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the clock goes forward

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More and more Olympic jobs!

A while ago the LDA was telling us to treat its own predictions that the London Olympics would result in 50,000 new jobs 'with caution'. Now Newham's Mayor Sirrobin has come up with the even more outrageous total of 100,000 new jobs.

My only question to him is why stop at five zeros? Don't do things by halves. Stick on one more and you have a truly impressive and equally meaningless round million. The Financial Times didn't blink at the 100,000 figure so what's another zero between mates?

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a new Duncan?

Paul Norman, he of Paul Norman's Olympics Blog, is off to greener pastures (but claims he'll continue to cover our 'Greenest Games Ever' - from a property speculation point of view no doubt). We at GamesMonitor were first alerted to Paul's coverage of Olympics (ahem) developments from his comments on Dave Hill's London Blog, and we've found him a useful source since. To his credit he allowed critical comments from Julian Cheyne in the past. However, I must take this opportunity to snipe that a comment of mine - along the lines of Jules Pipedream's legacy promises to the good folk of Hackney (whom he deigns to 'represent') of 10.000 quality jobs from the Media Centre would be straight down the drainpipe if the phantastic proposal for a ski resort on the Arena Fields site came into being - didn't make it past Paul's moderation.

In his last post Paul speculates:

My colleague at Estates Gazette Nick Whitten will be taking on the Olympics beat and with that taking over writing this blog - it will be Nick Whitten's Olympics blog or some such thing. And I will re-emerge shortly on a new platform - there is no way I am going to stop writing about the Olympics with the Games so close at hand and so many fascinating stories unfolding.

So, in due course, we'll be updating our blogroll accordingly to honour the new Duncan.

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Overhyped fantasies of bonanza

The European Tour Operators Association gets it right again. After multiple attempts to warn the various Olympic hype merchants that there would be no tourism benefits from the London Olympics its predictions of an actual decline in tourism are coming true. Among those taken in by the hype are hotels which have been jacking up their prices in expectation of a visitor bonanza. This has only added to the developing disaster and brought BoJo out in hives as he warns of 'repercussions for years to come' if London gets it wrong.

According to ETOA it's already too late. It reports: 'Several operators are effectively dropping London as a tourism destination for the bulk of 2012.' Worse, it says: 'As London is removed from the product offer, the rest of the UK goes with it.'

After years of responding to good advice with hype SebCo Ltd has also started to call on hotels to come to their senses and adopt a fair pricing charter. Some hope!

ETOA's Tom Jenkins sums up the situation: “An industry stands in jeopardy through overhyped fantasies of bonanza.”

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one ring to bind them all

So, turns out it's not just the 2012 Host Borough of Hackney that bans books (well more specifically bans the launch event of an Olympics critical author from one of its public libraries).

In Olympic Bosses try to ban Katia’s book Andrew Jennings reveals that Brazil’s national Olympic committee would like to get in on the action:

As Canadians wake up to the staggering costs of this month’s Vancouver Olympics the organisers of the 2016 games in Rio are trying to suppress criticism at home.

Brazil’s national Olympic committee has threatened Sao Paulo University professor Katia Rubio, who teaches sport psychology and Olympic studies, with criminal prosecution and ordered her to destroy all copies of her controversial new book Sport, Education and Olympic Values.

Leading the charge against her is up and coming IOC member Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian committee. He led the successful bid for 2016 and now chairs the organising committee.

Nuzman’s committee are using the excuse that the word ‘Olympic’ in her book title belongs to them and she hasn’t bought a licence to use it. Said a shocked professor Rubio, ‘I study Olympic ideas, how come I cannot use the word? Our Brazilian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and the press. This is a clear attempt to intimidate me.

‘I’m not using the word ‘Olympic’ for commercial reasons, to sell merchandise. The word is used as a topic of scientific study...

A look at some of the titles in our Books: some further reading section shows there's plenty out there which should fall under Sauron's gaze.

Meanwhile in the 2012 Host Borough of Stratford, its rumoured that Café Olympic, under duress from the LOCOG/IOC ring-wraiths, has seemingly solved its signage problem, and is now simply Café Lympic. Nice!

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some sporting legacy!

Now, this isn't actually the Olympics, but part of the over-arching regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley / Royal Docks as part of Thames Gateway, and so clearly fits into the 'would have happened anyway category, but this tweet from Stop City Airport (SCAM) caught my attention:

Newham gets solar powered tower at Olympc Gateway. Missing from promo pics? LCY planes & Cable car. Oh and Boris closed the sailing centre.

