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Olympics: London braced for world's greatest show

Discussion in 'Olympics LONDON 2012' started by Loh, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Posted: 23 July 2012 1616 hrs


    A man dressed like a telephone box cheers up the pedestrians in central London five days before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE)


    LONDON: Seven years in the making, costing 9.3 billion pounds ($14.5 billion) and featuring 10,490 athletes, the London Olympics opens on Friday with 302 gold medals to be won and hard-fought reputations at stake.

    The Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre in London's East End will host Beijing super-heroes Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, who tore up the history books in 2008.

    On the other side of the city, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams will be the headline acts as Wimbledon welcomes the heavyweight tennis talent.

    In between, Horse Guards Parade, within walking distance of Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, hosts beach volleyball and Wembley Stadium will stage the football final.

    Even Lord's, the home of cricket, gets involved, opening its doors to the world's best archers.

    On the track, Bolt, a triple gold-medallist in Beijing in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, faces a mouthwatering showdown with Jamaican team-mate Yohan Blake in the 100m final on August 5.

    Bolt holds the world record of 9.58 seconds but Blake is the world champion and the in-form sprinter this season, getting the better of his senior partner in the Jamaican trials last month.

    In the pool, Phelps, whose eight golds in Beijing took his overall medal tally to 16, needs three more to surpass the all-time record of 18 set by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina between 1956 and 1964.

    "Obviously, we always want to do our best and swim the fastest, they are the main objectives," said Phelps, who will compete in seven events.

    Like Bolt, the 27-year-old Phelps also faces a national rival in the shape of Ryan Lochte, a triple Olympic champion, who can put a huge hole in his rival's dreams when the two clash in the 200m and 400m medleys.

    Elsewhere in the pool, eyes will also be on precocious Missy Franklin, just 17 and also racing seven events, and Australian sensation James Magnussen.

    Dubbed 'The Missile', Magnussen is the 100m freestyle world champion and earlier this year swam that event's fastest ever time without the aid of the now-banned, drag-reducing 'super suits'.

    Other athletics stars include Russian polevault queen Yelena Isinbayeva, Kenya's David Rudisha in the 800m and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the 5,000m and 10,000m champion in Beijing.

    South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, known as 'Blade Runner' because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, will make history as the first double amputee athlete to compete at an Olympics.

    At the velodrome, Bradley Wiggins, fresh from his historic Tour de France triumph, will fire up home hopes.

    Zara Phillips, the grand-daughter of Queen Elizabeth, adds a little royal lustre to the equestrian at Greenwich.

    Federer, having won a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title, returns to the All England Club in south-west London looking to add singles gold to the doubles he won with Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka four years ago.

    His rivals will be Djokovic and Andy Murray but there will be no defending champion Rafael Nadal, who pulled out to rest his ongoing knee problems.

    The United States will be comfortable favourites in the men's basketball with a Dream Team boasting LeBron James and Kobe Bryant but not the injured Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose.

    The build-up to the Games has been relatively trouble-free, although organisers had to summon 3,500 troops for the showpiece after private security firm G4S admitted they couldn't provide a full contingent of guards.

    Amid gripes about security and transport, colourful London mayor Boris Johnson hit out at critics of the Olympics, saying the city was about to stage the greatest show on Earth.

    "Oh come off it, everybody - enough whimpering," Johnson wrote in The Sun newspaper.

    "Cut out the whingeing. And as for you whingers, put a sock in it - fast."

    However, one subject the British enjoy discussing - the weather - continues to be at the forefront.

    After a wet and chilly summer, temperatures are expected to reach the high twenties by the time the Games officially get underway with Friday's opening ceremony.

    Before that, the first action will take place in Wales on Wednesday when the Great Britain women's football team tackle New Zealand at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

    - AFP/ck/de
     

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  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Olympics: Village people bed down in London

    Posted: 22 July 2012 0753 hrs


    Flags are pictured on the balconies of the German Olympic team accommodation in the athletes village in the London 2012 Olympic Park. (AFP - Carl Court)


    LONDON: Super-rich footballers bed down along the corridor from penniless gymnasts, while an Australian husband and wife are banned from sleeping together.

