Archive for the 'Olympics' Category

h1

Rio’s over and so to Tokyo and beyond

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Jason Kenny and Laura Trott on a Golden Olympics   YouTube

David Herdson looks at the battle to host the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad?

So, farewell then Rio – or perhaps, goodbye. It’s not been a vintage Games. Some problems, such as the Zika virus, couldn’t have been anticipated or prevented but others – the three-quarter empty stadia, the unsporting crowds, the polluted water, dangerous cycle courses and the impending shambles of the Paralympics – most certainly could. The City of Fiesta never showed up and it will be a very long time before the interlocking rings fly again under the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Tokyo should do better. Japan has an excellent record in delivering on both the organisation absent in Rio and the public enthusiasm. Whether it can also create the atmosphere that makes for a true festival of sport, as Sydney and London managed, remains to be seen. I’m optimistic that it can.

But then where? Four cities are bidding for the 2024 Games: Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome, with the gold medal to be awarded next September.

Second-guessing selections is always a tough task but one made a lot easier if we can understand the thinking of those doing the selecting. That, though, is a lot easier said than done. One factor that shouldn’t be relevant is the gift-culture of the past. The IOC is not FIFA and has genuinely cleaned up its act. To my mind, there will be three main considerations in the delegates’ minds:

– Who can put on the Games in a way that will add to the IOC’s prestige?
– Whose turn is it?
– Where would I like to spend five weeks or so in summer?

As ever, form is also important and the evidence is that big cities and big countries do disproportionately well in winning. Well over half the Summer Olympics held since de Coubertin recreated them have been staged in what are now G7/UNSC countries and all bar two Games since 1952 have taken place in G20 countries (and those two were the home city of the then IOC president and the capital of the Olympics’ spiritual home, so very much exceptional).

All of which points to ruling out Budapest. It might well be able to host a good Games but with a seven-year lead-in time, there’s plenty that could go wrong and a small country that struggled seriously in the last recession (even if it’s recovered strongly since), might just be too big a risk. Besides which, Hungary will for many IOC delegates be a bit nondescript even if Budapest itself is lovely. Likewise, while Eastern Europe is due a Games, others are due one more.

We can probably also rule out Rome. Indeed, when the betting exchanges get round to putting up markets, this is probably the one to lay as it’ll have the shorter odds (Corals make Rome 3/1, to Budapest’s 10/1). The city withdrew as a 2020 applicant at the last minute which won’t have endeared them to the IOC and political support for the bid remains divided within the city.

That leaves two: Paris and Los Angeles. Both can say they represent areas long overdue a Summer Games. By 2024, it will be 28 years since North America last played host and exactly 100 years since France did. Both are global premier league cities in big countries and both are internationally attractive destinations, fit to follow in the footsteps of Beijing, London, Rio and Tokyo.

Paris, however, is by some way the bookies’ favourite, at 10/11, against LA’s 3/1. I’m not sure that disparity is right, though the cautious might prefer to look at the combined odds, albeit that the heavily odds-on price won’t return much.

The French capital has run before and ought to know the pitfalls to avoid and the strengths to play to (not insulting Finnish cooking, for example). By contrast, Los Angeles wasn’t even the USOC’s first choice bid city for 2024: Boston was selected but withdrew under local opposition.

Will that matter? Maybe not all that much. Paris also bid before for the 2008 Games and lost to London four years later, despite the latter not having bid recently (though the UK had), and despite the IOC technical team rating Paris the best of all the candidates. Were I marking up the book, I’d just have it the other side of evens and with LA a lot closer. The IOC will certainly want to return to the US at some point soon, the question is whether this is the bid and the time to do it. It’s a close call but my gut feeling is that centenary sentiment will win out and they’ll make the US wait another four years.

David Herdson





h1

The Queen, the BBC and Boris the big London 2012 winners – poll

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012



h1

The Wiggins price eases in the SPOTY betting

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012


Best odds shown as %age from Bestbetting

But he’s still odds on favourite

A factor in this market is how previous elections have worked out. Two of the last four Sports Personalities of the Year have been cyclists and it’s likely that this could happen again.

The cycling lobby has been very effective in mobilising the vote and in December the athletics interest is likely to be split between Ennis and Farah.

Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB



h1

Marf on the games aftermath…

Monday, August 13th, 2012

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.
  • Recent Threads



    h1

    Will Britain now be viewed differently in the world?

    Monday, August 13th, 2012

    Is that going to be the global legacy?

    There’s a great verdict on London 2012 in today’s Sydney Morning Herald – one of the leading newspapers in Australia. This is the country, of course, which has been the butt of many jokes in the past forthnight.

    Greg Baum writes:

      London, you didn’t half do a decent job. These Olympics had Sydney’s vibrancy, Athens’s panache, Beijing’s efficiency, and added British know-how and drollery. With apologies to Sydney, they might just represent a new PB for the Olympics.

      They were superbly organised. The Olympic Park’s setting, in one of Britain’s poorest boroughs, proved inspired. London consists of layers, new cities built on top of fallen or demolished old. Now another has been added. Some Olympic sites become wasteland after the Games. This one began as wasteland and is now full of possibilities. Derelict bits of old Stratford still poke through, without ruining the effect.

