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Coalition questions sport participation targets as Olympics gold dust fails to inspire

Back in 2007 Tessa Jowell said "The gold dust of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games could be the way to inspire so many young people to change their lives, to increase their involvement in sport and arts." The Government had set a target of getting two million more people involved in sport by 2012.

In June 2010, despite the gold dust being sprinkled by the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games, the National Audit Office reported that Sport England had missed virtually all of its targets in terms of encouraging participation in sport and in some areas participation, particularly among women and minorities, had actually fallen.

Olympics Minister, Hugh Roberston, is now wondering whether it is time to cut and run. "It may well be that once we've been through the process that we settle with the two million target... but what I'm going to do is get the policy right first and then we will set the targets by which we benchmark it."

However, it is unclear whether the two million target even exists as Sport England now has a strategy of raising the number of people doing "moderate intensity sport for at least 30 minutes three times a week by March 2013" by one million.

Poor Len Duvall, chairman of the GLA Olympics Committee has also been fretting over the problem: "When London won the Games we were told they would inspire two million people to take up sport.

"We want to know what's being done to make that commitment a reality."

Don't we all, Len!

Of course Len and Hugh might have saved themselves the trouble if they had bothered to read a 2007 report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee which concluded that “no host country has yet been able to demonstrate a direct benefit from the Olympic Games in the form of a lasting increase in participation.”

Tessa knew all along, after all it was the Select Committee tracking her department that produced the report, although that doesn't mean she paid any attention!

Sorry chaps, it was never going to happen.


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2012 Media Centre - 'a not future proofed insult to Hackney'!

At a meeting of the GLA Olympics Committee Anna Harding, chief executive of Space Studios, criticised the 2012 Media Centre as ‘a darned insult to Hackney’ and said it was outmoded. Regarding finding future occupants she said ‘You don’t need to go around the world looking for an anchor tenant. You can talk to the young people of Hackney.’

Others were not so keen on this suggestion and wanted to find some institution like a university, the British Film Institute or the Royal Opera House to take over the facility.

But its location may be a problem. John Burton, director of developer Westfield’s Stratford City project, thought the Centre was too far from Stratford and Hackney railway stations.

Charlie Forman, chief officer of the 2012 Olympic Games for Hackney Council, devised a new formula to describe its uncertain future saying ‘it was not as future proofed as we would have liked’.


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Rogge gets confused over BP 2012 sponsorship

Jacques Rogge faces both ways over BP's sponsorship of the 2012 Olympics. On the one hand it is reported that the Olympic governing body is content to allow BP to sponsor the London Games provided the firm takes proper "corrective measures" to alleviate the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Mr Rogge warned that "if a company would have been negligent, that's another issue".

Confusingly, when asked what would happen if investigators find BP to have been negligent, Mr Rogge said of the London organisers: "It's their decision; it's not our decision."

Seb, Lord, Coe has supported BP as a 2012 sponsor.

So it isn't another issue after all!


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No party for the rich?

Deighton was powerful enough to have become the 458th richest person in the country when he applied for the Locog position. He could afford the massive pay-cut

In one of two largely puff pieces in today's Guardian we're treated to a profile of LOCOG Chief Exec Paul Deighton's bankster past with Goldman Sachs. So we have some idea of where he's coming from in the second which leads:

Organisers of the London Olympics have promised full stadiums for all events and "affordable" ticket prices for the vast majority – but concede that showpieces such as the men's 100m final will be limited to "people with privileged access"

According to the strapline Deighton says he wants the games to be the most democratic and diverse of all Olympiads but the commentariat seem to be mostly underwhelmed.


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Higgins inadequately rewarded for awesome budget savings!

Today Mr Higgins kindly sent me an email message in which he said:

'We remain within budget and on track to complete the vast majority of the venues and infrastructure with one year to go.'

Kind regards,

David Higgins

Chief Executive, Olympic Delivery Authority

I thought there were two years to go but as he's the CEO I am sure he knows what he is doing. The 2011 London Olympics doesn't sound quite right! At least the Brits should stand a good chance of a substantial haul of medals, even gold ones, if no-one else turns up. I note he says they expect to have 'the vast majority of the venues and infrastructure' ready. That's not quite what I was expecting. I thought they all had to be done but once again who am I to question El Supremo?

The Cabinet Office recently revealed that Mr Higgins is Britain's highest paid quango chief, on £384,000 last year.

But that was fine for Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson, who said Mr Higgins's pay was "entirely defensible” because his management had saved £600 million and enabled the ODA to remain within budget. “His bonus as a proportion of the savings achieved is tiny,” he added.

The lie about the budget has now, through endless repetition and official endorsement, become the truth.

According to his admirers Higgins has even managed to reduce the budget so a few hundred thou is just a snip! Actually I think they have miscalculated. On this basis they should be dishing out even more dosh to this miracle worker. It's not a saving of £600million, it's almost £7billion.

To be able to reduce a budget from £2.4billion to over £9.3billion is a truly remarkable feat. The OBR should recruit him when Prof Budd moves on. By my calculation that's a saving, by their method of reckoning, of about 7billion. Taking it that a saving of £600million is worth £384,000 then this truly remarkable saving of £7billion should be worth around £4,340,000. What's £4.3mill when all's said and done? You've got to pay for talent and this kind of talent only comes along once in a blue moon. Well actually it's recently been on display quite frequently in the City.

I think we should be told why David isn't getting everything he deserves.


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A twisty spiral of intrigue

Dave Hill coyly points to Tory Troll on '...cronyism from City Hall' and the Mirror's tabloid hanky-panky with some property developing people and money behind BoJo's 'throbbing red-veined 'red-knotted coiltrumpet' - Boris Johnson: the women behind his Olympian erection


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Bringing Bhopal to Bow?

Dow Chemicals are to be announced as the IOC's new Global Partner?


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Anish Kapoor's red-knotted coiltrumpet

Ah well, I should know by now that any consultation exists solely to tick administrative boxes, so I probably won't bother submitting any choice thoughts this time round

Diamond Geezer attends another of those ODA 'consultations' and most helpfully deconstructs access to some of the relevant documents via their planning portal.


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McVolunteering?

Kevin Blowe on the demise of the Food Standards Agency and the announcement that Tier One Sponsors 'IOC Global Partners' McDonalds will provide training to the london 2012 volunteers: Would You Like Fries With That?


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On top of TescoTown, an IkeaTown

Paul Norman reveals that IKEA have acquired the Sugar House Lane site for housing development. His post ends, "the site was designated a conservation area in 2008".


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