    Welcome to the Athletes' Village at the London Olympics, a complex of 11 blocks housing 2,818 apartments described by the organisers as "gold medal standard".

    Each night, competitors will return after crushing disappointment or glorious triumph to either cry on their teammates' shoulders, or hold impromptu victory parties.

    Although a familiar feature of Olympic life for most competitors, the relatively modest accommodation at the Athletes' Village is a new experience for the players in Great Britain's football team.

    Liverpool midfielder Craig Bellamy, more accustomed to five-star hotels, admits it is an eye-opener.

    "It is all new to us," he said. "It's a lot different. You eat with other athletes but it all adds to the experience."

    Bellamy admitted that top footballers are "usually kept away (from other people)", adding: "So we have to embrace this."

    Australia shooter Russell Mark found his arrival in the village less comfortable after he was told he will not be allowed to share a room with his wife Lauryn.

    Mark, 48, and his wife, who is also on the Australian shooting team, have been told to room separately.

    The veteran, competing at his sixth Olympics, said Australian officials had enforced the ban because Lauryn had angered officials by posing in a men's magazine holding a shotgun over her back dressed only in a green and gold bikini.

    Mark said he and his wife were being punished for being a married couple.

    "The stupid part of this... is that there are tonnes of gay couples on the Olympic team who will be rooming together so we are being discriminated against because we are heterosexual."

    But Nick Green, chef de mission for the Australian team, dismissed the claims.

    "It is simply not true... accommodation and bedding are done in a particular way to ensure all the athletes are accommodated in the village."

    Clearly many athletes are finding a way to meet up, judging by the organisers' decision to distribute 150,000 condoms in the village, reportedly 50,000 more than were given out at the 2008 Beijing Games.

    When not arguing over their sleeping arrangements, the Australians were quick to make an impression on the village, spreading banners reading "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi" over several balconies.

    They have even hung an inflatable kangaroo from one apartment.

    Another block has a long banner in the Belgian colours hanging from a balcony, while others were decorated with Slovenian, Norwegian and Team Ireland flags.

    The basic rooms have artwork done by schoolchildren on the walls.

    Competitors are two to a room and are even allowed to take home their colourful London 2012 duvet.

    Britain's double Olympic gold medallist swimmer Rebecca Adlington tweeted a picture of her bed, complete with Team GB mascot.

    The beds can be extended to accommodate the tallest of athletes.

    While some of the footballers were prepared to give the village a go, it is just not luxurious enough for the US basketball "Dream Team" - Kobe Bryant and the rest of the squad are taking over an entire boutique hotel in London.

    It means they will miss out on the extraordinary range of food on offer at the village.

    American 400 metres hurdler Kerron Clement sparked headlines with his claims that it had taken four hours to travel across London from Heathrow Airport to the village.

    But his next tweet raved about the food on offer, chirruping: "Love the variety of food choices."

    Tessa Jowell, Britain's Olympics minister from 2005 to 2010, has been appointed a deputy mayor of the village.

    "I think the athletes will love it. It transcends nationality," she told AFP.

    "The athletes are arriving, the excitement is palpable. All those years of preparation and it's all about to start."

    To pass the time, competitors can spoil themselves with complimentary salon treatment, where they can have their hair cut, get a shave, a facial and their make-up done.

    They can also have their nails painted with one of the 207 nail-sized flag designs.

    And home comforts can always be found - a Colombian athlete who had run out of shampoo and had been using washing-up liquid was given a bottle of the real stuff, a salon worker told AFP.

    - AFP/de
     

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  3. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Wonder if Heathrow is also bracing for the anticipated industrial action by the UK Border Agency .......

