The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Security Costs Soar

Adding further pressure to the already out of control London Olympics budget (currently standing at £12BN, including £2BN running costs); Tessa Jowell revealed that the bill for policing London and the United Kingdom during the Games had soared from £200M, at the time of the 2005 bid, to a total of £1.2BN.

Denis Oswald, the chairman of the IOC's London 2012 co-ordination commission, said that he was "encouraged" by the latest budget analysis announced by Jowell.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Quell Surprise!

It should come as no surprise to learn that the costs for the out of control London 2012 Olympics (the budget currently stands at £12BN, including £2BN running costs) have a 20% chance of rising.

Only 20%?

That is the warning given by a government report which has been leaked to the BBC.

However, please do not be alarmed. Our government has issued an assurance that ministers are confident the budget is "robust".


They would say that, wouldn't they?

Never allow a politician to run a long term prestige project. They have neither the skill, nor the attention span, to do an effective or reliable job.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Emergency Funding

In a sure sign the the budget for the London Olympics 2012 is well and truly out of control, and the organisers are panicking, Olympics officials have not ruled out having to spend all of the £2.7BN.

This was set aside to pay for cost overruns on the London 2012 Games.

David Higgins, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority told the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee the contingency is "prudent".

He said the authority does not intend to ask for extra funds.

Until, of course, he needs them.

They know full well that they have the government by the balls on this, and there is no way that the politicians will be involved with a "failed" Olympics.

Such a pity that it is the taxpayers' money that is being used to prop up the failed careers of second rate politicians.

The budget currently stands at £12BN (including £2BN running costs), we can be assured that the final figure will be much higher.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

IOC President Lambasts London Olympics Budget

The chickens are well and truly coming home to roost for the government and the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics, over the spiralling and out of control budget (currently £12BN including running costs) for these unwanted games.

Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, has put the boot in by saying that the government handling of the budget review had imperilled public support.

Rogge, being a true politician, tries to pour oil on troubled waters by noting that much of the increase can be accounted for by the fact that 2004 prices were used in the bid and VAT was ignored.

Disregarding that spin, he then notes that the huge increase in the headline figure has led to public uncertainty.

He is quoted in The Guardian:

"There are two issues that have made things confusing for the general public because they were not included in the original budget.

These are elements that have been added to the budget. They are VAT, which was not included at the beginning, and the second is a strong contingency fund, all of which gives the idea to the general public that there has been an escalation. In fact these are new elements.

Another issue is that in the bid books we had 2004 prices, but we are speaking about a project that will culminate in 2012 ... and that creates confusion among the general public who think that the budget has exploded.

There is a perception that there is a big difference but if you look at the constant impact of inflation it's not such an explosion

Whatever political spin is put on the £12BN cost figure that the taxpayers are now facing, can't hide the fact that £12BN is a very large sum of money (one which will rise as the deadline draws ever closer) and that one that the British taxpayer does not want to fund.

The organisers by their ineptitude and spin tried to hide the true cost of the games when they made the bid, as they knew that the public would never have supported them.

The chickens are well and truly coming home to roost, and the politicians are finding it more difficult to hide the true costs of the games.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wise Words

"Don't let people believe the overall budget is what it costs to host the Olympic Games

That is a relatively small part of what is likely to be a much larger figure

Given that the London 2012 Olympics budget (currently £12BN, including running costs) is spiralling out of control, I couldn't have put it better myself.

Who spoke such wisdom?

None other than the Minister for Culture and Sport, Tessa Jowell, during a question and answer session in Chicago (Chicago is bidding for the 2016 games).

Why is it that Jowell has only now recognised this very obvious fact?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Accreditation Begins

The accreditation process for journalists to register for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games has begun, and the deadline for the return of forms is February 29 2008.

Yang Minghui, deputy director of the BOCOG's accreditation centre, said:

"The BOCOG has begun distributing press application forms and accreditation guides to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and accredited organisations.

According to Olympic charter regulations, holders of valid Olympic or Paralympic Identity and Accreditation Cards (OIACs) can use them, in combination with a valid passport or travel document, to enter and exit the host country

Those who are accredited are allowed to remain in the host country to carry out their duties during the Olympic and Paralympics, and for one month before and after.

It is estimated there will be 21,600 accredited writers, photographers and broadcasters during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Green Flame

The Olympic flame for the 2012 London Olympics will burn green, like an emerald. To be less poetic, the organisers want a carbon neutral flame that is fuelled by environmentally products such as tree cuttings.

Wants and desires of course do not necessarily match reality. This is all but a pipe dream if scientists cannot find a way to make the green flame burn as brightly as a normal flame.

The London Organising Committee and EDF Energy have begun to search for a suitable biofuel for the flame.

David Stubbs, the London Organising Committee's Head of Sustainability, said:

"The Olympic flame is potentially quite an energy consumer. We are looking at alternative fuels to help reduce the impact of that flame. It is early days yet. We do not know what fuel to use."

Gareth Wynn, of EDF Energy, said:

"We are looking for something that has the right look and feel. There is a balance to be struck because a really clean flame can be difficult to see. We have to find a balance so that it provides the right fuel but can be seen.

I cannot tell you yet what the solution is going to be and what the gas is but we are going to find it. We have made a commitment to find it. The flame is such an iconic image that we have to get it right

Let us trust that the money, effort and experiments that are used in the search are not more energy/environmentally wasteful than that of just opting to use the conventional flame.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cat Murderers

It is ironic that whilst a veritable hue and cry has been raised over the fate of some newts that currently reside on the proposed London 2012 Olympics site, very little has been done so far to protect a far more agreeable species namely a large colony of cats.

Hundreds of feral cats, who have made the site their home, face being crushed to death by diggers at the new Olympic Park site because the Games' organisers are neglecting them to focus on rescuing a population of newts.

The Celia Hammond Animal Trust claims that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had allowed volunteers onto the land for a couple of weeks to rescue cats. However, the ODA has now refused their repeated requests to go back on to get the rest of them.

The irony is that London 2012 organisers are prepared to spend £70K rescuing 150 newts from another part of the Stratford site. Could it be that Ken Linvingstone, the Mayor of London with a well known passion for newts, had a hand in saving the newts?

Celia Hammond, who runs the charity Celia Hammond Animal Trust, said the authorities were being "obstructive".

The charity has set up a petition on its website asking for access to whole of the site, in order to rescue the remaining cats.

Joanna Lumley is a supporter of the campaign, and is quoted in The Telegraph:

"Celia and her team are fully qualified to have dealt with this problem weeks ago had she been granted the access she needed. But this has been denied time and time again, and the appalling mismanagement by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) means that many animals may have died already."

As I keep repeating:

The Olympics is not about sport,

it's not about the environment,

it's not about making the world a better place,

it's about money.

Sign the petition to save the cats here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Grim Reaper

The Grim ReaperThe Royal Air Force have confirmed that it will deploy armed "Reaper" unmanned aerial vehicles during the London 2012 Olympics.

There is, it has to be said, a degree of risk in deploying armed "Terminator" inspired robo planes over London. However, the British government in their desire to keep the population under control regard the political benefits from spinning the terrorist threat as greater than the risk of any of the drones going awry and killing a civilian.

The Reaper is the latest version of the General Atomics Predator hunter-killer UAV, it can carry an array of laser-guided bombs and missiles including the Hellfire air-to-ground weapon which has been used against Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Hunter-killer UAVs are controlled by a ground station that directs them to the enemy and remotely fires its weapons.

The 11m-long Reaper can fly for 14 hours and carry an array of sensors including cameras, radars, electro-optical and infra-red that allow it to be deployed around the clock in all types of weather.

UAVs are used primarily for surveillance and targeting, but can make a highly cost-effective offensive weapon when armed with bombs and missiles.

So that's reassuring then!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Only Stunners Need Apply

Those ladies hoping to become a hostess for next year's Beijing Olympics need only bother applying if they are slim, cute and tall.

That is the advice of Zhao Dongming, director of the cultural activities department for the Beijing Olympic organising committee. He went on to say that they must have stunning figures, and measure between 1.68 metres and 1.78 metres in height.

Zhao is tasked with finding 380 women aged between 18 and 25 to serve as hostesses at medal ceremonies at Olympic venues, and another 180 for work at the opening ceremony and flag-raising events.

He said:

"We want them to be young and beautiful, and be well-rounded individuals as well."

I can't see Lord Coe getting away with that if he tried it in the London Games.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Olympics Drains Cash From Wales

Lloyds TSB has sponsored the the National Eisteddfod (Cymanfa Ganu Welsh hymn-singing event) every year since 1979. However, as a result of financial commitments to sponsoring the London 2012 Olympics, it has announced that it is cancelling the sponsorship of the Welsh event.

Needless to say, there are those in Wales who are less than impressed that an event in London is draining Wales of much needed funds.

