SBD/July 18, 2012/Olympics

Olympic Notes: Organizers Dismiss Concerns Over Traffic, Security, Weather

The AP’s Stephen Wilson notes London Games officials “dismissed concerns Tuesday over a lost bus driver, a scramble for more security guards and some rain-soaked venues -- embarrassments that had one tabloid newspaper headline using the Olympic rings to spell out the word ‘OOPS!’" LOCOG organizers said that some of the complaints “were exaggerated” (AP, 7/18). In DC, Anthony Faiola writes under the header, “As London Olympics Loom, So Do Problems” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/18). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Paul Waldie notes organizers are “spending this week scrambling to cope with mounting problems caused by man and nature” (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/18).

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY: USA TODAY’s Whiteside & Rice note after the “wettest June on record in the United Kingdom, the downpour has continued.” LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said, “Let's be clear, this is actually proving quite a challenge to us." He said that there are “contingency plans for the venues of the greatest concern, rowing and equestrian, if those events need to be rescheduled.” Slippery conditions at Greenwich Park, where the equestrian competition will be held, could “be a safety issue for some and a benefit to others” (USA TODAY, 7/18).

CURB APPEAL: The PA’s Ben Glaze reported London taxi drivers yesterday “brought Westminster to a standstill” in a “protest over their ban from dedicated Olympics traffic lanes.” More than “200 black cabs arrived in Parliament Square just before 2pm blaring their horns.” Their demonstration is “targeted at Games' organisers who developed the so-called Zil lanes available only to Olympics officials, athletes and other approved vehicles” (PA, 7/17).

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE: The London Legacy Development Corporation yesterday said that F1 and EPL club West Ham United are “among four bidders competing to take over the Olympic stadium after the games leave London.” The LLDC said that it was “assessing proposals from the two, as well as from Leyton Orient Football Club and the UCFB College of Football Business, without saying when a decision was due” (REUTERS, 7/17).

LOOKING AHEAD: ESPN.com’s Jim Caple noted while London “rushes furiously to finish preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics, work continues at perhaps an even more impressive pace in and around Sochi, Russia, host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.” Sochi Organizing Committee President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said, "It's the biggest construction site, I suppose, in the world. Previously it was Dubai. Now, Sochi is the largest to deliver this unprecedented project." He added, "We're building a new city in the middle of nowhere" (ESPN.com, 7/16).

CITY OF CONTRADICTIONS: The GUARDIAN’s Sam Jones wrote under the header, “Branding London: Selling An Olympic City Of Contradictions.” Those tasked with marketing the capital for the London Games “have been working on what they hope is a winning strategy.” The “only problem -- or challenge, as PR people tend to prefer -- is how to market a vast and rarely homogenous city to hundreds of different and demanding overseas clients” (GUARDIAN, 7/17).

CLOTHES SHOP: A USA TODAY editorial states Ralph Lauren’s decision to have the U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms made in China “will someday be a case study in what not to do.” However, despite looking poorly on the clothing brand and the USOC, it is “some of the critics who come off now looking even sillier” (USA TODAY, 7/18).
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