The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Olympic Fiasco

The furor surrounding the farcical preparations for the 2012 London Olympics is growing.

A report from the National Audit Office (NAO), due to be issued on Friday, will demand as "a matter of urgency" that the Treasury sets a final budget for the Games.

It seems incredible that an event of this size, and prestige, does not actually have professional budget. However, we should remember that this is a project put together by politicians. Politicians should never be entrusted with large scale projects or financial budgets.

The report notes that, without a final budget for the Olympics, it will be almost impossible for the auditors to assess whether it is likely to be managed properly and whether it is good value for money.

I would suggest that the lack of budget will give the politicians exactly what they want, a large degree of wiggle room when things go wrong.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Taxpayers Lumbered With Cost Overruns

The out of control costs of the London 2012 Olympic Games will have to be met by the long suffering British taxpayers.

That at least is the view of the Commons select committee, looking into the cost overruns.

The committee has published a report that says:

"Just 18 months after winning the bid, it is clear that many of the cost figures are seriously outdated."

It went on to warn:

"If the financial pain of paying more for the Olympics is to be widely shared, it will require a contribution from the Treasury."

A revised budget is due to be announced this February.

It can be guaranteed that this will be one of many revisions upwards!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Costs of London Olympics 2012 Soar

The Culture Select Committee will launch a scathing attack on the government's incompetent handling of the London 2012 Olympics tomorrow, when they will accuse the Treasury of adding £2BN to the costs.

Costs have already risen as a result of security, construction inflation and a Treasury ruling that the Olympics Development Authority must pay VAT.

However, the committee will tell the Treasury to be more willing to pay the extra costs and not insist that all the extra funding has to be found from the national lottery.

The committee will also note that the Treasury's 60% contingency fund is excessive.

The latest estimates are that the Olympics will cost £8BN. Realists argue that the costs will be more likely to hit £12BN.

One major problem with the Olympics is that is is viewed very much as being one of Tony Blair's pet projects, as such Gordon Brown is vehemently opposed to funding the games.

One thing that is clear from this, is that politicians should not be allowed to run major projects such as the Olympic Games.

Monday, January 22, 2007

China's Olympic Traffic Jam

Chinese media claim that Beijing's horrendous traffic situation will get worse, as the Olympics 2008 draw closer.

The official Xinhua news agency said that Beijing has more than 2,000,000 registered vehicles, and over 4,000,000 people have a drivers licence. Officials predict the number of cars will exceed 3,000,000 by the time of the 2008 Olympic Games.

The increase in cars will worsen Beijing's already chronic levels of air pollution.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More Drug Tests for 2008 Games

Approximately 4,500 drug tests will be conducted during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. This represents a rise of 25%, compared with the 2004 Games in Athens.

Yang Shu'an, the executive vice president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) said:

"As part of its zero tolerance approach to fighting doping, the International Olympic Committee has decided to increase the number of tests by a large amount.

Final numbers are to be confirmed but are expected to be around 4,500, a 25 percent increase on Athens 2004

Beijing is holding an exhibition entitled "The Olympic Movement and Anti-doping Drive" The exhibition highlights a number of drug cases from previous years, and shows a video display of the anti drug test process.

Similar exhibitions will be held in 2007 and 2008 in various parts of China.

Monday, January 15, 2007

China Calls For International Olympic Co-operation

Chinahas called for a better exchange of intelligence information from other countries, in the run up to the 2008 Biejing Olympics.

Specifically the threat of terrorism lloms large.

The Olympic Security Command centre founded an International Liaison Department today, which is to improve co-operation with other nations.

Qiang Wei, chief of the Olympic Security Coordination Group and Beijing's deputy Communist Party chief, said:

"Safe Olympics are a common goal of the international society.

It cannot be achieved without sufficient international security cooperation

The Liaison Department will with the security organisations of other countries and with Interpol.

The Chinese police have established a website,, to inform the public in English, French and Chinese of their work and the security preparations for the Olympics.

Qiang added:

"The present-day world is still far from peaceful.

Olympic Games have been targeted by international terrorist groups. We, therefore, have to be highly alarmed and take pro-active measures in facing every possible threat

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Construction Continues During Olympics

Beijing has confirmed that its construction projects will continue during the 2008 Olympics, even though there are serious concerns about the air quality and pollution levels in the city.

The majority of the Olympic venues will be completed before the end of the 2007.

Deputy director of Project Management for the Beijing Olympics, Xu Bo, confirmed that there have been cost overruns on some Olympic building projects, with some contractors facing bankruptcy.


"It is true that certain construction companies are having problems with the fact that their actual spending on certain venues is beyond the expectation in their bid, and we are paying close attention to this issue. However, we are confident there will be no problems, because all the construction companies selected for the construction work of all the big projects for the Olympics, are first class enterprises in our country and we have done a strict inspection of their capability of implementing the contracts and they all passed our examination of qualification."

Executive deputy director of Project Management for 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sui Zhenjiang, said:

"The construction projects in Beijing will continue to be developed both before the Olympics and after it and they would not be stopped for the opening ceremony of the Olympics because every project has its own economic background and will be developed naturally.

However, before the Olympics, or during the process of the Olympics, we will conduct strict management to some projects in specific areas such as the places near the Olympic venues so as to make the air quality of Beijing better

They of course haven't said how they will do this though.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Auditors Keep an Eye on Olympics

Li Jinhua, China's head auditor, has stated that he will be exercising special scrutiny of construction projects in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Li will also place emphasis on auditing social security funds and other big projects.

Last year auditors uncovered US$909M in illegally used social security funds, including a scandal in Shanghai that led to the sacking of city Party Secretary Chen Liangyu.

A former Beijing deputy mayor, Liu Zhihua, who was in charge of US$40BN in Olympic construction funds, was fired last year for alleged corruption.

Increasing auditing oversight is an important measure to ensure a "clean" Olympics, Li said.