The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

London Wields Big Guns

London, in its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, is bringing in Britain's sporting stars to add a touch of "glamour" to the proceedings.

David Beckham, and other captains of Britain's national sports teams, have been roped in to support the bid.

England soccer captain Beckham, rugby captain Jason Robinson and cricket skipper Michael Vaughan released a joint statement yesterday in support of the bid.

"We aspire to win world cups in our sports and know the Olympics is not an event in which we can take part but we want to win this race just as much as any athlete, swimmer or cyclist...".

Among others signing the petition were England rugby league captain Andy Farrell, Scotland soccer captain Barry Ferguson, Scotland rugby captain Gordon Bulloch and Wales soccer captain Gary Speed.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Marble Olympics 2008

The Chinese are planning to use a large amount of marble, in the construction of their Olympic venues for the 2008 Games.

Marble from various parts of Rajasthan in India was exported to China this year, for building the infrastructure for the 2008 Olympics. This included granite, marble tiles, slabs and other articles.

The Chinese are using very high quality marble and granite, imported from India, in their Olympic constructions.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Prague for 2016?

Prague is considering bidding for the 2016 or 2020 Olympics.

A study commissioned by them says that the cost would be around $5.5BN.

However, the report says that the Games could yield a modest profit; they all say that don't they?

They have two years to make their minds up if they are going to bid.

Friday, November 26, 2004

IOC Coverup?

I wonder how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can "look at itself in the mirror" in the morning.

They claim, on the one hand, to be for probity and integrity; yet, when it comes to the media scrutinising their activities, they run for cover.

The IOC executive board are expected to announce today that they plan to ask the same Singapore meeting that decides the 2012 venue to expel Ivan Slavkov, the Bulgarian member at the centre of a BBC Panorama corruption sting.

Slavkov was suspended from the IOC, after the Panorama programme made allegations of "cash-for-votes" deals in the bidding for the 2012 Games.

Panorama's methods have seemingly upset the IOC, who seem somewhat publicity shy; the thought of secret cameras and undercover reporters sends shivers down their spines.

What have they to hide I wonder?

It seems that, according to reports, the dear old "incorruptible" IOC are now wary of having contact with British officials; this of course means that the London bid has even less likelihood of winning.

The IOC are reportedly worried about the media in the UK which, in their view, is far too inquisitive.

I repeat, what have they to hide?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turin Turmoil

It seems that all is not well in Italy, as Turin continues to prepare to host the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The organisers of the 2006 Turin Olympics have made two key appointments, to the executive board of the organising committee.

Mario Pescante, the new government-appointed supervisor of the Turin Games, and Turin Mayor Sergio Chiamparino have been appointed; in the hope that this will ease the political tensions in the committee.

Additionally, in sign that all is not well with the finances, the budget has been postponed until 21 December.

The Turin Games face a $242M shortfall; the committee expect, and hope, that the Italian taxpayer will cover this. However, support for the Games is very lukewarm in Italy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

No One Wants to Pay

As is typical with the Olympic circus; everyone wants to host it, but no one wants to pay for it.

This hypocritical stance was well demonstrated by the Welsh Assembly, in respect of the possibility of the UK hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Assembly will try to ensure that London picks up the bill for using Cardiff's Millennium Stadium; in the unlikely event that London hosts the 2012 Olympics.

If the London bid is successful, several matches in the football tournament would be held at the stadium.

The Welsh Assembly quote:

"..have obtained an undertaking from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport that the UK Government will consider any extraordinary costs that might in principle fall to us in relation to hosting the events at the Millennium Stadium...

While this does not specifically state that the UK Government will meet these costs, we will make a strong case for them to do so

They conveniently ignore the "alleged" economic benefits of the thousands of fans ect, that will "flock" to Wales to watch these matches.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Great Wall lubricating oil has been designated as the official lubricant for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, quite an honour!

Sinopec, China's largest oil refining and petrochemical company and owner of the oil, singed a deal with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics (BOCOG) last month.

Sinopec will provide funds, and other forms of support, for; the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, BOCOG, the Chinese Olympic Committee, as well as Chinese sports delegations for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and 2008 Summer Olympics.

