The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, has told the Guardian that civil disobedience could be timed to disrupt the 2012 Games.
Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Olympics Under Budget?

In a remarkable display of financial ignorance, the Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson has said that he is increasingly confident that the 2012 Olympic Games will come in under budget.

For why?

Current figures show that the £527M contingency budget has yet to be touched.

All very well, maybe. However, Robertson ignores the elephant in the room.

When the UK organically tendered for the games the "budget" was £2.4BN. This "moveable feast" has subsequently grown to £12BN (including £2BN running costs, which the media and politicians conveniently forget to mention).

On budget?

Don't make me laugh!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tube Workers Vote For Driverless Trains

In January I wrote the following:

"It seems that our downtrodden and hard working Tube drivers feel a tad hard done by wrt the offer made by London Underground of a £500 bonus for shift working during the Olympics.

The RMT has rejected the £500 bonus, saying that the money was not an adequate reward for being on duty during the event.

RMT general secretary comrade Bob Crow is quoted by the BBC:

" It is well-documented that transport will be the biggest logistical challenge throughout the Olympics period.

All we are calling for is a fair deal for all the staff involved in delivering the colossal transport challenge that we will be facing this summer and the negotiations to achieve that are ongoing."

Given that the Tube drivers do not feel up to the job of doing what they are paid to do, the solution to this problem is simple; install driverless trains and remove the drivers altogether.

Problem solved!"

It appears that the RMT are in favour of driverless trains and, having rejected the £500 bribe offered to drivers to do their normal job during the London Olympics, will be balloting their members about strike action.

Boris Johnson is already promising driverless trains, as a means of finally putting paid to comrade Bob Crowe, the bete noir of the travelling public.

Comrade Crow is quoted in the Telegraph:

RMT reiterates our stance that all grades of transport employees are entitled to a decent financial reward for their efforts transporting huge numbers of passengers during the Olympics and are entitled to take leave during the summer.

Working conditions and important agreements should not and need not be attacked in order to facilitate Olympic running.”

Driverless trains here we come!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Locog Not Backing Britain!

Following the furore over recently published evidence that some Olympics merchandise manufactured in China was produced using child labour, Sebastian Coe (Chairman of Locog) is quoted by Procurement Leaders:

We place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when securing goods and services. As soon as we were made aware of the Playfair 2012 report, we instructed our independent monitor to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review. The outcome of this will be made public as soon as it is concluded.

We have taken a lead in ethical sourcing and supply chain management but there is always more to do and we are committed to making a real difference to workers’ lives and creating a valuable legacy that we can share.

That's fine, but could not all of this been avoided had Locog not instead sourced their supplies of Olympics tat from UK based companies instead of from China?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Friday, 24 February 2012

Locog and The Cruel Engine of Disappointment

Locog continues to be given a well deserved public pillorying by those who are less than impressed with its lack of transparency over Olympic ticket sales.

The latest kicking comes from Boris Johnson. He has demanded greater transparency in the Olympic Games ticketing process, and has dubbed the ticket system run by Locog “the cruel engine of disappointment.”

Locog continue to refuse to publish details until the tickets have been sold, by which time of course the horse will have well and truly bolted!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Olympics White Elephant

The white elephant of the London Olympics, ie the stadium, will cost the hard pressed British taxpayer a further £2M on top of the current Olympics "budget" of £12BN.

For why?

It seems that the stadium is not up to Premier League standards, and that the pitch will need to be ripped up (it doesn't have under-soil heating) after the games and replaced at a cost of £2M.

Locog et al keep banging on about the "legacy" of the games.

For sure there will be a legacy, specifically:

- one very large white elephant (the stadium), and
- a large bill (currently estimated at around £12BN plus)

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Monday, 20 February 2012

Council Houses Rented Out For £5,000 a Week

Following the lead of others involved in the Olympics, some council house tenants  (according to the Telegraph) are looking to make some money out of the Olympic games and are offering their homes for rent at up to £5,000 per week during the London Olympics.

Given that this is a breach of the terms of the lease, those renting their properties out might care to reflect as to whether the short term financial gain is worth losing their home over.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Friday, 17 February 2012

Locog Loses Its Grip

The Telegraph reports that, despite the past hype pressurising people to rush to buy them, there are in fact around 4 million unsold tickets for the London Olympics.