    Though I must say, over the past 10 visits to London, my maximum time in the queue was only 50 minutes.
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Hopefully they have anticipated this possible nightmare and are prepared for the worst.
     
  5. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    ZH runs an interesting 5-part articles about the Olympics, and here's the last part.

    Economic Countdown To The Olympics 5: Ten Olympic Trends (2012-07-24)



    With the 302 events across 32 sports of the Olympics about to start (with early round women soccer starting tomorrow), we conclude our five part (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) series of posts bringing markets, economics, and sports together by looking at 10 exhibits that GS sees as describing how various aspects of the Olympics have evolved from the first modern Games in 1896 (where Greece won 46 medals compared to USA's 20) all the way to London 2012. From the monetary value of the distributed gold medals to the globalization of medal wins, the trends are analogous to the world's change but the full report attached provides some incredible interviews with many of the greatest Olympians ever with Michael Johnson reminding us that: "People are generally very fed up with political processes and the bickering that comes with it. You have some politicians with one particular set of ideas as to how to fix the problems and one with another set of ideas, and this continues to create a divide between people. The Olympic Games is the epitome of non-politicised activity. It’s about coming together... and having the opportunity to put differences aside and get behind their country and the athletes who are representing them."


    Trend 1: The Olympic Radar is Now Becoming Truly Global, Reaching EMs in Recent Times

    Trend 2: Share of Women Athletes Has Been Rising and Will Likely Continue to Rise

    Trend 3: Olympic Games Cover a Broad Set of Nations with Different Income Levels

    Trend 4: Emerging Markets Now Win Half of All Olympic Medals, Reflecting their Growing Influence

    Trend 5: Emerging Markets Have Become Leaders or Stronger Competitors in Many Sports

    Trend 6: Split of Medals around the Globe is Moving Towards Emerging Economic Groups

    Trend 7: Set of Olympic Sports Has Expanded and Changed Composition Through Time

    Trend 8: Number of Medal Events Has Increased Markedly in Both the Olympics and the Paralympics

    Trend 9: Monetary Value of Distributed Gold Medals Has Declined as Composition Effects Offset More Competitions

    Trend 10: ‘Olympic Economies’, Constructed by Linking Host Countries, Grow Faster on Average


    full article
     
  6. CantSmashThis

    CantSmashThis Regular Member

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    London has been screwing things up. 1st with the team buses not knowing where the Olympic is. And today (soccer has started this morning US time), apparently when the North Korean team came onto the soccer pitch, they accidentally showed a South Korean flag on the big screen, so the whole N. Korean team walked off in protest. The match ended up being played, 65 mins later after they apologized.
     
  7. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Yup, that was a great pity with the flag ....... but one wonders whether it was an Olympic howler - or some unseen parties trying to discredit and boil PRK hearts.
     
  8. Heong

    Heong Regular Member

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    Not surprised at N.Korea's reaction... just like Taipei seeing a China flag when they're playing

    Being enemy countries I do understand why they would be so angry. I'm just surprised N.Korea even participates in sports!
     
  9. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    the first time i went the UK for study. i waited / wasted 5 hours in immigration. there were maybe 10 students in the same boat as me and i think one of the parents were so mad it actually made news.
     
  10. madbad

    madbad Regular Member

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    Yes, Day 1 and already controversy because of a flag faux pas. Damn, there are some bright lights out there :rolleyes:
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Southeast Asia Olympic Haul Likely to Be Small

    Asian Wall Street Journal


    There is a handful of potential gold medalists from Southeast Asia competing in the London Olympics. How do they stack up in The Wall Street Journal's predictions?


    By Shibani Mahtani


    [​IMG]

    The entrance to the Olympic Park, Stratford, east London.
    Reuters

    With the Olympic opening ceremonies just days away, everyone from sports pundits, psychics and Goldman Sachs analysts are offering their predictions for which country will bring home the most gold.

