The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Prince Andrew Visits Beijing

Prince Andrew attended a series of sport and industrial activities in Beijing this week, in order to raise the profile of Britain's equestrian experience in the run up to the 2008 Olympics.

He visited the Sheerwood Equestrian Club in Beijing, then attended the Chinese-British Riding Club National Accreditation Award Ceremony.

He is quoted as saying:

"We believe that this celebration is an opportunity to showcase China's progress in equestrian sports to a wider audience and serves as an example of successful Sino-British sport cooperation building up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics and beyond to London 2012."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Moths Threaten Olympics

Now there's a headline that you don't see everyday!

It seems that the 2008 Beijing Olympics are under threat from an invasion of moths.

The American White Moth has benn entering China, from the North East, since 1979. It now poses a serious threat to trees and crops in Beijing and five other provinces.

Cao Qingyao, spokesman of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), is quoted as saying:

"The moth, that strips trees and crops of their foliage, could impact on Beijing's 2008 Olympics if not controlled."

Apparently 50,000 trees in 933 villages around Beijing's 9 districts and counties have been affected by the swarm of moths.

Wu Jian, chief engineer of SFA's department of forestation, said:

"Beijing is preparing to host a green Olympics in 2008. Without timely control, the moth may turn the green Olympics into a brown one by eating all the leaves from Beijing's trees."

He added:

"This year, our moth-control will target about 16,000 hectares of woodland in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning."

One green solution to the problem is to use parasitic bees, which are the natural enemy of the moth.

The costs of these pests are high, aside from the potential damage to the Olympics, the annual costs run to over $8BN per annum.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Children's Olympics

In a bid to enthuse the children of Britain, and their parents, about the 2012 London Olympics the government has set up a children's Olympics.

The first event will be held in Glasgow between 7th-10th September, it will feature sports such as athletics, swimming and gymnastics.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who has recently hit the headlines for other matters, said:

"This will be a fantastic celebration of sport for young people, and a real legacy for generations."

Other cities will be encouraged to hold similar events to Glasgow, which will receive £1.5 million from the Millennium Commission.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

China's Eight Moral Principles

In the run up to the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, China has issued a set of eight moral principles designed to stop the "rot":

-Love the Motherland
-Serve the People
-Be united
-Struggle hard
-Work hard
-Advocate science
-Be honest
-Obey the law

I guess that there are many countries who would wish that their citizens had a similar code of conduct.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Blair Predicts Fantastic Games

Prime Minister Tony Blair, whilst attending the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, claimed that the London 2012 Olympics would be "fantastic".


"I think you can see from a stadium like this what it would be like in London. It would be fantastic."


"There can't be anything better than having an Olympic Games. Countries bid very fiercely for the right to host them and it is a great showcase for a country and a city.

You couldn't have a better advertisement for a country than to host a great sporting event and that is why we are pushing very strongly for Glasgow in 2014 (Commonwealth Games bid) and I think they have got a great chance actually

The trouble is that politicians try to use the Olympics as their own personal political memorial.

Friday, March 24, 2006

FIFA Impressed

A FIFA delegation, that spent three days in Beijing, has said that it is impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of Beijing organisers as they make ready for the 2008 Olympics.

There will be men and women's football tournaments in seven stadiums across China during the Games.

FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou said:

"I have no doubt whatsoever that the Olympic football tournaments in China will be played in perfect conditions

Our colleagues and friends at BOCOG are very keen to meet FIFA's requirements and I am thankful to them for that

Thursday, March 23, 2006

London Mayor In Olympic Row

Despite still being six years away, the London Olympics are already mired in controversy.

Needless to say Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, is at the heart of this controversy.

Livingstone has accused the developers, David and Simon Reuben, of stalling work on the London Olympics project; Livingstone has also alleged that this will cost taxpayers £700M.

The mayor claims that the Reubens have destabilised the consortium behind Stratford's planned £4BN Olympic City.

