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The joys of boosterism

A fascinating little boosterist gem from the Standard. First, it reports that Carat, 'one of Britain’s biggest media-buying agencies', says there was no boost in 2012 to advertising from the London Olympics. Well, that's in line with most other results and easy enough to understand. But then, second, we are told Carat expects higher growth in 2013, even though there are no mega events. Third, 2014 should be 'even stronger thanks to the football World Cup'. 'Even stronger'? Why 'even' stronger? 2012 showed no boost so what 'even stronger' growth can 2014 produce? And as the Olympics did not boost advertising in 2012 why should advertising grow in 2014 'thanks' to the World Cup? Fourth, the article rounds off saying Carat thinks 'Brazil and Russia should see double-digit increases as they host the World Cup and Winter Olympics.' London showed no boost in growth despite hosting the Olympics yet Brazil and Russia are expected to show double-digit growth because they are hosting these mega events?

Citius, Altius, Fortius - Boosterus!


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#COIgohome - Madrid 2020

After a period of Olympic silence it's kicking off in Madrid at #COIgohome

A small sample of tweets in English - most of the rest, unsurprisingly, are in Spanish!

Mario Cuéllar ?@mcuellarb
#COIgohome Would you mind going away as soon as possible? We do not want the Olympic Games here.

Economía Justa ?@EconomiaJusta
Rather than producing economic benefit, Sydney Games reduced Australian household consumption by $2.1 bill #COIgohome theconversation.edu.au/hosting-the-ol …

AlteaLaFea #14A ?@AlteaLaFea
If there's no money for our children to get a proper public education, there's no money for Olympics #OICGohome #COIgohome

Antonio Barragán Sev ?@ntonioBarragan
#COIgohome @Olympics We want no Olympic Games in Spain. #Madrid2020

agua salada ?@aguasalada12
#COIgohome and please don't come back

and of course

Àlex Vilanova Pla ?@ullerol
Panem et circenses #COIgohome

Switzerland, Vienna, Madrid?


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Problem with attrition? Try communities and engagement glue

More Olympic mumbo jumbo, this time about London 2012's recruitment legacy. Pats on the back for LOCOG’s head of recruitment, Paul Modley, for keeping his team of employees motivated, despite the fact that they knew their jobs would end when the Olympics finished. Huh? Is this a problem unique to the Olympics? Don’t lots of projects come to an end and everyone knows they’ll have to look for another job?

Well, anyway, this was yet another of these conferences at which LOCOG superheroes were descending from Mount Olympus to pass on their ‘once in a lifetime’ wisdom and I guess he had to say something! Paul told the assembled recruiters: “Historically in the run-up to the Games, there had been a high degree of attrition.” This was beginning to sound like trench warfare. “The big thing was the cliff edge at the end" - the Olympics version of the fiscal cliff? Horror of horrors! “We knew we couldn’t just rely on the brand and the Olympic rings.” What! Not even the fellowship of the rings?

But Paul had an answer to the ‘cliff edge at the end…’: “The glue really to pull this all together was communities and engagement…” Uh? Communities? What does that mean? What communities? He went on in LOCOGlish: “despite having one of the best brands to work with, we still had to communicate with our people right the way through.” Ah, so that’s what the best brands do for you! You don’t have to keep on communicating with your people – right the way through.

Now if it had been real communities like Clays Lane, Leyton Marsh, Leabank Square, Manor Gardens Allotments, the Travellers…..


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Vienna waltzes away from the Olympics

After the Swiss it's the turn of the Viennese to refuse to bid for the Olympics. 72% voted against bidding for the Summer Games in 2028. Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl said: "apparently most people are not convinced that the city would benefit in the long term from investing in the games."

Maybe it's something in the Alpine air.


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the budget just went up?

Vision for Victoria Embankment cycle superhighway

Via Cyclists in the City:

Early today, the Mayor will announce “an Olympic legacy for all Londoners”, in the form of a dedicated and meaningful commitment to creating a city where people feel they have the choice to use a bicycle instead of driving.[PDF]

The Mayor of London explains:

I will more than double London’s cycling budget – to a total of almost £400m over the next three years, two-and-a-half times more than previously planned. In 2015, we will be spending £145m a year on cycling, or roughly £18 a head, up with the best in Germany and almost on a par with the Netherlands.
Over the next 10 years, cycle spending will total £913m, more than treble the previously-planned levels. There will be particularly dramatic increases in spending earmarked for Outer London. I will change how I spend our money to focus far more heavily on serious, meaningful improvements to routes and junctions. I have appointed a Cycling Commissioner, who has helped draw up these policies, to drive them forward and win support for them from the other bodies whose backing we need.

