The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Monday, October 30, 2006

More Doping Tests

The IOC are increasing their precautions against doping in the forthcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. Athletes will face more testing for performance enhancing drugs at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with a 25% increase in the number of tests to be conducted.

The IOC said that the number of tests would be raised to 4,500 in 2008, 25% more than in 2004 Athens Games, "as part of its zero-tolerance approach to fighting doping."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cars and Trucks To Be Banned

Kevan Gosper, Vice-Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Beijing Olympics, has claimed that Beijing is prepared to stop private cars and trucks from driving and to shut down industry, if that's what is needed to cut pollution during the 2008 Beijing Games.

The joys of a one party state!

When pressed in the interview, on political issues such as Falun Gong, he adopted the ostrich position of head in the sand. As noted the Olympics is about money, not sport.

To read the interview visit ABC.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Waste of Time and Money

It seems, not surprisingly, that the 2012 London Olympics will be a waste of time and money. That at least is the opinion of Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

She was giving evidence yesterday to the Olympics hearing held by Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sports.


"It will be a long sunrise and a very short sunset."

She said that the Olympics do not automatically produce a "trickle down" effect:

"There is no evidence that [previous] Olympic Games have increased long-term participation in sport."

Adding that unless urgent action was taken to tackle the question of legacy, it would not happen after 2012.

Simmonds noted that Sport England would be funding the aquatics centre and the velodrome (cost £340M). However, the cost of these projects would mean that other sports would lose two years of lottery funding; Sport England was not being given extra resources.

One MP said:

"This is very depressing."

The Olympic Lottery Distributor had raised issues during the hearing. It said that due to organisational problems, it may have to delay making payments to the Olympic authorities.

David Higgins, chief executive of he Olympic Development Authority, told MPs it had been agreed that the Olympic stadium would have temporary seating for 80,000 spectators, which would fall to 25,000 in legacy mode for athletics.

Higgins was repeatedly pressed on the question of rising construction costs, currently budgeted at £2.375BN.

Higgins, in response, chose to speak instead about the cost of regeneration:

"We could do a very superficial regeneration but it is not a responsible thing to do."

In other words he didn't answer the question, he knows full well that the costs will rise.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beijing Works on Olympics Air Quality

The Chinese authorities are setting up special working groups in Beijing, and four surrounding regions, to ensure good air quality during the 2008 Olympics.

The groups will be set up in Beijing, Shanxi, Tianjin, Hebei and Inner Mongolia.

Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said that they would look for new ways to deal with air pollution so as to ensure good air quality during the 2008 Olympics.

it is hoped that research, currently being conducted, will result in new measures to ensure good air quality during the games.

Pei Chenghu, deputy director of Beijing Environmental Protection Administration, said that pollution in Beijing is a problem for the region, and improving air quality must involve the entire region.

Local statistics show that by the end of August, Beijing had 166 'blue sky' days, 72 days short of its target for the year.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Education, Not Money, At The Heart of The Olympics

It seems that my sometimes cynical remarks about money being the driving force of the Olympics are wrong, that is at least the belief of Jacques Rogge president of the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

Rogge, who was opening the World Forum on Sport Education and Culture in Beijing, said that education remained at the heart of the Olympic movement with millions of Chinese youngsters now being introduced to its values.

Rogge noted that the IOC had a duty to educate the world's youth on matters such as doping and even some not directly related to sport, such as HIV prevention.


"The goal of the Olympic movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced in the spirit of Olympism.

I am particularly pleased that this effort is being continued right now in China and that millions of young Chinese ...are being introduced to the strength and power of the Olympic values such as friendship, excellence and respect

Liu Qi, head of the Beijing Organising Committee (BOCOG), said that the exposure of China to the rest of the world in 2008 would be an education in itself.


"Through the staging of the Olympic Games, we are willing to further reinforce the exchange with international friends and accelerate the development of China and Beijing to leave a precious legacy to China and world sports."

Rogge went on to warn about the dangers of drugs:

"Scientists and doctors who contribute to unethical behavior through the misuse of drugs must be stigmatised.

That can be considered another form of education.

In conjunction with BOCOG, the IOC intend to make the Beijing Olympics a festival of harmony and peace, education and culture and above all of sporting perfection.

We shall see.

Friday, October 20, 2006

London Olympics "Huge Target"

The 2012 London Olympics will be a huge terrorist target, according to Scotland Yard chief Sir Ian Blair.

His comments came hot on the heels of reports that counter-terrorist officials have stated that Britain is now the prime target for a resurgent, and more structured, al Qaeda.

