The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Olympic Volunteers

The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympics have officially launched a recruiting drive for 100,000 volunteers.

The Committee said that 70,000 helpers would serve at the Olympics, and 30,000 at the Paralympics.

International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, said:

"An Olympic Games stands no chance of success without a team of well-trained volunteers and high-standard voluntary services."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Zara Phillips Goes For Gold

Following on from her victory in the World Equestrian Games Sunday, Zara Phillips the Queen's granddaughter is setting her sights on gold in the 2008 Olympics.

Phillips said that winning had been beyond her wildest dreams, she is the first British winner since 1986.


"It's been a massive dream but you have to get everything right leading up to it, and have the horse power. It's still two years to go. Horses get injured, so it's a long way away.

Winning was an awesome experience - beyond my wildest dreams

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Beijing Olympics Go Mobile

China is ensuring that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing fully embrace the digital age, by broadcasting them on mobile phones.

The will start testing mobile TV services using DMB in the middle of 2007.

China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), said that transmission of TV signals to mobiles would be tested in mid 2007, and the satellite system activated in the first half of 2008.

China Mobile and China Unicom, major players in the Chinese market, are expected to sign agreements at the end of the month with mobile phone makers to buy TV handsets.

Big-screen PDAs and MP4 players will also be able to receive TV signals.

China has over 400 million mobile phone users, increasing by 5 million a month, according to the Ministry of Information Technology.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Heraldry Olympics

St Andrews in Scotland is hosting the Olympics of genealogy and heraldry this week.

The the international event was officially opened by its patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

Around 300 heraldic experts and aficionados from across the globe have gathered in what is the greatest single gathering of heralds since the Middle Ages.

Delegates and heralds have come from 26 countries including; South Africa, Russia, Canada, Spain and Norway.

To mark the event, the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, Robin Blair, has granted supporters (Saint Andrew and a lion) and a crest to the university to add to its arms.

The university and the Burgh of St Andrews was presented with keepsakes in the form of specially created heraldic processional banners, 'gonfannons', which were blessed by The Bishop of Edinburgh and presented during the opening ceremony.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beijing Runway Trials

Beijing's Capital Airport will test its three runways this coming October, in the configuration designed for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said that it had signed a contract with the Boeing Company to conduct a study of the operating mode for the three runways, using Atlanta International Airport as a comparison.

After six months of trial operation, the three runways, two old ones and the newly constructed one, will begin official operation in May 2008.

Computer simulation modeling and analysis will maximise the efficient operation of the three runways.

Under CAAC's air traffic control plan for the 2008 Olympic Games, the Capital Airport will upgrade its existing facilities and build two new radar navigators and a series of signal processing systems for communication and weather observation.

The Capital Airport is being expanded to cope with rising passenger volumes, and the inflow of tourists expected for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anti Terror Training

Chinese State Councilor Zhou Yongkang has called for the strengthening of anti-terrorism training for security guards, in order to ensure the safety of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


"As the international security situation is very complicated, anti-terrorism efforts are of great importance to the safety of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games."

He has asked for the establishment of a system to ensure a quick response to terrorist emergencies. Additionally he has noted that all the security guards must be given anti-terrorism training courses, and that the Olympic stadiums' security facilities must be improved.

Finally, he has called for China's Exit and Entry Administration to improve their anti-terrorism capabilities prior to the Games, and for intelligence on terrorist activities to be intensified.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

China Educates The Uncouth

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics draws ever near, the authorities in China are aware of the PR and image issues associated with the Games. Specifically, they are focusing their attention on the impression that their own citizens make on the rest of the world. After all, the best/worst ambassadors for a country are usually its own citizens.

As such the Spiritual Civilisation Steering Committee, the Chinese etiquette watchdog, has launched an education campaign to correct the embarrassing habits of Chinese tourists at home and abroad.

The Committee's "Campaign to Promote Civilised Chinese Travellers" will last until after the Olympic Games.

The Committee states:

"Currently, the behaviour of our country's tourists is not compatible with the rapid development of the tourist industry, nor with China's international standing."

The official Xinhua news agency has already quoted Singapore media reports of airline and hotel staff complaining about Chinese tourists spitting, talking loudly and being rude. That being said, Singapore has very high standards indeed with respect to behaviour in public.

The committee has highlighted a number of areas of concern including; appearance, hygiene, courtesy, the law, the environment and public infrastructure, as damaging "the image of China as a civilised country" and generating "widespread attention and criticism domestically and overseas."

The China Daily said:

"Many tourists clear their throats loudly and spit, take off shoes aboard planes and trains, squat and smoke in public places, and often appear uncouth."

Civil servants and state company executives will be targeted for training, the general public will be educated via the media and pamphlets distributed at public transport stations, hotels, travel agencies, tourist spots, schools and work places.

I would venture to suggest that other countries could also benefit from applying such an education programme.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Foretaste of 2008

There is a foretaste being provided this week for those people keen to see what the 2008 Olympics in Beijing may be like, as Beijing hosts the 11th IAAF World Junior Championships.

1,400 athletes from 182 countries will compete in track and field events at the Chaoyang Sports Centre in Beijing. The competition kicks off today, and runs until Sunday.

Beijing is using the event as a dry run for the 2008 Summer Games.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Free Press For The Beijing Olympics 2008

The Chinese have announced that China will guarantee the freedom of foreign journalists to cover news in China during the games.

Jiang Xiaoyu, Executive Vice-President of the Beijing Olympic Committee, said that Beijing has:

"..made a solemn promise to provide the service necessary for the media during the Olympic Games.

If there is any conflict between the Chinese media rules and those of international practice, China will follow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines as well as the established norms of international practice

Liu Qi, President of the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, last September also made a similar undertaking.

Jiang stated that all foreign journalists, not just those who are accredited by the IOC, will enjoy free access to news coverage during the Olympic Games.

However, he noted that foreign journalists need to abide by Chinese rules and understand the "national conditions" of China.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Beijing Environmental Standards

The Chinese state that they expect that Beijing will meet environmental standards for clean air for athletes in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Beijing expects to keep sulphur dioxide levels down to an acceptable level for over half of the year, which would allow the air to meet an international standard of "moderate" or better.

Unfortunately China uses coal as its primary source of energy, this makes it the world's largest producer of sulfur dioxide pollution. Add in the construction sites and car pollution, and the ability to meet this target comes into question.

That being said it is more than likely that, if required, there will be some form of political "fudge" to enable the Games to go ahead.

Money comes first.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Olympic Failure

Following on in the true spirit of the Games, ie it's the money not the sport that counts, over a dozen government officials and executives from major property and construction companies have been detained/questioned by Chinese officials as they investigate Liu Zhihua the ex vice mayor of Beijing responsible for 2008 Olympic projects.

Liu Zhihua oversaw much of the $40BN being spent on the Beijing Olympics. This means that many people are very nervous as to what will be uncovered.

Liu was dismissed in early June for corrupt acts, there is also an explicit six-hour videotape of Liu cavorting with prostitutes in Hong Kong that was sent to Chinese leaders.

Chinese leaders have told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the Games would be a fine example of environmental protection, cultural preservation and government openness.

Unfortunately the reality is a little different.

In the rush to build the Olympic infrastructure vast swathes of old Beijing have been knocked down, despite the protest of the residents.

The air quality in Beijing is the worst in five years, leading many to question the city's development model.

Funny that the IOC remain silent on all of this?