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  1. Hmmm. I like Jim Lampley. I wonder if he will be back for 2012 or if he is retiring from Olympic altogether.
  2. ...and just so everyone knows, my question most assuredly was in jest.
  3. Is YellowVest crazy enough that he might actually do something in 2010 to make his prophecies and warnings legit?
  4. Tennis in the Olympic Games is a waste. Get rid of it.
  5. Link to Article in Context: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-vancou...7020,full.story From the Los Angeles Times Vancouver Olympic organizers face cold economic realities Those planning the event that begins a year from now say they are reining in costs amid global downturn but won't skimp on making it a great experience. By Helene Elliott February 12, 2009 Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — Vancouver is where sky and sea meet in stunning harmony, where homes with lush, English-style gardens sit a few blocks from sleek skyscrapers that jostle for slivers of million-dollar views. This idyllic spot is also where ambitions for a grand and green Winter Olympics are combating a global recession, which has organizers watching every penny and might turn the Vancouver Olympic Village into a costly souvenir for taxpayers. Uncertainty over the state of the world's economy a year from today, when the XXI Winter Games will open, is darker than any cloud that ever dumped rain on Vancouver or snow on Whistler, two hours north, where skiing and sliding events will take place. "We'll be the first organizing committee to face a phenomenon like this that anybody can remember. You can't find two people who describe this the same way," said John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, known as VANOC. "So it is what it is, and we just have to face up to it. We have a project to deliver, so we're doing the best we can to manage," he said. The budget calls for 74% of revenue to come from private funding such as international and domestic sponsorships, ticketing, merchandising, TV rights, licensing and International Olympic Committee contributions. The remaining 26% is from public funding. Partly through changes in how some costs are accounted for, the budget has grown to $1.43 billion from $1.32 billion. It won't grow again, Furlong said. "We won't spend it if we don't have it. We will run the Games with the budget we have," he said. "That isn't to say we're not going to look under every rock for every dollar we can find, but we will run the Games for the resources that we have and not a penny more. That's the promise we've made." Ticket sales are robust -- Furlong said the value of orders received during the initial sales period exceeded that for the entire Beijing Games held last summer -- but some anticipated revenue hasn't materialized. Some corporations are providing in-kind services instead of cash. Furlong said no one had reneged on any sponsorship commitment. Still, to economize, planned medal ceremony plazas in Whistler won't be built and cuts were made in behind-the-scenes areas. "I think the public expects us to make the tough choices, but they don't want the experience diminished, so it's a tough challenge," Furlong said. "People have bought tickets, they're traveling here from all over the world, they expect to have a good time. It is a bit of a balancing act." The biggest money pit is the athletes' village at False Creek. It wasn't a VANOC project, but it has become the committee's headache -- and a potential nightmare for the city. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The city made an agreement with a developer, Millennium Development, and a backer, Fortress Investment, for high-end, high-rise condominiums to house athletes during the Games and later be sold to the public. But a souring real estate market and costs that soared from a projected $603.7 million to $704.3 million led Fortress to stop advancing money in September. The city had to step in with more than $80 million to continue work. Taking that risk -- a commitment made in 2007 by a city council turned out of office last year -- dented its impeccable credit rating with Moody's Investors Service and led Standard & Poor's to put the city on "credit watch." The province of British Columbia gave Vancouver permission to borrow $368 million to finish construction to meet a Nov. 1 deadline. "We are refinancing the project and expect to have a better deal for Vancouver taxpayers and put the project back on solid footing," Mayor Gregor Robertson said. "We're going to get the village built. There's no question about that. There's time constraints with the deadline, but the whole city is focused on getting this done now. I'm confident we're going to get it done. It's not a worry." Not now. But in a down economy, the condos might not sell for enough to cover the city's costs. "Ultimately, we're at the mercy of the market. Particularly with luxury condos, there's risk," Robertson said. "But it's a beautiful neighborhood. Eventually it will be a highly desirable, green neighborhood. Waterfront, big views. And I'm sure it will attract investment. "But right now we've got to get through the current economic conditions and see where we end up in terms of the bottom line for taxpayers." Fear that Olympic-related projects will become a burden to taxpayers and reduce spending for social programs has sparked sporadic protests. Most notably, three protesters trashed the Vancouver office of British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell in May 2007 in response to his support for the Games. That same year, a group estimated at 60 interrupted a three-years-out ceremony outside an art gallery by throwing eggs and rocks, leading to seven arrests. More recently, police broke up a protest in downtown Vancouver in November, making several arrests. Anti-poverty activists and advocates for the homeless have protested the elimination of low-income housing units that have been upgraded for use by tourists. Groups condemning what they call the theft of land belonging to indigenous people have also opposed the Games, uniting under the name Olympic Resistance Network. Security is another