SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily has launched a free website exclusively geared to the Summer Games that will feature news, video, blogs and much more from London. See the site today for the following news:
British Olympic Association Chair Colin Moynihan will step down a year early after seven years in the role, according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Moynihan wrote to members of the National Olympic Committee to tell them it is his intention "to hand over to a new chair, probably in November." The election process will be decided at a board meeting in September, with a vote likely in November. Moynihan said, "It has been a great honour to lead the BOA, but now is the time to hand over the baton to a new chairman" (TELEGRAPH, 8/13). In London, Owen Gibson reported that the possible candidates to succeed Moynihan will be Great Britain Field Hockey President and BOA Board Member Richard Leman and 400m Gold Medalist in '68 David Hemery. Moynihan said that he would also "step down from his role" as Chair of British Ski and Snowboard and would "concentrate on his business and political career, while continuing to contribute to the ongoing debate about the Olympic sporting legacy" (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
BACK TO BUSINESS: Also in London, O'Connor & Munnery reported that Moynihan wrote in his letter: “I intend to hand on the baton smoothly and securely to a successor chair who, once elected, will work with [BOA CEO] Andy [Hunt] and the Board to set the strategy for the next quad and appoint the management team to take us forward to [the next Olympic Games in] Rio." Moynihan said that he "intends to return to the business world, focusing in particular on the energy sector." He has previous experience as Clipper Windpower Dir and Clipper Windpower Europe Exec Chair (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). REUTERS' Tom Pilcher reported that Moynihan said that he hoped sports would become "more of a priority in schools" after Britain's showing at the London Games. Moynihan: "I believe that we need to review and where relevant rethink government sports policy in order to translate the inspirational effect of the Games directly into participation. The new requirement for primary schools to provide competitive sport is a step in the right direction" (REUTERS, 8/13).
London "nursed a collective hangover" on Monday as it bade farewell to the Olympics and to thousands of athletes heading home, according to Mike Collett-White of REUTERS. Britain will look back with pride on a Games one newspaper wrote had "surpassed our wildest dreams," British newspaper the Sun trumpeted in an editorial, "The world's verdict is unanimous. Our Games were sensational. We absolutely nailed it." Pride was "tinged with regret, however, as a the diversion of more than two weeks of action-packed sport abruptly ended and the workaday reality of a recession-hit economy and painful government spending cuts loomed large once again" (REUTERS, 8/13). In London, Peter Woodman wrote that "a journey through Heathrow airport -- not always a happy experience -- was made near perfect for thousands of departing Olympic athletes" Monday. The athletes responded to the special arrangement at the west London airport by "praising the London Games and the welcome they received" (INDEPENDENT, 8/13). SINA.com's Li Hongmei wrote that on Monday morning "London will restart its ordinary life, and its residents will see if this grand sports event will have a particular payout or whether they have been hospitable for free or with an outcome (SINA.com, 8/13).
'GREATEST GAMES': The PA's Sculthorpe & Corden wrote London Mayor Boris Johnson expressed his "sadness" and "relief" that the London Olympics was over as he claimed it had been "the greatest Games ever." Johnson said, "If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest Games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track." Asked whether he shared the melancholy of others at the end of the Games, he said: "It's certainly true I did feel a momentary mad desire last night not to give Jacques Rogge that flag. I almost yanked it back." He added: "But I suppose there are two emotions -- one is obviously some sadness that it is all over, because it's been an amazing experience, but also a great relief because there is no doubt it has been a prodigious exertion by London and by Londoners." Johnson added, "I think most people looking at the legacy benefits, looking at what London has achieved, looking at the image of this city and this country that has been projected around the world, and the benign economic effects, will think the money well spent" (PA, 8/13).
