Tag Archives: IOC

How the Olympics Rotted Greece

From Politico Europe

The painful Greek Olympic legacy is doubly relevant this month. Just nine days after the Greek referendum, the first test event for the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Volleyball World League Finals, start in the Maracanãzinho arena, in the shadow of the Maracanã soccer stadium.

The Athens Games were so expensive, in part, because the Greeks made such a mess of their preparations. The IOC warned the organizers repeatedly about delays. The late rush to completion escalated the costs. Rio has even bigger problems. In April 2014, John Coates, an IOC vice president, called its preparations the “worst ever,” according to the BBC.

In May, Reuters reported that the Games would cost Brazil $13.2 billion and that only about 10 percent of 56 Olympic projects were finished.

Brazil is already struggling with the legacy of the 2014 soccer World Cup, which cost it an estimated $14 billion and left it with hugely expensive stadiums it does not need. If the jungle reclaims the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazilians will not even have the ruins to contemplate.

Some pundits have called for “austerity Olympics,” the name given to the London Games of 1948. While that might capture the mood of the times, IOC members, like the Greek public, have shown a marked reluctance to vote for austerity.

Yet the IOC could solve the problem of where to stage its increasingly costly Games and provide a helping hand to Greece by putting the Games permanently in Athens. Anyone who attended the 2004 Games has happy memories of the event, hot and humid though they were. The Greeks were good hosts. The country has historical and sentimental appeal. Greece was where the ancient Olympics were born. Athens was where the modern Olympics was reborn. Athens has the facilities. They aren’t being used for anything else. They need work, but putting the Games permanently in one place will allow it to become profitable for the host as well as for the IOC.

And the IOC is one of the few international institutions that owes a debt to Greece.

No one wants the 2022 Winter Games

From Dan Wetzel

The IOC has billions of dollars laying around and billions more coming because to most people the Olympics is just a television show and the ratings are so high that the broadcast rights will never go down. The IOC doesn’t pay the athletes. It doesn’t share revenue with host countries. It doesn’t pay for countries to send their athletes. It doesn’t lay out any construction or capital costs. It doesn’t pay taxes.

It basically holds caviar rich meetings in five star hotels in the Alps before calling it a day. That and conduct weak investigations into corruption charges of the bidding process, of course. “No evidence uncovered” is on a win streak.

It’s a heck of a racket. Only FIFA does it better.

The world has caught on, though, which is why the mere mention of the IOC is toxic to all but the most desperate and totalitarian of governments.
The USOC is a non-governmental body, so unlike just about every other nation, it receives no direct public financing. It would love to host another Olympics, but the bid process is so unpredictable that wasting money and political capital on trying is risky. And then there would certainly be a public cost in the construction and hosting.

You want a good host for the 2022 Winter Olympics? Salt Lake City, which held it in 2002 and has all the venues and infrastructure already in place. There’d be some updating at minimal cost and, bang, a great location.

The IOC is too snooty for that, however. They don’t like returning to the same city so soon so they’d prefer either Aspen, Colo., (complete with bullet train from Denver which has no practical use post Olympics) or Reno/Lake Tahoe. That would require billions building all the same stuff Salt Lake City already has in place.
Anyone want to put that up for a vote?

Then there is all the kissing up and glad-handing and who knows what else? Forget just the alleged direct payouts. How petty and ridiculous are these sporting aristocrats? Their actual listed demands are ridiculous, including their own airport entrance, traffic lane and prioritized stoplights. And just providing a five-star hotel suite isn’t enough.

“IOC members will be received with a smile on arrival at hotel,” the IOC demands.

Instead the world is giving them the middle finger.

So China or Kazakhstan it is, the last two suckers on earth willing to step up to this carnival barker.

One lucky nation will win. The other will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

World Cup financial gains rarely materialize for host

Which is why no one of note is bidding for the 2022 Winter Games

Although some countries and cities have managed to profit from well-run major sports events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, they’re far from the norm, a prominent professor of economics says.

Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Newton, Mass., says prospective hosts need to think twice about whether the massive outlays of cash are worth it in the long run.

“The economic benefit is typically zero,” Matheson says in an interview set to air on CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange on Tuesday. And even when there is a modest gain, “it’s not enough to justify the price tag,” he says.

I think we know who to blame

Because the IOC and FIFA make their money from selling TV and merchandising rights, they have no incentive to keep costs from ballooning, Matheson says.

“On paper, the IOC and FIFA don’t care whether it costs $51 billion to host the Olympics in Sochi or $14 billion to host the World Cup in Brazil, because ‘I’m not paying those costs,'” Matheson says.

Is Usain Bolt (and everyone else) on Steroids?

From Muscle Week.  Apparently passing those IOC drug tests isn’t that hard.

A typical PED cycle would begin 12 weeks out from competition with the target date being the day prior to or of the competition. Along with the use of undetectable steroids and daily growth hormone injections, the athlete would also have his blood drawn on a daily basis to monitor his testosterone and rhGH ratios in an effort to keep them within Olympic World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) testing limits. Close monitoring of these ratios allow an Olympic sprinter such as Bolt to both use PEDs up to the day of competition while still comfortably submitting to multiple drug tests.

This isn’t evidence particular to Usain Bolt, as it could just as easily describe the protocol that every Olympic sprinter is using to pass the drug tests. However, it is mentioned simply to point out how easily Olympic athletes are able to pass an Olympic-level drug test, even with the highest levels of scrutiny. The bottom line is that if an athlete is within the permissible testosterone and rhGH ratios, he is deemed clean. The reality is that any athlete who doesn’t maximize his testosterone and rhGH levels to the maximum permissible level has no chance of breaking a world record.

For example, let’s assume that a talented NCAA sprinter has a testosterone ratio (testosterone: epitestosterone) of 1:1 which is considered normal, or average. The current WADA guidelines permit a ratio of up to 4:1. Given the fact that the only way for an NCAA sprinter to make any money sprinting is to win international competitions and garner endorsements, what reason could that NCAA sprinter possibly have for NOT quadrupling his testosterone ratio up to the maximum of 4:1? Using a number of undetectable steroid compounds, that same athlete would presumably see a major improvement in his sprint times without ever testing positive.

And this is the folly of drug testing: It gives dirty athletes all the ammunition they need to proclaim themselves clean replete with Olympic level testing results.

United States Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones proudly proclaimed that she passed more than 160 drug tests in her career. The fact remains that she won three gold medals at the 2000 Olympics while passing the supposedly stringent requirements of Olympic WADA testing.

And yet, despite breaking world records in the 100m and 200m sprints; despite being romantically involved with and coached by Olympic shot-putter CJ Hunter who tested positive for steroids four times leading up to the 2000 Olympics and was subsequently banned by the ITAF; despite being romantically involved with and coached by Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery who tested positive for steroids and was subsequently banned; despite training under track coach Trevor Graham who has been banned for life from track and field; and despite her affiliation with BALCO Labs and the insistence of BALCO president Victor Conte who admitted to injecting Marion Jones with steroids, the general public and sports journalists were still gullible enough to believe that Marion Jones was in fact, a clean athlete.

As Marion Jones proved, testing clean means absolutely nothing.

So does that mean that Bolt is doing it?  Well his coach refers to himself as a chemist and used to work for BALCO.

According to the New York Times, Usain Bolt’s track coach Angel Hernandez has referred to himself as a chemist, scientist and nutritionist.

Pop Quiz #2: Why would the world’s top natural sprinter need the services of a chemist affiliated with BALCO and multiple dirty sprinters?

Answer: A logical response would be that Usain Bolt isn’t any more clean than Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson, Tim Montgomery, or even Jamaican-born U.S. sprinter Debbie Dunn who bowed out of the 2012 Olympics just days prior to the opening ceremonies when she tested positive for a testosterone derivative.

Logic would seem to dictate that sprinters need sprint coaches, not chemists. But no, Usain Bolt needs a chemist.