      It is a measure of Britain’s maturity that it went to less effort to disguise its warts-and-all self for the Games than most Olympic cities do.

      Elsewhere, London was unbuttoned, which made for some delightfully unexpected sights: Chinese archers hugging over the fence in front of the Lord’s pavilion, for instance.

      The Games were preceded by the usual fatalistic anticipation of a cock-up. It proved groundless. Moving masses of people around a mazy city was expected to be a nightmare but London made it look effortless. Security was plentiful but low key. The army, called in to meet a shortfall, proved to be Britain’s finest ambassadors…”

    Judging by some of the Tweets overnight the athletes enjoyed themselves.

    A big hope of many host nations is that the world will view them differently afterwards. Barcelona in 1992 was in part dealing with the post-Franco era and a big announcement to the world that it had arrived. Tokyo in 1964 came less than twenty years after the Second World War and made a huge statement. The Beijing games four years ago said “We are a super-power” with the resources and technology.

    So what about London 2012? Will they all have the same rosy view as the Sydney Morning Herald?

    Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB



    h1

    What say you now Mr. Romney?

    Sunday, August 12th, 2012



    h1

    92 percent of Americans say Britain has run a successful Olympic Games

    Sunday, August 12th, 2012

    Will this add to the “feelgood factor” at home?

    New US polling finds that Americans overwhelmingly believe that Britain and London have run a successful Olympic Games.

    A CNN/ORC survey asked ““How successful would you say the city of London and the government of Great Britain have been at hosting this year’s Olympic Games: very successful, somewhat successful, not very successful, or not successful at all?”

    The findings are really quite staggering:-

    “Very successful” 66%
    “Somewhat” 26%
    “Not very” 1%
    “Not at all successful” 1%
    “Unsure” 7%

    So the total saying “very successful” and “somewhat successful” was 92% with just 2% giving negative responses. The reason the total does not add up to 100 is because of rounding.

    A total of 24% said they had watched more than in past years with 15% saying less. Just 6% of those interviewed said they did not watch.

    I wonder what Mitt Romney what thinks now? Is he still concerned?

    Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB



    h1

    Over to Rio and then where?

    Saturday, August 11th, 2012

    How’s the race for the 2020 Games looking?

    Jacques Rogge is not given to using his Closing Ceremony speech at each Olympic Games to declare them ‘the best ever’, as his predecessor, Juan Antonio Samaranch usually did. Maybe that’s because he feels it cheapens his office and demeans previous hosts; alternatively, perhaps it’s that Athens 2004 with its organisational problems, and the spectacular but expensive and sterile Beijing 2008 don’t deserve the accolade.

    London, on the other hand, maybe does. The locations and the weather have done their bit, as has the quality and imagination of the organisation. The biggest factor though has been the spectators, with the majority of venues packed with enthusiastic, good-natured, open and welcoming spectators. It’s a tough act to follow.

    Follow it Rio will have to do though in 2016 and we ought to expect great things of the first Olympics in South America, in one of the world’s party capitals. After that comes the next Games to be bid for, the selection for which will take place next September.

    As always, the competition between competing cities is intense, with Tokyo looking to host the Games for the second time, and Madrid and Istanbul seeking their first Games – all having previous made unsuccessful bids. It’s an unusually small field and makes the betting quite close. Tokyo is favourite at 6/5 with several bookmakers, Madrid trails at 2/1 with Coral, while Istanbul lies a little further out at 11/4 with Hills. Are there any pointers as to which way it will go?

      Now that the IOC has made significant progress on clearing up its selection process, the main considerations are probably the technical quality of the bids, the attractiveness of the city to sponsors, officials and athletes, and a sense of whose turn it is, or isn’t.

    Unlike the FIFA World Cup, there’s no rule against consecutive hosting in the same continent (Madrid and Prague both bid to follow London), but it’s notable that it hasn’t happened since 1948/52. Even two Games in three is becoming rarer – Athens/London being the first such case for nearly three decades. That may count against Madrid, as may the fact that Spain hosted the 1992 Games. That said, Madrid made the final two in the selection for 2016 (before losing fairly heavily), when such considerations should have been even more against it. By contrast, Turkey (and the Middle-East in general) has never hosted the Games, and Japan hasn’t done so since 1964 – a long time for such a big country.

    Although any Games in the Far East or Australasia mean that many events take place at night to viewers in North America and Europe (and Africa), that didn’t seem to adversely affect Sydney (Beijing was a different case from a financial angle), and besides, the Asian market is growing which should mitigate any problems of less valuable media rights and sponsorship for Games in that part of the world. Even so, it’s not ideal for many countries and that may be a small factor in their IOC delegates’ thinking.

    In terms of delivery, Tokyo ought to be the safest bet for the IOC. Even so, I can’t help thinking that Istanbul’s odds are over-priced. It’s bid for the Games several times before and will (or should) have learned from that, it would take the Games to a new part of the world and its time-zone is good for Europe and adequate for both the Far East and North America. Perhaps the time for the ancient city to host the Games has at last come.

    David Herdson