Sir Ian said:

"There can be no doubt that the 2012 Games -- if the current threat scenario stays the same -- will be a huge target, and we have to understand that and work on that basis."

Preparations are already well underway, with a team of officers working full-time on security.

The day after London was awarded the Olympics on the 6th of July 2006, four British Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves up on London's transport network, killing 52 people.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jack Lemley Quits London Olympics

Jack Lemley, the US businessman who is chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority responsible for the London 2012 Olympics, has quit his post.

This is a blow to the Games, as he had promised to see through London's preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

The Olympic Delivery Authority was set up by the Government to build the venues and infrastructure necessary for the Games.

It is assumed that the Olympics organisers are "pissed off" with Lemley's decision to quit. It is not clear as to why he has suddenly decided to go. However, it is well known that plans for the development of the Olympic stadium have been dogged by bitter rows between Richard Caborn, the sports minister, and Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London.

Livingstone insists the stadium should be a temporary 80,000 seat arena which can be scaled back to a 25,000 seat athletics ground after the Games, whilst Caborn wants the stadium to be converted into a football stadium which could be used by West Ham.

Lemley had a four year contract (2006-2010). He cites business reasons, and the need to concentrate on his US construction interests for his decision.


"I am keen to return to the helm of my international construction consulting firm in America, which is increasingly busy with major contracts. I have every confidence that London will stage a superb Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and leave a legacy that the country can be proud of."

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said:

"Jack has played a significant role in getting us to this point and helping ensure that Games and legacy are planned together. I am grateful to him for all he has done and wish him well in the future."

The search is now on for a replacement.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Successful Dress Rehearsal

China is attending the world gymnastics championships in Aarhus, Denmark. It's goal, apart from winning, is to show that it is the leading Olympic nation as it readies itself for the Beijing Olympics 2008.

The Chinese male team got off to a flying start yesterday and won the team title, beating Russia, Japan and the USA.

Yang Wei said:

"This world championships was good practice for the Olympics and we feel we are now well prepared to take gold.

Now that we have established a good team, we don't want to stop here."

The women compete today.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Art and Culture

The second wave of culture and art consultants, for designing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, was announced at a ceremony in Beijing yesterday.

The guest list at the ceremony included; the Honorary President of the Chinese Olympic Committee and IOC member He Zhenliang, composer and educator Wu Zuqiang, and Academy Award winning filmmaker Ang Lee.

BOCOG President Liu Qi extended his congratulations to the new members of the consultant team, and expressed hopes that every consultant will provide valuable suggestions and advice to the organising team.

Monday, October 16, 2006

London Olympics Upset Muslims

As the old saying goes, you can never please everyone. The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics are discovering the veracity of this saying, as it has just been pointed out to them that the 2012 Games will clash with Ramadan, the most holy month in the Islamic calendar.

Some Muslims claim that this will mean that Muslim athletes will be at a disadvantage, as they fast from sunrise to sunset for the entire duration of the Games.

In 2012, Ramadan takes place from July 21 to August 20, while the Olympics run from July 27 to August 12.

Around 3,000 Muslim competitors are expected to be affected.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, said:

"They would not have organised this at Christmas. It is equally stupid to organise it at Ramadan.

It shows a complete lack of awareness and sensitivity.

This is going to disadvantage the athletes and alienate the Asian communities by saying they don't matter.

It's not only going to affect the participants it's going to affect all the people who want to watch the Games.

They won't want to travel during Ramadan and they won't want to watch sport. It's a spiritual time

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam on the Muslim Council of Great Britain, rather wisely pointed out there will doubtless be a sensible solution:

"I'm sure the athletes will seek advice from their scholars.

They are obviously going to be at a disadvantage because other competitors will be drinking and keeping up their energy levels.

But they are athletes and I am sure they will train their bodies to cope with this.

A Muslim might feel it would have been nice to avoid this month but life doesn't stop for Muslims during Ramadan even though they are fasting.

The best thing for a Muslim is to continue his or her life as normal. This is the real test

Muslim countries, such as Turkey, are calling for the date to be changed.

Joanna Manning Cooper, spokeswoman for London 2012, said:

"We are working with the Muslim Council of Great Britain to find ways to accommodate Ramadan during the London Games."

Britain and the world is not Muslim, it is not for the world to change it's plans to suit Islam or any other religion.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Frugal Olympics

With the 2008 Olympics in Beijing being less than two years away, and costs mounting, the organisers are looking for ways to exert greater cost control.