Livingstone, for good measure, then told them to "go back to their own country" and has refused to say sorry.

Livingstone said that deadlines for the planning applications are already being missed and, if this continued, taxpayers may have to cover costs to get building work finished on time.

He said:

"They (the Reubens) do not have a track record of successfully undertaking major developments, or of working in partnership...and without them, collapsing into squabbling and litigation."

He then refused to apologise for his remark in which he told the brothers to "go back (to their own country) and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs"


"I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers."

London Assembly Conservatives have said that the brothers are not Iranian, but born in India of Iraqi-Jewish parents.

A spokesman for the Reubens said:

"If the Mayor cares to have discussions with either David or Simon Reuben, then we are confident that he would arrive at a more balanced view."

Needless to say, the remarks by Livingstone have not helped matters!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bulgaria's Chances Slim

Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has reportedly said that Sofia stands little chance of hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014.

Rogue said that he cannot confirm the short-listed candidate cities that will continue to the next selection round.

Sofia is applying to host the Olympics with its winter sport facilities on Vitosha Mountain.

Austria's Salzburg and Korea's PyeongChang are the favoured cities.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Importance of Manners

He Zhenliang, former Chinese Olympic Committee chief and advisor to the Beijing Games organisers, has publicly stated that good manners must be a priority if the 2008 Games in Beijing are to be a success.


"It's the rude bus passenger or a witness to an accident who fails to lend a hand that stands in our way of staging an impressive Olympiad.

People are talking about showcasing our culture and the country's economic power through the extravaganza, but I think good manners should be put at the top of our agenda

He's quite right, and indeed the Chinese authorities are making sure that manners do play their part in the Games.

Beijing authorities have published a series of etiquette booklets, and are deploying "civility supervisors" on the streets.

He also said:

"In Chinese culture, sports are more a way to achieve self-realisation than a competition.

But the Olympic spirit, derived from Western culture, obviously takes an opposite view

The Beijing Games will be a unique opportunity for West and East to meet and exchange ideas.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Cost of The Olympics

The Sydney 2000 Olympics are still costing the Australian taxpayers $42M a year, despite the fact that the private sector is now making a profit out of the SuperDome.

The Sydney Olympic Park reportedly cost $38M in government subsidies last year, with another $37M budgeted for 2005-06.

The NSW Department of Sport and Recreation spent $4.2M of taxpayers' money on the Olympic equestrian, shooting and rowing facilities.

The lesson to be learned here is that whenever a politician tells you that the Olympics will make money, don't believe him!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tokyo To Bid for 2016 Games

Tokyo is preparing a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has approved a resolution to bid to be Japan's candidate city, and launched a preparation committee.

Tokyo last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964.

The International Olympic Committee will make the final decision in July 2009.

Given that the 2008 Games are being held in Beijing, it is unlikely that another Asian city will be chosen in quite such a short timeframe.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bulgarian Investigation

The Bulgarian criminal investigation into the BBC Panorama programme, that showed corruption connected to London's Olympic games bid, has been dropped due to lack of evidence.

The programme, "Buying The Games" broadcast in August 2004, showed Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov telling undercover reporters how to make bribes to win the 2012 Olympics for London.

Slavkov was relieved of his Olympic duties by the IOC after the documentary was broadcast, he denied that he had done anything wrong.

Bulgaria then decided to conduct an investigation into the BBC, which was initiated after Slavkov told former chief prosecutor, Nikola Filchev, that he blamed the BBC journalists for distorting the film.

The new Sofia prosecutor, Boyko Naydenov, said Slavkov's claims were irrelevant.


"The case was originally initiated on allegations that the authors of the BBC documentary violated Article 307 of the Bulgarian Penal Code - incitement to accept a bribe - and Article 339A - the use of a surveillance device without permission.