BOCOG has signed 6 partners for the 2008 Games, including; Volkswagen, China Mobile and Bank of China.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Olympics Torch Stolen

A torch used to carry the Olympic Flame, for the 1998 Winter Games in Japan, has been stolen from the Nagano Olympic Museum.

The museum allowed visitors to handle the torch, which was retained by a wire to prevent it from being stolen. However, the wire was cut; and the torch stolen.

This is one of a 1000 Olympic torches, made for the 1998 Winter Games held in Nagano. The museum has one other torch left.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Another Olympics, Another Budget Balls Up!

Seemingly, and why should we be surprised when there are politicians involved, yet another Olympics budget has fallen apart.

This time the honour for lousy financial planning, falls on the forthcoming Turin Winter Olympics 2006. They are expecting a a $242M shortfall, small potatoes compared with the $8BN overspend by the Greeks!

However, to add spice to this little pot boiler, I understand that the police are investigating the possibility that construction contracts were fixed.

Corruption, in the Olympics; surely not?

As usual, when an Olympic's event looks like it will disintegrate into chaos, a politician raises his head; and tells the world that everything will be alright. The politician in question this time is Valentino Castellani, a former Turin mayor who is leading the "organising" committee TOROC.

He said that the games would be ready for the opening ceremony on Feb. 10, 2006. Needless to say, the good people of Italy will be the ones saddled with the bill for the shortfall.

Castellani played the "blame game", noting that state-owned companies, including public broadcaster RAI, have not played their part in sponsoring and promoting the games. National airline Alitalia, which is mired in major financial difficulties, has also not sponsored the games.

So there you go ladies and gentlemen, it's everyone else's fault; but most certainly not the fault of TOROC.

In typical myopic form, Castellani said:

"I don't see any scandal, any particular insoluble solution. I can't believe for a country like Italy that (US$260 million) will be a problem."

How very kind of him!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Madrid's Bid Dead?

It seems that the racist abuse, by Spanish fans of English footballers on Wednesday, may well have killed Madrid's chances of hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.

The IOC may be many things, but it is not stupid enough to knowingly associate its brand with racism.

Lord Coe, the head of the British bid team, was quick to recognise this. In his speech yesterday, outlining London's bid proposal, he put the athletic boot into Madrid.

He said that British Olympics would showcase Britain's "ethnic diversity and tolerance".

Referring to the scenes from Madrid, on Wednesday, he added:

"It was a disfiguring episode for anyone anywhere in sport."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Athens Busts Budget Again

It seems that the Athens Olympic budget has been busted again.

Previous reports that the cost of the Games would hit $12BN, seem to be a little on the "light side".

The total cost of the Athens Olympics may in fact exceed $14.6BN, according to Greece's 2005 budget submitted to parliament Thursday.

The extra costs have come from infrastructure projects, eg the metro extension to the airport, and other indirect public sector expenditures not included in the original Olympic budget.

Speaking as an accountant, I trust that the financial "experts" who forecast that the cost would not exceed $6BN get their backsides well and truly kicked.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

New York Does It Large!

New York unveiled its detailed plans for its bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics yesterday.

It is promising to beam the Olympic Rings into the night sky over Manhattan, to illuminate the Empire State Building with the national colors of competing countries and to cover every available surface with Olympics advertising.

The latter point will definitely please the judges, given the fact that the Olympics are now entirely the plaything of the marketing men from the corporate world.

The triathlon event would use Central Park, whilst baseball and basketball would be played at Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden respectively.

New York would construct new sites including; an aquatics center in a 35-acre waterfront park in Brooklyn and a park for equestrian events on the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

The Olympic village would be built in Queens, and would accommodate the 4,400 athletes.

Ticket prices will be extortionate; between $550 and $1,500 for the opening ceremony, whilst ordinary tickets would cost around $50.

The IOC will visit New York in February 2005, and announce the winner in July.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Security Matters

An Australian company has signed an agreement with the Chinese Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE), to develop security technology for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

QR Sciences Limited (QRS), a company that specialises in the development of Quadrupole Resonance based explosive detection systems, formalised a memorandum of understanding signed earlier this year.

QRS will develop, and test, a multi-technology screening system; this will be capable of detecting radioactive and explosive materials, along with a range of weapons and narcotics.