Past Eisteddfod archdruid Robyn Lewis, displaying a touch of nationalism, said:

"If the bank were to divert its money to another worthy cause, such as poverty in the Third World, I would understand the situation and might well sympathise to some extent.

But the London Olympic Games!

There appears to be little sympathy or support for these forthcoming games in parts of Wales.

Quite simply, our country will not be represented. To say that 'British' entries include Wales is to add insult to injury.

The bank's Eisteddfod sponsorship being withdrawn and diverted to so contentious an event outside Wales will, I believe, reflect very badly on the bank.

I have been a customer of Lloyds TSB for many years. Hitherto, the bank has given every satisfaction in its handling of my affairs.

Let me make myself quite clear. If Lloyds TSB persist, I shall have to consider my position as a customer from now on

It would seem that Mr Lewis is not a fan of a United Kingdom.

It is doubtful that Lloyds TSB will heed his call.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Too Many Cooks

The Telegraph has a one page summary outlining the structure of the organisation behind the London 2012 Olympics.

Far too many different bodies and egos for this to work well, in my view.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Olympics Fire

A blaze started at the site for the 2012 Olympics park in London yesterday, and sent a plume of acrid smoke into the air over London.

Firefighters were called around midday, as residents across the capital reported seeing the smoke rising thousands of feet into the air.

The fire was in a disused warehouse in Hackney Wick, East London, on the edge of the Olympic park, which is being prepared for the 2012 games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said that the fire appeared to have been started accidentally, and confirmed that its staff had been at the warehouse earlier in the day.

The London fire brigade said the warehouse was not in use, but it was too early to say how the fire had started or what had caused the thick black smoke.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cycling Newtered

Sometimes the plans of mice, men and the Olympics Delivery Authority (ODA) can be blown off course by the most unlikely of circumstances.

In the case of the ODA plans for cycling, it is the humble newt (Ken Livingstone's favourite creature) that has put a spanner in the works.

Cyclists attending clubs at Eastway Cycle Circuit in East London face the prospect of being denied facilities for at least a year, after newts held up the building of a new interim track.

The cyclists left Eastway in November 2006, to make way for the Olympic Velopark due to open April 2007.

However, the land is home to 450 newts one of which is the rare and protected great crested newt.

The London Development Agency (LDA) have had to put work on hold until the newts are relocated at a cost of £70K.

To date, 240 have been moved, but that leaves another 210. The delay in newt clearance means that the cyclists will be without their track until Summer 2008 at the earliest.

Eastway Users Group Chairman, Michael Humphreys, said:

"I would like to know why the LDA did not start collecting the newts until August 2007.

A lot of time has been wasted

This little episode is entirely symbolic of the slip shod organisation and planning of the London Games.

More cock ups can be expected.

Friday, November 9, 2007


The International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge, has reaffirmed that the IOC will continue its fight against doping.


"I would like to reiterate the IOC's total commitment to the fight against doping."

The IOC will adopt a law that would see athletes who had served a doping ban of six months or more, being banned from the Olympic Games.


"This measure will be accepted at the next IOC congress in Beijing in August, just before the Games, meaning it will come into effect in time for the 2010 winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 summer Games in London."

Why do the athletes damage their bodies in this manner?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thumbs Down For The Olympics Stadium

The London ODA continues to heap embarrassment and opprobrium upon itself, not content with allowing the budget to run out of control and not even being able to set a firm price for the stadium, they have now managed to attract derision and scorn for the lousy design of the 2012 London Olympics stadium.

The design was revealed yesterday, with all the usual hype and pr spin usually reserved for a third world dictatorship.

The result?

A very predictable damp squib.

A boring oval shaped stadium that has no defining features of beauty or originality, and worse it will have to down size from a capacity of 80,000 during the games to 25,000 afterwards.


Simple, there is no need for a stadium in that part of London. At best it will used, maybe, by a football club.

Hardly legacy architecture, is it?

Then again, the legacy of these games (an out of control budget, bad planning, hype, spin and lousy architecture) is rather in keeping with the capabilities and performance of the current government.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Olympics Budget Shambles

As is widely known, the budget for the London 2012 Olympics is an utter shambles. It is currently standing at around £12BN (including running costs), and is likely to balloon to around £18BN by the time the games are held.

Despite the fact that the financial planning of these games has been an unmitigated disaster, the organisers still seem determined to heap further misery and ridicule upon themselves.

It is reported that the final cost for the main London 2012 Olympic Stadium could be higher than the revised £496M million estimate that was reported last month.

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chairman John Armitt told members of the London Assembly on October 10th that they had agreed the figure of £496M with main contractors Robert McAlpine for the 80,000 seater stadium.

The original budget for the stadium was in fact £280M, the £496M represents a staggering 77% increase.

However, it seems that the figure that Armitt gave the London Assembly was only a forecast. It seems that the forecast figure has an 80% chance of being correct. The people organising the games really seem to have no concept of plain speaking, and prefer instead to allow people to make assumptions.

Needless to say, this lack of rigour in their planning and communications inevitably comes back to bite them. I would have thought that they should have learnt their lesson by now, evidently not!

The actual cost of the stadium will only be known once the work is complete in 2011, a year before the London Games open.

I wonder how many more "surprises" the ODA have hidden up their sleeves for the long suffering tax payers?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Personal Branding

My compliments to the parents in China who hold no fear of being prosecuted by the IOC for using their "Olympics" brand name. It seems that nearly 3,600 people in China are called Aoyun, which translates to "Olympics" in English.

In addition, 4,100 people have names that translate into Beijing Olympic Games.

It is likely, that as the date for the 2008 Beijing Games approaches, the number of people with Olympics based names will increase.

What will the IOC lawyers do, in response to such a blatant breach of their copyright rules?

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Ticket Lottery

Ticket sales for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will revert to a lottery system, after last week's problems with the first-come, first served process caused the computer system to crash.

Demand was so high that the official ticketing website had 8 million views in the first hour.

The first tranche of tickets were sold in April 15 using a lottery system, and organisers decided to revert to it "in the interest of fairness and for everyone's convenience."

People who want to buy tickets can submit applications between December 10th and December 30th.

The date of the lottery will be announced later.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ticket Sales Suspended

There has been something of an Olympic sized fiasco in China following the launch of the second tranche of ticket sales for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Organisers have had to suspend ticket sales until next Monday, after the booking system crashed due to high demand on Tuesday.

The organising committee has issued a statement apologising for the mess, stating that they had underestimated demand.

It seems that in the first hour after sales opened, the ticket website received more than 200,000 ticket requests per second. Additionally, phone lines were jammed by customers eager to buy the tickets.

However, it is far better to have too many people trying to buy tickets than too few.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Get On With It

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, has issued a thinly disguised "hurry up" message to the London Olympics organisers.

Rogge told the BBC that London "is doing OK", but must focus on delivering the Games on time.


"We urge them to work as soon as possible and to prepare today for the unforeseen of tomorrow."

Hardly a ringing endorsement of progress made so far.

Rogge also said that he remained optimistic that a permanent tenant for the London Olympic stadium will be found.

The current legacy plan is to reduce the stadium's capacity from 80,000 to 25,000 in 2013, and use it as a multi-sport venue with athletics and community facilities at its heart.

However, LOCOG need a football or rugby club to become the "anchor tenant" and thus subsidise the stadium. The trouble being that the plans for the stadium do not include a roof for the majority of the seats.

Another example of the poor planning of this event.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tickets Go On Sale

This Tuesday 1.85 million tickets for the 2008 Olympic Games will be up for sale in China, in the second round of booking.

Ticket prices range from 30 Yuan to 5,000 Yuan, and will be sold on the first come, first serve basis at this stage.

Rong Jun, head of the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee (BOCOG), said:

"One can buy a maximum of 50 tickets and the two-ticket limit is applied for 'high-demand events'."

There are over seven million tickets available for sale, with about 40% reserved for domestic Chinese sale.

In the first round of sale between April and August, 63,000 tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies at the 91,000 seat capacity stadium and over two million tickets for the sports events were sold.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Carbon Neutral Flame

The Telegraph reports that organisers of the London 2012 Olympics are exploring ways of developing a more carbon neutral Olympic flame for the duration of the games.

A spokeswoman for London 2012 said:

"We want London 2012 to be a truly sustainable Games. Using a low-carbon fuel to light the Olympic flame and keep it burning throughout the Games is one of the many things we are looking at right now to deliver a 'green games'".

I have a suspicion that they will end up wasting more resources on their search for carbon neutrality than they will save.

The organisers would be wise to recall the story of the "Million Dollar Biro".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Red Arrows Story Resurfaces

I see that the story about the Red Arrows being banned from the 2012 Olympics, because they are deemed to be too British and too militaristic, has resurfaced again.

This time in none other media organ than the Guardian.

