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Obesity - an Olympic diet

Obesity in the UK continues to rise. Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for 2011 show there has been a marked rise in obesity rates over the past eight years, coinciding with the bid and lead up to London 2012. The HSCIC also raises the alarm about children’s body image, particularly among girls, with hospital admissions up 16% in the last year of the survey.

The Olympics is supposed to provide us with a legacy of improving the nation's health. So will the Games have made any difference? If Sydney is anything to go by, no. The Sydney Olympics made no impact in Australia on childhood obesity, the country is now said to be suffering an obesity epidemic, along with the UK.

As is obvious the whole point about the Olympics is it is an elite tv sports event which people sit and watch from their sofa while munching on their usual diet of Olympic advertised burgers and fizzy drinks (no advertising on this site!).

However, the case is more complicated, as it seems even when sport participation does rise this has little impact on obesity. University of Sydney obesity, nutrition and exercise expert Associate Professor Timothy Gill pointed out: "It is interesting that the increase in obesity throughout Australia has actually been paralleled by an increase in participation in child sport, so it would seem that sport is not the key to battling obesity, but diet and lifestyle."

‘Diet and lifestyle’, funny he should mention that! A diet of fizzy drinks and burgers (no advertising on this site) is, of course, as referred to above, the nutrition promoted by the Olympics and its sponsoring ‘partners’, at great public expense, along with (often bogus) claims of the popularity of watching elite sport on tv – exactly the kind of mind and body sapping ‘activity’ all these Olympic backers claim they oppose.


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The sporting legacy - Inspired to watch

As has already been announced the elite annual London Grand Prix Diamond League meeting will be moved from Crystal Palace to the Olympic Stadium. To this was added an elite Paralympic event.

Now the list of sporting spectaculars includes an elite Triathlon meeting in September featuring 5,000 elite runners in a range of categories with 2,000 or so amateur competitors. Once again the L word is deployed with Boris claiming ‘nearly 7,000 people of all fitness levels will be able to take part in this fantastic event, which will no doubt build on the inspiration and the legacy of the London 2012 Games.’

Seb Coe said of the three day Grand Prix event, joining in the latest attempts to redefine the legacy to mean watching elite events: "It is an important part of the London 2012 legacy that as many people as possible experience world class sport at the Olympic Park...what a way to celebrate its success by welcoming the world back to London once more to watch the biggest names in athletics."

He got just a little confused about that participation stuff: "I'm sure the London Anniversary Games will go a long way to inspiring the next generation of track and field fans.”

Ah! That experience of participating as a fan!


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and so it begins

Hackney Marshes – Public Consultation

I am writing to let you know that the Council is planning to launch a public consultation on a proposal to apply for PINS consent to hold major public events on Hackney Marshes between 1st May and 31st August each year.

The Council is proposing to seek permission for a period of five years to provide the opportunity for a programme of viable events to be delivered, but also enabling regular review and amendments to this programme. The Council is not applying for consent for the events themselves at this stage and recognises and respects that Hackney Marsh is common land and has significant value for the borough’s residents as well as ecological and environmental value, designations and habitats. All of this needs to be balanced and protected as part of the Council’s approach to delivering events on the Marsh. The purpose of the consultation is therefore to gauge public response and note any concerns from stakeholders, which will inform our formal application. Once our application has been received there will be a formal period of statutory consultation.

Our consultation will launch on Tuesday 26th February, when further information will be available, and will run for eight weeks, during which time we will hold meetings with key stakeholders to ensure that all views are captured, as well as drop in events for the general public. We will be in touch shortly to arrange a meeting or conversation with you, should you wish to contribute to the consultation. In the meantime, I am writing to ensure you have proper notification of the consultation.


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More Olympics effects - amnesia, anticipation, non-materialisation

The Olympics amnesia effect kicks in again. The Press reports another Olympic ’success’ story, this time it’s Heathrow, which saw profits rise in the ‘Olympic year’ along with the number of passengers. CEO Brian Matthews declared ‘We gave a warm welcome and a smooth journey to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes’.