WHAT'S NEXT?: U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in a column published in the SUNDAY TIMES that as this "extraordinary festival comes to an end, there can be no doubt: we not only delivered; we shone." The Games have "gone so well we can look ahead with confidence." There are many legacies from the Games that "we must use." Cameron wrote: "There's the physical legacy: making sure the Olympic Park thrives after the Games are over and the facilities get used properly. The aquatic centre, for instance, plans to welcome about 1 million people a year. There is the economic legacy: winning business and jobs for Britain when contracts come up for things like the Winter Games in Sochi (2014) and the next Summer Games in Rio (2016)." Cameron noted that in over a decade "we can use the Olympics to bring home business worth £13B ($20.4B)," which is "more than the cost of staging the Games." Cameron added: "There's the volunteering legacy: making sure that spirit, which saw 70,000 people give their time to the Games blossoms, not fades away. And there's the sporting legacy, which starts with the extraordinary efforts of the athletes we have seen and the brilliant Paralympians who will come to London later this month." He concluded: "Our society has let the volunteer spirit and the competitive spirit slip in recent years. The Games are a chance to get them back where they belong, at the heart of the nation" (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/12). Also in London, James Pickford wrote that the Olympic legacy "will be two decades in the making." London Legacy Development Corp. Chair Daniel Moylan "warned against hopes of overnight improvements." He said, "It's the kids who are now 7 to 10 years old who will benefit from all of this." Central to the regeneration plans is the Olympic Park (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/12).
GRADES: The London GUARDIAN's Tim Lewis "adjudicates and gives his marks for everything from legacy to logistics" (GUARDIAN, 8/11).
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Also in London, Robert Booth headlines that "Olympic visitors give London a gold medal for hospitality." Many visitors to London were "pleasantly surprised by the friendly, upbeat atmosphere they experienced" (GUARDIAN, 8/12).
OFFICIAL APPROVAL: In Perth, Jon Arlidge wrote that there is no French expression for "It's all gone horribly right," but everyone knew that is what Rogge meant when he left the Olympic Park on the eve of the final day of the Games. He said, "The superlatives created in London will live on." Others queued up to agree such as U.S. Ambassador to London Louis Susman who said, "The city has raised the bar for others around the world." How did London get it so right? A "mix of never-say-die determination, guile and military-style planning, that's how." It had a "steely resolve to win the Games and make them the best ever" (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/12).
SECURITY SUCCESS: REUTERS' William Maclean wrote that the absence of serious incidents at the London Games "represents a success for the state and its counter-terrorism allies." The government and some independent commentators said the fact that "it was done with a light touch, with largely unarmed officers and soldiers on display, with no overt paramilitary element, has added lustre to Britain's achievement" (REUTERS, 8/13).
FACE OF THE GAMES: In Hong Kong, Peter Simpson wrote that LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe "has been the face of the Games." His singular vision and determination to inspire millions around the world "has been branded into our conscience." Little wonder then Coe is being "touted for the top IOC job." Rogge steps down next year and Coe probably does not have enough backing to be "a natural shoo-in." Besides, he said that "he will seek the top job at the Int'l Athletics Association." However, it would be wise not to rule him out of the IOC race. For Coe, the end of the London Games might just be the "start of the home straight and a winning sprint to Lausanne" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 8/13).
Following Sunday night's London Games Closing Ceremony, journalists in the U.K. and around the globe began heaping praise on the host city. In London, Paul Hayward wrote, “The Games will be remembered as a triumph for warmth, civility, excellence and enthusiasm -- hosted by a nation in love with sport, and happy in its own skin” (TELEGRAPH, 8/13). Also in London, Simon Barnes wrote, “Looks like we got away with it. ... London got it right” (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). The London INDEPENDENT’s James Lawton: “These were the Games you couldn’t fail to love. The Games that seduced cold-headed calculation of cost and reward with their sheer vitality. The Games that took on astonishing life” (INDEPENDENT, 8/13). The London GUARDIAN’S Richard Williams wrote the Games “began with an explosion of goodwill and never lost its capacity to charm and to amaze“ (GUARDIAN, 8/13). A London TELEGRAPH editorial stated, “The Olympics did not dominate London: London dominated the Olympics. … This was an event about the people, not the VIPs” (TELEGRAPH, 8/10). A London INDEPENDENT editorial stated, “Hosting the Olympics has boosted national morale more than any single event in most people’s living memory. The capital and country have been transformed” (INDEPENDENT, 8/13).