Oh dear, a month or so after the story broke and the Guardian has finally got around to reporting it. The trouble is, all and sundry in the government have stated that the story is unfounded; as no decision has yet been made about the Red Arrows appearing, or not appearing.

Well done the Guardian, for keeping so fully abreast of events!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cars Banned From Capital

In a move that attempts to emulate the Chinese Olympics anti pollution drive, and one that is bound to annoy a few people, London Olympics organisers (ODA) have proposed banning cars from the capital during the 2012 London Olympics.

The ODA are calling for a "cultural shift" in the way that people use transport.

The ODA has set a ludicrously ambitious target of 100% of spectators travelling to the Olympic Park in Stratford by public transport, walking and cycling.

An ODA spokesman said:

"We're not banning people from driving during the Games. The point is really encouraging people to use public transport."

Quite a ridiculous contradiction, if they are not banning people from using cars then there will be a significant percentage that will use cars; hence the 100% target is absurd.

Not very surprisingly not everyone will be expected to abandon their cars. Dignitaries, officials from the International Olympic Committee and sponsors will be able to drive in special Olympic lanes during the Games. The "ban" just applies to the ordinary public.

How very egalitarian!

Needless to say the main obstacle to this "plan" is the fact that London's public transport system is falling apart. For example, the Circle line has to be closed during the weekends for urgent repairs. The impression that this gives to tourists and visitors to London is that of a third world country, rather than a leading capital city.

Quite how London ever convinced the IOC that it has an adequate public transport infrastructure is beyond belief.

Others are not particularly convinced about the ODA's vision either, earlier this year the Commons transport select committee published a report criticising the ODA's draft Olympic travel plan for "not exhibiting any sense of urgency" and being "vague".

The ODA are clearly living in fantasy land.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Post Olympic Shock

Once the London Olympics 2012 have ended, what will happen afterwards?

That's the question posed by Dr Angus McIntosh, a King Sturge (a property consultant) research partner.

Dr McIntosh notes that the improvements in infrastructure in the area that the Games are being held in will provide a boost to property prices pre 2012.

However, as he is quoted in the Telegraph:

"When all the crowds have gone, what are you left with?"

"At the moment there's a lot of discussion about the construction programme being over budget, but we haven't found any clear vision of what legal or political structure will be in place in the future.

You think of thousands of new homes, the parkland, the schools, the doctors' surgeries, all the bits that make sustainable urban development.

Who is going to manage and maintain it?

Who are the asset managers, not in 2012 but 2022

That is exactly the point that the politicians like to gloss over.

Other countries that have hosted the Games have found that the infrastructure that has been built becomes something of a wasteland afterwards. One year after the Athens Olympics the houses built stood empty.

Has anyone in charge of the UK Olympics really addressed that issue?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bad Budget

The IOC has finally admitted to what everyone else has known for a very long time, namely that budgets for long term projects should allow for inflation.

The shambles over the ever burgeoning London 2012 Olympics budget (currently standing at £12BN and rising) has led the IOC to order future bidding cities to provide more accurate budgets of costs.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has told the seven cities bidding for the 2016 Games to give the final cost estimates in 2016 prices.

What on earth took them so long to come to this very obvious conclusion?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Nice Little Earner

A Nice Little EarnerAs I have often said, the Olympics is not about sport but about money. This point is again illustrated by the publication of the amounts being paid to consultants for the London 2012 Olympis.

These "highly useful" companies/individuals will receive £60M (over £1M per week) for their "services" to the London Games.

Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell, came clean in a parliamentary written answer that consultants are to receive more than £60M. Funny how shy the government is when it comes to talking about the cost of the Games, yet they are always so keen to make a song and dance and grab the publicity about the Games when it makes them look good.

Jowell's answer admitted that Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) spent £50.49M in 2006-2007 and between April and July this year spent a further £10.7M.

A large amount of this government largess (using the taxpayers' money) went to five consultancy companies; Atkins, EDAW Ltd, Ernst and Young, Ove Arup & Partners Ltd and Rockpools.

Needless to say, given that the Olympics budget is out of control (£12BN and rising), this revelation could not have come at a more embarrassing time for our "respected" lords and masters.

To add further fuel to the fires, it should be noted that it is not just the consultancy companies that are making a nice living out of the taxpayers. London organising committee chief executive Paul Deighton was paid £536K, even Princess Anne is in on the act receiving £4K for attending up to four board meetings.

There is also another problem for the hapless Jowell, in July she told MPs that the Department for Culture Media nd Sport (DCMS) were employing no consultants in the current financial year and had hired only two in 2006-2007.

Yet the above revelations prove that the answer she gave in July was...errrmmm...wrong!

Seemingly Jowell won't quite admit to lying, instead she has opted for the politician's fail safe by revising the "facts"; hoping that no one will notice.


"In my previous answer to the honourable member for Faversham and Mid-Kent on July 9, I stated that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had not employed consultancy firms to work on the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in the current financial year and that two consultancy firms were employed in 2006-07.

However, it has since come to light that during 2006-07 a total of six consultancy firms were employed by DCMS on Olympic-related business. One of these firms continued to work on Olympic-related business in 2007-08 and a further four consultancy contracts had also, as of July 9, been entered into during 2007-08.

The cost of consultancy firms employed by the Olympic Delivery Authority in 2006-07 was £50,494,000 and in 2007-08 (as of July 9) was £10,753,000.

These costs reflect the process of establishing the ODA and building up organisational capacity while ensuring key delivery milestones are achieved

How blithely she alters the "facts" of her original answer, without so much as an apology or an admission of error.

Is this woman fit for office?

-The budget is out of control
-She has either lied, or else she is massively incompetent

The clear answer is that she is not fit for office, and should be removed with due haste.

Never allow politicians to run long term projects, they have neither the training nor the integrity to do so.

Monday, October 15, 2007

President Backs Olympics

President Hu Jintao of China, in his speech to the 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party today, made special mention of the Olympics.


"We must organise the 2008 Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and 2010 World Expo well.

We must comprehensively develop mass participation of sports among the people

The Chinese are using the Olympics as a means of showcasing China and China's economic and social achievements to the rest of the world.

The Western media have raised questions as to how China will deal with dissent at Games, and are also closely following the efforts made by the authorities to improve the air quality in Beijing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Olympics Organisers Grilled

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics submitted themselves to a grilling by the people of Stratford yesterday. Around 200 Londoners filled the Stratford Circus arts venue, for a 2012 Olympic Question and Answer session.

Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee, promised that the stadium to be built at Stratford to hold the games would continue to be available for the staging of athletics events and for local youths.


"It's very clear. We went to Singapore for the bid and made a commitment it would be a multi-purpose stadium for the local community.

You cannot just leave an 80,000-seater stadium in a lunar landscape without any thought of how the legacy will pan out over the years to come.

We will be constructing a permanent 25,000-seater stadium with temporary seating for 50,000. It is a very well-thought-out legacy.

It doesn't stop us talking to local rugby clubs and amateur football clubs

It will come down to money at the end of the day after the games. In the event that the stadium does not look financially viable, when run purely for athletics, those organisations with large wallets (ie football clubs) will inevitably end up calling the shots.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Costs Out of Control

It should come as no surprise to learn that the costs for the London 2012 Olympics are continuing to spiral out of control.

London 2012 organisers (the Olympic Delivery Authority - ODA) have admitted that the cost for the main Olympic Stadium has increased by a stonking 77%, from £280M to £496M.

John Armitt, the chairman of the ODA, admitted to the debacle in the London assembly.

Armitt then also came clean over the costs of the aquatics centre, which will double from £75M to £150M, as a result of a redesign.

The current "guesstimate" of the total costs of the Olympics is around £12BN (including £2BN running costs). However, by the time 2012 is finally upon us, it is likely in my view that these costs will have soared to around £18BN-£20BN.

Armitt attempted to explain the rise in costs away, as being not a rise at all.


"To suggest that costs have doubled from the bid book presents a grossly misleading picture for the public. This figure is a 2012 outturn cost. It includes VAT. It includes inflation. It includes legacy conversion and it includes some site earthworks.

The bid book was a 2004 figure. It included none of these things

Needless to say, the above explanation is pathetic. The reality being that the 2004 figure was wrong, it is as simple as that!

To try to suggest anything else, as Armitt does, is beyond reason; it demonstrates that he is not up to the job of delivering the games on time, and on budget (whatever that may be!).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Skateboarding Nixed

Skateboarding will not feature in the 2012 London Olympics, as plans for the International Cycling Federation to adopt skateboarding as a "wheel-based" sport have failed.

The Federation canvassed opinion among its members throughout the world, but they failed to give their unanimous backing. Therefore, without the endorsement of a current Olympic sport, skateboarding will not be able to be included as an Olympic sport. Its best hope is to possibly to feature as an "exhibition" event.

