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hot wash with spin cycle

tweet of Guardian article on cleaners at Rio
Quite rightly the Olympics news cycle has come round to the atrocious conditions visited upon the cleaners in Rio as highlighted in today's Guardian, bringing back precious memories of our own London 2012 Olympics: Games cleaners 'forced to share shower with 75 others in prison camp conditions'.

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a state of public calamity

We're fairly inured by now with the idea of the Olympics providing a state of exception but 50 days before the 2016 Opening Ceremony Rio has now gone one better announcing a state of public calamity. Or perhaps Citius, Altius, Fortius just got lost in translation.
A state of public calamity: Rio 2016: A state of public calamity. Tweet by AFP News Agency.A state of public calamity: Rio 2016: A state of public calamity. Tweet by AFP News Agency.

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a bridge too far

Today finally sees the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station, closed for the last 31 years. Trumpeted parenthetically last week in a tweet from the Standard's Ross Lydall as following a "£5m Olympic windfall".
"£5m Olympic windfall": Tweet trumpetting Lea Bridge Station re-opening as Olympics windfall"£5m Olympic windfall"

Kudos of course to those "transport officers in neighbouring Hackney council, working on London 2012 and its legacy" who "found there was £5 million funding available from the developers of Stratford City’s Westfield".

Roger Blake, director of campaign group Railfuture and a former transport officer at Hackney council, said: “The initial spark was in 2011 when transport officers in neighbouring Hackney council, working on London 2012 and its legacy, found there was £5 million funding available from the developers of Stratford City’s Westfield who were keen to expand their rail catchment northwards up the Lea Valley.”

Pedants here often belabour the point that Stratford City predates the Olympics, would've happened anyway, etc, cf. tessa's little legacy lie and so on. More factually it'll've been a Westfield Stratford City windfall to be very, very precise?

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London Legacy Seminars - don't expect critical thinking

This is the lineup for a panel to discuss the London2012 sports legacy for the London Legacies Group Seminar entitled: 'Has the Sports Legacy from the 2012 lived up to the commitments made?' Every single participant has a connection to the London Olympics.

Richard Sumray: Chair

Richard has spent most of his working life focusing on London issues in a number of areas: local government, health ,policing, social care the arts and sport. Was responsible for two London strategies for sport. Co-led a bid for London to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2000 and then started work on a bid in 1994 for London that became the successful city for 2012. Took the concept of hosting the Games to East London to lead a step change to the regeneration of the area. Currently chairs Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in West London, Health Education England South London and Alcohol Concern and chairs in the Family and Youth Courts in central London.

Alan Skewis: Speaker

Alan is the Director of E20 Stadium LLP, the joint venture set up by LLDC and Newham Council to oversee the future of the former Olympic Stadium. Alan’s recent appointment to this Post is the latest in a line of roles Alan has played in the London Olympic project.

Alan has worked at Sport England, most notably as the Head of the English Institute of Sport Facilities programme. The programme funded over £120m of facilities focused on supporting elite athlete training. Major developments at Loughborough University, Manchester and Sheffield all benefited from the programme, as well as small, specific investments including a bobsleigh start track at the University of Bath.

Alan joined London Borough of Newham in 2003 to run the Council’s sport and healthy living service. London 2012 was then bidding for the Games, and Alan’s role included making sure the Bid was supported by the local community. Once London had won the bid Alan moved over to a dedicated Newham Unit for the 2012 Games. The Unit provide an integrated approach to using the 2012 Games to support the physical and social regeneration of the area. Alan co-ordinated local sport, education, employment and health programmes. During the Games he worked with LOCOG to provide opportunities to get residents into the Olympic Park to see events.

Alan’s remit also included the legacy of the sports venues left in the QEOP. The Stadium became Alan’s main focus following the Council’s investment of £40m in the venue in 2012. As well as managing the Council’s investment in the venue’s physical transformation work, he has worked on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, established the Great Newham London Run and co-ordinated being a host for the 2014 Tour de France. His recent appointment to E20 will see him continuing to work for an East London legacy from the stadium once it opens permanently in 2016.

Andy Sutch: Speaker

Born in Wakefield, after university Andy taught geography at City of London School and in 1976 joined the Sports Council working on facility planning before moving to the regions where he became the Regional Director for London in 1989 and was also the service team Leader for Rugby Union until 2003.