It turns out the site occupied by the Royal Victoria Dock Watersports Centre is on LDA owned land which is to be developed to build this pavillion for Siemens. According to Joe Lane of the Brightside Six, it had been mooted that the RVWDC might be relocated

to the Regatta Centre in Albert Dock but the centre pulled out in September

So, as it stands according to the Royal Docks website the situation is

There are plans to build a new Sailing Centre and a study of the options is in progress.

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that Pudding Mill White Elephant

The saga of the Stadium's non-legacy rumbles on.

Ken has waded in claiming waste of public money and horrendous environmental consequences should Tottenham succeed with their bid entailing the demolition of the currently under-construction stadium and it's replacement with something more suitable to the needs of Premiership football. So it appears poor old West Ham are still highly likely to be saddled with that "fundamentally flawed" Olympic Stadium according to coverage by Paul Norman and Amanda Baillieu in Building Design.

Meanwhile Kevin Blowe highlights speculation over the legality of Newham's "Enron-style" loan construct to facilitate the West Ham bid. Even so, it doesn't look too good for West Ham, and it's probably over-optimistic to hope that another couple of sessons back in the Championship could save them.

BBC's Adrian Warner points out that the OPLC will announce its decision make its 'proposal' on January 28th.

UPDATE 25/1/2011 For some strange and inexplicable reason, the signing of the lease/decision/proposal now won't be announced "until the end of March".

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Oh no - it's not even the biggest new park in London in 20 years...

Following previous posts pointing out that the 2012 Olympic Park is not the claimed "largest new park in Europe in 150 years", there was some hurried hype revision and the ODA downgraded it to the "biggest park in the UK for 100 years" while other fellow traveller agencies drifted off message and settled for "biggest new park in London for 100 years" .

Ignoring small matters such as it not actually being a proper park at all (the Olympic Park Legacy Company describe it as an "urban space"), another park has been identified which -
a) is in London
b) is bigger than all the open space promised in the Olympic Park (110ha according to Ealing Council vs. 102ha of 'virtual' Olympic parkland)
c) was completed in 1996.

As the Northolt and Greenford Countryside Park Society say on their web page - it's the biggest park to be built in London in the last 100 years!

That means the Olympic Park would possibly be the biggest new park in London in 16 years when it opens in 2012, except that most of the 'open space' won't be parkland, won't be completed or accessible for an indefinite period, or will be surrounded by building sites till kingdom come.

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Up the workers

It was 20/12 day, to be marked by a celebration with the lighting up of the Pudding Mill White Elephant Stadium, to be attended by a raft of Clebs plus local schoolkids and site workers. Not sure what the schoolkid experience was, but following the tweets of one site-insider, on the grounds of Elf'n'Safety, it didn't turn out so Christmassy after all. The workers weren't wanted in the end:

@SkyNewsOlympic : us workers on the park had our invites cancelled @ 3pm due to H&S reasons ! We're not happy bunnies!

Has just received his annual pay Review, and is pleased to announce a MASSIVE INCREASE.. It works out at 0%. Merry F*cking Christmas !

Lights shine on London's 2012 stadium (BBC) : Except us 'Site Workforce' have had our Invites Cancelled ! @LDNOlympics

London 2012 #Olympics Stadium 'Lights On' Ceremony WILL go ahead. But looks like it's just the Press & the ODA who will attend.

Breaking : The Lights on WILL go ahead, but numbers have been reduced considerably due to H&S reasons and weather conditions. I cant now go.

MORE UPDATES: Stadium Lights On : Possibility of go ahead, a late weather check will confim if the ceremony will go ahead or not.

@LondonsOlympics : The lights On ceremony has been cancelled.

BREAKING NEWS : The Official 'Lights On' Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium has been cancelled for today : 20 Dec 2010

Weather permitting I should be at the official 'Lights On' ceremony in the London 2012 Olympic Stadium today. 20/12/10

Update 22/12/2010 15:50
The Olympic Borough has an "[updated] exclusive" with an email from (one has to assume) that same site insider, which draws a response from the ODA explaining exactly how they didn't have the workers to make the Lower Tier safe for their workers or something. As a Public Relations exercise mightn't that be the wrong type of snow?

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Arrests at the Dorchester?

The Telegraph has suggested the 2012 Olympics will provide a key test for the new Bribery Act. Corporate hospitality is supposed to come under scrutiny. Really? The whole point about this kind of event is the bidding war which requires nations to chuck goodies at international sports bodies. Freebies are what the IOC and others expect while sponsors and businesses have always used tickets to arts and sports events as a way to make friends and influence people.

Let's hope prosecutors make more progress on this than they did with BAE. Arrests at the Dorchester?

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