Skateboarders are not unanimous in their desire to become an Olympic sport, some feel that to become "Olympic" would be contrary to skateboarding's "free and easy" and non conformist image.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Contamination Forces Switch

Organisers of the London 2012 Olympic Games are having to move the canoe slalom events from the Spitalbrook site to a new venue, probably between Waltham Cross and Tebaldi Grove stations six miles away, because of contamination.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) says that initial reports indicate that it would cost too much to clean up the Spitalbrook site.

ODA head, David Higgins is quoted by the BBC:

"Although investigations are still continuing, the initial results indicate that the cost of cleaning up the land for this venue would be prohibitive given budget and time restrictions.

Venue designs continue to be developed so that a planning application can be submitted once the site discussions are completed. We are on track to complete the venue for test events in 2011

Monday, October 8, 2007

Olympics Organisers Ban Olympics

In the farce that is the London Olympics 2012, one truth remains self evident; namely that the Olympics are not about sport, but about money.

Nothing demonstrates this point more clearly than the fuss that the London Olympics organisers have caused over a science fiction book by Robert Ronson.

Mr Ronson's crime?

The title he used for his book was "Olympic Mind Games".

The "good people" of the London Olympics decided that this could be viewed as a breach of copyright. In order to squeeze every last drop of money out of the games words such as "Olympics" and "2012" are copyrighted. Therefore, in theory, this site breaches also the copyright, as it liberally uses the word "Olympics".

The organising committee were so angst ridden about Mr Ronson's book, that they sent him an email asking that he desist from using the word "Olympic" and expressions such as "London 2012, or 2012 etc" in the title.

Seemingly the committee has the power to do so under statutes passed in 1995 and 2006. Nonetheless some common sense prevailed in the minds of the Olympic organisers as Ronson refused to kowtow, doubtless fearful of looking totally ridiculous, they have decided that it would be "disproportionate" to prosecute.

It is of course quite ridiculous to attempt to ban the use of words that are listed in dictionaries. Not that it stopped "Big Brother" from doing just that in Orwell's "1984".

Here is a list of banned words for you to savour:

-London 2012

Enjoy them whist you can, the thought police will be coming soon to stop you reading them; unless of course a nice fat fee has been paid first!

Friday, October 5, 2007


US athlete Marion Jones has admitted that she used steroids as she prepared for the 2000 Olympics.

Jones plans to plead guilty tomorrow on two counts of lying to federal agents about her drug use, and an unrelated financial matter.

This means that she could be stripped of the three gold medals and two bronzes that she won in Sydney seven years ago.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Number 10 Denies Red Arrows Ban

This was posted on the 10 Downing Street website yesterday, in response to the Red Arrows petition:

"The Prime Minister's Office has responded early to a petition on its website declaring "untrue" rumours that the Red Arrows had been banned from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

The petition claimed that "The Department of Culture, Media and Sport have deemed the RAF Red Arrows as Unsuitable for the 2012 Olympics because they are too British," but the response to the petition, posted ahead of the closing date, makes clear that the Red Arrows have not been banned from the opening ceremony for 2012 and that no decision on the ceremony has actually been made.

The organising committee of London 2012 will decide what to include in the Opening Ceremony and other celebrations - but with almost five years to go, decisions are yet to be made on what these will look like.

Speaking on the issue, Red Arrows spokesman Rachel Huxford said:

"We have had no discussions about the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics whatsoever. We are still planning our 2008 season at this stage and that is a long way off.

"We understand that no decision has yet been made about the ceremony. We performed when London won its Olympic bid in 2005 after we received a standard request from the Olympic organisers

Any bets as to what the final decision will be though?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Erection Problems?

The Olympics is never about sport, it's really about money. Those organising the London 2012 Olympics have found this to their cost this week.

Steel erectors will be able to demand astronomical wages for Olympic related work, if the sector standard National Engineering Construction Industry Association (NAECI) agreement is not used on London 2012 work.

That at least is the conclusion of Contract Journal.

The costs of these games simply keep rising and rising!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Olympic Park Green Light

London's Olympic Park, a 500 acre site in Stratford, has received permission to be built from the Government Office for London and the Greater London Authority.

The park will be home to the Olympic stadium, aquatics center, velodrome, fencing, field hockey, handball and basketball arenas.

It is expected that around 180,000 spectators will enter the Olympic Park every day, during the games in 2012.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fake Off!

Beware the conmen and scammers who congregate around the Olympics, like flies around shit.

Police in southern China have arrested a man for running a fake Beijing 2008 Olympics website, that scammed people by running bogus contests.

Computer engineer Liao Peigui made $53K after persuading "winners" to first transfer a deposit equal to 10-20% of the promised prize money into a bank account that he owned.

Liao had "cloned" the official website of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, known as BOCOG; thus it appeared genuine to the unsuspecting.

Scamming is endemic on the web, as this site demonstrates

Friday, September 28, 2007


HFL, one of two drug-testing laboratories featured in London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics, has been stripped of its international accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The stripping follows complaints that the laboratory in Cambridge was also testing nutritional supplements, and declaring them screened by a Wada-accredited laboratory.

A spokeswoman for London 2012 said they are confident about the testing capacity at King's College, which is the other site in London's Olympic Games bid book.

None of this would be needed if athletes didn't try to cheat.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Builder Pulls Out

Eiffel, the French engineering group that built the tower in Paris, has pulled out of the tender process for the London 2012 Olympics after a dispute over how the constructor will be paid.

Eiffel was not invited to complete its application to build the £150M aquatics centre at the Stratford site by the Olympic Delivery Authority, as a result of the payments row.

The dispute arose over Eiffel's concerns about interference from the ODA and its delivery partner, CLM, and its lack of prior association with the venue's architect, Zaha Hadid.

Two other construction firms, Balfour Beatty and Hochtief, remain on the shortlist.

Multiplex, the Australian construction group that built the new Wembley Stadium, is not going to tender for any Olympics contracts after suffering enormous losses on the venue.

Rather un-reassuringly the organisers of the London Games say that they will learn from past mistakes made at Wembley.

So that's alright then!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Red Arrows Petition

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to allow the Red Arrows to fly at the 2012 Olympics.

Sign up here

The Money Pit

The 2012 London Olympics is costing the taxpayers of Staffordshire, and others in the West Midlands, a "pretty penny".

Their money is being spent on officials to promote the 2012 London Olympics. Olympic "co-ordinators" are being hired by councils to "raise awareness" of the games.

Staffordshire County Council is advertising for a co-ordinator on a salary of up to £39,000 a year.

The post will involve telling people about the games as well as working on sport, business culture, education and tourism in the area.

Other authorities are doing the same, all paying similar salaries.

The Black Country Consortium has appointed marketing co-ordinator Claire Beresford. In Worcestershire, Peter Turvey has been appointed in a part-time post of about £15,000 funded by the Worcestershire Partnership.

A complete waste of money!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Gravy Train

According to The Times Britain's hotels are now the most expensive in Europe, with the price of a night averaging £110 (a rise of 17% compared to last year).

London is now the fourth most expensive big-name destination in the world.

As the London Olympics approaches, we can expect the hotels to raise their prices even further. I guess this is what is meant by the "legacy" of the games?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wasting Taxpayers' Money

Like a pig rolling in shit, the London Olympics 2012 seems to positively enjoy wallowing in its own filth and attracting negative publicity.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 65 agency workers last year, working on the London Games, took home £7.7M (that's £118K each).

One unnamed agency worker was on £1,200 a day. A nice little earner by anyone's standards!

Rockpools, an agency supplier of consultants etc, charged £1,885,898. Reed Personnel Services charged £525,939 and Hedra Plc charged £491,885.

Over 60% of British people feel the Games are not worth the time or money being expended. Given the above sums, I doubt that their opinions will be in any way mollified.

Even the royal family are in on the act; Princess Anne, a non-executive director and head of the British Olympic Association, received £4,000 in fees for attending four board meetings lasting a total of ten hours.

The ballooning budget currently stands at £12BN (including running costs of £2BN), and is expected to rise to over £15BN. My personal guess is that it will top £20BN.

Is there not a more pressing use for this staggering sum of money?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

House Prices

Estate agents are never shy to talk up house prices, and use every trick in the book to do so. Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that they are using the 2012 London Olympics as a tool with which to underpin the already overpriced London housing market.

Ludlow Thompson, a firm of estate agents, has said that the 2012 Olympic Games in East London could boost property prices by £50K-£100K. The theory being that the regeneration of the area will allow first time buyers, who cannot afford central London, to enter the market.

It is not without precedent that the Olympics can, on occasions, boost house prices. Reports highlight that property prices rose by 63% in Athens in the 5 years prior to the 2004 games, while those in Sydney rose 50% in the same period before the 2000 games and those in Barcelona rose 131% in the 5 years before the 1992 games.