MAKING IT LOOK SMOOTH: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Orwall & Bryan-Low wrote LOCOG is winning “strong reviews for a smooth running, well-executed 17-day event that avoided all the feared problems.” Yesterday it “seemed as if London didn’t want the games to end” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). In N.Y., Sarah Lyall wrote, “To the shock and then relief of a nation used to large events going awry, the Olympics instead went smoothly” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12). In London, Simon Kapur wrote, “Throwing a party costs money. You do it not for profits but for happiness. Even in strapped times, that might be worth” the cost (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/13). In Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote under the header, “London Games Rank Among Best,” and added, “The brilliance of the London Games was not all about sport. It was about putting the country on display and they managed that perfectly” (TORONTO SUN, 8/13). Also in Toronto, Cathal Kelly: “London succeeded in its primary Olympic missions -- first, keep the city undetonated and second, having a good time” (TORONTO STAR, 8/13). The AP’s Stephen Wilson wrote, “Take a victory lap, London. The nightmare that was supposed to be the 2012 Olympics … simply never materialized” (AP, 8/12). In Boston, John Powers: “On the whole, these Games were a smashing success” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13).
HEAPING PRAISE: In London, Sadie Gray noted that American journalists "talked of a reinvigorated nation punching above its weight." Chinese newspapers "grudgingly admitted" that these Olympics had “not been the worst ever.” Even an Australia disappointed by its team’s performance "was magnanimous" (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). The London TELEGRAPH, under the header "London 2012 Wins Gold Medal For Best Olympics Ever," noted what journalists worldwide were saying about the London Games. The Australian's Peter Wilson wrote: "It is one thing for the British to thrash Australia in the medals table of the London Olympics. But now the Games are over, it is just as clear they have knocked Sydney off its pedestal as the best host of a modern Olympic Games." The N.Y. Times' David Segal: "One of the great stories of these Olympics was the effect they had on England itself." The National Post's Bruce Arthur: "This was a brilliant Olympics, in almost every way: wonderful crowds, marvellous volunteers, logistical coherence, a galvanizing performance by the home side." The New Zealand Herald's David Leggart: "Hats off to the Lord Coe and his LOCOG planning chums. They can put their feet up knowing London did itself, and the Olympics, proud..." (TELEGRAPH, 8/13). The London GUARDIAN, under the header "Verdict From Around The World," also noted reaction from int'l publications. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Gina Thomas wrote that "Britons who for years have become used to their own failings have amazed themselves at the Olympic Games." In Paris, Le Monde noted that Britain has as many "whingers and professional pessimists as France, and these had gladly predicted doom, gloom and chaos before the start of the Games, but had been proved wrong" (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
Nike has launched an outdoor advertising campaign celebrating Great Britain distance runner Mo Farah's "remarkable" two Olympic Gold Medals. The advertising campaign is to run on digital screens across London.The ad features the lower half of a distance runner -- although "this is not thought to be Farah himself" -- with the words "Twice the Guts. Double the Glory" (GUARDIAN, 8/13). In London, Kevin Eason reported that Farah has "unlocked the safe to riches." Farah is now expected to be worth at least £2M ($3.1M) in endorsements and appearance fees over the next year. Farah also could find himself "at the centre of a bidding war among organisers of marathons around the world," including London. The capital city "will want to lure the biggest draw in distance running to put some Olympic gloss" on their events. The price will start at £1M ($1.5M), but Farah will be "a willing entrant" to the London Marathon after "revelling in the massive support" from the Olympic Stadium crowds (LONDON TIMES, 8/13).
London ended "one of the most successful Games in history" Sunday night with 80,000 people in the Olympic Stadium rocking and roaring not for athletes, but "for a raucous, exuberant celebration of modern British culture," according to Martin Fletcher of the LONDON TIMES. Artistic Dir Kim Gavin called it “A love letter to our invention and innovation.” Fletcher wrote, "Churchill (Timothy Spall) rose from the top of Big Ben. Fatboy Slim burst from the top of a giant octopus. A piece of shattered sculpture magically reassembled to form John Lennon’s head as one stunning tableau followed another." LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said the show was "not anything desperately profound." What it was was "£20M ($31.4) worth of irreverent and cacophonous fun with stunning lighting and pyrotechnics that was shown on 22 giant screens across London and many more across the country" (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). In London, Mick Brown wrote the Games “finally came to a tumultuous conclusion last night in a vibrant closing ceremony that would have blown the roof off the Olympic stadium, if it had one” (TELEGRAPH, 8/13). The AP’s Paul Haven wrote London “brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games on Sunday in a spectacular, technicolor pageant of landmarks, lightshows and lots of fun” (AP, 8/12). In N.Y., David Segal wrote the Closing Ceremony “felt as if the Games had suddenly been programmed by England’s version of the Chamber of Commerce, which decided to take advantage of this final moment in the international spotlight to produce one long and kinetic ad for the country’s pop culture.” It was an “elaborate and at times earsplitting spectacle” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/13).
