SBD Global/July 3, 2012/Olympics

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  • U.K. Sport Will Put The Pressure On Coaches And Administrators

    Athletes have always had to perform or lose their public funding and now the same "no compromise approach" will be applied to their coaches and administrators, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. With U.K. Sport ready to announce Olympic medal targets for the Games, Chair Baroness Sue Campbell said that "some sports need to raise their game." Campbell: "Before, if the governance didn't mess up performance we didn't bother with it too much, but now we're putting a squeeze on it." She added: "We should be demanding the highest standards of governance because the athletes' hopes and dreams are locked into these decisions. They give up their lives to be the best. They deserve the best decisions and selection outcomes." The people running individual sports will "have to meet the same standards as the athletes whose careers are in their hands." National governing bodies will have to meet a series of targets in order to qualify for funding through the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. When medal targets for each sport are revealed on Wednesday, "accountability will be the buzzword." The record 550 athletes of Team GB will be expected to deliver "unprecedented public funding," which has soared since the 2004 Games in Athens (LONDON TIMES, 7/2).

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  • Saudi Women Can Compete In Olympics, But Fear Backlash

    Saudi women are allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time this summer, and the country's sports chief said that they "must respect the ultra-conservative kingdom's rules," according to the AFP. Prince Nawaf bin Faisal said that all women competitors "must dress modestly, be accompanied by a male guardian and not mix with men during the Games." He said the women athletes may only take part if they are "wearing suitable clothing that complies with sharia" (Islamic law) and "the athlete's guardian agrees and attends with her." Nawaf said regarding previous Games, "We had no women athletes...But now there are many Saudi female athletes who have expressed to the IOC and international unions their desire to participate" (AFP, 7/2). The AP wrote women athletes from the kingdom are "worried about a backlash at home." Saudi Arabia, "under pressure" from the IOC, will allow women who qualify to compete at the London Games. Women who play soccer and basketball in underground leagues around Saudi Arabia "support those efforts," yet they also fear the hardline Muslim leaders will punish them for being pressured by the West and will crack down on women's clandestine activities" after the Games end. Captain of a female soccer team in Saudi capital Riyadh, Rawh Abdullah said, "I am afraid of their reaction, if we push too hard" (AP, 7/2).

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  • Swimming Australia Will Reward Its Swimmers' Achievements In Cash

    Australia's swimmers will be rewarded for winning Olympic medals and improved world rankings "under a new funding deal announced by Swimming Australia," according to the AAP. Beginning this month, all Aussie swimmers headed to the London Olympics will receive an initial share of more than $75,000 "to assist in their final preparations for the Games." Athletes will also be "eligible to earn financial performance bonuses based on their medal and final achievements" at the Games. SA said that an individual gold medal will be worth $35,000, and a relay gold medal $60,000 "to be shared across both heats and finals swimmers" (AAP, 7/2).

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  • Olympics Notes

    London Games sponsor Innocent launched a social media campaign titled "Tweet For A Seat," in which the juice and smoothie brand is "giving away tickets to different Olympic events." The campaign will run for two weeks through the brand's @innocentdrinks Twitter handle. Followers "can win a pair of tickets" to a number of as-yet-unnamed events "by telling Innocent who they would like to take to the Olympics and why, including the hashtag #tweetforaseat" (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 6/29). Innocent is 60% owned by Coca-Cola (THE DAILY).

    SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's blog Tech Europe's Nick Clayton reported that the BBC is to "launch a service inside Facebook," which will allow people to watch, share and comment on live video from the London Games. It is "already being beta tested using streams of the tennis from Wimbledon." Although the concept "could be a precursor to similar services from other broadcasters," the BBC’s Olympic Facebook app will only be available to people in the U.K. due to licensing restrictions (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/29).

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