    Last week, The Wall Street Journal offered its own predictions, which included forecasts for medal tallies for some of the Southeast Asian countries participating in the games such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
    The bottom line: Despite some promising potential gold medalists in the region - including Indonesian badminton pair Lilyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad and Singapore's table tennis team - The Wall Street Journal predicts that Southeast Asia will not take home a gold during the London Games. The countries that win other medals, meanwhile, aren't likely to take home a lot, the research predicted. The WSJ research indicates that Singapore, which isn't often celebrated for its sporting achievements, will be the Southeast Asian nation to take home the most medals from London this summer, with two in total. The predictions didn't indicate what events this would be in.

    Teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia will walk away with a medal each, according to the predictions.

    The Philippines, however, is expected to return empty-handed from these Olympics. The contingent from the Philippines is the smallest ever to participate in the Games from the country, with athletes competing in archery, athletics, boxing, cycling, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.

    The Journal's predictions were based on an analysis of basic information such as interviews with experts and the performances of athletes in recent national and international competitions. The model assigned probabilities to the top medal contenders and then used those probabilities to project the most likely outcomes. A sports actuary was consulted to run 1,000 simulations of the Games.

    Still, the region will be watching closely to learn the fates of some of its most-prized athletes, including Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei, who returned home with a silver medal from the 2008 Beijing games. Thai athletes, too, hold promise particularly in taekwondo, boxing and weightlifting, having brought home two gold and two silver medals at the Beijing Games. Weightlifter Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon and boxer Somjit Jongjohir, both Olympic gold medalists, will undoubtedly have the hopes of their nations pinned on them.

    Overall, many analysts - including The Wall Street Journal and Goldman Sachs - are predicting the U.S. will take home the most gold medals, beating out China. Goldman Sachs, explaining their first ever report predicting gold medal tallies at the Olympics, offered the explanation that countries with a higher gross domestic product per capita have healthier citizens, and better athletes.

    "It appears that gold does go where growth and the overall growth environment are best," wrote economists Jose Urusa and Kamakshya Trivedi.

    Others have argued that the United Kingdom, this year's host, will end the games with an unprecedented number of medals - what is also known as the "host effect."
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Olympics: What's happening around Olympic Park

    Published on Jul 22, 2012


    Workers and visitors walk by the stadium at the Olympic Park in Stratford, London, on July 21, 2012. After the marvel of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, hopes are that London will provide a similar spectacle. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    By Tara John

    After the marvel of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, hopes are that London will provide a similar spectacle.

    This is the third summer Olympics held in the United Kingdom, the first two happening in the early 20th century. The world has moved on since then, with more participating countries, mammoth expenses and a growing number of athletic events. These statistics inevitably put a toll on the host country.

    In the case of London, only time will tell whether its transport system will survive the onslaught of 4 million visitors flooding into the city over Games season; Singapore's North-South line disruptions pale in comparison to Londoners' daily realities. An expected 600,000 spectators will bombard the transport network for each of the 16 days the games are held, competing with the 7 million Londoners who already struggle with a network riddled with frequent breakdowns, delays and traffic jams.


    The Transport Authority of London (TfL) have allocated dedicated lanes, or 'Games Lanes', to transport the 11,500 expected athletes, 150 heads of states, media, officials and VIPs to any one of the 14 London venues. As much as this may be a necessary move, it has nonetheless gathered criticism for aggravating a notoriously jam-riddled road system.
     

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  13. AlanY

    AlanY Regular Member

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    the strike been called off
     
  14. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    As for my experience @ Heathrow, no queues at the immigration check point...everything was smooth all the way til baggage claim/re-claim area..
     