potentially contentious item. Initial projections put the cost, to be shared by the provincial and federal governments, at $141 million. Later estimates have multiplied that by four or five. The finance minister of British Columbia, Colin Hansen, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. this week he was awaiting cost estimates from the federal government. Two major projects are unfinished. One is expansion of the winding Sea to Sky Highway, which links West Vancouver to Whistler. It's expected to be done this fall. Traffic to Whistler will be limited mainly to Olympic buses, but a scarcity of housing there could force more people to commute from Vancouver. Also, a subway line from the airport to downtown is being completed. At least the venues are ready, or nearly so. GM Place, home of the NHL's Canucks, will be renamed Hockey Canada Place for the Games but won't need much change, because the tournament will be played on NHL-size ice. Other venues are playing host to events that test security, parking, crowd control and the field of play. Last week, more than 300 freestyle skiers competed at Cypress Mountain, west of the city; more than 100 figure skaters whirled at the Four Continents competition in the Pacific Coliseum, on the city's east side; and 250 bobsled and skeleton athletes slid through a World Cup event at the new Whistler Sliding Center. The Pacific Coliseum, whose ice will be widened 15 feet to meet international standards, was praised by skaters. The arena also will host short-track speed skating. "I love the rink. The arena's amazing," said Rachael Flatt, from Del Mar, Calif. "I love the ice. The ice is amazing. And actually, the way the building was constructed, I really like how the audience is. It's close to the ice but not too close." The skeleton course drew some criticism. Canada's Jon Montgomery told reporters racing there was like being "in a washing machine." Terry Holland, coach of Australia's women's team, called it "an elevator shaft with ice." Other venues will be tested soon. Among them is the Richmond Olympic Oval, home of long-track speedskating. Its arched beams and "wave" roof of wood salvaged from beetle-infested forests give it the iconic appeal that the Water Cube aquatic facility had in Beijing. Its "green" features include benches in the team rooms made of wood from trees cleared from the site and rainwater funneled off the roof and recycled. After the Games, it will become a community recreation center, as will the curling venue. The goal is for the venues to have useful post-Games lives, unlike some from the Sydney and Beijing Games. Furlong is determined that these Winter Games will provide a legacy to all Canadians. "Our vision for the Games was not about two weeks of sport in Vancouver. Our vision for the Games was a project, a moment of time for the country, when every Canadian felt connected," he said. Robertson believes that connection has been made. "It feels like there's good buzz around the world leading to these Games," he said, "like it's a piece of the hope puzzle that the world's looking for."
  6. From 7-7:45 am they did live teasers with her, then at 7:45 went live to her for the segment. She was in Whistler, with recorded segments from both Vancouver and Whistler. Still coming up are "Olympic Hopefuls" (Americans, one presumes) on the ice rink here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza.
  7. Today show's Natalie Morales doing live (ET) broadcasting from Vancouver this morning to promote one year until the opening of the games.
  8. Yes, there is a Michael Phelps DVD. You may also download all of his gold medal swims from the U.S. iTunes store.
  9. Another quote related to the 3D OG footage: I checked out Panasonic's home theater in 3D. I must admit, the experience was phenomenal. I felt like I was on the floor at the Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing right along side the hundreds of dancers and drummers. But without the glasses, the image looked fuzzy.
  10. Hmmm, I would love to see this. Full article at: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/01/15/3d.tv/index.html At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, four of the top selling TV manufacturers - Samsung Electronics, Sony, LG Electronics and Panasonic - showed off their latest versions of 3D TVs. Panasonic set up a mini-home theater where its 103-inch, plasma 3D screen showed clips from New Line Cinema's Journey to the Center of the Earth and Walt Disney Pictures' animated film Bolt. They also showed high-definition 3D footage from NBC's broadcast of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
  11. Link to article in context: http://aroundtherings.com/articles/view.aspx?id=31216 Beijing Faces Post-Olympic Dilemmas (ATR) Promises of legacy and sustainability look enticing on the pages of Olympic bid books, but can ring as hollow as empty stadiums in the aftermath of the Games. Beijing is the latest Olympic city struggling to find a use for its biggest venue. The centerpiece of the Olympic Green is starting to look like just another white elephant. The Bird's Nest, the 91,000-seat National Stadium, has become mainly a tourist attraction. Visitors pay around $7 to walk on the stadium floor, plus a bit more if they want to stand on the victory podium and pretend they're Usain Bolt. Attendance is dwindling, though, and senior citizens have complained that they don't get a discount. The stadium's capacity is supposed to decrease to 80,000 seats, but there is no long-term tenant. The football club, Guo'an, a Chinese Super League Team, was expected to move in, but backed out of a deal because rent was too expensive. The only big event reportedly scheduled for the Bird's Nest is the opera "Turandot" on Aug. 8, the one-year anniversary of the 2008 Opening Ceremony. It will be directed by ceremonies maestro Zhang Yimou. The IOC believed Beijing had plans in place to make it different from Sydney and Athens, cities that built gleaming new facilities that are mostly vacant today despite large maintenance costs. Soon after Jacques Rogge became IOC president in 2001, he said: "Sydney built - against the advice of the IOC - a 