However, as we know, London is already in the midst of a house price boom that already appears to be unsustainable. It is highly unlikely that the Olympics will boost prices in the manner that the estate agents would have us believe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Red Arrows Banned?

There is something of a furore brewing, yet another one, over the London 2012 Olympics. This particular row concerns the possible banning of the RAF display team "The Red Arrows".

It has been reported that the Red Arrows may be banned from performing at the opening ceremony, as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport believe that the team's military background "might offend other nations".

It is alleged that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ruled last week that the Red Arrows is "unsuitable" and "not in keeping with the event as they were too militaristically British".

The Red Arrows spokesman Rachel Huxford said:

"We have had no discussions about the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics whatsoever.

We are still planning our 2008 season at this stage and that is a long way off. We understand that no decision has yet been made about the ceremony.

We performed when London won its Olympic bid in 2005 after we received a standard request from the Olympic organisers

That of course does not mean that they will perform at the opening ceremony.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport was unavailable for comment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Package

Air China, an official sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is offering a luxury Olympics tour package priced at a staggering $17K.

The package includes tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. The package also includes a first class Korea-China flight, and a first class domestic flight in China.

Accommodation is not included!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Opposition To 2012 Olympics Grows

A YouGov survey for the TaxPayers' Alliance has identified that almost 66% of the British public are opposed to the ever rising costs of the London 2012 Olympics.

They wish to see the £12BN spent on more worthwhile concepts, such as tax cuts or public services.

Needless to say, very few people (3% to be precise) actually believe that the government is able to deliver the Games within its existing budget.

Current estimates for the budget are now running at £15BN, for what it is worth my estimate is £20BN.

Never allow politicians anywhere near long term complex projects such as IT systems, construction or the Olympics.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

On The Buses

Good news for those of you planning to use the bus in Beijing next year at the 2008 Olympics.

Bus drivers have been banned from drinking alcohol within eight hours of starting work, and banned from "excessive" drinking at any time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fire Threatens Birthplace of Olympics

The fires that are raging in Greece, and which have killed approximately 60 people, are threatening the birthplace of the Olympics.

Olympia, the site holding the ruins of the stadium and pagan temples that hosted the Olympics for centuries from 776BC and the site of the Olympic flame ceremony every two years, was licked by flames.

The fire destroyed trees and shrubs, and scorched the new archaeological museum. Firemen struggled to bring the fire under control as a national priority.

Monday, August 27, 2007

New Doping Rules

Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee president, has announced new rules on doping. Any athlete banned for a doping offence, which carries a suspension of six months or more, will have to wait eight years for another chance to enter the Games.

This means that athletes found guilty of doping offences in the Beijing Games in 2008, will not be able to compete in the London Games in 2012.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Milking It

The London Olympics organisers (LOCOG), faced with an ever expanding budget (£12BN at the last estimate) for the 2012 games, are looking for ways of milking the event for every penny.

They have come up with a way of expanding the sponsorship list by adding another category, clothing and homeware.

A clothing and homeware manufacturer will be part of the "top-tier" sponsor group.

LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton said:

"The addition of a new category demonstrates that there is a huge appetite from commercial companies to be part of 2012."

The other categories are banking and insurance, telecoms, automotive, airline, sportswear and oil and gas.

LOCOG's commercial director, Chris Townsend, said:

"It has become apparent over the last year or so that there was a great deal of interest from clothing and homeware companies so we decided to create this new category to harness that interest."

It's the money, not the sport that drives the Olympics.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beijing Air Improves

A four day test carried out in Beijing, has concluded that the overall air quality has improved.

The test resulted in the removal of five million cars from roads in downtown Beijing, and the air quality was classified as "fairly good" for the duration of the four days.

However, a haze still hung over the city over the weekend.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Coe Goes For Gold

Sebastian Coe, head of the London 2012 Olympics, will hear next weekend if he has been elected vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body.

If successful, he will be one step closer to becoming president of the IOC.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Legacy

Something of a storm is brewing between British athletes and the organisers of the London Olympics 2012, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), over the legacy of the games.

The legacy in many athletes eyes, and indeed as was promised to the IOC, was that the main Olympic stadium would become an international flagship venue for track and field events after 2012.

However, it seems that the legacy is changing as the organisers belatedly realise/admit that the legacy has to be commercially viable.

As I keep repeating, the Games are not about sport they are about money.

The final designs and legacy plans for the £500M stadium are not due to be signed off until the autumn. However, a new report by management consultants PMP proposes a multi-use facility which would only be available for athletics for a third of the year.

There are also no plans to re-house the warm-up track to be built alongside the Olympic Stadium after the Games, this makes it impossible for London to bid for the World Athletics Championships.

A spokeswoman for UK Athletics is quoted in The Telegraph as saying:

"An athletics legacy was part of the promise made by the London 2012 bid team in Singapore and UK Athletics fully expect that legacy to be delivered post 2012.

If athletics is to optimise its use of the Olympic Stadium facility and develop high quality athletics events for all age groups then there must be a warm-up track as part of that legacy.

UK Athletics would have grave concerns over revised proposals that would not enable the sport to enjoy the fruits of the promised legacy

Good old fashioned fudge will be the "dish" of the day, once the plans are finalised.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Small Query

The organisers of the London Olympics 2012 have, not surprisingly, received thousands of comments from residents and public bodies in relation to the Games.

However, one comment is particularly noteworthy.

It comes from Civil Aviation Authority's directorate of airspace policy.


"Unable to view the details on the website, but have particular interest in the heights of proposed buildings."


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


It seems that the London Olympics 2012 is being used as an excuse by lobbyists to press the government to speed up the immigration processes for foreign chefs.

Sector skills council People 1st and the trade body the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have sent a joint letter to the prime minister urging him to act immediately on the issue.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said:

"The Government has known for some time that employers here are struggling to find highly skilled chefs.

There is a certain irony in the fact that a sushi chef with 12 years' training – who we really need in this country – gets denied entry, yet footballers from the same part of the world with less years' training behind them take priority

BHA chief executive Bob Cotton said:

"With our food tastes evolving, there is an urgent need for great chefs, and this will become even more of an issue with the influx of millions of tourists heading to London in advance of the Olympic Games."

Nice try!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's The Money Stupid

Those of you who think that the Olympics is about sport should think again, read this sorry greedy little tale of how the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) tried to bully a website owner into giving up his site, simply because he had the temerity to have the number "2012" in the URL.

Matthew Parker runs a site that offers to help people find houses to rent during the 2012 Olympics in London. Unfortunately he fell fowl of LOCOG, because his URL was

LOCOG claimed that because they had a trademark on "2012" Matthew should not be allowed to use it in his URL or indeed run a website that, in their view, cashed in on their revenue stream

Funny how the concept of sport has been ignored by LOCOG, isn't it?

I also wonder quite how they intend to enforce their trademark on "2012", does that mean that every time a newspaper, blog site or other media organisation uses the number "2012" they have to pay a fee?

The dispute with Matthew has lasted for five months. Matthew and LOCOG have now reached an agreement allowing the old address to be redirected to the new one.

The old web address is The new one is

It's the money, certainly not the sport, that drives the Olympics.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Olympics Pushes Up Costs

The 2012 London Olympics will increase construction costs by nearly £4BN.

That is the view of the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA), who claim that construction inflation is one of the major "hidden costs" of the London Games.

The TPA expect that the Games will increase the cost of new public buildings such as city academies and GP surgeries and new private housing, making affordability even worse for first time buyers.

It seems that the Olympic legacy will be the fattening of construction companies bank balances.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Designers Sought

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics are looking to improve their design capabilities, and are seeking a panel of design and creative services consultancies.

The Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games have jointly asked for tenders to form a panel of suppliers specialising in a range of marketing, design and communications services.

Pity they didn't do this when they selected the firm that gave us the "Lisa Simpson Gives Head" logo.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Olympic Legacy

One of the curious side effects, or to use the fashionable term beloved by the IOC and other Olympic organs - "legacy", of the London Olympics 2012 is that of preserving Camelot's monopoly stranglehold over the UK lottery industry.

Camelot is expected to hold on to the National Lottery today, it has run the National Lottery since 1994. However, it is facing a rival bid from Sugal & Damani, an Indian based rival.

Despite the fact that Camelot is in a monopoly position, and as such it could be argued that it would be beneficial to open the market up to competition, it is unlikely to lose its stranglehold.

The simple reason being that it has been asked to guarantee £2.2BN for the Olympics 2012, the budget for which is spinning hopelessly out of control.

Sugal & Damani would have problems in guaranteeing that sum.

So those who look for an Olympic legacy need look no further than the lottery monopoly, something to be proud of!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wasting Taxpayers' Money

As if enough of taxpayers' money was not already being wasted on the London 2012 Olympics, eg on absurd logos, it seems that the organisers have come up with another means to throw money away.