It has now been terminated at a pre-trial stage before any charges could be pressed in court due to a lack of evidence

In other words, the charges against the BBC were nonsense.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ex Athens Chief Urges Openness

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the chief organiser of the 2004 Athens Games has urged the Chinese to embrace "genuine openness" as they prepare to host the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

She spoke at a lunch hosted by the British Olympic Association on Monday, saying:

"It's a great global gathering of more than 200 nations and openhearted visitors will come to China to see this nation as it truly is.

There needs to be genuine openness and a true sense that the new China is willing to accept this openness. If visitors or international broadcasters cannot move around as they want to then the Games will not be the success they want it to be.

This is China's chance to show they have embraced the 21st century

There is concern voiced by some that the Chinese government has not granted wider political and personal freedoms, as it experiences unparalleled economic growth and is also spending heavily on Olympic venues.

If the IOC are genuinely concerned about China's openness, then why did they award them the Games in the first place?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Olympics Contamination Plan

The London Olympics, due to be held in 2012, have hit another problem. It seems that plans by Olympic developers to move a premier cycle track to contaminated land close to the M25 have not gone down well with cycle groups.

Eastway cycling circuit is currently home to a number of cycling groups, and has been so for the last 31 years.

However, it lies in the path of the Olympics and is considered to be an obstacle by those who wish to develop the site.

The London Development Agency (LDA) wishes to close the site down in September and move it to Rammey Marsh, Enfield. However, users say that the location is unsuitable.

The Eastway Users Group (EUG) says that the proposed site is contaminated, and that it has poor air quality due to its proximity to the M25.

Michael Humphreys of EUG is quoted as saying:

"We have around 26 hectares at Eastway but the proposed relocation, once planning constraints and the expansion of the M25 in 2008 are taken into consideration, will give us between six and seven hectares.

We have found a location at Hogg Hill in Forest Road, Redbridge, which would be perfect. But although the LDA says it has the funds to explore and develop this possibility, it has gone ahead with a planning application for Rammey Marsh

A spokesman for the LDA said:

"Unlike Hogg Hill, we know at the moment Rammey Marsh is a deliverable site and will ensure continuity of provision."

Mr Humphreys is not convinced:

"We're getting confused messages from the LDA. It seems that at no time has it had any intention to send us anywhere but Rammey Marsh.

If this happens it will be disastrous and hundreds of youngsters will lose out

Under these circumstances you can be sure of one thing, money wins over the rights of individuals every time.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Beijing Recruits 2000 Police

2000 recruits will be drafted to reinforce Beijing's police forces this year, in time for the 2008 Olympics.

Qiang Wei, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), said:

"Beijing suffers a serious deficiency in police backup. The additional recruitment has got official ratification and will help ensure security during the Olympics."

Qiang noted that a special team in charge of security for Olympics has already started operating, with 68 Chinese experts offering consultantancy services.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Snouts In The Trough

Anxious to ensure that as many people as possible make as much money as possible out of the 2012 London Olympics, the IPA and the Advertising Association said that they welcomed changes to the London Olympics and Paralympics Bill proposed by the House of Lords earlier this week.

However, they want further amendments to be made.


"The amendments to the Bill are limited and the Act will still mean that only official sponsors will be able to associate themselves with the London 2012 Games.

Any form of association with the Games by unofficial sponsors will be an infringement of the new association right

The IPA is lobbying for changes to the bill, to ensure that there is "genuine freedom of commercial expression, especially that of local businesses."

The list of protected words includes "Games", which advertisers are asked to avoid using.

The Lords have stated that there will be no automatic presumption that the law has been broken, if adverts carry these words, and that it will be left to the courts to decide whether there has been an infringement.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Environmental Damage of London Olympics

The London Olympics due to be held in 2012, in the Lea Valley area of London, are already proving to be controversial.

Annie Chipchase, an Environmental consultant, is quoted as saying:

"The Olympic proposals will destroy all the existing habitat, and thus the associated wildlife. Proposals to provide mitigation in terms of translocating species, and providing alternative habitat, are unlikely to be successful. Only legally-protected species will be the focus of such work.

