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Author Topic:   2012 London Olympics
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posted February 05, 2009 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Phelps' Questions Return To Olympic Games

5 February 2009 8:20 AM, PST

Swimming star Michael Phelps is questioning his return to compete in the 2012 Olympics after he was caught up in a drugs scandal last weekend. The 23-year-old athlete was forced to apologise in a statement on Sunday after British newspaper the News of the World published a shot of the gold medallist holding a glass pipe associated with marijuana use - commonly known as a bong - to his lips at a party in Columbia, South Carolina that took place in November.

A police spokesman for the state force claimed on Wednesday the star could be prosecuted over the incident, and cops have since launched an investigation into the incident to determine whether charges could be brought against Phelps.

And the intense public scrutiny has left Phelps contemplating whether he should swim in the 2012 Olympic games.

He tells the Baltimore Sun, "This is a decision of mine that I'm not going to make today and I'm not going to make tomorrow. It's going to require a lot of time and energy and a lot of thinking for myself - but also talking to (coach) Bob (Bowman) and talking to my family and just deciding what I want to do.

"Yeah, there are still goals that I have in the pool, 100 per cent. But I'm not going to let anything stand in my way. If I decide to walk away, I'll decide to walk away on my own terms. If it's now, if it's four years, who knows. But it is something I need to think about and decide what I want to do."

But Phelps adds his biggest challenge is coping with the effects the incident has had on his family, adding: "It's something I am going to have to live with, and something I'll have to grow from. Seeing my mum reminded me of how it was the day after I got my DUI (Driving Under the Influence), and I swore to myself I'd never do that again. We've been talking a lot. I've been able to get back to my family. It's part of my life I need back."

Phelps received 18 months probation following his 2004 arrest for the drink driving incident.

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posted September 02, 2009 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Rio bandwagon: IOC keeps on loving city's bid
By STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson, Ap Sports Writer 7 mins ago

LONDON The Rio bandwagon seems to be picking up speed.

Rio de Janeiro's bid to take the Olympics to South America for the first time in 2016 gained further momentum Wednesday when the Brazilian city came off best in a technical evaluation of the four candidate cities.

Chicago, meanwhile, came in for some pointed negative comments including its financial guarantees and public transportation and Madrid and Tokyo also took some direct hits from the International Olympic Committee.

The 98-page report from the IOC's evaluation commission was released exactly a month before the IOC vote in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.

"The IOC report is a real boost to the Rio bid," bid president Carlos Nuzman told The Associated Press. "They have provided a very strong confirmation of our games plan and vision. It is fair to say Rio has a very positive report, and possibly the most favorable. We didn't have any red points."

The report, which did not grade or rank the cities, is intended only as a guide for IOC members and is unlikely to sway the final decision. Intangible factors, including geopolitical issues, always play a major role when the IOC's 100-plus members cast their secret ballots.

The report is based on visits by the evaluation commission in April and May, and was issued two months after more than 90 members listened to presentations from the bid cities in Lausanne, Switzerland, where most of the key issues were already covered.

In what shapes up as a tight race, the final presentations on the day of the vote could be crucial. Whether President Barack Obama goes to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago could be decisive, just as Tony Blair helped secure the 2012 Olympics for London when he met IOC members in Singapore in 2005 and Vladimir Putin traveled to Guatemala City in 2007 to push Sochi's winning bid for the 2014 Winter Games.

"Clearly having President Obama there would be an advantage," Chicago bid leader Patrick Ryan said, "particularly since each of the other cities are saying that their leaders will be there."

Ryan said all the issues raised in the IOC report have or can be resolved, and he expressed confidence in Chicago's prospects of bringing the Summer Olympics back to the U.S. for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

"I think we got a very good score," Ryan told the AP in a telephone interview. "We feel the wind is really at our back for the last 30 days. It's going to go down to the wire. Nobody knows who's going to win this. We have as good a chance as anybody."

For the moment, though, things seem to going Rio's way.

The Brazilian city made a big impression with members at the June meeting in Lausanne, arguing the case for the Olympics to be held on a new continent. Africa and Antarctica are the only other continents that have not hosted the games.

The IOC report cited Rio as embracing the "potential power of the games to transform a city, a region and a country" and said the Olympics would leave "a lasting and affordable legacy."

