News - Olympic Games

In the aftermath of World War II The IOC decided that the games would be a focal point of bringing nations together again. As London had been selected to host the cancelled 1944 games, it was decided to offer them the games. Despite being offered the games at short notice, London accepted the offer and set about organising the venues and logistical problems that hosting an Olympic Games entailed.

With less than two years planning to get the games ready, it was a feat in itself that the games were ready in time. The budget that was allocated to host the games was £600,000 quite a small sum in comparison to the games of today that cost Billions of Pounds to stage.

In 1948 large parts of the city of London lay in ruins, and rubble strewn streets were still a common site. Food rationing was still in force and building materials were in short supply. Contingency plans were made, and it was decided the games would be held with no new venues or athletes village being built.

The wartime spirit that had developed was in great evidence as the participating nations rallied round to make the games a success. Elite athletes were housed in barracks that had been used by the Armed forces and Prisoners of War. College and school dormitories, and even private houses were used to accommodate the athletes from visiting nations.

There were no fancy facilities for the competing athletes either. Each athlete was allocated a share of a locker, a mirror and a water bottle, a far cry from the pampering they receive today. At mealtimes the athletes were given the same rations used by the British government to feed workers in the "essential" industries like mineworkers.

The spectators who came to the games had to bring their own food, as there were no facilities to provide catering at any of the sites. Even getting to the venues posed problems. The famous London Red Buses were used, and military vehicles, many driven by women volunteers, were also used to ferry spectators and athletes alike to the venues.

Despite these problems, all obstacles were overcome and the games opening ceremony was held on 29th June at Wembley Stadium. During the opening ceremony a message was shown on the giant scoreboard that overlooked Wembley.

It read: "The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The Essential thing in Life is not conquering but fighting well."

59 countries and 4000 athletes took part in the London games. They competed in 136 various events. Out of the 59 competing nations 37 of them would go on to win some kind of medal. With World War II fresh in the memory, Japan, and Germany were not invited and the USSR chose not to compete.

A few of the African nations, including Kenya also chose not to compete. An Arab boycott of the games was averted when the IOC ruled that the new nation of Israel was not yet a member of the IOC and so therefore could not compete. Some countries competing for the first time included: Burma, Lebanon, Panama and Venezuela.

The 1948 games were notable for many firsts. The use of starting blocks for sprints was introduced in London. It was also the first time the games were televised, although very few people in Britain, around 88,000 owned a television. The TV coverage of the games was just 64 hours in total. Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) won their first ever medal when Duncan White took silver in the 400 metres hurdles.

The games also saw the first ever "Photo-finish". In the 100 metres two Americans Harrison Dillard and Barney Ewell fought out an exciting finish. Both men clocked the same time of 10.3 seconds. After the Photo it was Dillard who was deemed to have won, and he collected the Gold medal.

Some of the highlights and greatest performances of the games, included the amazing feat of USA athlete Bob Mathias, a 17 year-old who won Gold in the Decathlon only four months after taking up the sport. The star of the games was undoubtedly Fanny Blankers-Koen the Dutch sprinter. The housewife from Holland won 4 gold medals including the 80m Hurdle, 100m sprint the 200m and she also ran the anchor leg in the 4x100m relay guiding the Dutch to victory in the event.

Despite all the obstacles, the London games were a success and The Olympic flame and ideals shone brighter than ever.

Source: www.olympic30.com

This afternoon at Wembley Stadium the representative of Great Britain will take the Olympic Oath on behalf of 6,000 competitors before a great assembly, saying "We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting the regulations which govern them and desirous of participating in them in the true spirit of sportmanship for the honour of our country and the glory of the sport."
If the Games are to be a success in the sense conceived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern series, then not only must every competitor observe that oath, but also every spectator and every commentator over the wireless or in the newspaper. For to such a pitch of unreasoning nationalism have men come in these days that often both spectators and commentators at big international sporting contests seem to have forgotten the great truth which Coubertin recognised and which to-day will be emblazoned in the arena - that the important thing is not so much winning as taking part, not so much conquering as fighting well.
Coubertin hoped for the spread of chivalry and the strengthening of peace through mutual understanding and respect. Even if million-dollar contracts could be secured by Britain if her John Doe won the Olympic 1,500 meters, they would not in the long run be more desirable than the respect which may be gained even in a sordid world by a solid fortnight of efficient and fair administration and by our crowds' chivalrous appreciation of the efforts and gallantry of others.
Much that has happened on our sports grounds since the war makes one nervous of how this country will emerge from the test. During the football season several Association grounds were closed because of spectators' bad behaviour, and some Rugby Union crowds were not much better. A great American golfer on his return home after competing in the British open championships remarked how the galleries as well as the payers seemed to resent Americans. Even the centre court at Wimbeldon produced a regrettable outburst of partisanship in one of the finals.
With the approach of the Olympic Game, some writers have been only too ready to exploit minor disagreements. Yet are British spectators in fact less chivalrous than they were a few years ago? Many may be tired after war and resettlement, irritated by restrictions or disappointed by the slowness of national recovery. But if we show these feelings we only make bad ten times worse. That way lie madness and chaos; that way, too, we shall achieve the final destruction of the whole purpose of the modern Olympic Games, for it was in the British and American way of sport, as he saw it, that Coubertin saw hope for the gradual education of a world at peace. Britain asked for the honour of staging this year's Olympic Games. She must not prove unworthy of it.

