Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Games’

India celebrates individuals wildly but the Olympic record is shameful

August 26, 2016

The two Indian medal winners surely deserve all the celebration and adulation they are now receiving. They have overcome corruption and incompetence and indifference that is endemic of the state government and sports organisation in every sport except cricket. To participate in the Olympics is itself a battle won for individual athletes.

But 2 medals (one silver and one bronze) from a population of 1.2 billion is a shameful indictment of the organisation and administration of sports.

The difference between India and China is stark.

India China olympic record

Sports Ministers in every State are pathetic. Sporting associations are riddled with incompetence and nepotism and corruption.

Winning medals wins no votes.


Abe wins and Rudd loses while Kerry lobbies for Obama’s war

September 8, 2013

It is a misty Autumn morning this Sunday and the last week has had its mix of stories. But a few small encouraging events are over-shadowed by the darkness of Obama’s determination to go to war. Abe won for Tokyo while Rudd lost for Abbott and Kerry lobbies the world for money and support for Obama’s war.

Shinzo Abe made a personal commitment to the IOC that the Fukushima radiation leaks were and would be under control. Tokyo was awarded the 2020 summer Olympic Games yesterday in Buenos Aires beating Istanbul by 60 votes to 36. Madrid had crept up to be perceived as a front runner with their low key, “low cost” games but the mood was not for “restraint”. Delegates were getting tired of financial crises. Moreover they were tired of doping scandals and these could not be ruled out in Madrid or Istanbul. And once Madrid lost to Istanbul in a run-off for second place, the Madrid support – especially from Europe and the Americas – was not ready to let the Games go to an Islamist country for the first time ever. Of Madrid’s initial 26 votes in the first round, only 10 went to Istanbul in the final voting. And that left Tokyo which is a good thing

In Australia, the bookies and the national polls turned out to be pretty well right. Kevin Rudd lost and Tony Abbott won as a consequence. But the Labour loss could have been much worse.  A clear majority in the Lower House for the Coalition but not in the Senate where they only secured the avoidance of a Red/Green majority. The Carbon Tax is toast but it will take a bit of horse trading in the Senate to finally bury it.  The peculiar nature of preference votes means that the Senate composition will not be firm for a few days and there will be some new Senators which could lead to some unusual alliances. The Greens will actually have an extra Senator but thier alliance with Labour may not be as clear-cut. The overbearing self-righteousness of Australian bureaucracy may begin to be curbed. Tony Abbott has already asked his bureaucrats to prepare to stop the Carbon Tax and to stop the asylum boats. The Carbon Tax may well go in 2014 and that is a good thing.

And in the meantime President Obama pursues his war with no objectives. He flew back to the US to shore up domestic support for his war on Syria. He is scheduled to make his weekly address on Tuesday and to have six interviews with leading news anchors broadcast on Monday. Remarkably it is the hawks and neo-cons in the US who are the strongest supporters of his war.. A “coalition of mutual contempt” according to the Atlantic.  John Kerry is travelling around Europe lobbying the European countries. His list of countries supporting the US is “now into double figures”. Even self-appointed policemen have to be paid and Kerry is also meeting with the Arab League in Paris today and its members have offered to pay for the entire cost of Obama’s war! A strike on Syria by the US seems inevitable and that is a bad thing.

War, doping and radiation fears could give 2020 Olympics to Madrid

September 5, 2013

UPDATE! 7th September –

Tokyo Won.


Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid are competing for the right to hold the 2020 Olympics and lobbying is at its peak since the decision is expected on Saturday 7th September.

Madrid was first trailing because the Spanish economy was/is not in the best of shape. Since Tokyo has already hosted the summer games (1964) and two winter games have been held in Japan, this opened the possibility of Istanbul getting the honour for the first time ever . This is their 5th attempt. But now lingering fears of radiation from Fukushima and of Turkey becoming embroiled in war (even though the games are 7 years away) seem to be bringing Madrid to the forefront again. This is Madrid’s 3rd attempt and the summer games were held in Barcelona in 1992.