  15. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    2012-07-25
    Fortress London: UK protects Olympics with biggest security plan since World War
    [​IMG]
    Jim Seida / NBC News
    Metropolitan Police officers guard one of the entrances to London's Olympic Park on Monday. (Jim Seida / NBC News)

    By Alastair Jamieson and Michele Neubert, NBC News
    Updated at 9:09 a.m. ET: LONDON -- The biggest peacetime security operation in Britain’s history is under way – an $877-million civilian and military plan to protect athletes and visitors from threats ranging from suicide bombers to organized criminals. But it has also turned some London streets into military zones and Olympic venues into fortresses.
    A simple glance at the main Olympic Park in East London confirms this will be the most security-conscious Games in history: More than 11 miles of razor-wire-topped electric fencing separates the site from its surroundings, every entrance is guarded by soldiers and the surrounding streets and shopping malls are patrolled by police carrying 9mm semi-automatic weapons – an unusual sight in Britain, where armed patrols are normally found only at airports.
    On the busiest days, 12,500 police officers will be on duty while 12,200 soldiers will carry out the venue security searches assisted by at least 7,000 contracted civilian security workers. A further 5,500 troops will be involved in military operations outside the site.
    London's Metropolitan Police force is providing security for the Olympics on the ground, in the water, and in the air. NBC's Stephanie Gosk gets a firsthand demonstration of some of the new technology that will be implemented during the Games.
    “I think the British have prepared extremely well and in my judgment this is as secure an Olympics preparation as I have ever seen,” said NBC counter-terrorism expert Michael Leiter.
    Going for gold: British workers cash in on Olympics with strike threats
    Every vehicle entering the site is scanned and searched, inside and out, by military teams in ‘sterile’ zones away from key buildings. The maximum-security athletes’ village is ringed by even more metal fences. It’s enough to prompt some to compare the Olympic Park to a prison.
    But it’s the less obvious measures that have brought the greatest controversy to the Games. At least 1,850 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras feed pictures back across London to the joint police and government control center (NOCC) at New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the city’s Metropolitan Police, according to a data access request by civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch. (Olympic organizers refused to say on Tuesday how many cameras are in use.)

    The extent of the surveillance might surprise visitors from the United States, but is a common feature of life in Britain - the world’s biggest user of such technology with 4.2 million CCTV cameras in use by public agencies alone.
    As well as being fed through facial-recognition and license-place recognition software, images will be available to hundreds of CIA, FBI and TSA officials flying into Britain for the Games, as well as to officers from Interpol.

    [​IMG]
    Jim Seida / NBC News
    At least 1,850 security cameras keep watch on the Olympic Park.

    Striking a balance between public protection and personal freedoms is increasingly difficult for authorities.
    “Of course the Olympics need to be secure but there is a danger of losing sight of all proportion,” Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, told NBCNews.com. "It would be a sad indictment of modern Britain if the lasting legacy of the Games is an unwarranted security and surveillance infrastructure.”
    Ettore Ferrari / EPA
    London puts in motion the largest peacetime security operation on British soil to ensure a seamless event.
    Launch slideshow


    Drones
    However, Chris Allison, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, on Tuesday insisted his force would be using “a light touch” in policing the Games – a promise borne out by armed officers posing for tourist pictures. (Officers have also been told not to run in response to emergency calls, to prevent panic among crowds.)

    The most contentious measure is the installation of six temporary high-velocity ground-to-air missile sites around East London, including two atop residential apartment blocks in Bow and Waltham Forest. Residents of the latter building lost a legal bid to have the weaponry moved.

    Unmanned drones – smaller, unarmed versions of those used by the U.S. to target Islamist militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan - will float above the venues, monitored by U.K. military commanders.


    Helicopter-mounted cameras capable of identifying the color of a suspect's shoelaces on the ground from almost a mile away will also be utilized. The devices feature powerful zoom functions which can even allow airborne officers to see the color of a suspect's eyes on the ground.