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Website said to have stood up to rush to buy 500,000 remaining tickets for Games, but some would-be customers dissatisfied.

London 2012 organisers said their ticketing system stood up to a huge influx of potential buyers as remaining Olympic tickets went on sale on Wednesday morning, although some customers complained of long waits and an unwieldy booking system.

Previous sales rounds were blighted by criticism over the way tickets were allocated and technical difficulties, but organisers said the Ticketmaster website had withstood an initial rush that ticketing experts expected to match the hunt for Take That tickets when the group re-formed.

About 500,000 tickets were made available on Wednesday to allcomers on a first come, first served basis. The most recent sales phase was restricted to those who had failed to secure a ticket in earlier rounds.

While those who had succeeded in purchasing tickets took to Twitter and other social networking sites to say they were happy with the system, others complained about the erratic countdown clock that was supposed to tell them how long to wait and the frustration of a system that took up to half an hour to check whether particular tickets were still available.

The London Olympic organising committee, Locog, which has come under fire for its ticketing policy in the face of huge demand for the 6.6m tickets available to the general public, said that as Wednesday's sale began there were still £20 tickets remaining for the boxing, fencing, football, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting and, with limited availability, judo and wrestling.

There was "good availability", but at higher price points from £45 to £450, for archery, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, canoe sprint, diving, handball, hockey.

There was limited availability and only at higher prices for the race walk, mountain biking, artistic gymnastics, rowing, sailing and water polo.

General entry tickets for the Olympic park, put on sale at £10 towards the end of the last sales phase, were also available alongside 1.4m remaining football tickets. The majority of park tickets, of which there are 70,000 on sale so far, are for the first week of the Games when it will be less busy because the athletics has yet to start.

A further 150,000-200,000 tickets are to be released back on to the market, including some for previously sold-out sessions, as seating configurations are finalised, and will be added to the system as they become available.

Locog will also put tickets for the main climb in the cycling road race and the cycling time trial at Hampton Court on sale next week at £15. The move has proved controversial, with cycling fans used to watching the action from the side of the road for nothing.

On the same day, 29 May, general access tickets to the tennis tournament at Wimbledon – allowing access to Henman Hill and the outside courts but not the show courts – will also be made available.

London 2012 organisers – who had warned that users would face waits of half an hour on the site at peak times – this week defended their record on ticketing, insisting that they had managed to balance fairness with revenue raising.

"Do I think we have delivered the fairest possible system? I absolutely do," said the Locog deputy chairman, Sir Keith Mills. "We got it about as right as we could. We wanted to hit our revenue targets, we wanted full stadiums and we wanted to treat everyone as equally as we could."

-Owen Wilson

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Volodymyr Gerashchenko, the secretary general National Olympic Committee of Ukraine (NOCU), has been suspended from his role after it was alleged that he was looking to illegally sell thousands of pounds worth of London 2012 tickets for cash.

A BBC investigation claims that Gerashchenko (pictured top) told a reporter posing as a United Kingdom (UK) tout he would have up to 100 tickets for the Olympics to sell – an act that is a criminal offence, punishable by fines of up to £20,000 ($31,500/€24,800).

Gerashchenko claimed he had "never planned to sell tickets in the UK" but Sergey Bubka (pictured below), President of the NOCU, revealed here that he has suspended his secretary general and ordered an independent investigation into the issue.

"We have only just got the information from the BBC regarding the illegal sales of the tickets," Bubka told insidethegames here where he is attending the SportAccord Convention.

"For us it is obviously a very unpleasant situation and I have already suspended Volodymyr Gerashchenko and ordered an independent investigation into what has happened.

"I spoke to him on the phone to tell him that he has been immediately suspended.

"I am leaving Québec City tomorrow evening, earlier than planned, to go back and deal with this issue personally.

"I will give him a chance to explain himself when I arrive back because that is my duty.

"We want to find out the truth and we will cooperate with both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London 2012 to get to the bottom of this issue."