Locog don't appear to be on top of things, as they have admitted that they are still working out last minute seating plans at venues.


"We simply do not have a full picture to present at the moment."

Locog will release the 4 million unsold tickets in April, of which 1 million cover most sports and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Unsurprisingly, some people who were pushed into buying tickets for lesser events (because the hype implied that the main events had all been sold out) are more than a little aggrieved at having been taken for a ride.

To add insult to injury, in the money making spirit of the Games, Locog are now attempting to charge people for lining the streets to watch the cycling event at Box Hill!

Previous assurances (which Locog deny ever making), that the event was free, have been swept aside in the spirit of mammon.

London Assembly’s economic development committee chair Baroness Doocey is quite rightly less than impressed with Locog, re charging for watching the cycling she said it would be "dreadful and most regrettable".

The Olympics are about money, not sport!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Locog's Lack of Transparency

The ongoing controversy over Locog's handling of Olympics ticket sales (eg as highlighted in the recent Channel 4 Dispatches "Olympics Tickets for Sale") won't die down.

Unsurprisingly, The London Assembly’s Economy, Culture and Sport Committee has accused Locog of hiding behind its legal status as a private company and claiming commercial confidentiality despite benefiting from significant taxpayer funds.

The Telegraph reports that the committee has demanded that Locog reveals details of the ticket sale operation, including how many tickets have been sold at each price point at each venue and the total allocation of sponsor tickets, by Feb 27.

A report prepared for the committee, Sold Out?, said:

Our conclusion, with the Games just a few months away, is that Locog has not yet done enough to ensure the transparency of the ticketing process. 

Locog’s lack of openness raises the risk that public trust in the process will diminish, fuelling a sense among Londoners that the opportunity to attend an Olympic and Paralympic Games in their own city was never truly within their reach. 

Locog told the Committee it intended to make the distribution of tickets roughly equal between the different price points for each event. However, we have received no confirmation that this principle has been implemented. 

Locog cited both data protection rules and the need to maintain commercial confidentiality as reasons why the information would not be published until after the Games. We do not accept these arguments. 

We fail to see therefore how commercial confidentiality can reasonably be used as a justification for non-publication of information which is clearly in the public interest. 

There is now even less transparency than in Sydney: despite having now sold the vast majority of tickets for the Olympic Games, Locog still refuses to publish a breakdown of the number of tickets available, or sold, to the public for each session. 

There are legitimate concerns that the most popular events may have a disproportionate number of the highly-priced tickets, and so far Locog has done very little to dispel these fears.”

Despite having sold the majority of the tickets, Locog still refuses to publish a breakdown of the tickets available, tickets sold, or how many were available for each session.

The committee chairman, Dee Doocey, said:

Locog’s legal status should not excuse them from the transparency and openness we expect in other areas of public life.

It is completely unacceptable that an organisation that only exists because of a huge investment of public money can hide behind its status as a private company to avoid questions it does not like.

Locog is putting public confidence at risk by refusing to provide a complete breakdown of how many tickets were available for each event.”

Why does Locog choose to remain so secretive, given that it receives money from the taxpayer, what it is it afraid of?

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Olympics Tickets for Sale

Channel 4 broadcast a very interesting edition of Dispatches last night, which probed the reality behind the spin spewed forth by Locog about where tickets for the Olympics are really going.

Locog promised that 75% of the tickets would be "affordable and accessible" to ordinary people. However, not 75% of every kind of seat!

Additionally, for good measure, the programme also noted that those with money can buy access to the special Olympics road lanes (reserved for the "great and good" of the Olympics).


"We've spent £9 billion (Editor's note: actually it's £12BN if you include running costs) paying for the London 2012 Olympics. 

The organisers say London 2012 will be an accessible and affordable Games, leaving a lasting sporting legacy. But 1.8 million British people applied for tickets in the public ballot - over a million applied for the 100 metres final alone - and the vast majority were disappointed. 

So who got the tickets and for what events? 

Antony Barnett investigates in this Dispatches Special."

As I have stated repeatedly, the Olympics are about money not sport!

Watch the programme in full via this link Olympics Tickets for Sale.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Barefoot Athletes

There seems to be something of a hissy fit going on between the BOA and the agents of one of the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics.

