N.Y.-based design studio Atopia Co-Dir Jane Harrison said that "as gasps of awe and wonder echoed around the world" during the presentation of Thomas Heatherwick's Olympic cauldron last July, "there were gasps of a different kind" at Atopia's offices, according to Oliver Wainwright of the London GUARDIAN. Harrison: "We were absolutely furious. It looked identical to something we had proposed to the London Olympic committee back in 2007, after which we hadn't heard anything." LOCOG "originally approached Atopia, whose motto is 'anticipate the future,' to come up with ideas for a One Planet pavilion." Harrison said, "We devised a structure of petals on tall stems, which would travel from all of the participating countries, then be brought into the stadium by the children." Atopia's structure "was designed to collect rainwater and generate power from solar cells rather than burning a constant supply of natural gas, but their sketches and models bear an uncanny resemblance to Heatherwick's design." A Heatherwick spokesperson said, "This has come completely out of the blue. We have never seen this project before, nor were we made aware of it by LOCOG." Atopia "is only now free to make its claims, having been gagged by a restrictive non-disclosure agreement since 2007 that prevented all companies from promoting any work related to the Olympics" (GUARDIAN, 6/19).
Madrid's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games "was given a resounding show of public support on Saturday night as 50,000 people took part in a range of sporting activities to highlight the city's desire to host the Games in eight years time," according to REUTERS. In keeping with the bid for the Games, a number of the city's landmarks were used for events with beach volleyball taking place in Retiro Park, "while crowds took part in aerobic and cardiovascular training sessions outside Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium." Table tennis, seven-a-side football, basketball and gymnastics activities "were also held throughout the city." The bid leaders have consistently stressed that the cost of hosting the Games will not come close to the nearly £9B ($13.9B) the London 2012 Games cost due to the majority of the sporting stadia and infrastructure already being in place (REUTERS, 6/23).
South Africa's Olympic committee suspended the troubled national track federation on Sunday and said that athletes like Olympic 800m Silver Medalist Caster Semenya "would not be able to compete at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games until the problems were resolved," according to the AP. The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said it had now "cut ties" with Athletics South Africa, "which had been put under administration this year but defied that order on Saturday by reinstating its own board." The battle between SASCOC and ASA is also complicated by the apparent support for the track federation from int'l athletics body IAAF, "which still considers ASA to be in charge of South African track and field." SASCOC said that ASA was suspended as a member of the South African Olympic body and "can continue to engage with the IAAF on the functioning and administration of the sport." SASCOC "suspended the ASA board in April after an internal power struggle" between its President James Evans and VP and former South African Olympic marathon runner Hendrick Ramaala (AP, 6/23).