The Olympic Delivery Authority has announced that it is looking for six people to work on staff diversity.

Each post will attract a salary of around £100K pa. Needless to say, hiring six people on that level of salary is merely the thin end of the wedge; large salaries need to be justified, therefore the six people will of course be hiring their own retinues etc to justify their jobs and salary levels.

The jobs currently being advertised include; head of equalities and inclusion at the Olympic Delivery Authority, equalities and inclusion manager, and head of diversity and inclusion at the London 2012 Organising Committee.

Here they are:



Sounds like the same job to me, why do they need so many people doing the same thing?

What a spectacular self serving waste of money!

Friday, August 3, 2007


Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese government of "gagging" dissidents, and clamping down on domestic journalists to stave off potential political instability.

Brad Adams, Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said:

"The government seems afraid that its own citizens will embarrass it by speaking out about political and social problems, but China's leaders apparently don't realise authoritarian crackdowns are even more embarrassing".

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Livingstone Pans Budget

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has panned the Olympics 2012 budget.

Speaking on BBC Sport Mayor Livingstone said that it would be a "defeat" if the Olympics in 2012 ended up costing more than £7BN.

The current budget now stands at £12BN including operating copsts, therefore he may have his hands full trying to reign that in.

The Mayor stated that the budget was in fact £5.5BN, thus muddying the waters.


"I'll consider it a personal defeat if we do not knock several billion off.

We've now got a budget set for £5.5bn. Inevitably, things will crop up and it will almost end up at £6bn. I'd be quite proud if we kept it at that.

If it starts going over £7bn that will be a defeat.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has built in this huge contingency for just about everything that could go wrong.

Our job is to keep that to the minimum of things that could go wrong

Mayor Livingstone then went on to say that "exploded" when he saw the 2012 Olympics logo.

"I'm the mayor of a city and the only thing any mayor wants in the logo is the name of the city enormous and predominant.

I didn't get that so I was a bit grumpy about that.

It was hidden from me up until about the last two weeks and it was too late to do anything about it.

I exploded pretty much as dramatically as the rest of the country when they saw it.

But it's the only thing that I haven't got my way on in the last two years so I can't complain

Well said, the logo is crap as indeed is the budget.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Doping Row Erupts

A row has broken out between Britain's doping authorities, over measures to improve controls before the 2012 London Olympics.

The British Olympic Association announced that it had established its own anti-doping commission. This sparked a furious reaction from UK Sport, the Government body which runs Britain's anti-doping programme.

John Steele, UK Sport's chief executive, said:

"We are in no way complacent.

Against that we must be wary of constant investigation and review, in particular where there is no formal mandate for it.

The last thing British sport needs, as we build up to Beijing 2008 and London 2012, is distraction, confusion about roles and duplication of effort. We all have significant roles to play - let's just get on with them

The BOA commission has a mandate to make recommendations to "improve and strengthen" British anti-doping controls and to publish a report before next year's Games in Beijing.

A BOA spokesman said:

"Clearly we are disappointed at the reaction, as we honestly believe the commission's work can play an important part in the fight against doping.

Neither is it meant to imply any criticism of UK Sport, who work hard to ensure sport in this country is drug free

It seems that the government doesn't like others to interfere in its plans for the Olympics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Skills Shortage Threaten Olympics

LibDem MP Don Foster has come to the stunning conclusion, that very householder in Britain has known for many years, that there is a skills shortage of electricians, plumbers and builders.

Congratulations to Foster for getting his name in the papers for stating that "little known fact".

Why the significance?

Seemingly this shortage poses yet another threat to the 2012 London Olympics.


"Britain is facing a huge skills shortage that could undermine the success of the Olympics."

That, I suspect, is the least of the problems facing the 2012 Games.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said that "initiatives" were under way to provide local people with low skills levels with new work opportunities.

Well, she would say that wouldn't she?

The reality will be that the rates that these tradesmen charge will simply rise exponentially. as the date of the games draws ever nearer. Thus pushing the cost of the games above the current £12BN, and increasing the cost base of ordinary households as they pay through the nose for plumbers etc.

I guess that's what they mean when they talk about the "Olympics legacy"!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Darling's Doubts Over Olympics

It seems that the new Chancellor of The Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has some doubts over the London Olympics 2012.

Darling has been outed as a long-term doubter of the Olympics.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spin doctor, has revealed in his diaries that Darling was a "very clear no", when the Cabinet was discussing in 2003 the prospect of an Olympic bid.

Darling raised concerns about the cost of the Games at the time, when the bill was only expected to be £2.6BN. The current budget has now ballooned to a staggering £12BN, and is likely to continue to grow.

The Treasury claim that Darling now no longer has any doubts.

Quite how this change of mind, given the fact that the budget is now more than four times the amount that caused Darling to reject the bid, came about is beyond mere human understanding.

Doubtless Darling's conversion was a "road to Damascus" moment.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Significant Uncertainties

The National Audit Office (NAO) have warned of "significant uncertainties" over the costs London's 2012 Olympics.

No kidding!

The NAO said the £9.3BN (excluding the £2BN running costs of the infrastructure) was "sufficient to cover the estimated costs of the Games" as plans stood.

However, it then went on to say that this was true only "with the important proviso that the assumptions on which the budget is based hold good".

Which is Whitehall speak for saying that as soon as things change, as is the nature of life, so will the budget.

A pretty lame statement in my view.

The NAO warned that the Olympics involved "a high level of inherent risk".

Tessa Jowell, of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), said:

"We are determined to keep an iron grip on costs. That is why we have set in place rigorous cost oversight procedures within Government, including a cross-Government ministerial funders committee and task force to assess any requests for further contingency funding under strict criteria."

She would say that, wouldn't she?

The costs have rocketed from £3BN to £12BN, thanks to the inept and incompetent management by Jowell and the DCMS.

Never entrust a politician with the management of a large scale, long term project.

We can be assured that by the time the Olympics have been held, the current budget of £12BN will have long since been overrun.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Plan

The ongoing farce more commonly known as the London 2012 Olympics has taken another twist, the much vaunted tourism plan has been delayed for a second time, this time until September.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which has been charged with formulating the plan, has postponed the launch again citing the recent reshuffle.

Seemingly not everyone was happy with some of the wording in the proposed document, originally due to be published on 17th July.

A DCMS spokesman said:

"New ministers have come in following the reshuffle and they want to have their own take on it, so meetings have been set up with various bodies from the tourism industry to assess the plan and take it forward."

Hotel chain Travelodge are far from impressed, chief operating officer Guy Parsons said:

"From today up to the 2012 Olympics, is the most crucial time for tourism in decades.

We can't afford any further delays

The lesson here is never entrust politicians with long term major projects, they are simply not up to the task.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Threat To Tube System

The collapse of Metronet, the contractor for much of London's tube system, will severely hamper urgent work required to bring it up to an acceptable standard in time for the London Olympics 2012.

The curse of the London Olympics strikes again!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Becks For 2012

In a rush of blood to the head, Princes William and Harry have persuaded David Beckham to work on the 2012 Olympics in London.

A source was quoted in the Express as saying:

"There was an informal meeting between the princes and Beckham before the (Diana memorial) concert. They had a bit of a laugh and a joke and chatted about his move to Los Angeles.

But William said he hoped David would be back to play a key part in 2012. David smiled and said he'd love to

Let us trust that it is just the male half of the Beckham brand that is involved in the Olympics.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Jowell's Mailbox Hacked

It seems that Tessa Jowell (who is nominally in charge of the 2012 London Olympics) has had her mailbox hacked.

The implications for the Olympics are quite serious, as we can expect all manner of documents concerning the Games to be leaked over the coming months.

Finally we may learn what is really going on with the budget etc.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Table Tennis Fire

Fire fighters extinguished a fire on Monday, that broke out at gymnasium under construction in Beijing University. This will be the venue for the table tennis tournaments during next year's Beijing Olympic Games.

The fire damaged around 1,000 square metres. However, no one was injured in the accident according to the Beijing Fire Brigade.

The fire brigade is investigating the cause of the blaze, it is thought to have been triggered by improper practices in the construction process.

Construction of the domed 26,900-square-meter gymnasium began in September 2005. Upon completion in August this year, the gym will be able to accommodate and audience of 8,000 people.

Monday, July 2, 2007

London Logo Farce - The Farce Continues IV

The farce over the "Lisa Simpson Gives Head" London 2012 Olympics logo continues.

The organisers of the London Olympics have now revamped the logo to contain images of competing athletes.

One image, featuring a child taking part in martial arts, has been spotted on the side of an Olympics bus touring Britain to promote the Games.

Needless to say those behind the logo deny that this change is in any way connected to the howls of protests over the logo. The official line is that this is an attempt to "populate" an evolving brand.

Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), was reportedly shocked at the extent of the backlash that followed the launch of the logo last month.

The the logo will be shown in 3-D in films and on the internet. Seemingly it looks, so the designers say, very good when presented in that format.

However, the organisers who should have been more thorough wrt the planning have failed to take into account the fact that most people will see it only as a flat image in newspapers and magazines.

This hardly gives one confidence in their ability to organise and manage the Games themselves, does it?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Who's In Charge?

There is confusion at the centre of government today, following new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's changes to cabinet. Specifically the confusion centres on the changes made to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which is handling the London Olympics 2012.

Tessa Jowell was retained as Olympics minister. However, she lost her job as secretary of state for culture.

Jowell will oversee the Government Olympic Executive (GOE), the DCMS unit responsible for liaising with the games. Jowell will continue to attend Cabinet and report directly to the prime minister, but she will no longer have the seniority of a secretary of state. She will remain chair of the Olympic Board and be answerable to parliament.

Her replacement as culture secretary is James Purnell. In a further twist of the knife by Brown, that signals his displeasure with Jowell, it should be noted that Purnell was a junior minister under Jowell in 2005.

The nature of the muddled re-organisation means that Purnell, despite in theory being Jowell's boss, will have no direct influence over the Olympics.

Jowell put a brave face on her demotion, saying:

"I'm really, really pleased to be continuing as Olympics minister.

It is a cause that I am absolutely passionate about and I fundamentally believe in the power of the games to improve people's lives. There is no question that this is a confusion or a muddle.

I have long said that the Olympics needs enhanced ministerial capacity and Gordon has asked me to do that. The point of placing it in the Cabinet Office is that it reports directly to him and underlines the importance he attaches to it. In functional terms nothing has changed

By making these changes, Brown has signalled that he does not think that Jowell was up to the Job of running the department. However, by leaving her in charge of the Olympics and appointing her junior to her old position he has ensured that the organisation of the London Olympics will be muddled, confused and lacking clarity of leadership.

In short, it is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chinese Visit States

Chinese officials, as they gear themselves up for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, are taking advice from researchers in North Carolina to help combat smog and other environmental problems in Beijing.

A group of Chinese air modelers, engineers and meteorologists recently completed three weeks of training at RTI International, a research institute based at Research Triangle Park, where they learned to use state-of-the-art computer modeling to forecast air pollution.

Bob Zerbonia, project director for RTI, said:

"They have some pretty severe air pollution problems.

They have been addressing them but are still not where they want to be. The Olympics are the driving force now, but it's a long-term deal

Environmental improvement efforts in Beijing have been hampered by the country's rapid growth, a high level of construction activity and increasing number of vehicles on the roads.

Shi Aijun, director of monitoring and pollution management for the city of Beijing, said:

"We hope the effort of this project will help Beijing produce more scientific and economically efficient pollution control strategies.

Specifically, by using this modeling system, we can finally decide which are the major emission sources

Special measures will be implemented before the Olympics, including a 30% cut in emissions from factories, replacement of old diesel buses and taxis, and tighter emission standards for automobiles.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jowell To Explain Herself

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, will explain today how the government will repay the £675M that it has taken from the national lottery to cover the ever spiralling costs of the London 2012 Olympics.

A memorandum of understanding between Jowell and Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, will explain how the money is to be clawed back from land sales from the Olympic Park at Stratford.

Under the terms of the memorandum, which will be deposited in the library of the House of Commons, Jowell and Livingstone explain that the £675m will start to be repaid after 2012; once the London Development Agency has recovered the £650M it has spent on acquiring the Olympic Park site.

There is no mention about paying interest on the money.

A week is a long time in politics, 5 years is an eternity. It is therefore highly likely that the government will renege on this agreement before then.

The national lottery will never see that money again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Torchbearer Recruitment Drive

Beijing has launched a massive recruitment drive to hire over 21,000 Olympic torchbearers for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The organising committee (BOCOG) plans to have 21,880 torch bearers, both home and abroad, for the 137,000km torch relay route.

Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice president of BOCOG, said:

"There are two ways of becoming a torch bearer.

The first one is through recommendations by various organisations and institutions. Another way is an open process in which public recommendations are accepted.

In a few days, the public will know how to relay as respective organisations and institutions will announce their own application process. But none of them are allowed to add additional requirements to the existing ones

BOCOG has set no limits on gender, career, nationality or health. Seemingly non Chinese nationals can account for up to 5% of the torch bearers on the Chinese mainland, which will have 19,400 in total.

The deadline for submitting applications is October 31st, BOCOG will make the final confirmation before December 30th.

The Beijing Olympics flame will be lit in March 2008, in Greece before starting its 130 day journey.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Olympic Money Row

A row has broken out over the use of lottery money to fund the ever growing London 2012 Olympics Games budget.

The Culture, Media and Sport committee are very unhappy that lottery money is being diverted from British museums and galleries to pay for the 2012 Olympics. They have stated in a report, entitled "Caring for Our Collections", that the money should be treated as a loan and repaid.

The report also states that no more money should be drained from the Heritage Lottery Fund, or other lottery distributors, if the Olympic bill exceeds the figure set out by Tessa Jowell on March 15.

As yet, there has been no response from Jowell.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Cultured Olympics

The London 2012 Olympics will be hyped by a nationwide festival of culture, which will start next summer, according to Olympics organisers yesterday.

The festival will include an international Shakespeare festival, and mark the beginning of a four-year film and video project across Britain.

The festival is the first of 10 major projects to mark the Olympics. The projects are being planned in partnership with organisations such as the BBC, and the UK Film Council. The arts sector is being told how it can get involved in the celebrations.

It is somewhat ironic that arts are being used to promote the Olympics, and being told what to do, given that Lottery money intended for the arts is being diverted to fund the Olympic budget shortfall.

A tad hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

In a related announcement, there are plans for a logo to endorse sporting, community and cultural projects.

Guess who will be designing that?

Yes, that's right, the same company behind the "Lisa Simpson Gives Head" London Olympics logo!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Further to my recent article about the possibility of skateboarding being recognised by the IOC, in time for the 2012 London Olympics, I have been advised that there is a petition opposing it being made an Olympic sport.

The petitioners state:

"Skateboarding is not a "sport" and we do not want skateboarding exploited and transformed to fit into the Olympic program. We feel that Olympic involvement will change the face of skateboarding and its individuality and freedoms forever. We feel it would not in any way support skateboarders or skateparks. We do not wish to be part of it and will not support the Olympics if skateboarding is added as an Olympic sport."

There is also, so I understand, some considerable suspicion about the motivation and impartiality of those who are pushing for recognition of skateboarding as an Olympic event.

The petition can be viewed, and signed, via this link Skateboarding petition.

I Am Sailing

The cost of policing Olympic events in Dorset, for the 2012 Olympics, is estimated to be at least £21M.

Dorset police have submitted a request to the government to foot the bill for the security needed for the sailing events for the 2012 London Olympics.

Needless to say, there is quite a difference between asking and receiving!

Annette Brooke, Lib Dem MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, said:

"My greatest concern is to make sure this does come from central funds allocated for the Olympic Games and most of all that Dorset Police has the money up front.

It's going to be such a huge proportion of their overall budget

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said, without apparent irony:

"We can confirm a bid of £21m has been put forward to the Home Office but this has not yet been approved and we are not expecting approval anytime soon. These things take a considerable period of time."


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brown Robs Bank Accounts To Fund Olympics

The budget row over the London 2012 Olympic Games has escalated, as Gordon Brown has been accused of robbing dormant bak accounts to pay for the ever spiralling costs of the London games.

Ed Balls, Brown's Economic Secretary, was questioned by MPs on the all party Treasury select committee about how money in dormant bank and building society accounts for 15 years or more will be used when transferred to a new unclaimed assets fund.

Balls said that the estimated £400M, expected to be raised, had two key priorities which are to improve youth services and financial inclusion.

However, Tory MP Michael Fallon said that these causes should in fact receive grants from the National Lottery. Instead the National Lottery is having to provide an extra £675M towards the cost of the London Olympics.

Fallon said:

"In essence minister, you are robbing people's private accounts to pay for Olympic mismanagement."

The budget for the Games has ballooned to £12BN, and is likely to continue to rise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It seems that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) look set to accept skateboarding as an Olympic sport, just in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Why this sudden rush to bring on board a teenage pastime?

Simple, it's the money stupid!

Advertisers know that their revenue streams are maximised amongst the teens and under 30 age groups. Much of the current range of Olympic sports simply does not grab that age group's attention, as much as skateboarding is perceived to do.

Doubtless in future Games, we will see Olympic Nintendo and X Box championships!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jowell Jubilant

Tessa Jowell was quick to congratulate herself, and the London Olympics Organising Committee, on the back of the report from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Jowell, The Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, said that the IOC's evaluation committee had examined 17 elements of the plans for the 2012 Games.

