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downtownBLUE

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About downtownBLUE

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  1. It might be an informal "tradition". I quickly skimmed through some YouTube videos of the equestrian jumps and Atlanta had a particularly cartoony Australian-themed jump (and a banal Barcelona one). Athens had one that was somewhat Chinese-pattern designed. I couldn't find one for Beijing (Hong Kong) and London though.
  2. Not just "anywhere near the amount NBC is paying"... But more than 5x any other national broadcaster! They can surely ask, right?
  3. I think they only counted direct costs, excluding "infrastructure" like the train to the mountains. Likely they did the same for Rio as that metro line might not even be done for the Games.
  4. Researchers from Oxford just published a paper looking at the long trend of cost overruns of the Olympic Games, including benchmarking of Rio 2016 against previous Games. Quantitatively, it's not so damning for Rio (although it does not consider things like political turmoil, potentially incomplete or crumbled infrastructure, etc). Sochi on the otherhand... http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2804554 --- Abstract: Given that Olympic Games held over the past decade each have cost USD 8.9 billion on average, the size and financial risks of the Games warrant study. The objectives of the Oxford Olympics study are to (1) establish the actual out turn costs of previous Olympic Games in a manner where cost can consistently be compared across Games; (2) establish cost overruns for previous Games, i.e., the degree to which final out turn costs reflect projected budgets at the bid stage, again in a way that allows comparison across Games; (3) test whether the Olympic Games Knowledge Management Program has reduced cost risk for the Games, and, finally, (4) benchmark cost and cost overrun for the Rio 2016 Olympics against previous Games. The main contribution of the Oxford study is to establish a phenomenology of cost and cost overrun at the Olympics, which allows consistent and systematic comparison across Games. This has not been done before. Main findings of the study are, first, that average actual out turn cost for Summer Games is USD 5.2 billion (2015 level), and USD 3.1 billion for Winter Games. The most costly Summer Games to date are London 2012 at USD 15 billion; the most costly Winter Games Sochi 2014 at USD 21.9 billion. The numbers cover the period 1960-2016 and include only sports-related costs, i.e., wider capital costs for general infrastructure, which are often larger than sports-related costs, have been excluded. Second, at 156 percent in real terms, the Olympics have the highest average cost overrun of any type of mega-project. Moreover, cost overrun is found in all Games, without exception; for no other type of mega-project is this the case. 47 percent of Games have cost overruns above 100 percent. The largest cost overrun for Summer Games was found for Montreal 1976 at 720 percent, followed by Barcelona 1992 at 266 percent. For Winter Games the largest cost overrun was 324 percent for Lake Placid 1980, followed by Sochi 2014 at 289 percent. Third, the Olympic Games Knowledge Management Program appears to be successful in reducing cost risk for the Games. The difference in cost overrun before (166 percent) and after (51 percent) the program began is statistically significant. Fourth, and finally, the Rio 2016 Games, at a cost of USD 4.6 billion, appear to be on track to reverse the high expenditures of London 2012 and Sochi 2014 and deliver a Summer Games at the median cost for such Games. The cost overrun for Rio – at 51 percent in real terms, or USD 1.6 billion – is the same as the median cost overrun for other Games since 1999. Given the above results, for a city and nation to decide to stage the Olympic Games is to decide to take on one of the most costly and financially most risky type of mega-project that exists, something that many cities and nations have learned to their peril.
  5. Maybe not a pinecone, but those, uh, whatever-they-ares are really likely to play a part. Look up Heatherwick's work and he's very interested in parts-to-whole relationships in his designs. And if every country has one, it's likely they're going to play a role (at least, I hope they do! That would be fantastic!).
  6. Ugh, no. It was embarrassing. Any one remember the Avril Lavigne performance? The first nation segments were great, but it's hard to make up a deficit made up by Avril.
  7. I'm.... underwhelmed. Like Torino, I thought the idea was good, but the execution is off. It is quite underwhelming. I wish that the taper was three dimensional (narrow on top, bulged out at the logo, and tapered back to a narrow point at the bottom, thus vertical symmetry). I think the flatness is what really irritates me. It's too "graphic", too 2D... And unrefined in reality. It's also poor that the "key slot" where they turn on the gas is on the front while the maple-leaf air intake is on the back. While the uniform is quite lovely, I wish the gloves were white. The Canadian Red is just too "one off" for me. Perhaps white gloves with red maple leaves on it? For transparency's sake, I ran the SLC torch. While it holds a sentimental value, I thought that torch had too much going on (and was a little thick).
  8. It seems really dangerous because if a drop of paint could pierce the ISS or space shuttle, a huge piece of paper seems like a bad idea... Let's just hope they put it low enough so it burns on reentry much sooner.
  9. They're not going to hoist someone in a wheelchair up to the cauldron, are they?
  10. Well... The problem with legacy, as was adequately noted, is that after the Games, it costs a WHOLE lot to maintain. A report from the Guardian estimates that the Birds Nest alone will cost $10 million (yes, in US money, not RMB) to maintain. Even looking at Sydney, yes the Olympic Park is still a grand monument to the Olympics but it is a mighty line item in the Sydney budget while sadly, none of us praise Torino for the money it spent on things that give back to the community like its Metro system. I think Beijing set a terrible example. Architectural pornography at an enormous cost... And the world awed. And what did Beijing get for $40 billion? Its 15 minutes of fame and a city that is as poorly planned, unsustainable, as Houston. Its population was manhandled out to put in that green which, for debate, no modern, democratic state is willing to do as aggressively. Beyond the argument of the Games being too big, I would add the IOC is too egotistical, wanting an Olympic green with its name on it. Now, to be fair, Beijing has new subway lines, a new airport and yet, no one recognized those accomplishments that will have much more legacy than crazy stadia. Kriton Capps does a good job continuing the argument: Olympic architecture is a burden after the games end (Guardian)
  11. Not to change the topic but I just saw the footage of the Redeem Team putting their medals on Coach Mike Krzyzewski (funny. because I did see the game at 2:30am!!). I was really proud of the team because you could clearly see the camaraderie that wasn't there in 2004 and their sense of the whole. Amazing in my mind.
  12. Closing ceremony-wise, I agree they tend to be afterthoughts but I think the most "fun" act in any Olympic closing for me are the Osmond-Dinos from SL2002. I thought it was very creative to entertain the audience during commercial breaks. Sadly, I wish the Beijing CC was more "fun" or as imaginative. It was the same old same old. And the air bridge thing was kinda hokey. I thought Torino's playing of "Volare" when they handed the flag over was much more subtle, tasteful yet along the same lines. London... Well... Dull, but I thought the Transformer bus was cool to watch change (but where's Optimus Prime?!). Well, if London has any problems coming up with an OC, they can always outsource it to China.
  13. I don't understand why they made the decision was made for MSO to be recorded... I mean, that just doesn't make sense. I don't think the SSO is any prettier looking than MSO!
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