Olympic Notes: U.K. Puts Money Into Tourism To Ride Olympics Wave
U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that nearly 10 million more tourists "should be visiting the U.K. from overseas" by '20 under plans to capitalize on the London Games. In his keynote speech on tourism, Hunt announced record-breaking figures for visits to the U.K. and spending by tourists this year. He added that reports from hotels, shopping areas, theaters and Visa "all showed increased business during the Games." Hunt went on to announce another £10M ($15.7M) funding for tourism campaigns in the U.K. and China, to "ensure the interest stimulated by the Olympics" and other associated events, such as the torch relay and the Cultural Olympiad. Hunt: "The Olympics should be for Britain what Usain Bolt is for athletics -- something that grabs the attention of the whole world and refuses to let it go" (London GUARDIAN, 8/14).
NO TAKE-BACKS: New Zealand Minister of Sport and Recreation Murray McCully is working with shot putter Valerie Adams' management "to plan a ceremony for her Gold Medal win" when she returns home in October. Adams and many of her Kiwi fans have been calling for a Gold Medal ceremony to replace the one she was "robbed" of in London by Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, whose Gold was revoked after she failed a drug test. Adams was promoted to Gold Monday (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/14). Veteran broadcaster Eric Young "has been scolded for an expletive-laden tweet" calling for Ostapchuk to hand over her shot put Gold Medal. Young's bosses are "still deciding on whether Young should be disciplined" for the tweet, which read: "Dear Nadzeya, You f***ing cheating cow. Hand it over you b****. Love, New Zealand" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/15).
FUTURE OLYMPICS: Although Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu has hinted at a possible Melbourne Olympic bid, he has nixed a proposal to commission a feasibility study, saying the state must first rebuild "budget capacity." Baillieu said that he believes Melbourne would be "well equipped to host the Olympics." But Melbourne may have to wait a little bit longer, as the Australian Olympic Committee has already stated that it was "planning its next Olympic bid around Brisbane" (GAMESBIDS.com, 8/14). ... A "handful of demonstrators gathered outside the airport" as the Olympic flag arrived in Rio de Janeiro Monday, "to protest expulsions" connected with Olympic projects and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes waved the flag as he and other officials left the plane. The AP reported the Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics, which organized the protest, said that as many as 170,000 people "risk being removed from their homes, or already have been removed, due to projected related to the two mega-events" (GAMESBIDS.com, 8/14).
PRIZES GALORE: Trinidad and Tobago javelin Gold Medalist Keshorn Walcott has been rewarded for his success with £100,000 ($157,000), a new luxury home on 20,000 acres of land and, "most remarkably, a free lighthouse." Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar declared Monday a national holiday "as Walcott returned home to a hero's welcome." Walcott will also have a Caribbean Airline plane named after him, as well as a landmark named in his honor (GUARDIAN, 8/14).