The success of this will have positive repercussions for avionics, and other means of travel, worldwide.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Designer Apartments

It seems that the Olympics never quite fails to surprise me.

Tennis star Venus Williams will, if New York wins the bid for the 2012 Games, be expecting the athletes at the Games to be staying in her apartments.

No, she hasn't got an extremely large apartment in New York; she in fact has just set up a design company, that handles the interior design of apartments and houses.


"...(Designing the apartments) was actually a really fun project... If we get the Olympics in New York in 2012 the athletes will be staying in something very much like (my design)...".

It seems that Williams's design skills were honed at the Athens Games; she helped design the orange newsboy caps, which were required headgear for McDonald's employees in Athens.


Monday, November 15, 2004

London Olympics Bid

London hands over its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games today.

Lord Coe, Olympic medal winner and chairman of the bid, expressed his confidence in the chances that London might host the Games for the first time since 1948.

The 600 page bid book will be handed over to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by Amber Charles, a 14-year-old basketball player from east London.

The final decision will be made by the IOC in July 2005.

The IOC will visit each city, to judge for themselves the state of readiness of each bidder.

London's success would mean the transformation of 1,500 acres of East London's Lower Lea Valley, which is one of the UK's poorest areas.

Other events would be held at; Wimbledon, the new Wembley, Lord's and heritage sites like Hyde Park, Regent's Park, Greenwich Park and Horse Guards.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

New York Bid

New York will submit its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games to the IOC tomorrow.

Mayor Bloomberg believes that the Games will attract $12BN of economic activity, and create 135,000 jobs.


"We're going to turn it up a notch and, for the next eight months, we're going to work harder than ever to get the Summer Games for 2012 right here where they belong...".

The five boroughs of New York would all play a part in the Games; mountain biking at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, swimming and diving in Willliamsburg, Brooklyn, baseball in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, sailing off the Rockaways and the opening and closing ceremonies in a proposed new stadium on the Hudson River.

However, the plan for a West Side Stadium which would be home to the NFL's Jets, faces opposition from neighborhood groups. This uncertainty surrounding the stadium plan may complicate the bid.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Dead Reckoning

As predicted, on this site before the Athens Olympics even started, the cost of hosting the Athens Olympics has topped $12BN.

The Greek Finance Minister, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, revealed the staggering cost of history's most expensive Games yesterday.

The original budget was around $3BN.

The $12BN cost does not include the cost of infrastructure, these costs have not been published.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Olympic Histrionics

The histrionic threat by Valentino Castellani, organiser of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, to resign yesterday (as reported on this site) has been withdrawn; how surprising!

Following a meeting with the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi; Castellani's ego was duly mollified.

The division of powers between himself and Mario Pescante, the government appointed games supervisor, had been clarified to his satisfaction.

Castellani, a former mayor of Turin, said:

"..a page had been turned.." and he would remain head of organising committee through the games in February 2006.

What a relief!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

What are The Odds?

The London Olympic bid book, for the 2012 Olympics, will be delivered to the IOC next week.

However, the smart money on which city will win the bidding is on Paris at 4/7; according to William Hill the UK bookmakers.

Whilst London comes second at 2/1, the level of betting from British punters is low. This does not augur well for London's chances.

The other odds are 13/2 Madrid, 12/1 New York, 33/1 Moscow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Music For Olympians

Sandeep Chowta, the renowned Indian musician, is part of the international team that will put together the theme music for the summer Olympics being held in Beijing 2008.

Chowta is currently scouting for talent:

"We are looking for youngsters, between four and seven, to record for the theme song.."

Chowta, part of the AO band (which has worked with Sheryl Crowe, The Eagles and Celine Dion), will compose the theme song and track for the Beijing Olympics.

He wants to to create a combination of sounds from around the world, language is no barrier.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004


The Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, has asked the organisers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to commemorate the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Munich Games.

Eleven members of the Israeli team were murdered in Munich in 1972 by terrorists.

Shalom made the request, to the Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Jingmin, on the basis of the $250M worth of construction work being done by Israeli companies for the 2008 Games.

Shalom has asked that the murders be mentioned and commemorated at the 2008 Games, for the first time.

Monday, November 8, 2004

Who Pays? You Do of Course!

