets, even before the game has started.

Ah, where did the Olympic spirit of co-operation and friendly competition go?

Happy Chappy

The head of the Olympics, Jacques Rogge, praised the Greek organisers for the successful organisation of the Olympics 2004.

He declared himself to be "very, very happy about the Games".

However, it seems that there may be more drug issues; over and above the 22 positive tests so far.