    ...
    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/...with-biggest-security-plan-since-world-war-ii




     
  16. phil-mm

    phil-mm Regular Member

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    The mound for the nations' flags in the opening ceremony looks like it came straight from the hobbits' Shire.
    Tolkien would have been thrilled to have seen the flaming Olympic logo.
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Fashion Olympics: Big designers behind games kits

    The Straits Times
    30 July 2012


    Members of the Britain's delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London. Stella McCartney has worked with Adidas to design the sporting gear and 'Village wear' (read loungewear) for Britain's home team, though the outfits weren't on show on Friday as athletes covered up in white and gold tracksuits. -- PHOTO: AFP


    LONDON (AP) - Who said sportswear can't be chic? The athletes' parade during Friday's opening ceremony might as well have been a catwalk show, with some of fashion's biggest names - Armani, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney - designing the team uniforms.

    Many in the fashion industry are already calling this the most stylish Olympics ever.

    The Italians must be some of the best-dressed athletes, scoring points with an understated monochrome kit in navy and white by Giorgio Armani, as well as waterproof blue designs for their sailing team by Prada.

    Stella McCartney has worked with Adidas to design the sporting gear and 'Village wear' (read loungewear) for Britain's home team, though the outfits weren't on show on Friday as athletes covered up in white and gold tracksuits.

    McCartney's gear takes inspiration from the iconic Union flag, but she said she deconstructed it to make it 'more delicate and feminine'.

    Look out for them on the track and at the pool: Red is sparingly used to highlight a palette that mostly features white and shades of blue - turquoise, navy, cobalt.

    Meanwhile, the American team may have gotten a barrage of bad press for its made in China Ralph Lauren uniforms, but the preppy designs were still some of the most stylish in the arena: clean-cut navy blazers, crisp white trousers, skirts, and shoes, accessorised with navy berets and blue, red and white striped scarves.

    The Jamaican team is in the spotlight because of sprinter Usain Bolt, so it's fitting that it also got a boost in the fashion stakes this year.

    Their kit, which feature the national colors as well as lightning-like prints, were designed by Cedella Marley, daughter of legendary singer Bob Marley, for Puma. The styles were modelled by a flamboyantly dancing Bolt at a London catwalk recently.

    'Cedella Marley brings island color to team Jamaica - a sea of tropical yellow, green and black,' said Ms Avril Graham, Harper's Bazaar executive fashion and beauty editor, on Friday.

    Other designers behind the Olympics 2012 include luxury label Hermes, which has designed riding jackets for the French equestrian team, and Salvatore Ferragamo, which designed the official uniform for the tiny European republic of San Marino.

    Some designers didn't get involved in the official Olympics gear, but used the games as an opportunity to cash in and promote their brands anyway.

    Karl Lagerfeld, for example, launched an Olympic-themed womenswear collection called Team Karl at London department store Selfridge's - though he reportedly said he wouldn't tune in to watch the games.

    Meanwhile, high-street chain store H&M said it was launching two pop-up stores dedicated to selling sportswear in London.

    Friday's athletes parade also showcased some surprising and less popular designs.

    The German team was notable for not using their national colors at all - instead, the kit was all hot pink for the women's jackets, and cornflower blue for the men; both were paired with white trousers. The Czechs, meanwhile, wore bright blue wellington rain boots paired with white shorts.

    Spectators also made their own judgments about the much-maligned uniforms for the Spaniards and Russians, both made by Russian sportswear company Bosco.

    Some Spanish athletes have posted tweets grumbling about their garish red and gold outfits, and there are even Spanish Facebook groups set up to campaign against the gear.

    Official kit aside, there were strong fashion showings in the spectator stand, too.

    Michelle Obama chose a white dress by J. Mendel, while the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, dazzled with a pastel blue satin and belted coat dress reportedly by wunderkind Christopher Kane.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron's wife, Samantha, demonstrated her fashion credentials with a bold red and black outfit by London-based designer Roksanda Illincic.
     

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  18. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Do the Olympics cost too much for host cities?

