IOC Hails Olympic Organizers With Praise At Games Midway Point
As the London Games hit the halfway mark, the IOC "praised London's organisation," for "showcasing the very best of British," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. IOC Olympic Games 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, "These Games are showing the best of us." LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe described Saturday night's deluge of British Medals as "the greatest day of sport he has ever witnessed." Coe, who sat next to British Prime Minister David Cameron Saturday night, said, "He was very seized by the need to build on everything he was seeing in that stadium, whether it was the extraordinary performances of our teams, the ongoing challenges of getting more young people into sport, and also the extraordinary potential for the economic legacy." Coe added: "He is very seized by the need to leverage legacy from every nook and cranny of that project. There is a limited window of opportunity." Meanwhile, Deighton said that LOCOG 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).
SAYING THANKS: The SUNDAY TIMES reported that Deighton paid tribute to Team GB, the volunteers and his team at the organising committee, but particularly "the millions of supporters who have packed the venues." A total of 5.1 million people have watched Olympic events, with more than a million attending events at the Olympic Park. Deighton: “Would I have dreamed seven years ago [when London was awarded the Games] we would have had a night like that? No.” Deighton revealed that organizers had cut back the “sports presentation” in the stadium in response to complaints "over the volume of music and announcements at the first night of athletics." 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" (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/5).
SECURE FIRST WEEK: In London, Michael Payne opined in a Financial Times op-ed piece that 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." People "respond in kind." There is "banter between the soldiers and spectators." In spite of a "great first week," there is still "a long way to go" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/3). AL JAZEERA opined that the Games have "provided a timely distraction from the wider problems the world faces economically. The fact that such a well-run Games have been staged at all is a miracle to some. Rio 2016 has quite an act to follow" (AL JAZEERA, 8/5).
ROWING, FOOTBALL PRAISED: In London, Alex Lowe reported that the Olympic rowing regatta has been declared the "best of all time" by the sport's governing body, FISA. FISA General Secretary Matt Smith said, "The president of FISA (Denis Oswald) has just called it the best Olympic regatta ever. A spectator evaluation said that 97% were happy and Eton Dorney was called the best Olympic venue (INDEPENDENT, 8/5). The SUNDAY TIMES wrote that "the debate about football's place in the Olympics has raged for years," but the fact that 1.7 million fans have watched this year's event suggests "its Games future is secure." Football has drawn 1,230,818 fans at 28 men’s matches, with two semifinals, the third-place playoff and final to come. The average gate of 43,958 is higher than Beijing four years ago and just behind the 44,488 set in Los Angeles in '84 "when modern records began" (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/5).
JOURNALISTS GIVE VERDICT: The London GUARDIAN published a piece under the header "The World's Journalists Give Their Verdict," in which worldwide media members 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).