The issue is a huge embarrassment for Bubka, the pole vault world record holder and Seoul 1988 Olympic champion, as he is an influential IOC member.

But the spotlight is firmly on Gerashchenko, who has served as the secretary general since 1997.

Strict rules, applying to countries outside the European Union, say tickets can only be sold to those who are resident within that country to stop tickets entering the black market.

But Gerashchenko has allegedly flouted the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act, designed to stop Olympic tickets entering the black market.

A BBC reporter posing as an unauthorised ticket dealer from the UK spoke to Gerashchenko who is said to have confirmed he would be prepared to sell tickets.

The 56-year-old, who studied International Economic Relations at Kiev State Shevchenko University, is said to have told the BBC reporter: "I understand you're a dealer – that's why, for me, you are priority number one, the top, the person.

"In case we have extra tickets... we contact you."

During a subsequent meeting at a hotel near the Olympic Park in east London, Gerashchenko is said to have explained that he was in the process of distributing tickets to Ukrainian fans, coaches and officials as his National Olympic Committee had been allocated over 2,000 tickets.

However, once this process had finished, he would be prepared to sell up to 100 spare tickets.

Asked by the undercover journalist if payment could be made by bank transfer, he replied: "I think it is, when it comes, better cash.

"Possible?

"Better cash and finished with it – I hope to arrive 10 July."

Gerashchenko claimed he had "never planned to sell tickets in the UK" and had been making "diplomatic talk to satisfy the persistent interest of the ticket dealer."

"We have more demand than the number of tickets so we will use all tickets allocated to the NOC of Ukraine," he said.

"We will need more tickets and we will try to find them on the LOCOG Exchange page."

Gerashchenko said that the meeting with the undercover reporter "was unofficial, with no intention to make any real deal", either in writing or verbally.

Sebastian Coe (pictured), the chairman of London 2012, who is also attending SportAccord, praised Bubka for his swift manner in which he has dealt with the crisis.

"I take these things very seriously," he said.

"I have spoken to Sergey and told him that I am very pleased he has acted as promptly as he has.

"We have both written to the BBC to ask for the evidence so we can deal with the matter further."

Former and now Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell has already called for an investigation.

"I think it's shocking," she stormed.

"Here's somebody who's exploiting the system and if the charge against them is proven, the sanctions are very heavy."

"We take these allegations very seriously indeed," Mark Adams, IOC director of communications, told insidethegames.

"If proven we will not hesitate to impose tough sanctions."

By Tom Degun at the SportAccord Convention in Quebec City

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

May 23 - The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are "on the verge" of announcing that they have reached a deal over their high profile revenue-sharing dispute following negotiations that have been going on for more than three years.

An announcement could be made as early as tomorrow.

The revenue-sharing issue has been one of the most high profile topics of conversation in Olympic circles for several y while years now and has caused huge friction between the two powerful organisations.

The USOC currently receives a 20 per cent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 per cent share of US broadcast rights deals but many international officials, including the IOC, think it is too big a portion.

The issue was the main reason why the USOC was humiliated in Copenhagen in October 2009 when their Chicago bid was eliminated by the IOC in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, which was awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

It came after New York's bid for 2012 also faltered, with London eventually awarded the Games, and America sat out the bid campaign for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, declaring that they will not bid for the Games again until they have reached an agreement over revenue sharing.

But it has emerged here at the Sport Accord Convention that the deal has finally been agreed and it now only needs to be rubber-stamped by the IOC Executive Board and the USOC Executive Board.

"We are very, very close to a deal," Mark Adams, the IOC director of communications, said here at a press conference in response to a question asked by insidethegames.

"No deal has been done until it has been agreed by our Executive Board and their Executive Board so at present, no deal has been done.

"But things are certainly looking very positive and we are heading in the right direction.

"We are certainly very close."

The move comes after USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun revealed at the Team USA Media Summit in Dallas last week that "positive news" was imminent.

"It is a complicated endeavour and that is why the discussions are in their sixteenth or seventeenth month at this point," Blackmun said.

"But I can tell you that we continue to make progress.

"We haven't gone backwards at any point in the discussions and I think we are much closer now than we were when we started in January 2011.

"I am hopeful, in the not too distant future, that we will have some positive news."

The move would have major repercussions in the Olympic Movement as it would open the way for America to bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games again.

The deadline has already passed for a city for the United States to get involved in the 2020 bid race but an American bid for the 2022 Winter Games or 2024 Summer Games now appears to be a distinct possibility.

Denver have been touted as a 2022 Winter Games American candidate while numerous cities, including Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have already been talked about in terms of a 2024 Summer Games candidate.

-Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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