    By Charles Riley
    @CNNMoney July 30, 2012: 11:43 AM ET

    London has already exceeded its initial Olympics budget by a wide margin.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hosting the Olympic Games is a lot like throwing the world's largest -- and most expensive -- party.


    The costs are legion. Massive new infrastructure projects must be planned, funded and constructed. Security forces are mobilized, with costs ranging into the billions of dollars. Thousands of hotel rooms must be built to house athletes and tourists.

    And most of it happens on the taxpayer dime.

    Politicians have long justified the outsized expenses levied on cities and citizens by arguing that ticket sales, construction jobs and increased tourism outweigh the costs.

    Elected officials often seek to bolster their argument by commissioning forward-looking economic studies that predict huge economic benefits for the host city and country.

    But most independent economists say the real cost of the Olympics is more complicated to determine -- and certainly not as rosy as politicians portray.

    "There is very little evidence to suggest hosting the Olympics provides much of an economic benefit," said Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross.

    The two most recent Summer Games had drastically different outcomes. The Olympics in Beijing in 2008 were widely considered a success, mainly because it helped the nation show the world how much it had emerged as an economic power.


    "Beijing did it as an advertisement. They got tremendous value, because they didn't care about the cost. It was like buying a ton of television ads," said Mark Rosentraub, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan.


    But Athens in 2004 was a disaster. Experts say that Greece built too many hotel rooms and fell victim to the hopes that the Olympics would lead to longer-term gains thanks to tourism.


    (Related: Olympians face financial hardship)


    Matheson said that forecasts produced to justify the Olympics often underestimate potential spending overruns, and rely on models that don't accurately capture unintended costs.


    "I would say these folks are really good at adding and multiplying, but not very good at subtracting," Matheson said.


    Stefan Szymanski, another professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, said that politicians feel pressured to link the Olympics to economic gains because taxpayers bear the cost of putting on the games.

    "The government wants to say that not only are we going to have a good time with this event, but it's also going to make us rich," Szymanski said. "And that's just not true."


    Perhaps the best example of the long-term costs associated with putting on the Olympics is Montreal, host city of the 1976 Summer Games.


    Prior to the games, the Canadian city's mayor, Jean Drapeau, followed the course of most elected leaders who court the games, saying that "the Olympics can no more lose money than a man can have a baby."


    He was wrong. Mismanagement and gross cost overruns left the city's citizens with a $1.5 billion debt that took three decades to erase. The final payment on the debt was made in 2006.


    By that time, the local citizenry had turned the name of the city's unused Olympic stadium-turned baseball park, the Big O, into a homonym: the Big O-W-E.

    ...

    "It's a lot like having a party," he added. "It's a good time but it doesn't make you rich."

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/30/news/economy/olympics-cost/index.htm

     
  19. CantSmashThis

    CantSmashThis Regular Member

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    I recently saw some photos of venues of the Beijing games. Most are deserted and not cared about anymore. A lot of $ goes into building those venues too.
     
  20. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Quality vs Quantity

    Austerity At The Olympics: Each "Gold" Medal Contains 1.34% Gold
    07/28/2012


    As every Olympic athlete knows, size matters. The London 2012 medals are the largest ever in terms of both weight and diameter - almost double the medals from Beijing. However, just as equally well-known is that quality beats quantity and that is where the current global austerity, coin-clipping, devaluation-fest begins.

    The 2012 gold is 92.5 percent silver,
    6.16 copper and... 1.34 percent gold, with IOC rules specifying that it must contain 550 grams of high-quality silver and a whopping 6 grams of gold. The resulting medallion is worth about $500.

    For the silver medal, the gold is replaced with more copper, for a $260 bill of materials.

    The bronze medal is 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin.
    Valued at about $3, you might be able to trade one for a bag of chips in Olympic park if you skip the fish.

    [​IMG]

    Size Matters...(via BBC)
    [​IMG]

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/austerity-olympics-each-gold-medal-contains-134-gold

     

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