JOB WELL DONE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Matthew Engel noted the event “went without apparent hitch.” The entertainment was “less complex and richly textured than Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony and quickly developed into a showcase of British talent.” The highlights were “the reunion of the '90s group the Spice Girls, and a splendidly impudent rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/13). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Fowler & Catton noted organizers “dispensed with the history lessons of the Opening Ceremony for a show that reminded the world of its dominance in popular culture” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Reguly, Brady & Waldie wrote the Closing Ceremony -- part “concert, part circus, all loud and rollicking good fun -- was slickly produced and as successful in its own quirky way as Mr. Boyle’s own extravaganza and the Games themselves.” Held under a “clear sky, the arena exploded in sexy and contagious mix of samba, carnival music, Afro-Brazilian dance and, in one of the big surprises of the evening, an appearance by Brazilian soccer star Pele,” in the official handover to Rio de Janeiro. However, Rio "has an exceedingly hard act to follow” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/13). In Toronto, Greg Quill wrote Gavin “presented a bookend summary of the themes Danny Boyle raised in his epic Opening Ceremony a long fortnight ago” (TORONTO STAR, 8/13). In London, Tom Sutcliffe wrote where Boyle's opening show “had been a statement of intent and national values, this was an hour-long advert for British stadium rock-show design” (INDEPENDENT, 8/13).
TOPPED WITH POP: In London, Richard Williams wrote, "To follow Boyle's Isles of Wonder with Kim Gavin's Symphony of British Music was a bit like switching from 'Ready Steady Go!' to 'Top of the Pops,' albeit with the same mind-boggling shuffling of scenery, dazzling choreography and brilliant use of lighting." The show "was, as promised, more cacophonous than symphonic" (GUARDIAN, 8/12). Also in London, Taylor & Milmo wrote that the show "was Britain showing that as well as putting on the greatest show on earth, it can party too." Gavin's effort "provided a sumptuous feast of British creativity and eccentricity" (INDEPENDENT, 8/13). ESPN.com’s Jim Caple wrote 71-year-old equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu “first competed at the 1964 Olympics and may have been the only athlete who can actually remember when the music played at the closing ceremonies was popular.” Caple: “I mean, John Lennon and ‘Imagine’ are timeless, but Annie Lennox and the Pet Shop Boys? Or Russell Brand lip-synching to ‘I Am the Walrus?’” (ESPN.com, 8/12).
NOTABLE ABSENCES: In London, Bernadette McNulty wrote there were “some clear flaws: the obvious absence of top-drawer stars like Kate Bush and David Bowie and ELO glaring when their music was used.” The psychedelic section “with Ed Sheeran playing Pink Floyd and Russell Brand doing a karaoke Beatles was too slow and Liam Gallagher was nasal and off key.” McNulty: “The whole affair didn’t feel whittled down but rather way too long. If anything, the Closing Ceremony was not uplifting or cheesy enough apart from the Spice Girls who got the exuberant tone exactly right” (TELEGRAPH, 8/13). The AP’s Jill Lawless noted viewers “heard the voices and songs of the departed" with Queen's Freddie Mercury singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Liverpool choirs performing Lennon's "Imagine." But there were “some notable absences,” including David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Elton John (AP, 8/13). In Toronto, Thane Burnett wrote, “Perhaps it's just hard to get excited about a reception at the Hilton when the wedding took place at the Vatican” (TORONTO SUN, 8/13). In London, Sarah Crompton wrote the London Games were “beautiful and inspiring, full of laughter and tears, reverent of the past but hopeful of the future.” London 2012 has “been an event that has made most people want to dance.” Although the Closing Ceremony “didn’t quite live up to expectation, lots of people dancing around can’t possibly be the worst way to end it” (TELEGRAPH, 8/13).