Tokyo still has the best chance of raising the necessary finance. Both Istanbul and Madrid give cause for concern for financing. The greatest amount of new construction would be needed for an Istanbul games.

The Telegraph:

Fukushima failures threatening to derail Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics bid

The team behind Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics Games is scrambling to save its long and expensive campaign from falling victim to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant. …… Until a few weeks ago, the Japanese capital had been considered the front-runner, thanks to a slick campaign that has emphasised Tokyo’s efficient infrastructure, experience in hosting global sporting events, financial guarantees backed by the government and the fact that Tokyo “is one of the world’s safest and most welcoming cities.”

But recent civil unrest in Turkey and the potential for war in the region are worrisome. Istanbul is struggling also to dispel perceptions of rampant doping in Turkish athletics:

A new “zero tolerance” policy and a reaccredited testing laboratory will help Turkey fight doping following a string of positive cases, the head of Turkey’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics said on Wednesday.

More than 30 athletes were banned by the Turkish Athletics Federation in August and Turkish official Ugur Erdener said this was the result of the country’s new hardline stance and a previous lack of comprehensive testing.

“We understand there is no gain without pain,” Erdener, President of Turkey’s National Olympic Committee, told reporters, referring to the recent positive tests.

“Turkey now has a very aggressive anti-doping system. The lab will also be re-accredited by the World Anti-doping Agency this year. Not in the near future but in this year,” said Erdener who is also a WADA executive committee member.

The rumours are now that Madrid is going to win:

Huffington Post

…..  it seems increasingly likely the IOC will choose the Spanish capital of Madrid.

“To my astonishment, it seems like it’s going to be Madrid,” Wolfgang Maennig, a professor of economics at Hamburg University, told HuffPost.

Maennig, an expert in sports economics, is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at a sports business symposium. Not coincidentally, representatives of the national Olympic committees are also currently in Buenos Aires, meeting to decide where the Summer Olympics will be held seven years from now.

Maennig said he met with two Olympic officials, including the president of a national delegation he declined to name, and both said Madrid was quickly pulling away as the favorite to host the Olympic Games over candidate cities Istanbul and Tokyo.

“I talked today to the president of a national federation and people are still afraid of Syria and even Iraq, even though that was years ago, affecting Turkey,” Maennig said on Wednesday. “There are also many concerns about the level of radiation in Japan.”

Lobbying is heavy and a great deal of Japanese money is being dangled in front of the IOC. It is said that the Japanese Prime Minister might attend but I would have thought he might find it difficult to get away from the G20 meeting in Saint Patersburg.

Well we shall know in a couple of days.

Wow! “Scientific study” reveals that healthy people live longer

December 17, 2012

This has been published in the BMJ today so it obviously has been “peer-reviewed” before publication. Crunch a little data (why only Olympic medalists and not all Olympic participants?), do some elementary statistics and come up with something profoundly obvious and it passes for “science”. It took no less than six authors!!

Survival of the fittest: retrospective cohort study of the longevity of Olympic medallists in the modern era, by Philip M Clarke, Simon J Walter, Andrew Hayen, William J Mallon, Jeroen Heijmans, and David M Studdert. BMJ 2012; 345

doi: (Published 13 December 2012)

15 174 Olympic athletes from nine country groups (United States, Germany, Nordic countries, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand) who won medals in the Olympic Games held in 1896-2010. Medallists were compared with matched cohorts in the general population (by country, age, sex, and year of birth).

Results More medallists than matched controls in the general population were alive 30 years after winning (relative conditional survival 1.08, 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.10). Medallists lived an average of 2.8 years longer than controls. Medallists in eight of the nine country groups had a significant survival advantage compared with controls. Gold, silver, and bronze medallists each enjoyed similar sized survival advantages. Medallists in endurance sports and mixed sports had a larger survival advantage over controls at 30 years (1.13, 1.09 to 1.17; 1.11, 1.09 to 1.13) than that of medallists in power sports (1.05, 1.01 to 1.08).