The Rio bid is the most spread-out and most expensive of the four, with a budget of $11.1 billion for capital investments associated with the games.

"The commission is confident that the growing Brazilian economy would be able to support the necessary infrastructure development needed for the delivery of the 2016 Games," the IOC report said.

The IOC also cited Rio's vision of using sport as a "catalyst for social integration" and said the bid had strong public support, financial guarantees from all levels of government, and knowledge and experience from the city's hosting of the 2007 Pan American Games.

But Rio also came in for some matters of worry.

With Brazil scheduled to host the 2014 World Cup, the report expressed "some concern" about marketing the Olympics in the same four-year period.

While citing Rio's "public safety challenges," the IOC said new anti-crime programs were "already showing positive results."

The report said transportation plans in Rio would be "critical" and that urban infrastructure projects would need "careful management and monitoring."

The IOC said Rio had an "insufficient" number of hotel rooms, and plans to use four villages and six cruise ships would "require particular attention in both the planning and delivery phases."

Among the issues under scrutiny for Chicago has been financial guarantees. Unlike other bid cities, Chicago's candidacy is not underwritten by the federal government.

"Chicago 2016 has not provided a full guarantee covering a potential economic shortfall of the OCOG (Olympic organizing committee) as requested by the IOC," the report said, adding that Chicago had instead proposed a capped guarantee of $750 million which presents a "risk" in the event of a larger deficit.

Since the IOC visit in April, however, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Dally has pledged to sign the host city contract, requiring the city to take full financial responsibility and the proposed $4.8 billion operating budget.

"The issues will be resolved in the next few days," Ryan said. "The city of Chicago has a very strong credit rating. We expect final approval from the city council soon."

The IOC praised Chicago's compact venue plans along the downtown waterfront, and minimum travel time for athletes, but noted that the equestrian, shooting, road cycling and mountain biking venues were relatively far away.

The report also singled out the "well-designed and compact lakefront Olympic village" but noted that, at the time of the commission's visit, full financing guarantees for the complex had not been provided.

The IOC also said Chicago's use of temporary or scaled-down venues "increases the element of risk" to the organizing committee, and said transportation could be a "major challenge" because it would involve more than doubling the peak commuter traffic on the Metra commuter rail service.

The report said there was a need for "clearer delineation of roles and responsibilities" between the city and organizing committee, and said Chicago's budget including $1.83 billion in sponsorships is "ambitious but achievable."

Tokyo, which held the Olympics in 1964, drew praise for it compact venue plan and government financial backing but was cited for a "relatively low level of public support" in an IOC opinion poll from February showing support of only about 55 percent of the city's residents.

"We have worked very hard to respond to IOC feedback since the evaluation committee's visit to Tokyo in April," Tokyo bid leader Ocher Kong said in a statement. "We are confident we already have a plan that will fully satisfy all challenges and demonstrate our ability to be their most reliable and dependable partner."

Madrid, bidding for the second time in a row after losing the 2012 Games to London, was lauded for its compact layout and readiness of existing venues. But the report criticized Madrid's bid for not showing "a full understanding of the need for clear delineation of roles and responsibilities, including financial, between different stockholders..."

"I'm left with a bittersweet taste," Madrid bid leader Mercedes Coghen said. "Sweet because they know that our city is ready. Bitter because we weren't able to tell them better. We're not good communicators. We need to work on this."


Associated Press Writers Paul Logothetis in Madrid, Deanna Bellandi in Chicago and Jim Armstrong in Tokyo contributed to this report.


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posted September 28, 2009 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Obama to make in-person pitch for 2016 Olympics
By JULIE PACE, Associated Press Writer Julie Pace, Associated Press Writer Mon Sep 28, 9:22 am ET

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama will travel to Denmark to support Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, projecting the highest-ever White House profile in lobbying for the international event.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, told The Associated Press Monday morning that Obama will leave Thursday and join his wife, Michelle, in Copenhagen, where they'll make the pitch to the International Olympic Committee. Obama would be the first U.S. president to actually appeal in person to the International Olympic Committee for an Olympics event.

The International Olympic Committee is meeting in Copenhagen to select a host city for the 2016 Summer Games. Chicago faces tough competition from Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.

The White House later formally announced the trip, saying that Obama and his wife "will both make presentations to the IOC during Friday's session. They will discuss why Chicago is best to host the 2016 Summer Games, and how the United States is eager to bring the world together to celebrate the ideals of the Olympic movement." The IOC is scheduled to decide the site on Friday.