Even as Great Britain "exhales a slightly sad, if self-satisfied, sigh of relief," at the conclusion of the London Games, London 2012 organizers are "kicking off a mammoth turnaround operation to get the capital ready for the biggest Paralympics in history," according to Alexandra Topping of the London GUARDIAN. With just 16 days until the Paralympics, thousands of flags and banners in dozens of venues will be changed, hundreds of buses will be converted, new volunteer recruits will be trained and "thousands of journalists will start trying to comprehend the intricacies of goalball and the Paralympic classification system." There have so far been "record sales of tickets," which could result in the first Paralympic Games sell out in its 52-year history. Some 2.1 million tickets out of a released 2.5 million "have already sold." Organisers must now ensure London is ready to welcome 4,200 athletes from 165 nations. In the next few days, "Paralympians from around the globe will begin to arrive" to Heathrow. British Airways Authority implemented new lifts and improved baggage handling after London's successful bid, which means "in theory" that wheelchair users will be able to take their own chair directly from the plane to the gate for the first time. The first Paralympians will arrive at the Olympic Village on Aug. 20, just five days after the last Olympic athletes leave. The area will be complete with accessible toilets, ramps, rooms and communal areas (GUARDIAN, 8/13).
PARALYMPIC AWARENESS: The BBC reported that Int'l Paralympic Committee Head of Media Craig Spence said that "awareness of the Paralympics was at a record high." He added that traffic to the Paralympics official website has increased by 200%, Twitter followers of the IPC (@Paralympic) grew by 25% during the three hours of Sunday's Closing Ceremony, and #paralympics was trending worldwide overnight. Spence: "We've already beaten Beijing by 300,000 seats, which is a phenomenal achievement and shows the insatiable hunger in Britain for elite sport." The Paralympics will run from Aug. 29-Sept. 9 and will be staged largely in the Olympic Park, with sailing events at Weymouth and Portland, rowing at Eton Dorney and road cycling events at Brands Hatch, south of London. Wheelchair tennis matches will be staged at Eton Manor, a stadium inside the Olympic Park, rather than at Wimbledon (BBC, 8/13). The London DAILY MAIL noted there is "record demand to see the Paralympics," which London's Transport Chief warned could cause London to "grind to a halt." London's Commissioner for Transport Peter Hendy said that staging the world's second-biggest sporting event just as the new school year begins in September "could cause travel chaos." Hendy urged people not to underestimate "the scale of hosting another world event and continue to plan accordingly" (DAILY MAIL, 8/13).
The ’14 Sochi Games are now on the clock, and there is a “massive project underway to build a resort city on the Black Sea almost from scratch and with it the center of the universe for sports played on ice and snow,” according to Christine Brennan of USA TODAY. SOCOG President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said, "We are building an Olympic structure in the middle of nowhere. It's like a painter with a blank canvas painting a masterpiece. We are building a new city with more than 100,000 hotel beds.” Chernyshenko said that organizers are “dealing with economic conditions as best as they can.” He said, "Our deadlines for our commitments are strong. We did not panic. The companies we are working with have the confidence that the country is backing them. Everything is coming along fine." Brennan notes construction is “almost complete,” and officials have indicated that “all of the ‘mountain cluster’ venues held pre-Olympic test events during the last winter sports season.” All the other venues -- the "coastal cluster" -- will be “tested by the end of 2012.” The only venue to be completed in ‘13 is “the stadium that will host the opening and closing ceremonies” (USA TODAY, 8/13). The AP’s Laura Mills noted “every competition venue has had to be built from scratch,” and the cost “is staggering.” Russia President Vladimir Putin said that $30B “will be spent developing the region, including the cost of the games.” Although many have “complained that the central stadium and hotels are behind schedule,” IOC officials “overall have praised Russia’s ability to meet the challenges.” But despite the “breakneck pace of construction, critics question whether the city can build an entire Olympic complex and the infrastructure it requires from scratch without doing too much harm” (AP, 8/10). SI.com’s S.L. Price noted every "variation of Russian pride, prejudice, joy and fear promises to be on loud display for the next 18 months, and the Games' short vacation from political and cultural tension figures to be over.” Putin's “hardline rule -- not to mention his bare-chested support of the Sochi Games -- is sure to have Olympic critics back on high alert” (SI.com, 8/12).
