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SBD Global/July 26, 2012/Olympics

Coe's Final Report On London Games Points To Promises On '05 Fulfilled

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe delivered his final remarks before for the London Games Tuesday.
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe Tuesday “delivered his final progress report and said five promises that he had made in 2005 had guided their seven-year journey,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Coe said, "On that day we made five promises: athletes at the centre of the project, iconic new, temporary and existing venues, magical atmosphere in full venues, inspire youth and lasting legacy." Coe was “joined by the 20 schoolchildren who accompanied the party in Singapore and underlined the bid commitment to engage with the youth of the world.” He said that young people selected from LOCOG’s programs “would play an important part in Friday's opening ceremony, such as in the guard of honour.” Construction workers involved in the building of the Olympic Stadium are “also expected to play a role.” Coe said that the London Games “had not only created a sports legacy for the country but also helped regenerate east London.” Coe: "We have built a new city inside an old city. Always with an eye for value for money. The economic dividend is clear" (GUARDIAN, 7/25). The AP’s Stephen Wilson noted Coe received a “warm ovation from the delegates.” IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "The preparation phase was definitely a great success -- now comes the crucial delivery phase. I remain very optimistic." IOC Coordination Commissioner Chair Denis Oswald said that London had “done more than other previous hosts to deliver on its bid pledges” (AP, 7/24). Coe in his address said, “In me, and all my team, I sense the competitive edge now. We have been doing this a long time. Now let’s get on with it. We are ready.” In London, Paul Kelso wrote no Olympic organizing committee chair has “ever been so personally associated with the success of a Games, and few have worked harder to deliver what they promised.” Coe has “always been a compelling advocate for the power of sport, but London has given him the stage.” He has been “a tireless frontman for the project” (TELEGRAPH, 7/25).

RAISING THE BAR? The GLOBE & MAIL’s Paul Waldie noted IOC officials “gathered for their 124th annual meeting in the elegant calm at the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel, a bit smug over their full coffers and special privileges.” The “entire city seems to be at the IOC’s beck and call,” and the “fine trappings are befitting an organization long criticized for being corrupt, secretive and the epitome of an old boys’ network.” Waldie: “One look at the IOC membership and it’s easy to see why this group expects the best.” There were “few quibbles or complaints to disturb the tranquility of the IOC annual meeting.” Canadian IOC member Dick Pound did “raise concerns about the duration” of the Opening Ceremony. U.S. IOC member Anita DeFrantz also “lamented the lack of women in the organization.” In a presentation yesterday, she noted that just 3% of “national Olympic organizations have a female president and only 20% of IOC members are women.” She “urged all organizations to do more.” Still, Waldie writes the “overall tone of the meeting Tuesday was of control and order.” Rogge “directed the proceedings, introducing a series of presentations by various officials and selecting questions from members” (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/25). In London, Charles Sale noted London’s stock among IOC “top brass is high” after the meeting. It also helped that the IOC “bigwigs had enjoyed mostly pain-free journeys from Heathrow to their Park Lane Hilton base” (DAILY MAIL, 7/25).

RETURN TO NORMALCY: USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan wrote after the IOC “sold its soul to give the Games to Beijing and the authoritarian and repressive Chinese regime in '08, the Summer Olympics are coming back to an open, free and democratic society.” They are “coming back to a place where they belong, to a country and city that is encouraging its citizens to celebrate with it rather than keeping them away from venues with police crime-scene tape or detaining or arresting them” (USA TODAY, 7/25).

SPEED IT UP: The GUARDIAN’s Gibson reported the IOC will “brief all competing nations on Thursday in an attempt to avoid them dragging their feet " at the Opening Ceremony. There is a feeling that the “parade of athletes at recent Games has become too unwieldy,” and the IOC and LOCOG officials are “keen that all teams make their way round the stadium at a reasonable speed.” Officials reportedly have “come up with various ‘devices’ to ensure that the athletes maintain an even pace.” Organizers want to “ensure that it finishes by its allotted time of 12.30am at the latest and all spectators are able to get home” (GUARDIAN, 7/25). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Filip Bondy writes under the header, “By Ignoring Munich Olympic Massacre, Jacques Rogge Plays Games With Tragedy And Memories.” NBC’s Bob Costas plans to “offer his own remembrance on NBC marking the early 40 years since the Munich massacre.” However Rogge “will remain silent, but for the wrong reasons: diplomacy, and fear” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/25).

OFF TO THE RACES: In London, Ashling O’Connor reported Coe has declared that he “wants to be president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.” Coe will run against former Russian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka "in a race to run the sport that made both men famous.” Coe said, “I’m ready. I know how to do this. But we have a great president in the post, so it would be when he stands down.” IAAF President Lamine Diack was re-elected unopposed in August for a final four-year term, ending in ’15. Coe is “likely to face competition from Bubka.” Both are IAAF VPs and “were entered into the hall of fame last month to mark the organisation’s centenary.” Coe has “long been touted as a successor to Diack but has always avoided answering the question over his ambitions” (LONDON TIMES, 7/25).
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