The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

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.