As an interview with De Spielgel

SPIEGEL: So you became a therapist for the athletes in matters of drugs?

Heredia: More like a coach. Together we found out what was good for which body and what the decomposition times were. I designed schedules for cocktails and regimens that depended on the money the athletes offered me. Street drugs for little money, designer drugs for tens of thousands. Usually I sent the drugs by mail, but sometimes the athletes came to me.

Read the entire post by yourself but something isn’t right whether it is with Bolt or the entire IOC testing protocols.

72 cyber attacks, none against Chinese institutions

I wonder who is behind them.

Alperovitch said that McAfee had notified all 72 victims of the attacks, which are under investigation by law enforcement agencies around the world. He declined to give more details.

Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it was very likely China was behind the campaign because some of the targets had information that would be of particular interest to Beijing.

The systems of the IOC and several national Olympic Committees were breached before the 2008 Beijing Games. And China views Taiwan as a renegade province, and political issues between them remain contentious even as economic ties have strengthened in recent years.

"Everything points to China. It could be the Russians, but there is more that points to China than Russia," Lewis said.

McAfee, acquired by Intel Corp this year, would not comment on whether China was responsible.

The Olympics and I

Everyone is asking me if I am watching the Olympics and the answer is no.  I haven’t seen any of it yet and I doubt I will.  I had been telling people once Canada started the Olympic hockey tournament I would be there but they are playing Norway tonight and I am missing the game completely.  For me to miss the Olympics is a big deal as growing up, I never dreamed so much for playing for a NHL team but rather the Canadian National Team.  Growing up in Calgary, we got to see the Canadian National Team play and practice a lot (it’s where I was beaten up by the A&W Root Bear) so my affinity runs deep with them but still I am not watching any Olympics.  Partly because I can’t stand Bob Costas and Brian Williams and secondly because I can’t handle watching Bob Costas and Brian Williams.

Here is my list on how we can improve the Olympic games.  For all of you readers out there that are IOC members, feel free to debate them individually or just adopt them all as a complete package.  It’s up to you.

  1. It isn’t amateur sport any longer.  Professional NHL players, Own the Podium, Canada now pays for a gold medal.  It seems a lot less about amateur sport and a lot more about television rating and nationalistic pride.  Actually the nationalism bugs me quite a bit.  Especially when the COC’s talking heads are talking about how much Australia spent in 2004 in Sydney to win medals and the expectation is that Canada should win medals.  I had no idea that Canadian quality of life was dependent on winning more medals than other countries in short track speed skating.
  2. I hate the human interest stories.  I know Olympic coverage is supposed to appeal to those who do not check Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com 38 times a day like I do but c’mon, I really, really don’t care about somebody’s inspirational great aunt.  The IOC needs to sell two Olympic rights for each country (think of the money), one for people who like Bob Costas/Brian Williams and the other for those of us who are real sports fans.  The people who like the inspirational story lines with their Olympic cable package will also get a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Fallen Short Track Speedskater’s Soul”.
  3. The new “no human interest stories” network will not show equestrian in the Summer Games or pairs figure skating/ice dancing in the Olympic Games. 
  4. We will get rid of the special suits.  If pro sports can agree on the importance of standardized equipment, so can the speed skating world.  It’s about the athletes, not about their high speed racing/swimming suits.  If one person gets it, so do all of them.   Unless it’s the pants that the Norwegian curlers wore.  They can keep those to themselves.
  5. There should be a spending cap on the opening ceremonies.  China spent $100,000,000.00 on their opening ceremonies.  At what point does it become offensive, even to the IOC. 
  6. There needs to be a spending cap on member countries as a whole.  One of the reasons the Norwegians are always favored to win the cross country events is the amount of money they spend researching snow conditions at the games.  I think there is actually a Norwegian research station down the street just in case Saskatoon ever wins the games.  Did the Norwegian racers win the medals because of their training of because of the money spent on researching snow and waxes.  Again, this comes back to uniform gear.  One shouldn’t be able to buy a championship (except for America’s Cup racing)
  7. Curling facilities will have to have beer cup holders and ashtrays installed as they are in every small town curling rink in Saskatchewan.  Curling is a great sport for many reasons but one of them is that I still have a shot at Olympic glory and if all goes well, my rink won’t even have to stop drinking and smoking to join me.

