The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beijing Drought

Beijing is currently suffering its worst drought in 50 years, and is likely to continue to face this problem when it hosts the 2008 Olympic Games.

Beijing is the driest major city in the world, with average water resources per person one-thirtieth of the world's , and faces a water shortage of 1.1 billion cubic metres in 2008.

Ma Weifang, a state environmental official, said that conservation could help ensure that the situation does not become critical.

One other headache for the authorities is a report that appeared on Tuesday in the state media, that said that the Yangtze river, which may well supply Beijing with emergency water during the Games, was "cancerous" with pollution and could die within five years.

The old adage, when abroad don't drink the water, springs to mind!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

China Bans Smoking

It seems that the anti smoking movement has even managed to score a success with one of the world's heaviest smoking nations, China.

It has been announced that for the duration of the Olympics, smoking will be banned; in the Olympic areas at least.

Beijing will ban smoking on public transport and indoor workplaces.

The Health Ministry said:

"Let a smokeless games provide healthy competition, a healthy environment and a healthy lifestyle."

The ministry said that facilities serving children would be the first to get a no-smoking ban.

Quite how they manage to enforce this in a nation of 350 smokers, will be anyone's guess!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Annan Visits Olympic Stadium

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife accompanied by Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympics visited the main stadium for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing yesterday.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Beijing is in the process of drawing up contingency plans to lessen its traffic and smog during the 2008 Olympics.

Jiang Xiaoyu, a vice president of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, said that the plans were needed to augment long-term strategies to improve road and air conditions and ensure that the Games were a success.

Lanes on some city roads will be designated for Olympic vehicles only, and cars will also be banned.

Jiang said:

"We're striving to achieve better air quality by the 2008 Games to welcome the athletes and the Olympic family."

Beijing's roads are often clogged with traffic, and a brown haze hangs in the air.

Ironically during the IOC inspectors' visit this week, there was a heavy sandstorm and the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau recorded severely polluted air in the capital.

Hein Verbruggen, the head of the IOC's coordination committee, ignored the pollution and (refering to the venue construction) said:

"You can't think of any other word than stunning."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


There is one constant associated with the Olympics, that can always be guaranteed, namely that the costs originally budgeted will always be overshot.

It seems that the politicians and construction companies, that get their greedy little snouts into the Olympic trough, are simply not capable of telling the truth when it comes to budgets.

It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that the costs of the London 2012 Olympics are already spiraling out of control.

The British government admitted yesterday that the cost of staging the 2012 Olympics in London will be £500M more than stated in the original bid.


The cost is now estimated to be around £2BN.

Seemingly the financial "wizards" who put together the budget forgot to allow for inflation from 2004 to 2102.

Again, pathetic!

Liberal Democrat spokesman, Vince Cable, said that it showed "total chaos" at the heart of the project.


"How they got into such a complete muddle about an important part of the costing of the Games, why they got this so wrong, is a mystery."

Seemingly the London Olympic Organizing Committee (LOCOG), which is responsible for putting on the Games, were always aware that the costs would go up.

I wonder why they didn't mention it to anyone?

Needless to say, the organisers and politicians who saddled us with this unecessary waste of money are claiming that the extra costs will be covered by ticket sales and marketing rights.

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

As sure as eggs are eggs, the eventual costs of these games will massively exceed the current estimate of £2BN.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Olympic War Breaks Out

Politicians are never shy when trying to claim credit for something, and attach their names to what they perceive will be a success; in truth they are seeking a monument to their personal and political ambitions.

The London Olympics in 2012 offers such a monument, and both the Tory and Labour Parties have been working hard to ensure that their names are associated with this event.

The Labour Party, under the guidance of Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, exploited the Olympics repeatedly in its local election campaign. She cited the Games in a campaign email, a speech and a party election broadcast.

Needless to say, the voting public were not so easily swayed, after all the Games are costing a small fortune in increased council taxes; Labour received a total "drubbing" in the polls.

Now the Tories are making vociferous complaints about the "betrayal" of the cross-party consensus on the Games, and the use by Labour of the Games for its own ends.

A cynic might observe that is now exactly what the Tories are doing, by making such vociferous complaints.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tight Olympic Timetable

The timetable for the preparations for the London 2012 Olympics is "extremely tight", according to submissions made to the public inquiry into the compulsory purchase orders for land in Stratfod (the London site of the Games).

David Higgins, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), said that no building work could begin on the East London Olympic Park until all the land needed is in public control.

Many firms and residents are fighting eviction from the Lower Lea Valley. They fear that they are being ripped off, in the push to acquire the land.

Higgins said:

"There is a considerable amount of work to carry out, let alone work commencing on the major facilities.

The timetable is extremely tight, and for the facilities to be completed for commissioning and test events from mid-2011, the land must be in the control of the LDA (London Development Agency) and the ODA by the summer of 2007 at the latest

Gareth Blacker, the director of development for the London Development Agency which must get hold of the land, told the inquiry:

"We are still negotiating with the other landowners in the Olympic zone and continuing to try and make agreements with them."

