The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and the Olympics in general up until 2007.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Site Moved

The Olympics has moved to

Friday, April 27, 2007

Make It Rain

It is estimated that there is a 50/50 chance of it raining on the opening day of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and a further 50/50 chance of it raining on the closing day.

China does not intend to take any chances with the weather, and is going to attempt to make it rain in the period before the games; thus reducing the chances of precipitation on the opening and closing days. Rain will also help clean up the air, in one of Asia most polluted atmospheres.

Chinese meteorologists believe that they can force rain in the days before the Olympics, via the unreliable "science" of cloud-seeding.

Good luck.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Olympic Protesters Detained

Three Americans and a Tibetan-American were detained by Chinese authorities on Mount Everest yesterday, as they called for independence for Tibet and protested against the Beijing Olympics.

The protest was organised by Students for a Free Tibet, which said three people were detained for holding up a banner at a base camp on the Tibetan side of the mountain that read:

One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008.

The fourth person detained by Chinese authorities was a camera person.

"One World, One Dream" is the slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Torch To Ascend Everest

The Olympic torch for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will ascend to the top of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, and pass through Taiwan according to the organising committee.

Wang Wei, executive vice-president and secretary-general of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, said that the torch would cross Mount Everest.

Wang also said Taiwan had agreed that the island would be on the Olympic torch relay programme.

Taiwan had previously indicated that it was not agreeable to the torch entering the island via China's mainland or Hong Kong and Macao, which are special administrative regions of China.

Wang said the route of the relay was still under discussion with interested cities.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Olympics Threat To The Arts

The London Olympics juggernaut has been accused of crushing funding to the arts. A grouping of the UK's senior arts and sports administrators warned that the lottery money being diverted from the arts to the Olympics would damage the arts, and reduce participation in sport.

The Voluntary Arts Network, the Central Council for Physical Recreation, Heritage Link and the National Council for Voluntary organisations have also written to MP's; warning them that lottery cuts will jeopardise the legacy of the games at community level. They have asked for an urgent meeting with Tessa Jowell (culture secretary), claiming that arts, heritage and sports charities will lose more than £100m.

Jowell intends to divert an additional £675m from the National Lottery, to fund the Olympics behemoth (the budget for which has spiralled out of control).

Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said:

"There is a spectacular lack of logic in using money earmarked for the arts to plug the holes in the Olympics bills. The money raided from the lottery will largely affect small, innovative, experimental organisations and individuals who are the lifeblood of creativity in the UK. Pulling the carpet out from under them and nobbling their money is undermining the future of our major arts institutions."

Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Central Council for Physical Recreation, said:

"If there is to be a real legacy of increasing participation in sport, it seems ironic, if not perverse, for money to be taken away from community sport to fund the Olympics."

Jowell claims that the diversion of funds will not begin until 2009; a cynic might note that by 2009 Labour will have been kicked out of office, and can therefore wash their hands of the entire sorry affair.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

China's One Ticket Policy

The 7 million tickets for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing are now available for purchase. However, because of China's massive population of 1.3BN, tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies will be limited to only one per person.

Only 25% of the 7 million tickets for sale are available to non residents of China.

The most expensive tickets will be for the opening ceremony on August 8th 2008, which will cost $645. The cheapest tickets for that event will be $26.

Ticket prices for the closing ceremony will range from $19.40 to $390.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chinese Ban Chinglish

In the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Chinese authorities are trying to crack down on "Chinglish" a mangled version of English that is often seen on notices and used by taxi drivers.

One example being this billboard sign:

"Shangri-La is in you mind, but your Buffalo is not."

The Chinese are conscious of the fact that around 500,000 foreign visitors will come to Beijing next year, and the Chinese want to give a good impression.

Liu Yang, head of the "Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program" for the city government, said that 6,500 "standardised" English language signs were put up last year on Beijing roads.

However, it is evident that the private sector is not following the rules.

Liu told journalists:

"We will pass the message on to authorities in the advertising sector. If English translation is needed it must be subject to the standards set forth in the regulations.

In the future when we set up new signs in public places in English, we hope all these standards will be followed to avoid more additional mistakes

Liu said Beijing taxi drivers have to pass an English test to keep their licenses. However, as I can attest having been in Beijing a few weeks ago not all of the drivers have such a great command of English.

Liu is quoted as saying:

"The taxi training courses are not working effectively, and there is a problem of taxi drivers missing classes. Taxi drivers need to get their licenses renewed every year, and an English test is now part of that exam. But the exam is not so difficult.