The waterways of the Lower Lea provide a unique place for wildlife and people in a dense urban area. Destruction of these habitats for an elite sporting event should not be contemplated".

Needless top say, the concerns of the environmental lobby will be ignored by those hoping to make money out of the Olympics.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The Olympic Gold Mine

Never delude yourselves that the Olympics are about sport, money is the key motivator for the event.

The 2012 Olympic Games in London are no different. In a report issued by Lloyds TSB, it is predicted that the London 2012 Olympics could boost the UK economy by up to £10BN.

David Morton, of Lloyds TSB Business, is quoted as saying:

"The 2012 Olympics presents a massive opportunity for thousands of businesses to raise their profile and reach new markets.

Work is already under way to improve transport systems and develop the area's tourism but, as the Games draw closer, more opportunities will emerge

Governments hosting the Games delude themselves each time that they will profit from the event, but rarely do so, just ask the good people of Athens if they feel financially better off after their 2004 Games.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Beijing To Break Even

It is expected that the Olympic Games being held in Beijing in 2008 will break even. That is at least the view according to the Chinese Olympic Committee vice president, Tu Mingde.

He is quoted as saying:

"My sense is that the Games will break even, but we're unlikely to make a lot of money. It's like having people over to dinner. The food may be not so expensive, but you need to select the right furniture, carpets, and so on."

Zhang Guiyi, a member of the legislature the National People's Congress, is also quoted as saying:

"We cannot afford an extravagant event."

There are other priorities, Beijing will spend an extra US$5.2BN on schools, hospitals, crop subsidies and other programs to help the poor living in the countryside.

$2.4BN will be spent on the construction of Olympic venues and $35BN on urban renewal. Projects include; new power, water and sewage treatment plants and the world's largest airport terminal.

Tu said:

"People have the impression that the government will provide all the money, and that's just not true."

The Chinese have a difficult balancing act; on the one hand they wish to show a proud face to the world when they host the Games, on the other they need to ensure that the issues relating to their domestic economic situation are addressed.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Olympic Stamina

Menzies Campbell, the former British 200 metre sprinter in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, was elected as the new leader of Britain's Liberal democrat party yesterday.

At 64, despite being the oldest candidate, Ming (as he prefers to be known) proved that Olympic stamina and pacing can be beneficial in matters that at first sight seem unrelated to sport.

Ming held the British 100 metres record from 1967 to 1974, and had been acting leader for the Liberal Democrats since previous leader Charles Kennedy was forced to resign over alcoholism issues a few months ago.

It had been a lively campaign for the other candidates, with accusations relating to alcoholism, homosexuality and rent boys being splashed across the front pages. Ming had a poteless record, as far as these matters were concerned.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

The Way To Spit

Now that the Winter Olympics in Turin have ended, people are turning their attention to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The Chinese authorities, in a drive to "modify" the image of China to the outside world, are currently reminding their citizens of "the right way to spit."

Beijing city official Zhang Huiguang is running a multimedia "behavioral training" campaign, this includes lining up properly for buses and turning off mobile phones during meetings.

Needless to say, spitting is the priority.

She is quoted as saying:

"You have to spit into a tissue or a bag, and then put it into a dustbin to complete the process."

Zhang has organised a group of volunteers, wearing bright orange uniforms with the Chinese character for "mucus" in yellow on the back, to hand out "spit bags" in the streets of Beijing.

Given the threat of bird flu, this initiative is taking place not a moment too soon.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Ratings Disaster

The old saying "there's no such thing as bad publicity" might at least provide a modicum of comfort to NBC, but probably not much.

NBC the US TV channel has featured widely in the news, as a result of the ratings failure of its Winter Olympics coverage.

Turin viewers averaged 20.2 million, compared to Salt lake City which scored 31.9 million viewers.

Maybe people are just becoming bored with the whole money driven spectacle?