The absurdity of the Olympic Games

This quote says it all,

Australia, primarily a summer-sport country, has a budget of about $250 million for sport, said Baumann. The Aussies – with 20 medals after seven days – are worried about their count here, however, and are saying they’ll need another $200 million to keep them among the world’s elite, he added.

 $450 million a year gets you what exactly.  The warm fuzzies every two years when your athletes play theirathletes.  Is being a leader in the medal count so important that it is worth $450 million?

Of course you know that I am long time fan of sports.  I played soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, rugby, and football competitively and that in spite of the fact that I am a pretty poor athlete in almost all of those areas.  Everyone in my family and extended family played organized sports. I think sports is really important to communities and those hockey arenas, curling rinks, soccer pitches cost money and I think it is a good investment.  It is good for the kids and it is a good for the neighborhood ties it creates.  I think from areas like crime reduction to increased health of a population, it is important. 

What I can’t see as being important is every two years hearing the COC saying that the government needs to spend more on funding for amateur sport and then point to Australia as the reason.  If the Australians want to be the New York Yankees of the IOC, that is their prerogative.  There is a reason why the COC can’t attract more sponsorship money from the private sector, Canadian don’t really care that much outside of the two weeks every two years and in reality, it is only two weeks every four years that we really care about and that is hockey and the sport which we are mocked around the world for, curling.  Could it be that maybe the reason we don’t excel at a lot of Olympic sports is that outside of a tiny isolated community of athletes, no one really cares about them.

The more I follow the IOC and the COC, the more I realize that it is a pretty big echo chamber and this is the time of the year where those echos escape out of the boardroom unchallenged.

Live coverage from your living room

CBC’s live coverage and play by play of the Olympics will be done from Toronto.

CBC-sports-logo It’s this: A good number of the on-air people covering the Games for the CBC, TSN, NBC, BBC and other international broadcasters will not be in Beijing or anywhere near the Olympic city. They will call events off a monitor from their home studios.

The CBC’s play by play for women’s soccer is being handled by Nigel Reed and Jason De Vos. But they’re not in Beijing. They’re announcing the games from Toronto by watching the games off a TV monitor.

The other events that the CBC will announce from Toronto are sailing, equestrian, weight lifting and Taekwondo.

In some cases, there are logistical reasons for calling these sports from a studio, but mainly it’s a money saver.   Joel Darling, the head of production for CBC Sports, said the fact the women’s soccer team will play games in four venues would have made travel difficult and expensive for a play by play team.

“There was the cost involved of moving (Reed and De Vos) around inside the country,” he said. “And there’s no point in sending them there and calling it off tube.”

Darling said the BBC announcers are calling the men’s soccer tournament off a monitor from London.

The CBC will use the BBC and TVNZ (New Zealand) feeds for men’s soccer — another money saver. NBC’s play by play teams for weightlifting, equestrian, softball, soccer, tennis, baseball, handball, table tennis, badminton, fencing, archery, shooting and field hockey will work out of New York.

This seems like a bad commercial for HD.  I can understand why they are doing this but having your game announcers at home rather than around the team they are covering (in the case of women’s soccer), you do lose a lot in terms of coverage, conversations, and the athlete’s perspective.  For me personally, it is just another way that this version of the games seems to be the worst in a long time. 

We talk about how China’s human rights record, links to the genocide in Darfur, and Tibet hurt the reputation of the IOC.  Doesn’t CBC being apart of the whole spectacle that is the Olympics hurt it’s reputation when covering Darfur or human rights issues?   Same with all of the media outlets and Olympic sponsors actually.  Doesn’t it say that we care about human rights unless there is a lot of money to be made.  Back when the announcement was made it was said that the games would change China but in the end, it seems as if the IOC itself made the concessions.