125,000-seat stadium. Now they're struggling financially. I think we have to protect the cities themselves against what they are doing. We don't want to leave white elephants." The latest movement in Sydney is to add a racetrack for cars to the Olympic Park - anything to bring in revenue and spectators. As the Beijing Games concluded, Rogge proclaimed that "no white elephant has been built." Will time prove him wrong? And can London and Vancouver deliver on their own promises? Organizers for London 2012 thought they had their post-Olympic plan all figured out. They proposed knocking their 80,000 stadium down to 25,000 seats to house a lower-league football or rugby club as part of a mixed-use facility plan. However, LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe has insisted that athletics be the stadium's primary legacy, which has become a sticky problem. Football and rugby clubs don't want to play inside a track because sightlines are poor. Their fans like to be closer to the action. Rogge is willing to compromise. "If the best solution is to transform the track into something else then we would be in favor of that," he said recently. "We had the same situation in Atlanta where the Olympic Stadium was changed into a baseball stadium, which kept an interest for sport." Manchester, which hosted the Commonwealth Games, took out its track and converted its stadium into an English Premier League venue. The adjacent warm-up track became a regional athletics venue with 6,000 seats. Could London come up with a similar plan, albeit with a larger seating capacity? That would preserve an Olympic sport legacy and also serve the community's needs. Beijing is doing that with its other architectural marvel, the Water Cube, where Michael Phelps won eight gold medals. It will be converted into a water park and swimming center. More than 30 years ago, a similar conversion took place in Montreal, where the 1976 aquatics center is now a popular public facility with seven pools. Other 2008 venues will be dismantled. The first will be the 15,000-seat Wukesong Sports Center baseball field. Baseball advocates lobbied for the facility to remain to help develop the sport in China, but organizers said it was always intended as a temporary venue. At least money should be made on the baseball site. A shopping mall will be built in its place. Written by Karen Rosen
  12. I must say Joshua Cooper Ramo's cultural commentary for NBC was the best of the different network OC coverage that I've seen.
  13. Indeed, CoSport did begin notifying people today, at least according to the Seattle Times. http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/olympics/ January 6, 2009 9:20 AM Washington state Oly fans tops -- by far -- in Vancouver ticket requests Posted by Ron Judd Washington state residents accounted for a whopping 40 percent of ticket requests for the Vancouver 2010 Games, the sole U.S. Olympic ticket distributor says. CoSport, which today began notifying fans which tickets -- if any -- they will receive for the February, 2010 Games, said in a news release that 40 percent of its 14,179 ticket orders (with requests for 166,800 individual tickets) came from Washington state. The next closest state was California, with 16 percent. Overall, the agency, which has rankled some U.S. customers with its automatic 20-percent commission and what amounts to a $35-per-order mailing fee, will be distributing only 43,004 tickets to the U.S., according to the release. About 55 percent of fans will receive some requested tickets, but few if any will receive all they asked for. Only about 25 percent of total ticket requests were fulfilled through a lottery system. The agency, which chose ticket recipients to most events through a random lottery process after fans submitted electronic wish lists late last year, cited unprecedented ticket demand. And CoSport noted that the original total U.S. allocation was only 33,500 tickets. (That's about half of B.C. Place for a single opening or closing ceremony). Co-Sport's sister company, Jet Set Sports, which books travel packages for the Olympics, contributed an extra 15,000 tickets to the pool to bring the U.S. ticket total to about 48,000, the agency said. Still, given the population base, tremendous fan interest, and large U.S. athlete delegation -- all factors supposedly considered in Vancouver organizers' decision on how many tickets to allot to foreign nations -- that's a surprisingly low number. The total U.S. allotment is about 3 percent of the Vancouver Games' total 1.6 million tickets sold. Demand, naturally, was very high for that small pool of tickets, mirroring the experience with Canadian sales. There, even with a fraction of the U.S. population base and a vastly larger ticket pool, some 120 of 170 total events required lottery processes to determine ticket winners. Canadian fans have been grousing about the process for weeks. (For comparison purposes, we also know that CoSport received an allotment of 2,629 tickets for Australia, receiving 339 orders for a total of 4,142 tickets, so even fans Down Under went through a lottery process.) The top 5 most-requested sports in the U.S.: 1. Ice Hockey 2. Figure Skating 3. Snowboard 4. Short Track Speed Skating 5. Alpine Skiing And the top 5 most-requested individual event sessions: 1. Snowboard -- Men's Half pipe (17th February) -- Category B tickets 2. Snowboard -- Men's Half pipe (17th February) -- Category A tickets 3. Figure Skating -- Ladies Free Skate (25th February) -- Category B tickets 4. Opening Ceremony (12th February) -- Category C tickets 5. Snowboard -- Men's Snowboard Cross Qualification/Final (15th February) -- Category B tickets A small number of remaining tickets will go on sale to the public on CoSport's Web site next month. (Thanks to poster "Go Ducks" who noticed the news release in a very non-obvious spot on Co-Sport's site. We shall officially refrain from any Duck jokes for at least one day in his honor.)
  14. Given that Vancouver/BC couldn't get it's act together to complete the full renovations in time for the games in 2010, it won't be world class during the OWG.
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