The inquiry will make a recommendation to the trade and industry secretary, who will make a decision on the compulsory purchase orders.

If they are confirmed, the LDA will serve notice on all owners, leaseholders, tenants and occupiers.

I think it fair to say that the political pressure, behind the scenes, will ensure that the Olympic juggernaut rides roughshod over the rights of the individuals who are currently objecting to the purchase orders.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Sewage Olympics

New York has managed to host the Olympics, not the Olympic Games but the Sewage Treatment Olympics.

Four teams competed to win the 19th Annual Sewage Olympics. They performed simulated drills that included; retrieving someone from a manhole, testing air quality in a makeshift sewer, fixing a broken sewer pipe and repairing a waste treatment pump.

The event was sponsored by the New York Water Environment Association and the Department of Environmental Protection.

The winners this year were the Bowery Bay Boys.

It is good to see an Olympic event that actually adds value.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Green Olympics

The authorities in Beijing are working hard to ensure that the 2008 Olympics will be seen to be green.

In July and August Beijing suffers from very high temperatures, and is short of flowers. That is not deterring the Beijing Municipal Gardening and Forestation Bureau, who are aiming to transform Beijing into a city "shrouded in green and wreathed with flowers".

The Bureau claim that they have developed ways to enable thousands of flowers, such as chrysanthemums, Chinese roses and other homegrown flowers, to prolong their fluorescence throughout summer.

They are also studying ways of transplanting green trees from forests in the suburbs to the downtown venues for the Olympic Games, including spraying powder to protect their roots and planting them in special containers.

The bureau is also taking to concept of green quite literally, by carrying out a "green roof" project; which involves planting green plants on the top of buildings, less than 12 storeys high, along the main roads of Beijing and beside the Olympic venues.

It is expected that 80,000 to 100,000 square metres of roofs will have plants by the end of this year; by 2008, it will be 300,000 square metres

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Future of Britain's Oldest Salmon Smokery Secured

The Olympics juggernaut, never one to respect the rights of individuals, has been prevented from claiming one more victim.

The future of Forman & Son, Britain's oldest salmon smokery, has been secured after its owner agreed to move to make way for the London Olympics.

Forman & Son supplies smoked fish and other seafood to some of the world's best restaurants and hotels, from its East End factory. It has agreed to move to a site, just outside the proposed Olympic Park, on Fish Island.

The deal comes at the last minute, as a public inquiry opens today into the clearance of 500 acres in the Lower Lea Valley near Stratford; the site of the London 2012 Olympics.

The deal was brokered at the last minute as a means of saving the embarrassment of Lord Coe (head of the London Olympics) from being publicly cross examined by Lance Forman (head of Formans) in the public enquiry which opens today.

Forman and Son is located on Marshgate Lane industrial estate, which is earmarked for the Olympic stadium.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Imperial Tombs

Work on the construction of the shooting ranges for the Beijing 2008 Olympics has been suspended, following the discovery of some imperial tombs.

The tombs were found in mid April, are believed to date back five to six centuries to the Ming dynasty. It is speculated that they were for eunuchs serving at the imperial court.

Usually, during construction projects in Beijing, artifacts discovered are removed or destroyed before experts can examine them.

A spokeswoman for the Beijing Olympic organizers, Zhu Jing, said that she had no information on how the discovery would affect construction.

I wonder if the Olympic facilities now being constructed will last as long?

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Chicago To Bid for 2016 Olympic Games

It is reported that Peter Ueberroth and other top officials of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) are planning to meet with Chicago's Mayor, Richard Daley, next week about a possible bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

USOC said yesterday that Chicago will be one of five cities that they will visit over the next two weeks. The other cities are; Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Ueberroth is quoted as saying:

"The process of bidding to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games is more competitive today than ever before.

These meetings are an important step in a new process we are following to determine when to bid, how to more effectively bid and with whom to bid

Daley has said that he believes that hosting the Olympics could be a landmark event for Chicago.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Tokyo Bids For Olympics

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government last week submitted to the Japan Olympic Committee its bid to host the 2016 Olympics Games.

Tokyo will compete with Fukuoka, to become Japan's candidate to host the Summer Olympics, final plans and budgets will have to be submitted by June 30.

The winner will be decided by the end of August.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Manners Maketh Man

In addition to rebuilding Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese are working flat out to improve the city's manners lest visitors to the Olympics form a poor impression of China.

Liao Fei, is a researcher who has been tasked with determining how to improve manners in Beijing before the 2008 Olympics. He says that public belching, pushing in crowds and talking loudly in movie theaters are too common.

Authorities are concerned that loud cell phone talkers, dog shit strewn pavements and incomprehensible public signs will leave a lasting bad impression.

Zhou Shiji, the Beijing author of Doing Instead of Knowing, said:

"If we don't change our habits before 2008 the world will look down on China."

His book "teaches people how to establish good habits" he said.


"Many Chinese know that their habits are bad, but they don't change because everyone else is doing the same things."

It will be quite a challenge I think.