London Bits - Games Related Odds and Ends
July 28, 2012
By The Numbers
London burst into spectacular action last night with the Opening Ceremony. But even more eye popping are the numbers of volunteers, spectators, dignitaries, athletes and what the money it took to pull off not just the initial extravaganza, but the Games as well.
As reported in the London newspapers:
The total cost of the Games - $15.9 billion
Cost of the Opening Ceremony - $42.5 million
Heads of State - 80
Volunteer performers - 15,000
Size of the stage on which they worked - 15,000 square meters
Spectators - 71,000
Props - 12,956
Athletes - 10,000
While watching the U.S. athletes rowing this week, keep in mind how much they accomplish with resources that pale in comparison to other countries. USRowing spent a total of $3,467,828, to train, equip, transport, and provide stipends for the 44 athletes competing at Eton Dorney. The Australians spent $14 million. Great Britain totaled $55 million.
Since the advent of Twitter, more than a few athletes and celebrities have gotten themselves in a jam over 140 characters. The Independent reported today that Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, “was a little less than on message when he tweeted his thoughts on the capital’s hosting capabilities.”
Anderson’s tweet – “Dear London, We’re all hoping you don’t f*** it up too.” According to the paper, the man he defeated in the election, Richard Kemp, was all over it. “Joe Anderson should apologize immediately for the abusive email he sent about the London Olympics,” Kemp responed.
Which, of course, was followed by an apology one hour later, apparently from Anderson’s staff: “Apologies for the previous tweet re: the Olympics. The comments were posted in error without the Mayor’s authority and don’t reflect his views.”
All of London was bell ringing yesterday as the opening of the Games approached. Big Ben tolled for the longest time in 60 years. An enthusiastic Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was among the more enthusiastic. He was ringing his hand bell toward of crowd of spectators when his bell broke and flew into a group of women. “Oh, oh dear! Are you all right? Health and Safety!,” Hunt is quoted as saying in The Independent. “There we are, disaster averted.”
Cabbies in London are reporting a 50 percent drop in fares as a result of the traffic and the official Olympic traffic lanes and Friday planned an afternoon protest to force gridlock at Hyde Park Corner. The Bobbies responded to the Cabbies and forced them to move their demonstration from 5 p.m to 2 p.m “in order to avoid serious disruption to the life of the community,” several London papers reported.
They were obviously referring to the official Olympic cars on the way to the Opening Ceremony.
The Daily Mail reported today that the head coach of South Korea’s sailing team was sent home after being nabbed for operating under the influence. The paper reported that Cheol Lee, 38, spent the evening sipping wine at a sailing reception at Weymouth, Dorset and at 5 a.m. was stopped by police who saw him “veering across the road in an MG6 coupe and a breath test showed he was more than twice the drink-drive limit. He was fined and banned from driving for 18 months by local magistrates.”
Bike Gang Busted
Cabbies and coaches were not the only ones who ran afoul of the British cops yesterday. A group of cyclists were arrested after “scuffles with police on the outskirts of the Olympic Stadium as the opening ceremony got under way inside,” the Daily Mail reports. Seems the cyclists were riding in formation in a monthly ride on one of the main roads to the event. When police tried to block them they objected and had to be “forcibly removed” from their bicycles.
The reigning world champion men’s pair team of New Zealand’s Hamish Bond and Eric Murray set a new world best time today in fast racing conditions. Their time of 6:08.50 smashed the existing world best time record by six seconds.
In the women’s pair, Britain’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning also set a Olympic best record with a 6: 57.29, beating the previous best by over four seconds.
For 2012 Olympic Games news, features and daily quotes from Team USA athletes, coaches, staff and family members, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Pressbox/2012Olympics.aspx.
Ed Moran, photo by Ed Hewitt, Row2k Media