TAKING THE PROJECT UNDER HIS WING: Chernyshenko said Putin “considers this project his baby.” The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Sonne & Boudreaux wrote, “So close is Putin’s involvement that shortly after London’s opening ceremony, he told a Russian news agency that he’s familiar with the preliminary plan for Sochi’s Opening Show and hopes the event will be ‘no less beautiful.’” Still, there are many challenges for Sochi, including a “weakened Russian Olympic team that could embarrass the country at home, and the threat of terrorist attacks that have rocked Russia for over a decade.” The budget for the Sochi Games “is massive, some $18B.” Chernyshenko said that the organizing committee “will make a profit.” Security is “perhaps the most serious test,” as Sochi is “a few hundred miles from Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia, republics in southern Russia’s Caucasus region that have faced violence for years.” Chernyshenko said that Russian security forces “are planning to reinforce natural protections provided by the mountains and sea” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). NBC News' Jim Maceda said, No one believes that Sochi won’t be ready to offer the world a knockout Winter Games. As one Olympic official put it, ‘It’s a no-fail mission.’ But there are real concerns: Sochi is just 300 miles from Chechnya and its unstable pockets of Islamist militants” (“Nightly News,” NBC, 8/12). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Richard Boudreaux noted Russia's leaders “are counting on the '14 Winter Games to boost national pride and international prestige.” But the “multi-billion-dollar effort is straining the host city's resources, environment and nerves.” Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov acknowledged the preparations have caused "some dissatisfaction." But he added, "If you come to the park in Sochi and see how the Olympic venues look -- how the infrastructure looks, the trains, new roads, bridges -- you'll say that these games are a big plus for Sochi" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13).
RINGS AROUND RIO: The AP’s Janie McCauley wrote London’s show “will prove a tough act to follow,” but the ’16 Rio de Janiero Games “will be looking to dazzle the world with its beaches and breathtaking views while dealing with the daunting challenge of getting a city ready for the world's most sweeping sports event” (AP, 8/13). REUTERS’ John Mehaffey wrote if Rio “delivers, the Games could then conceivably go to Africa, the final continent for the Olympic movement.” IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said, "Rio is an experiment. It is new. They have never had such a big event in the whole of South America. They have to do a lot on the infrastructure side.” He added, "Hopefully it will go well, we think it will go well. If that is successful, I think the opening for going to Africa will be even bigger because you prove that in a developing nation it is possible. Why not 2024?" (REUTERS, 8/13). In Auckland, Jonathan Watts noted Brazil has budgeted £13B ($25B) for public transport, construction and urban renewal projects -- "half as much again as London spent on its Games, but less than half the amount invested by Beijing." The Games will be set against a backdrop of golden beaches, lushly forested hills and lagoons lined with palm trees and "has the potential to be among the most visually stunning ever staged" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/13). REUTERS' Brenda Goh noted '16 Summer Olympics host, Rio de Janeiro, took the "host baton from London in a star-studded Closing Ceremony on Sunday." Rio and 2022 World Cup host Qatar are "taking notes from" London, which held the most "temporary" Olympic Games in history. Architecture firm Populous, which designed the London Olympic stadium, Dir Christopher Lee said, "London is being used as a blueprint, and we're working with a number of Olympic and World Cup bidding cities or host cities to take a similar approach" (REUTERS, 8/13). In London, Lucy Jordan wrote "the anticipation reached a new pitch" Sunday night. The success of the London Games "has added a dose of anxiety into the mix." But overall, "the mood is one of enthusiasm." Brazil is "determined to showcase itself as a country moving from the developing to the developed world" (INDEPENDENT, 8/13).
FUTURE BIDS: In Toronto, Lesley Ciarula Taylor reported City Council member James Pasternak's “idea for the first binational Olympic Games in Toronto and Buffalo is gaining steam.” Pasternak “floated the idea in an interview about how Toronto could possibly afford to host an Olympics when the current London Games are costing $15 billion.” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Friday said, “With the closeness of our two nations, it potentially raises the opportunity.” But Taylor wrote, “Flattered as he is, Brown laughed long and hard at the idea of splitting the cost of the '24 Games with Toronto.” Brown: “Believe me, if I had $7.5 billion to spend, I would spend it all in Buffalo and not spend it to bring an Olympics” (TORONTO STAR, 8/11). In Denver, John Meyer reported the USOC is “studying whether to bid for the '24 Summer Games or the '26 Winter Games.” A report is “due to the USOC board in December.” Denver Sports Dir Sue Baldwin said, "Our interest in pursuing a Winter Olympic bid remains high, and we will re-evaluate after the USOC finishes their process at the end of the year" (DENVER POST, 8/13).
