The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Softball Loses By One

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

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

It needed 53 votes to stay.

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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Olympics Stealth Tax

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

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

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

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

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

Ms Lait said:

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

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

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

A spokesman said:

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

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

I don't believe that for one minute.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oswald Named Chairman of Co-ordination Commission

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

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

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

IOC President Jacques Rogge said:

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


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

Oswald said:

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Atlanta Bomber Apologises

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds like he is not at all sorry.

Monday, August 22, 2005

£3BN Olympic Shortfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Anti Terror Squad

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's The Money Stupid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ferret Olympic Name Change

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hockey Deal Close

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

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

Bill Daly, the new NHL deputy commissioner, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Artistic Licence

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

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

The calligraphy should preferably be in Chinese characters.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 8, 2005

Human Rights Issues

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

Friday, August 5, 2005

Beijing Sharpshooters

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

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

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

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

The 30 sharpshooters will then join the special police force.

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

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Cost Of Athens Olympics Keeps Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Coke Extends Sponsorship

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

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

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

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

IOC president Jacques Rogge said:

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

Coca-Cola chairman Neville Isdell said:

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

Money has nothing to do with it then?

Monday, August 1, 2005

Montreal's Interest In 2016 Olympics

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

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

Tremblay said:

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


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

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