Their report was "apparently the best report they've ever given a city".

Ms Jowell added that the 15 inspectors were "even more fulsome" during private conversations with her.


"They regard us as doing better than any city. We're ahead of other cities, and on every single measure that they've applied to us we're doing precisely what they want, and precisely what they expect.

That could hardly have been better.

I think the inspectors kind of warmed to that sense of commitment, because they all believe in the benefit, if you like the magic, that the Olympic Games can bring to a city.

I spent quite a lot of time with them. They didn't say anything to me privately that was not reflected in what they said publicly.

In fact, they were even more fulsome privately in the discussions I had with them than they were publicly.

The IOC, in slightly less gushing terms, said that it was "satisfied we don't have any areas of concern" at the end of its visit.

Jowell is of course concerned over here future, once Gordon Brown takes over from Tony Blair.

Pride comes before a fall!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Preparations for London 2012 Olympics Praised

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) fact finding mission to London has praised London 2012 organisers for their preparations, including the much derided logo.

Denis Oswald, the head of the IOC's coordination commission, said that he was pleased with all levels of planning.


"Two years after London got the games, we are impressed by the level of detail in the preparation.

London is on track and on time

London is most certainly not on budget, which has ballooned to £12BN!

Oswald's 15 member inspection team reviewed London's preparations, including venue construction, sport, staffing, media and technology. It was the group's first visit since April 2006.

Oswald said London's legacy plans were as promised, when it won the bid in July 2005.


"This legacy is very important.

We really consider that London will be a model for a future host city of the Olympic Games as far as legacy is concerned

Referring to the derided Olympics logo, Oswald said:

"I love it.

It's very dramatic, very creative, very young, very dynamic and includes a lot of flexibility. I was really enthusiastic and it is not because I've read that some people have criticised this logo that I will change my mind. It's just a fantastic logo


So what about the ballooning budget then?????

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Inquiry Into London Logo Fiasco

Finally the London Olympic organisers have admitted that all may not be right with the "Lisa Simpson Gives Head" London 2102 Olympics logo design.

Lord Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, has announced that there will be an inquiry into last week's disastrous launch of promotional footage for the new Games logo which was blamed for causing 30 people to suffer epileptic seizures.

Lord Coe said that he was considering legal action against the production company, Live!, that was responsible for the footage.


"We have set up an internal inquiry into exactly what happened with our supplier and the promotional footage that was shown.

We are getting to the bottom of what checks were made

A spokeswoman for the charity Epilepsy Action said:

"We now know of 30 people who have suffered fits as a result of this film.

This has affected people's lives and we were really hoping that Lord Coe might apologise for what happened

Once the internal investigation has been completed, Lord Coe and the committee will decide if there is a case against Live.

What a shambles!

It is noteworthy that there is, as yet, no investigation into the actual quality of the design or the tendering process (whereby no one sought to examine samples of possible designs for the logo).

Doubtless these investigations will be announced in due course?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Child Labour

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics draws ever closer, the media scrutiny of the preparations for the games increases.

As such it should come as no surprise to see reports emerging of allegations about child labour being used to manufacture some Olympics merchandise.

Playfair 2008 allege that some Chinese factories are producing Olympic caps and hats by using child labour, paying half the minimum wage and forcing employees to work seven days a week.

The report by Playfair 2008 alleges that some are getting 12-year-olds to work 15-hour shifts in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

The Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation said that they want the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add employment conditions to licensing contracts. Beijing Games licensing may generate $70M in revenue, according to the report.

Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said:

"The horrendous conditions faced by Chinese workers working on Olympic products puts the IOC and the Chinese government to shame."

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based Olympic committee said it doesn't manage production of Olympic-related products. Beijing 2008 organisers said they would investigate the factories.

Giselle Davies, IOC spokeswoman, said:

"The IOC is committed to being a socially responsible leader of the Olympic movement that takes care of the Olympic brand in the best way possible. It matters to us that sourcing is done ethically."

This somewhat laissez faire response is surprising.

The IOC would do to remember that whenever anyone allegedly infringes the copyright of the Olympic rings/logo or name, the IOC is very "quick off the blocks" to litigate. It will be interesting to see how speedy they are in this matter.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An Inpsector Calls

Sixteen members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in London today, to review progress of preparations for the 2012 London Olympic games.

It fair to say that they are hoping that the furore over the logo will have died down a bit, clearly they don't know/understand the tabloid press in this country very well!

The Olympic commissioners will be the first passengers on a test train trying out the seven-minute shuttle between Stratford International Station, in East London, and the new St Pancras International Station.

They will be travelling by a Eurostar train, because the new high speed javelin trains are not yet in operation.

During the Games this service is in theory going to transport 25,000 passengers an hour.

Given the state of the rail network in this country, that is quite a gamble.

Monday, June 11, 2007

London Logo Farce - The Farce Continues III

London Logo Farce - The Farce Continues IIIThe row over the "Lisa Simpson Giving Head" London Olympics logo continues, with Gordon Brown bringing his great big "clunking fist" into the argument.

Brown, during a reception for sports journalists in Number 11 Downing Street, joked that the reason his guests were standing on a wooden floor rather than a carpet was because "all the money has gone on the Olympic logo".

It now transpires that the London Olympic organising committee hired the company that designed the logo, Wolff Olins, without ever looking at any of its designs.

Given that this little exercise cost the tax payer £400K, you would have thought that some form of professional tendering process would have been carried out...wouldn't you?

The words "piss up" and "brewery" spring to mind!

Undeterred the organisers will be merchandising all sorts of stuff that contain the design. Seemingly we will soon be able to buy curtains and wallpaper with the logo.

Words fail me.

However, there is no need to despair, Wolff Olins is understood to be delighted at the high levels of "brand recognition" caused by the negative publicity over the design.

So that's alright then!

It also appears that the design is not yet finished, and that there will be further additions to the blank spaces in the blocks as the years pass by.

Many of the images used to "infill" the shapes will be created by the public, who will be encouraged to enter competitions held every six months, with the winner chosen by online votes.

Given that the logo is "unfinished", and that the public will be roped in to "finish it", why has the £400K been handed over to Wolff Olins?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Collosal Waste of Money

As if the London Olympics Organising Committee did not have enough to worry about, another problem has reared its head.

A furore has erupted over the proposal to site the Olympic shooting range in the Royal Artillery Barracks Woolwich. The problem is that, aside from the cost of £16M, the gallery will be removed 6 weeks after the Olympics in 2012.

Needless to say the plan has been branded by local residents and others as a "colossal waste of money".

British Shooting, the governing body of Britain's Olympic shooters, says it is "concerned" about the choice of venue.

There are other venues which are more suitable in terms of safety and will be permanent fixtures, eg the Dartford Clay Shooting Club.

However, the London organising committee have stated:

"We are now contractually bound to deliver Woolwich as the venue for shooting and this will not change."

Given the enormous costs of the London Games (£12BN), £16M is but a drop in the ocean!

Friday, June 8, 2007

London Logo Farce - The Farce Continues II

London LogoThe media are having a field day with the ongoing farce over the "Lisa Simpson giving a blow job" Olympics logo, as such it should come as no surprise to learn that MP's have attached themselves to the bandwagon calling for the logo to be put out of its misery.

In a Commons early day motion, Philip Davies (Con Shipley) called the design a "pathetic attempt to appear trendy" and called for it to be scrapped.

He added that the £400K price tag was a "spectacular waste of money".

Mr Davies said:

"The new logo for the 2012 Olympics is childish, ridiculous and a pathetic attempt to appear trendy and brings the London Olympics, which should be an event of great national pride, into disrepute."

His motion has been signed by three other MPs.

I would, however, agree with one thing that Tessa Jowell said; the controversy over the logo has prompted an outpouring of creative talent (as people submit better versions), and has attracted a very large amount of publicity for the London 2102 Olympics.

So it's not all bad then!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

London Logo Farce - The Farce Continues

London Logo FarceAs if things could not get much worse for the hapless London 2102 Olympics Organisers and the designers of the much derided "Lisa Simpson Performs Oral Sex" Olympic Logo, they do get worse.

London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, weighed in yesterday saying that the designers have failed and should not be paid the £400K for their epileptic inducing design.


"Who would go to a firm like that again to ask them to do that work? I mean, this is a pretty basic thing".

Livingstone is known to hate the design.

On top of that an online petition to withdraw the logo has been started.

There are also reports that the International Olympic Committee are unhappy with the size of the Olympic rings in the logo, and may ask for a rework.

Maybe all of this shambles is down to one little known fact, Sebastian Coe (head of the London Organising Committee) is colour blind?

However, as this shambles progresses it is symbolic of the appalling organisation and lack of control over the budget of the London 2012 fiasco.

This story will run and run.