Tuesday, 30 August 2011

BT Storytellers 2012

I found out today that Oscar Pistorius, the first paralympic amputee to run against able-bodied athletes at the World Championships in South Korea, has just answered one of my questions on the BT Storyteller website.

I also found out that he failed to make the 400m final in South Korea. However, what he has done, is put the Paralympics centre stage in time to celebrate International Paralympic Day on 8th September. What's going to be interesting is whether he is allowed to compete in both the Olympics and the Paralympics next year. And if he is, will that set the beefeater amongst the ravens, so to speak?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Traffic talk

A lot has been made of the traffic problems that people encountered last weekend during the London-Surrey Cycle Classic. And what’s interesting about this warm up event is that it’s put a spotlight firmly on the subject of transport and the way London is going to deal with disruption next year.

Eamonn Holmes was just one of the celebrities reported as tweeting about the inconvenience the race caused. He tweeted, ‘Big tailbacks on A3 and A3 approaches to M25 and in other direction to Wimbledon. Due to flamin [sic] Olympic bikes. Keep sport in a stadium.”

Now, if you’ve been anywhere near Surrey the past month or so, there’s no way you’d have missed the massive TFL signs telling you about the race. And if you know Surrey well, you’ll also know that parts of it are terrible for traffic even on a normal Saturday or Sunday morning. It used to take me half an hour to visit my mother just 4 miles away at weekends. So the thought of going anywhere by car in the area that day just seems crazy.

However, it seems unfair that some roads weren’t opened again until 4pm that day, according to reports. But given that the race is going to be 110 kilometres longer next year, I do wonder whether people will think twice before setting out on their journeys. And as to whether they’ll be smiling about it? Well, that will be an entirely different state of affairs. My advice would be to stay home, stick the telly on and just go with it from the comfort of your sofa…that or they can always get on their bike.

Monday, 15 August 2011

My diary from Sydney 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony Day

I recently found my diary that I kept during the Sydney Olympics. I was just 22, living and working in Sydney and full of enthusiasm for life – and in particular, the Games. Now I'm a mum of a toddler with ten years of work under my belt in advertising agencies, it's not quite as easy to be so energetic and positive about everything as it was then - especially when you're sleep deprived!

However, that said, we've seen too many examples of what too much cynicism does for society this past week, so I'm going to embrace the spirit of 2000 and try and think a bit more like my 22 year old self...(even if I don't look it!)

15th September 2000

"Watching a show about the torch. Nearly 11,000 people have run with the torch. The General Manager of the torch relay said they try and ‘capture the vision of a place and community’ when deciding where the torch goes – which streets it goes down etc. I think they did that when they chose to go down Arden Street (in Coogee where I live). It’s a long street connecting Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. Stood on our roof we could see it coming down the huge hill. Prince Albert of Monaco was here running a leg of it too. Todd Woodbridge is about to accept the torch live on TV. Right now. His gold medal tennis doubles partner Mark Woodford is also there. I slept too long. Can’t believe today is the day. Have to get the bus around 12pm." TO BE CONTINUED...

Monday, 8 August 2011

Volunteers' legacy

Here are the pics of the pillars at Sydney's Olympic Park (Homebush). My friend Marianne (pictured) took these once the Games were finished. Each pillar contains names of all the Sydney Olympics volunteers, including her and myself. You'll see I'm just one of three Katie Taylors! I like to think I'm the third one down. If you're going to volunteer at London 2012 or know an Olympics volunteer, it's a wonderful experience - pillars or no pillars.

The ugly side

It’s bad news about the Tottenham riots this morning – particularly as there’s only one year to go until the Olympics. Will this put people off visiting our great city? Well, every city has its seedy side, and times are tough. What concerns me more is whether the government will be able to stop the costly impact of illegal immigration that comes with staging an Olympics.

In Sydney 2000 and again after the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, several athletes went missing after the games, and chose not to go back to their countries; some Tunisians went missing simply because they liked Australia so much. I know the feeling. And one Ugandan swimmer was actually charged with raping a teenage girl just over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

So there’s always an ugly side to everything, but today I just pray London 2012 will come out looking more radiant than the ugly ducking who turned into a beautiful swan.

Marathon planning

I keep hearing people saying how amazing it is that London 2012 is ahead of schedule. When you think about the economic situation over the past few years, this seems an amazing feat. Especially when you consider that Los Angeles 1984 and Montreal 1976 didn’t pay off their Olympic debt until 2006. And let’s not mention Athens 2004. Sydney 2000 was one of the most hugely successful and organized games of all time – but fell down when it came to planning the legacy of the Homebush Olympic site, which has subsequently cost the government money.

So here are a few more amazing stats coming out of City Hall about London 2012:

• 125,000 school children in London will receive tickets from the Mayor’s office.

• Europe’s largest urban shopping centre will open in Stratford.

12 new schools and nurseries are being planned for the Olympic Park once the Games are over.

• There will be 100,000 summer jobs during the Olympics with 10,000 new jobs in the new shopping centre alone.