In 1992 Andy was a team member bidding on behalf of London to stage the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a director of Corporate Games in London in 1992. In 1999 he was a cofounder of “Cultural Partners for London” which lead the sport and cultural activity lobby through to the election of a London Mayor and the GLA. In 2003 he was part of a joint FO and BAE programme providing advice on sports participation to the government of Saudi Arabia. Andy joined Business In Sport and Leisure in 2003 including a P/T secondment to the London 2012 Bid Team and from 2014 was a director of Sportsgroup.

He is a Board Director of London Sports appointed by the Mayor, Chairman of London Council for Sport and Recreation, Council Member at London Playing Fields Foundation and Chair of his local sports council. He is a Fellow of both CIMSPA and the RSA, has an Honorary Fellowship from St Mary’s University College Twickenham and is a member of USSPT (Sport for All in European Cities) Group presenting papers on community engagement in Barcelona, Florence and Rome..

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row, row, row…

…your boat/
gently up the creek without a paddle

Sometimes the arrogance of these elite athletes (or at least their governing bodies) is beyond parody: International Rowing Federation "shocked" by Rio Mayor telling people not to buy tickets for their sport


Not so many aboard! London bus use declined in 2012

Another transport titbit from 2012. This article showing that the number of passengers using London's buses declined during 2012 for the first time in over a decade slipped past Games Monitor's dedicated team!

TfL's surface transport managing director Leon Daniels explained to BBC News that the decline was not due to fare rises: "Last year it was the Olympic Games, so during the course of 2012 on all sorts of days across the summer, we had lots of our streets closed and here at TfL we were asking people to travel to work different ways."

That TfL was encourgaging people to avoid using public transport was certainly borne out by the pleas of businesses faced with the collapse in trade during the first week of the Games.

According to TfL 2.3 billion bus journeys were made in London in 2012 representing a drop of 0.4%, the first time there had been a decline since 1998.

Ting! Ting!

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that legacy of rough sleeping

they still seem to be forging ahead with their efforts to make London a world class centre of excellence for rough sleeping:
Number of people sleeping rough in London doubles in past five years

but then of course we must always bear in mind their pre-Olympics aspirations were so much less ambitious:
rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics: screenshot from Google search for "rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics"rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics: screenshot from Google search for "rough sleeping in London to be eliminated by 2012 olympics"

Legacy, eh?

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newham goes supernova

Convergence is coming, that long anticipated regeneration supernova is starting to explode:

As other east London boroughs settle down, the Olympic borough is beginning to catch up, locking many out the market

But success for some spells disaster for others. Newham has traditionally been a place to go for social, affordable and cheap housing

Newham shows the steepest house price rises in the country

Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years

Hoorah for Sir Robin!
Cut hair not homes: Focus E15 action at Carpenters Estate

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Parking the legacy

Fancy a swim at the Aquatic Centre with your kids? Need to use the car park? Better be sure in that case you’ve got cash to feed the machine because it won’t accept a card.

Friends took their two children aged 12 and 8 for what they said was an enjoyable swim. Enjoyable, that is, until they had to go home. They had overrun the free hour’s parking so had to pay £1.50, a perfectly reasonable charge. Only problem was the machine only took cash and they didn’t have any. In most cases you can pay a parking charge by card and they went round the different machines to see which one took a card. But none did.

The notice at the entrance hadn’t said ‘cash only’ and when they asked at the reception desk of the Aquatic Centre no-one had said it was cash only.

Aquatic Centre car park signAquatic Centre car park sign.

So back they went to the reception desk to see if they could make a payment there only to find the parking charge was nothing to do with them. They were directed to a machine at the exit of the car park to talk to a faceless voice which told them they could only pay by cash. When they said they didn’t have any cash they were told, rudely, too bad, you’ll have to find a cash machine

By now it was dark and getting cold on a January Sunday night with two small children. The Aquatic Centre was in the middle of nowhere and neither the receptionist nor the faceless voice could tell them where the nearest cash machine was.

They asked for the gate to be lifted so that they could go home and sort out the payment later. No, no money, no exit. By now a further hour had elapsed so the charge was now £3. They found another family was in the same plight, also queuing up at the reception desk without the cash to get out.

They decided to call the police to be let out. The police came and were sympathetic but could do nothing about the gate. The officer said this was the second time he had been called to the car park for this reason. One officer, two calls? How many other officers and how many other calls?

But at least the police officer was able to say where the nearest cash point was, at the bottom of the absurd pile of metal known as the Orbit.

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The fightback is on - now in San Francisco

Now San Francisco joins all those other cities across Europe, Japan and the United States that don't want to host the Olympics!!

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