The agents of some competitors, who are sponsored by Nike, have told the BOA that athletes would be in breach of contracts if they are forced to wear Team GB’s official ”presentation outfit” which is sponsored by Adidas.

The agents have told the BOA that athletes might have to take off their shoes before mounting the presentation dais.

The BOA have hit back, and said that the rules mean that the athletes must wear the sponsor's (Adidas) footwear at all times.
What a complete load of old bollocks and fuss over a matter of footwear.

There seems to be too much money and too many corporate egos involved with these games.

As noted many times before, the Olympics are about money not sport!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Locog Kicks Business In The Teeth Again!

Not content with awarding certain manufacturing contracts to China, Locog have decided to award the contract for printing 11 million Olympics tickets to Weldon, Williams & Lick of Fort William, Arkansas.

The tickets will then be air freighted over to the UK (there's "green thinking" for you!).

Locog appear to be run by unpatriotic cretins!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Deighton's Bonus Reviewed

The Telegraph reports that, as a result of the ongoing uproar over bonuses to directors of failing organisations, that the remuneration commission will determine if the complicated series of bonuses due to London organising committee (Locog) chief executive Paul Deighton will be maintained.

In theory Deighton could earn a £1M bonus, which he has already stated will go to charity.

The remuneration committee will also review the bonus of the previous chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, now Network Rail chief Sir David Higgins.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Monday, 6 February 2012

Olympics To Crash The Interent

In one of the more bizarre threats arising from the Olympics to life on this planet as we know it, the Cabinet is warning that the London 2012 Olympics may well crash the internet.

The Cabinet Office's official advice, Preparing your Business for the Games, claims that the UK's telecoms system may be unable to cope with demand to access the internet in certain areas. 


"It is possible that internet services may be slower during the Games or, in very severe cases, there may be dropouts due to an increased number of people accessing the internet."

It goes on to warn that there may be data caps to try to spread the load.

To my humble view this scaremongering is reminiscent of the overblown hype of the Y2K "problem" (that turned out to be a damp squib). My gut feeling is that this alleged "capacity shortage" will be used as an excuse to turn off certain social media networks at critical moments.

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

Don't forget to visit brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Olympics Greed - Greedy Hoteliers Get Their Fingers Burned

In August last year I wrote the following:

"How "refreshing" to read that, despite the ever worsening global financial situation, the hoteliers of London intend to screw every last penny from visitors to London next year during the Olympics.

The Telegraph reports that London hotels intend to treat tourist as prostrate milch cows eg:

- A double room at the Sheraton Park Tower, in Knightsbridge, this month costs £209 a night. The price quoted for a stay in August next year is £605.

- A night at the West London, in Leicester Square, costs around £290 this August. The same room during the Games will cost just under £540.

- The Berjaya Hotel in Kensington, goes for broke and intends to increase some of its room rates by a factor of 10. Rates typically range from £89 to £199. For every day of the Olympics, the price is £999 a night.

As noted many time before on this site, the Olympics are not about sport but are in fact about money.

Given the ongoing financial turmoil, it is to be hoped that these greedy hoteliers get their fingers well and truly burned for their naked opportunism

I am therefore very amused to see that those hotel operators who thought that they would make a quick buck out of the London Olympics have had their fingers well and truly burned.

Locog have had to publicly humiliate themselves (not for the first time) by admitting that they had overestimated the number of rooms needed by officials, media, sponsors and assorted freeloaders for the coming games.

By how much did they overestimate the demand?

By a staggering 20%!

Locog have had to hand back 120,000 of the total 600,000 nights booked for the Olympics.

Needless to say this 20% reduction in bookings has given the greedy hotel industry a well deserved kick in the goolies.

Tour operators are now panicking and have warned that the newly available rooms will not boost visitor numbers.

For why?

- the vacancies have come too late
- tourists have been put off by the naked greed of the hotel operators
- tourists have been put off by the transport/travel chaos expected in London during the games

It is estimated that up to one million beds will go unsold over the Olympic period, costing the tourism industry around £3.5BN.

Now who was it who said that the Olympics would be a boon to tourism?

Oh yes, Locog!

My advice to any tourist brave enough to endure the chaos of London during the Olympics is to negotiate hard with the hotels (who are desperate for business), don't let the greedy bastards get away with overcharging you for a shoddy room and lousy service!

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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