It seems that the arrogance of Tessa Jowell, the British Minister in charge of Britain's bid to host the 2012 Olympics, knows no bounds.

When asked about the possibility of budget overruns, in the highly unlikely event that Britain gets to host the Games, she said that there would not be any.

Needless to say the idea of an Olympic budget, being managed by politicians, not being breached is of course pure fantasy.

When pressed on this rather obvious point, she tartly admitted that if it did go over budget then the overrun would be made up by increasing taxes.

I wonder when she will have the courtesy to ask the voters if they are happy with this arrangement?

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Date Fixed

Beijing has picked 8:08pm August the 8th 2008, as being the starting date and time for the 2008 Olympic Games.

This is a lucky date, as it contains a string of 8's (the luckiest number according to Chinese tradition).

This date also avoids a clash with the US Open tennis tournament and that American baseball pennant races, which are held at the end of August.

Friday, November 5, 2004

A Little Bit of Politics

Valentino Castellani, the chief organiser of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics (TOROC), has resigned 15 months before the Games are due to start.

It seems that Castellani, who will formally submit his resignation on 24 November, is feeling "undermined" by the Italian government's nomination of Mario Pescante, culture ministry undersecretary and former head of the Italian Olympic Committee, as overall supervisor for the Games.


"The powers given to Pescante ... represent a lack of confidence in the work done here up until now, and above all, in the capacity to continue it..."

TOROC has been criticised for a $227 million budget shortfall; plus, as usual with Olympic events, there has been a distinct lack of enthusiam in the host nation for the event.

TOROC has also been under attack from the media, Il Giornale has publicly "shredded" every detail of TOROC's financing; alleging that excessive amounts have been set aside for food, wine and plane tickets.

Excess spending on drink and hospitality, by Olympic officials, surely not!

Let's face it, the Olympics are regarded by those who organise them as nothing more than a large trough of money in which they gorge themselves like pigs.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Winter Sale

The tickets for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, being held between 10-26 February 2006, have now gone on sale.

There are 1 million tickets; 650000 are available for the public, the remaining 350000 are reserved for national Olympic Committees, sponsors, international sports federations and broadcasters.

The tickets will be priced at between $25.50 and $1082 (how very reasonable!).

The first phase of the ticket sales start today, and will end on the 15th of December.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Dynamic Duo Wait in Limbo

The prosecutor deciding the fate of the dynamic duo of Greek sprinting, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, has postponed his decision as to whether they should be charged for faking a motorcycle accident on their way to a dope test.

The reasons for the delay have not been explained. However, it is reported that the prosecutor is exploring the possibility of pressing charges against the doctors who "treated" the dynamic duo.

In the meantime, it is understood that the Supreme Court has been asked to review a recommendation that Parliament begin an investigation into state funding for a business owned by the coach of the sprinters.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Frugality Rules!

Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, expressed his support on Monday for Beijing's decision to scale back their Olympic construction.

He noted in Beijing, that the Chinese plans for a "frugal Olympics" wouldn't interfere with holding the 2008 Summer Games.

The Chinese have suspended their work on Beijing's 100,000 seat Olympic stadium, and several other facilities, whilst they redesign them to be more "frugal".

Rogge said that the IOC was confident that China could meet its commitments, with regard to its detailed agreement with the committee, on facilities and the conduct of the games.

Good to see the Chinese using common sense; there has to be a limit on how much is spent on the Olympics, otherwise no one would be able to afford to host them.

Monday, November 1, 2004


Greek dope (sorry doping suspect) Kostadinos Kenteris, one half of the "dynamic duo" of sprinting who were disqualified from the Athens Olympics for missing a drugs test, says that he is looking forward to prosecution; so that he can clear his name.

Rather bizarrely Kenteris, in an interview, blamed the Greek Olympic Committee HOC and the International Olympic Committee for setting him up.

He went on to dig an even larger hole for himself by saying:

"Evidently, from what I understand... it starts with IOC President Jacques Rogge, who was looking for me to make sure I entered the Olympic village as early as 12:00 (that day)... and from below his court -- don't forget the HOC is holding elections in a few days....They executed me...".

Some people don't seem to know when to shut up and slink away.