While in Denmark, the statement said, Obama and his wife also will meet with Queen Margrethe and the president will meet with Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen of Denmark.

Obama, who represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate after serving in the Illinois Legislature, is a longtime supporter of Chicago's bid. Michelle Obama is a native of the city and he considers it his adopted home town. Obama recently sent letters to selected IOC members promising a "spectacular Olympic experience for one and all."

"President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama symbolize the hope, opportunity and inspiration that makes Chicago great, and we are honored to have two of our city's most accomplished residents leading our delegation in Copenhagen," Mayor Richard M. Daley said in a statement. "Who better to share with members of the International Olympic Committee the commitment and enthusiasm Chicago has for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement than the President and First Lady."

The president had held off on announcing a trip to Copenhagen, saying his first priority was the ongoing debate in Washington over health care reform. But aides said the president determined that his trip wouldn't take away from that process. The legislation is a signature piece of his domestic policy agenda and negotiations on Capitol Hill have been contentious.

But with heads of state representing Rio and Madrid already scheduled to attend the IOC meeting Friday, Chicago's bid organizers had hoped Obama would make an in-person appeal.

"I don't think there's an IOC member on the planet that wouldn't love to meet your president. He's a transformational figure in the world today," longtime IOC member Dick Pound said recently.

Obama is also mobilizing his administration on behalf of Chicago's bid. Senior adviser Jarrett, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, will also be joining the president and first lady in Copenhagen. All are from Illinois.

They join a Chicago contingent already packed with more star power than a Hollywood red carpet. The first lady is one of the few people who rivals her husband in visibility, and she'll be joined by talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who trails only Angelina Jolie on Forbes' annual Celebrity 100 list, a ranking of the rich and famous' most powerful.

Chicago is also bringing 14 Olympic and two Paralympic gold medalists, including Michael Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Nadia Comaneci and Nastia Liukin.


Associated Press Writer Nancy Armour contributed to this report.

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posted September 30, 2009 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Some Chicago residents hoping Olympics bid a bust
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer 2 hrs 27 mins ago

CHICAGO The mayor, the president and Oprah Winfrey may hope to return to Chicago from Copenhagen with the 2016 Olympic Games, but some around town hope the International Olympic Committee deems the Second City the second city.

As in second to Rio de Janeiro. Or Tokyo. Or Madrid.

The opposition is not as visible as the "We Back the Bid" signs plastered across town. But in a city all too familiar with stories of public corruption and problems with public services, there is serious concern the games can only mean more troubles and bills for residents.

"I know it's going to cost us money somehow," said Joseph Patrick, a 51-year-old stay-at-home dad. "The government doesn't have a job (so) the only place they can get money is from us."

A new Web site is the talk of the town and features the game "Match the Olympic host with its estimated budget overrun." About 170 protesters marched outside City Hall on Tuesday night, many insisting that no matter what organizers say, the games will push people from their homes, lead to more corruption and raise taxes.

"I don't believe anything the city and the 2016 committee says," said Larry Rivkin, who grew up in Chicago.

At least one person was later arrested for trying to interfere with workers erecting Olympic symbols in a downtown plaza.

It's not that the bid does not enjoy wide support. Laid-off laborer Dennis Ries, 45, said the Olympics would bring jobs. Resident Molly Mason, 53, sees the games enhancing tourism and public transportation.

"There's no downside, only upside," Mason said.

Others note protests routinely accompany Olympic bids.

"The Olympics always galvanizes all sorts of opposition," said A.D. Frazier, chief operating officer for the 1996 Atlanta Games.

In Chicago, though, the opposition seems to be getting stronger.

A poll released this month by the Chicago Tribune showed residents almost evenly split, with 47 percent in favor of the bid and 45 percent against; that's a drop from the 2-1 support the newspaper found in a February poll.

The 2016 bid committee said its own poll last week shows support from 72 percent of Chicagoans. But even that segment has concerns.

Seconds after saying the games in Chicago would be "thrilling," Susan Blaine was wondering what tens of thousands more riders will do to an already overwhelmed public transportation system.

"A Cubs game turns my commute to chaos," said Blaine, 51. "You're belly button to belly button."