Athletics Australia will restructure its high-performance department, following the team's results at the London Games, "where it fell short of its ambition to win six medals." AA Chair Rob Fildes said, "We will review the high-performance department in entirety, which is normal after the Olympic Games." Fildes revealed AA had decided to split head coach Eric Hollingsworth's job into two roles, deciding it was "too big for one man." A new administrator will manage the high-performance program, while Hollingsworth continues in the coaching role. AA is also negotiating with the Australian Institute of Sport to establish performance centres for distance running and sprinting "to improve in those disciplines." Hollingsworth is contracted until the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He does not think lack of funding is a major issue and said he would recommend AA take a more "ruthless approach" to the national team. Hollingsworth: "If you've got bucketloads of money it's easier to get performance but I wouldn't put that down as the major factor, not just around our team, but around the general (Olympic) team" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/14). REUTERS' Iain Rogers cited Secretary of State for Sport Miguel Cardenal saying that Spanish athletics needs to take a long, hard look at itself after failing to win a single medal at the London Games. However, Cardenal did say that he was "generally satisfied" with Spain's total haul of 17 medals in London. It was the second Games in a row in which the country "had flopped in athletics," as they also left Beijing in '08 empty-handed. Cardenal: "We need to reflect profoundly with athletics; it's not the first time we have failed to win a medal. But we are not the only country this has happened to." He added, "The sudden arrival of emerging countries is also a factor. Now countries are dominating who did not pay any attention to the sport before" (REUTERS, 8/13).
RE-EVALUATE OTHER AREAS: In Auckland, Claire Trevett reported government funding for high-performance sport will come to a halt for at least the next two years, "despite athletes exceeding expectations in the medal haul" at the London Games. New Zealand Sports Minister Murray McCully said the country's financial situation means sport will suffer the same fate as other government programs, and will "flatline" for at least two years. All codes will have to "absorb cost increases or secure more sponsors," while some could also "struggle to hold onto their coaches if they are lured" away by int'l teams (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/13). In Hong Kong, Chan Kin-wa noted Hong Kong Olympic Committee Honorary Secretary General Pang Chung said that Hong Kong "must make better use of its resources and focus on sports that suit the city's population" in order to win medals at future Olympic Games. However, Pang was still "delighted with the results in London." Pang: "We did better than four years ago in Beijing. We also saw some good results in table tennis, badminton and windsurfing." He added, "But Hong Kong is a small city, and we need to make better use of our resources if we want to challenge the best in the world" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 8/13).
IT WAS A GOOD YEAR: The KOREA TIMES noted South Korea did "better than expected" at the London Games. Korean Olympic Committee officials said that large companies' support of Korean athletes "greatly contributed to their success" at the Games. Korea won Gold Medals mostly in archery, shooting, fencing and gymnastics -- "events which are unpopular among people at home" (KOREA TIMES, 8/13). SPONSORSHIPNEWS.com.au noted the Australian Olympic Committee gathered a "strong social media following" throughout the London Games. The AOC's Twitter, Facebook and Google+ following at the beginning of July was 47,200, but that number grew to 175,000 followers during the Games (SPONSORSHIPNEWS.com.au, 8/13). REUTERS' Rex Gowar wrote an Olympics medal haul of 17 and a 22nd overall finish "was not a bad return for the future Olympic hosts, even if Brazil failed to win some almost-certain Gold Medals, while picking up others unexpectedly." Brazil "will be looking for far more" than three Golds, five Silver and nine Bronze when Rio de Janeiro hosts in '16. The region's biggest and most populous country "was let down in the sports where they have the best training programmes and facilities," but they can "take heart from surprise results" in disciplines such as boxing, judo and gymnastics. Brazil is targeting a finish among the top 10 on the Medals list at the Rio Games (REUTERS, 8/13).