So either that's another magnificently extravagant rhetorical flourish from Boris Johnson, or perhaps the budget for the Olympics and associated 'legacy' has increased rather significantly? Alternatively, it would've happened anyway, and thus is no 'Olympic legacy' at all?


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The little guy is back!

So the little guy is back! Whoever thought Leyton Orient were going to give up without a fight has another think coming. Just as West Ham thought they were close to a deal to take over the Olympic stadium Leyton Orient have sought judicial review of the bidding process.

Now all we need is for the saboteurchitect to reappear!


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Cuckoo! Swiss say No to Winter Olympics

'No voters rejected bid organisers' claims that Olympic hosting would help tourism in the area and boost the local economy.' Those sensible Swiss from the Graubünden canton have seen through the lies of the Olympics and said no to the Winter Olympics in 2022. Bern voters did the same thing when they refused to bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

A Swiss roll.


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A Visa for Sochi 2014

Now it‘s the Russians' turn to ask ‘when is a monopoly not a monopoly?’ When it’s a Visa for the Olympics, stupid!


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Lend Lease's Heygate Olympics

When is a bailout not a bailout? At the recent Heygate CPO hearing Lend Lease, who had to be bailed out by the government over the Athletes’ Village, apparently weren’t happy with this description, ie being bailed out, when they were challenged by objectors. @MichaellondonSF tweeted from the #heygate CPO hearing: ‘Dispute with LendLease about whether govt funding for Athletes' Village had been a bailout’. Others were quite clear that this was indeed a bailout!

Lend Lease were angry at being described as fly-by-nights at London 2012. But they have a record not just of bailing but also of ‘bilking’. They admitted at the US Federal Court in Brooklyn that they had defrauded government agencies and private developers of about $19 million.

Lend Lease had its own Heygate Olympic connection. It provided two tickets for the London Olympics worth £1,600 each to the Leader of Southwark Council, Councillor Peter Johns, and his wife. Southwark Council is, of course, the Council which has teamed up with Lend Lease to ‘develop’ the much maligned estate in Elephant and Castle.

The web is even more tangled. Lend Lease have hooked up at Stratford City, next to the Olympic Park, with design company Genschler. Genschler once provided Heygate objectors with alternative proposals for refurbishing the Heygate. Lend Lease, on the other hand, are of course set on its demolition. Genschler gave permission for the proposals to be posted on the Better Elephant website. However, shortly after the Lend Lease/Genschler link up the design company asked the Heygate objectors to remove their posting. The suggestion that this request had been made at the instigation of a certain developer was met with a threat of action for defamation.

Free enterprise, free expression, free discussion? Not bilking likely!


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Heroes or scroungers?

‘I think the Vitality programme is absolutely brilliant – everything I stand for is echoed in the values of Vitality.’ These are the inane words of Olympic heroine Jessica Ennis, now earning a fast buck as a ‘Vitality Ambassadress’ through which she will ‘participate in a number of marketing activities…which add value to the Vitality proposition’. Diplomatically, she continues ‘we all love to be rewarded for our hard work to get healthy…’

Jess has a point there. Some of her less favoured Paralympic colleagues are pointing out how hard they have worked to get where they are and how they couldn’t have done it without the assistance of the Disability Living Allowance, which provided much needed funding and support. DLA is due to be replaced under the Government’s welfare ‘reforms’, it is expected 500,000 people will lose their entitlement to achieve an annual saving of £2.24billion. Paralympian Sophie Christiansen said of DLA: "We use this money in order to get out the house, not think, oh, we've got a comfy life here, living on benefits”. Another Paralympian, Natasha Baker, said: "[DLA] has transformed my life and got me to the Paralympics and got me to win my gold medals."

Tanni Grey-Thompson has spoken eloquently about the impact of the present Government’s policies: "People are either shown as amazing Paralympians who are competing for their country, who are incredible individuals, or benefit scroungers. What I don't want to see is disabled people ghettoised and locked away like it was when I was young. The danger is if we just keep knocking disabled people back then we'll turn the clock back 30 years.”

DLA is worth between £20 and £131.50 a week. Jess, along with other golden elite athletes, is expected to push her earnings into the millions. There is no indication so far that Jessica’s Vitality values include her, or her favoured colleagues, speaking out on behalf of those combating disability, whether they be athletes or not, who deserve to be supported.

It’s a dog eat dog world for sporting heroes.


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