For others, concerns about taxes have only intensified since Mayor Richard Daley flip-flopped in April, telling the IOC he'd sign a contract promising the city would take full financial responsibility for the games after long maintaining he wouldn't.

"For a lot of people that was definitely a major moment, when they said, `Wait a minute, we're going to be ... on the hook financially for a very large amount,'" said Anna Tarkov, who writes The Daily Daley blog and opposes the bid.

Organizers have tried to allay such fears, but it can be a tough sell at a time of headline-grabbing corruption cases, the biggest one involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich a Chicagoan accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

"I just think that the history of corruption sets the stage for a brutal series of events like misuse of funds and insider dealings," said Brian Hayes, 53, of Chicago.

Frazier, of the Atlanta Games, doesn't think the opposition matters to the IOC.

"They will probably be disappointed if there wasn't anything," he said.

Members of a group called No Games Chicago hope he's wrong. They're headed to Copenhagen to tell the IOC that Chicago is in such financial straits that it cannot afford the games and is such a hotbed of political corruption that it doesn't deserve them.

"We are bringing materials to back up our claim that Chicago is not fit to host the games," said Tom Tresser, an organizer for the group.

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posted October 01, 2009 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Comcast may get its Olympics after all

It sure is an expensive way to get into the Olympics. Hard to believe, but it was just a little over two months ago that Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal were at odds over an Olympic-themed cable network that Comcast wanted to launch in a partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee. As we reported, NBC and the International Olympics Committee said no way and the channel was dead in the water before it could even reach the ground much less get off the ground.

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posted October 02, 2009 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Chicago and Tokyo Eliminated From 2016 Olympic Consideration

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posted October 02, 2009 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Rio, Madrid still in race for 2016 Olympics
By JOHN LEICESTER, AP Sports Writer John Leicester, Ap Sports Writer 4 mins ago

COPENHAGEN Rio de Janeiro or Madrid one of them will host the 2016 Olympics. Chicago is out in one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee. President Barack Obama's appeals for his adopted home town fell on deaf ears Friday.

Tokyo was knocked out in the second round, surviving one round longer than Chicago. That left just Rio and Madrid still in the mix. The IOC voted again to separate the two and elected a winner, which will be announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge later Friday.

Madrid's surprising success in reaching the final round came after former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch made an unusual appeal for the Spanish capital, reminding the IOC members as he asked for their vote that, at age 89, "I am very near the end of my time."

Chicago had long been seen as a front-runner and got the highest possible level of support from Obama himself. But he also only spent a few hours in the Danish capital where the vote was held and left before the result was announced. Former IOC member Kai Holm said that the brevity of his appearance may have counted against him.

The short stopover was "too business-like," Holm said. "It can be that some IOC members see it as a lack of respect."

The European-dominated IOC's last two experiences in the United States were marred by controversy: the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were sullied by a bribery scandal and logistical problems and a bombing hit the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Obama had held out the enticing prospect of a Chicago games helping to reconnect the United States with the world after the presidency of George W. Bush. He told the IOC earlier Friday that the "full force of the White House" would be applied so "visitors from all around the world feel welcome and will come away with a sense of the incredible diversity of the American people."

Now, Chicago can only rue what might have been. And Obama's gamble of expending his own political capital on the bid backfired.

The last U.S. city to bid for the Summer Games, New York, did scarcely better. It was ousted in the second round in the 2005 vote that gave the 2012 Games to London. The U.S. Olympic Committee has had a testy relationship with the IOC, including recent flare-ups over revenue sharing and a USOC TV network.

Tokyo did better than many expected by reaching the second round. It had offered reassurances of financial security, with $4 billion already banked for the games.

But the fact that the Olympics were held only last year in Asia, in Beijing, handicapped the Japanese capital's bid.

Its plans for a highly compact games, sparing athletes tiring travel by holding all but the shooting within 5 miles of the city center, were technically appealing. But the bid failed to generate real enthusiasm, even in Japan. Tokyo had the lowest public backing in IOC polls.

Tokyo's final presentation Friday to the IOC, while smooth and heartfelt, lacked the buzz that the Obamas and Rio generated. In short, Tokyo was simply overshadowed, failing to convince IOC members that it really wanted or needed the games.

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posted June 07, 2011 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
NBC wins Olympics rights through 2020.

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