The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) held a seminar on Monday to further emphasise the principle of "frugal Olympics", as laid down by the central government.

The committee's executive vice-president, Liu Jingming, said that they will invite experts to review the budgets in order to look for cost savings and to prevent corruption.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Burger Off!

Proving yet again that the Olympics is about money and sponsorship, not about sport, the British Olympic Organising Committee have landed themselves in an embarrassing situation with regard to one of the sponsors (McDonald's) for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Green Party is demanding to know how McDonald's, the burger chain, fits in with promises to promote locally grown food. It should also be noted that the British government is currently conducting a very assertive healthy eating/anti obesity campaign in the UK, as such some people could argue that to associate itself with a promoter of fast food is a tad hypocritical.

The London organising committee, needless to say, are insisting that McDonald's would not have any exclusive control over catering and would be just one of a range of outlets supplying food.

Rather laughably McDonald's is the "official restaurant" (how on earth can anyone describe McDonald's as a restaurant?) of the Games, as a result of a long-term deal with the International Olympic Committee.

Money first, health and sport second!

Monday, October 9, 2006

A Stonking Investment

In what can only be described as a "stonkingly large" investment, China has stated that it will invest $59.5BN in Beijing infrastructure during the 2006-2010 period.

The money will be spent on 2,400 construction and upgrading projects. The projects to ease city traffic, improve energy and water supply and improve the city environment will be completed before start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Beijing plans to have a state of the art international air service hub by 2008, which will be able to process 60 million passengers a year.

Beijing will also expand parking lots, and ensure that there will be a parking place for each motor vehicle in the coming five years. Beijing now has approximately 2.8 million motor vehicles but only 1.4-1.5 million parking places.

The Taiyanggong gas-firing thermal power plant will have been built by 2008, and heating pipes laid for the Olympic gymnasiums and surrounding areas. Electricity transmission projects for the areas will be completed, and construction will be speeded up on the Beijing section of the south-to-north water diversion program.

Beijing also intends to clean up rivers and lakes, and to improve the water quality.

Ambitious plans indeed.

Can the environment and the econmy afford them?

Friday, October 6, 2006

Auditors To Check The Books

The Department of Canadian Heritage is hiring an auditor to check the 2010 Winter Olympics organising committee's (VANOC) books.

The audit is aimed at providing the department's Olympic secretariat with the assurance that VANOC, has adequate and effective management controls, risk-management frameworks and overall governance structures.

It also wants to ensure that money provided was used for the intended purpose, and recommend improvements in the way the committee and the department manage the venture.

In August, Partnerships B.C., part of the Ministry of Economic Development that oversees the Olympics, released a due diligence report that queried VANOC's approach to budgeting and recommended changes.

However, the head of the Vancouver Olympic Organising Committee says there's nothing unusual in Ottawa's plan to look at spending for 2010 Olympic preparations.

John Furlong, the committee's CEO, said such reviews are expected and done regularly by Ottawa and the B.C. government.

He says the audit will only look at how the federal government's part of the Olympic construction budget is being spent.

Nonetheless the federal government recently added another $55M towards Games venue construction, with a warning that it would be the last contribution.

Maybe they are worried about how the money is being spent?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Football Nationalism

Plans by Olympic chiefs to push ahead with a British soccer team for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics may well fall into disarray, as both Scotland and Wales kick up a fuss over losing their national identities on the field.

The Football Associations of Wales and Scotland boycotted a British Olympics Association meeting last week. In their absence, it was agreed to enter a British women's team in 2008 and men's and women's in 2012.

The Welsh and Scottish FAs are worried that it may set a precedent for all-British teams in the World Cup and European Championship.

Welsh Culture Minister Alun Pugh said:

"I would be concerned at any steps that could lead to the eventual abolition of the FAW as a national association and having a British team participating in football World Cups and European Championships."

Does it really matter?

Monday, October 2, 2006

Carry on Cruising

The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Winter Olympics have managed to upset the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who were a tad dismissive of VOC's suggestion for journalistic accommodation for the Winter Games 2010.

VANOC suggested that a cruise ship village in Squamish, at the head of Howe Sound, 54 kilometres from Whistler, be used to accommodate some of the 10,000 media representatives who are expected at the Winter Games.

The plan was dismissed by the IOC as being "inappropriate."

IOC press commission chairman, Kevan Gosper, said:

"Let's say the idea was firmly and politely rejected. Whilst a cruise ship may be suitable for tourists and corporates, we don't think it was an appropriate option for as important a working group as the press."

VANOC are reportedly going to try to persuade the IOC to change their mind.