Brian omitted to mention that other ’Olympics effect’ that while athletes and officials were being warmly welcomed British travellers were staying home and non-Olympic visitors were staying away, resulting in a decline in the number of passengers during the Games. Heathrow had geared up for what it expected to be its busiest time ever only to find the 'anticipated' traffic didn't materialise.

The widely observed Olympics 'anticipation' effect followed by the 'non-materialisation' effect. It's almost science fiction.


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Tube miracle worker off to Sydney

London Tube boss Howard Collins has got a job running railways Down Under. The Standard describes him as the 'Tube boss credited with making the trains run on time during the Olympics'. If they expect Mr Collins to repeat the miracle of making the trains run on time in Sydney then they can look forward to apocalyptic warnings about how the system is about to crack up and they'd all be better off walking, getting on their bikes, staying at home, anything but travelling by train!

Sydney, of course, experienced its own Olympic transport miracle. And how did they achieve that? One study reported there there was a huge perception that 'it is illegal to drive anywhere in the city' and comments by officials such as 'We did such a great job in... having Sydney residents taking holidays and leaving Sydney that we got our forecasts hopelessly wrong, in the right direction for a change.'

Sounds like Collins and Sydney will get on like a house on fire, or maybe that should be a runaway train.


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Watching Sochi on Facebook

To keep up with issues of justice and human rights around Sochi 2014 join the recently created Sochi Watch page on Facebook. And in case you hadn't noticed Games Monitor is also now on Facebook!


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BOA constrictor Coe

Revenge is a dish best served cold and companion of dishonour Coe is enjoying his repast. His arrival at the BOA has ‘coincided’ with the departures of Chairman Colin Moynihan, who left a year early, the former commercial director, Hugh Chambers, and the director of sport, Sir Clive Woodward, who noted the organisation was taking a ‘new direction’.

Now Chief Executive Andy Hunt is moving on as well. Hunt, along with Moynihan, was excluded from the London 2012 Board, headed by Coe, at the height of the Olympic funding row between LOCOG and the BOA. The Guardian tries to counter the obvious conclusion that Hunt is being pushed out by reporting ‘BOA insiders said it was not the case that Hunt had been forced out’! Hunt, in another rather more revealing report by insidethegames, puts an entirely different spin on things. Sport he concluded is "a much more emotional business" than other commercial sectors. It is "far more political than any other business, or even politics. I think sport is the most political environment I have ever come across."

For 'political' read 'Coestricted'.


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driiing driiing

February 14 - London 2012 communications director Jackie Brock-Doyle has been appointed as the new chief executive at The Good Relations Group, the public relations division of Chime, who recently purchased Sebastian Coe's company in a multi-million pound deal.

etc, etc


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2012 - a year of challenges or opportunities?

Apparently theatre in London had a bad Olympics, although this was buried under a headline of theatre 'holding up in Olympic year' and some good news about a rise in ticket sales for the year as a whole. At the end of January, AP reported the Society of London Theatre as saying that sales and attendance had dropped during the summer Games, described as a 'dampening effect', but this was played down as, it was claimed, it had not been as bad as some had feared. However, no specific information was provided to show how bad it really was during the Olympics.

AP referred to 'pre-games worries that concerns about transport mayhem and overcrowding would scare audiences away from central London' as if this never happened. So it seems the usual Games amnesia has kicked in. Remember this or this about 'deserted London'?

Mark Rubenstein of SOLT is quoted as describing 2012 as a year of 'exceptional challenges'. I thought it was supposed to be a year of 'exceptional opportunities'.


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A waterlogged Legacy

danny ?@m37411ic48, 'an accidental philosopher' who drives a black cab, tweeted a couple of pictures of the aftermath of the hammer throw practice area in Mayesbrook Park:

Olympic legacy: ‘this is where they practised hammerthrow and I don't think it's benefited us very much’

and

‘All the bits where the olympics were, waterlogged, top legacy for east london’

Waterlogged mud patches just like Leyton Marsh, Blackheath Circus Field, Greenwich Queen's Lawns, Woolwich and Wanstead Flats.


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