Conclusions Olympic medallists live longer than the general population, irrespective of country, medal, or sport. This study was not designed to explain this effect, but possible explanations include genetic factors, physical activity, healthy lifestyle, and the wealth and status that come with international sporting glory.

The discussion is remarkably mundane and offers little insight into anything:

One explanation is that athletes are much healthier than the average person. Part of this advantage could be genetic, but environmental factors undoubtedly amplify genetic advantages. Young athletes who exhibit exceptional physical talents are often selected into national training squads to undergo intensive physical training over many years. Most Olympic medallists will have come through such programmes.

Strong evidence indicates that physical activity confers many health benefits, including improved functional health status and reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, depression, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer ………

Ah well! One more publication to add to the list.

The Bolt Games are coming to an end …… and some events need to go

August 10, 2012

Three days of competition left and then I can get back to a normal routine again. But Usain Bolt and David Rudisha were well worth waiting for last night. And behind David Rudisha in the 800m came two unheralded teenagers. What is left to say about Usain Bolt? The sprint double at successive Games is unprecedented and will not be repeated for a long time. From day one – and long before the athletics had even begun – it has been the Usain Bolt show even if the Team GB performance has been quite remarkable. Almost a fairy tale for the host nation. The organisation of the games has – to all appearances – been a great success. Journalists still look for negative stories but London has coped and coped quite easily. But London 2012 will be – should be – known as the Bolt Games.

Of course Usain Bolt has the 4 x 100m relay yet to come but that does not carry the majesty that the 100m and the 200m does. Rudisha vs. Bolt at the compromise distance of 400m could be interesting.

But – and without any disrespect to the proponents – there are far too many events which just don’t feel Olympian to me. I think I would prefer to see the emphasis on the performance of individuals. Faster, higher, stronger. All team events then feel wrong. This would remove football and hockey and volleyball and handball and basketball and beach volleyball. Even the doubles events in the racquet games would go (and do we really need three racquet games?). Wrestling and boxing are surely enough of the “combat sports” without having to suffer the judo and Tae-kwon-do bouts. Even wrestling has become quite unintelligible for the uninitiated. Pairs and fours in rowing could go. Events where performance is entirely subjective have no place here I think. This would remove artistic gymnastics and synchronised diving for example. And synchronised swimming would die a natural death if it was not an Olympic event. The equestrian events are interesting and dressage is an equine ballet that can be a joy to watch. But for riders to be feted for the performance of their horses seems a little ridiculous.

The Olympics must be the celebration of individual performance – I think – rather than team performances (with their nationalistic overtones).

Faster, Higher and Stronger!

And Tae-kwon-do, Wrestling, Judo, Water polo and all team events would be the first to go if I could choose.

Gaddafi gets tickets for the Olympics

June 15, 2011

Update – 15th June!!

After the furore yesterday Mark Adams, the IOC’s director of communications, said that Libya would not be given any printed tickets “until the current situation becomes clearer”. “To be absolutely clear, no tickets have been printed or paid for,” he said.

14th June — Is escaping from Libya as part of an Olympics delegation part of some new exit strategy? I put this down to stupidity rather than corruption though both are endemic within the IOC (and FIFA). But the lack of collective intelligence within the IOC can sometimes be inexplicable.

The Telegraph reports:

The Libyan regime has successfully requested close to 1,000 tickets to events at the London Olympics and the country’s attendance at the Games is being co-ordinated by the Gaddafi family.

The Libyan Olympic Committee is headed by Muhammad Gaddafi and the Government now fears a major diplomatic embarrassment over the attendance of regime figures.

The decision to grant Libya the valuable tickets will infuriate the million Britons who have missed out on attending over-subscribed events.

Government sources warned of a diplomatic crisis last night after it emerged that Col Gaddafi himself may try to disrupt the event as a publicity coup if he remains in power in 2012.

The organisers of the London Games are obliged to sell Libya tickets, after the International Olympic Committee failed to expel the regime despite international condemnation of its bloody crack-down on opponents.

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