The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Friday, December 23, 2005

London Won By Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gilady is quoted as saying:

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Progress On Olympic Site

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

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

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

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

The company hopes to complete the move before October 2007.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Banker Wins Top Olympics Job

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

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

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

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

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

He is worth an estimated £100M.

Tessa Jowell, culture secretary, said:

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

Monday, December 19, 2005

London 2012 Chief To Be Named

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Piracy Alert

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

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


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

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

Glickman added:

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


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

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

Money is a remarkable motivator!

Monday, December 12, 2005

40000 Violent Protesters Threaten Winter Olympics

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

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

"We need a truce to save the Olympics."

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

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

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

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

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

Signor Castellani, the Italian Olympic chief, said:

"I am very worried."


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

Sergio Chiamparino, the Mayor of Turin, said:

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

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

Friday, December 9, 2005

Greece Hands Over Flame

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

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

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

The 7,022 mile relay through Italy began yesterday.

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

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

Thursday, December 8, 2005


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

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

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said:

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

No age restrictions apply for the women's tournament.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Olympic Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

WiBro Test

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 5, 2005

Rogge Stands Up For China

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

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

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

Rogge is quoted as saying:

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


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

That's alright then!

Friday, December 2, 2005

The Fraudulent Olympics

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Now that would really damage the Olympic cash cow.