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Volume 24 No. 134
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Games Receive Mostly Praise With Olympics Reaching Halfway Point

The IOC has "praised London's organisation" as the Olympics enter its second week for "showcasing the very best of British," according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. IOC Olympic Games Exec Dir Gilbert Felli said, "We can feel the atmosphere in the stadium, in the city. All the members of the Olympic family are thrilled with this outcome." Felli paid tribute to the "fantastic Opening Ceremony" and the "iconic venues." LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that the organization had "toned down" the loud music in the stadium following complaints from some over the volume of the "pulsating soundtrack." Deighton: "You're not going to please everybody all of the time. We will listen and we will change it a bit" (GUARDIAN, 8/5). The LONDON TIMES reported a total of 5.1 million people have “watched Olympic events, with more than a million attending events at the Olympic Park.” Deighton revealed he would look into the possibility of "footage of different sports being broadcast into venues, to allow all Olympic spectators to watch events such as the heptathlon triumph" (LONDON TIMES, 8/5). Meanwhile, former IOC Marketing & Broadcast Rights Dir Michael Payne in a special to the FINANCIAL TIMES wrote security has been "an unintended triumph." Organizers have "somehow managed to turn fiasco into triumph." Used to high-pressure and dangerous situations, the soldiers have "radiated calm and relaxation,” and people "respond in kind." There is "banter between the soldiers and spectators." But in spite of a "great first week," there is still "a long way to go" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/3).

A JOLLY GOOD TIME: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman notes as the Games reached its midpoint, "Londoners are in a fairly jolly mood.” Kaufman: “There have been some glitches, to be sure. But organizers could not have asked for a better first week.” The weather has “held up nicely,” the 70,000 volunteers have been “perky and helpful,” and the venues “are picture-perfect.” If there have been security issues, “they haven’t been big enough to make headlines” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/5). In N.Y., Sarah Lyall wrote as the Games are half over, the “first-week euphoria has begun to give way to something else, a relief that things have gone so well so far and an incipient fatigue that comes from working hard and remaining enthusiastic for days on end.” Things operate “exceptionally well” at the Olympic Park, “considering its scale.” Upon leaving the park, Lyall was “struck by the huge crowds all leaving at once, and by the supreme good humor -- of the crowds, the volunteers, the security officials, the uniformed people who did not seem to have a clear reason to be there.” It was a stark contrast to the end of an EPL match, where the police “are stationed to prevent fans from fighting with one another and where many spectators leave in a state of utter and often violent despair” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4).

BRAGGING RIGHTS: In London, Mayor Boris Johnson writes with “less than a week until the closing ceremony, London is on course … to deliver the world a wonderful Olympic Games” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/6). In Salt Lake City, Bill Oram asked, “What will define the legacy and personality of these 30th Summer Games? Beijing had Phelps, Athens had history, Sydney had Rulon Gardner, Atlanta had tragedy, Barcelona had the Dream Team.” Oram: “Has our moment happened, or will it smack us in these next eight days? Or is our moment not a moment at all?” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/5).

SPREADING THE WORD: The GUARDIAN published a piece under the header, "The World's Journalists Give Their Verdict," in which members of the media wrote about their experiences at the Games.

  • National Greek TV station ERT commentator Dimitris Konstantinidis: "The venue in Beijing might have been better, but the people here, the fans, are much better than they were in Beijing, and Athens too. The British are true sports fans and really like their sports. But Sydney 2000 was a better Games for me. There was more space to work, meet the athletes in the mixed zones and less traffic."
  • France TV Athletics Consultant Bernard Four: "I don't like the buildings and the park because it is very impersonal and you feel you could be anywhere. It feels like there is the city, then the Olympic Park and they are different."
  • South Africa SA Media Organization's Gary Lemke: "This is my fifth Olympics and it's hard to compare different cultures, but this is the best I've been to."
  • Olympiaboken Sweden's Thomas Lindberg: "I've not experienced any long transport queues, and the support for the athletes has been fantastic. The Internet could be a lot quicker, but now I'm being picky."
  • Irish Examiner's John Mooney: "This is my 10th Olympics -- the first was Montreal in 1976 -- and it's been very, very good so far. The transport is fantastic and the volunteers are so helpful. It's maybe not quite so incredibly well organised as Beijing, but it's been great" (GUARDIAN, 8/4).