Some taxi drivers do speak some English, and that's a big change from the past.

But the overall level still needs to improve. Some taxi drivers speak no English; they understand no English

However, there is nothing to stop the foreign guest trying to learn Chinese.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Money Well Spent?

Lloyds TSB Marketing Director, Nigel Gilbert, has been defending Lloyds decision to spend an estimated £50M to £80M on sponsoring the London 2012 Olympics.

The critics note that the 2012 Olympics is a "clean" event, whereby there will be no corporate branding at any of the venues.

Gilbert is adamant:

"Make no mistake: we will make money out of this."

He also noted that Lloyds wanted others to profit as well, and then rather over exuberantly stated that Lloyds sees its sponsorship as its duty to the nation.

LOCOG (the organisers of the games) commercial director, Chris Townsend, last week had to deny suggestions that the Olympics could become a marketing disaster on the scale of the Millennium Dome.

However, the auguries do not look good.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Pig In A Poke II

Tessa Jowell has finally announced the budget for the 2012 London Olympics, it will cost £9.3BN (before running costs of £2BN).

In other words, as has been predicted on this site for many months, the costs of the Olympics will be around £12BN.

The question therefore arises, if I could come up with the figure so quickly and so long ago, why the hell did it take Ms Jowell so long?

The Pig In A Poke

Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary entrusted with overseeing the London Olympics 2012, will announce today the budget for the games.

Cynics amongst you might ask why there is still no budget, given the fact that Britain bid for the games some years ago.

One would have thought that a bid could not have been put together, or indeed accepted by the IOC, without a budget. However, in the world of Olympic politics all things are possible.

My own personal guesstimate as to the costs, currently stands at £12BN (which includes £2BN running costs).

At a stormy session of the Commons public accounts committee last week, officials were accused of presiding over a "pig in the poke" and "Alice in Wonderland" finances.


However, whatever the budget figure announced today turns out to be, you can be sure that by the time the Olympics are held in 2012 it will be much more than that.

Never allow politicians to become involved in large scale projects.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where's The Budget?

The British government is still very reluctant to come clean with the budget for the 2012 Olympic Games, saying that it has yet to be finalised.

The fact that everyone knows that it will hit at least £12BN, seems to have escaped the politicians.

However, I would ask this:

1 How is it Britain put together a bid for the Olympic Games, without having a budget?

2 Why did the IOC award the Games to Britain, if there was not a reliable budget in place?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2012 Olympics To Cost £12BN

As I predicted some months ago, the costs of the 2012 London Olympics are now expected to hit £12BN (including the £2BN running costs).

The original budget was a paltry £2.4BN.

How can the planners have go this so wrong?

Simple, the budget was not properly put together; because the politicians running this farce are incompetent.

Never, ever, trust a politician to run a major project like this; you only have to look at the Dome fiasco to see how bad things can get, when the politicians are entrusted with a project.

Blair's legacy will be:

1 The Iraq war

2 The Dome

3 The Olympic budgetary fiasco

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where's The Budget

In the run up to the 2012 London Olympics, the politicians who foisted this event upon the citizens of London would have you believe that everything was going "swimmingly".

Unfortunately there is one small fly in the ointment.

There is no believable/realistic budget!

The British Olympic Association (BOA) called upon ministers to come clean with respect to the budget, as concerns grow over the out of control costs.

Chairman of the BOA, Colin Moynihan, has quite rightly identified that the continuing uncertainty over the budget was damaging.

He spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek:

"It should be (announced) as soon as possible - this debate is not helping the whole Olympic project.

It should then be accountable to the public at large


"When they do come forward, we will see if they have included in that budget a huge regeneration project in the East End.

What I have asked for is that there should be absolute clarity about the costs that are going to be required to deliver the Games on the Olympic Park

As speculation intensifies as to the "true" budget, the current figure being bandied about is £9BN.

The more cynical amongst us would hazard a guess at £12BN in fact.

Politicians should never be trusted with large scale projects of this nature. Those of you who are still in denial over this should look to the Dome, as a fine example as to what goes wrong when politicians become involved in long term projects.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Safe Water For Beijing Games

Jiao Zhizhong, the head of the Beijing Water Authority, is confident its water quality will meet or surpass Olympic water quality standards in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Five new sewage treatment plants will be installed this year.

Jiao Zhizhong said that 80% homes have water-saving equipment installed, and that farms are irrigating more conservatively.

When the Olympics begin in August 2008, Beijing will receive an extra 79 million gallons of water from the nearby Hebei province.

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.