The Olympics

The Olympics


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

Friday, December 08, 2006

The True Cost of The Olympics

It is reported that Beijing intends to demolish 22 remaining "urban villages", which are home mainly to poor migrants, as it "cleans up" in readiness for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The villages will be demolished by the end of June 2007.

The destruction of the "urban villages" are part of the greening programme to "create a better environment for the Olympic Games".

Beijing denies that they are trying to force poor migrants out of the city before the Olympics.

Over the past 10 years, as Beijing maked ready to host the 2008 Games, many residents have accused developers of using violence to evict people unwilling to move.

Such is the price people have to pay, if they wish to host the Olympics. Sponsorship and advertising deals come before people's rights and liberties.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Barclays Boycotts Olympics

Barclays has withdrawn from sponsoring the 2012 London Olympics. This is rather ironic, as Barclays is housing the Olympic organising committee in its headquarters.

The sponsorship would have contributed to the currently expected costs of £2BN, needed to run the games themselves.

Barclays, which has loaned the organising committee £50M, was expected to have been among the leaders applying for main sponsorship places.

The winning sponsor, from the world of banking (sans Barclays) will be expected to put up £100M.

Had Barclays become a sponsor, it would have had the right to use Olympic rings in advertising, the right to associate itself with the games and personalities involved in them, and the right to advertise its name and logos at Olympic sites.

Despite what Tessa Jowell and the other Olympics organisers might try to claim, this withdrawal is undoubtedly a blow for the already shambolic Olympics.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Olympics Bill

Approximately 66% of Londoners believe that they will end up footing the bill for the 2012 London Olympics, as costs continue to spiral out of control.

That at least is the finding of a BBC poll, which showed that 65% of those questioned said that they thought that Londoners will end up paying for the additional costs.

The good people of Greece could tell the citizens of London a thing or two about budget overruns. They are expecting to continue to pay for the financial disaster of the 2004 Athens Olympics for many years to come.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Radiation Hazard At Olympic Site

Jack Lemley the ex head of the building programme for the London Olympics, who quit over budget issues, has ridiculed the Government's preparations for the 2012 Games.

Mr Lemley claims that Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and London Mayor Ken Livingstone repeatedly ignored his warnings that the budget for the event was spiralling out of control.

He also claims that his warnings over the chemical contamination of the Olympic sites were dismissed, because "all they wanted to hear was good news".

It is reported that Mr Lemley was forced to resign after he sent Tessa Jowell a letter warning that the construction of the Olympic sites faced such serious delays, that the Games might have to be scaled down.

Mr Lemley claims that:
  • He told the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and Tessa Jowell before he was hired that there was a serious contamination problem at site chosen for the Games.

  • His warnings that the budget seriously under-estimated clean-up costs were ignored.

  • His agency was pressured to hide huge sums that should have been added to the budget.

  • The Government knew back in May that the Olympics faced an extra £1BN VAT bill, but hid the fact from the public.
Mr Lemley said he first saw a copy of a report by accountants KPMG in April/May:

"It said all the management costs were underestimated dramatically, by several hundred per cent. These numbers have been known for months by everybody and if Tessa Jowell hasn't told the Prime Minister, she wasn't doing her job. It's a swamp. There is misrepresentation of the situation."

On the subject of contamination Mr Lemley was equally outspoken:

"A blind man could see there was a huge environmental problem. I thought it was highly likely they underestimated. I talked to Tessa Jowell's senior people, Jeff Jacobs and his assistant, almost on a daily basis about this."

The question that we should be asking of our "respected" and "competent" government is why did they choose a site contaminated with scrapyards and hazardous waste from factories which produced items such as; soap, matches, ink, dyes, paraffin, rubber, creosote, fertiliser and varnish.

Seemingly there is even a radiation issue, plus a few unexploded bombs!


"They now know there are drums of radioactive material buried at the site and they never had that in their estimates.

In the spring, I learned it was highly likely there was unexploded Second World War ordnance in the ground and I said: 'I'm not going to put a pile-driving crew out there with unexploded bombs.' I wanted trenches dug so people could understand what was going to have to be done to clean the ground up and then the contractors could price it

Mr Lemley found that his views were not welcome:

"At Olympic Board meetings, I was never invited to speak. Tessa attended with Ken Livingstone and Seb Coe and British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan. All they got was good news."

As I keep saying, politicians should never be entrusted with major projects. They are unskilled, inept, incompetent and venal; they are of little use to man nor beast.

On October 9 he sent a letter, repeating his concerns, to Jowell and copied it to Livingstone and Lord Coe.

Jowell refused to discuss its contents, and ordered him to resign.

The public, and the IOC, have been seriously misled by Labour over these increasingly expensive Games. Unfortunately it will be the public who carry the can for them, rather than the politicians who got us into this mess.