2012 Games “will be under budget,” sez Boris!!

Update: Egan hypes himself up for Olympic gold bid

Tensions have opened up between the London 2012 planners (ultimately the British government) and the IOC over whether the UK should try to match the $23 billion splurge of Beijing for the world’s biggest 3 week TV sports series. Did you ever hear such an arrogant and bonkers statement as that coming out of the mouth of the IOC President Jacques Rogge:

“London still has to deliver as well as China with regard to the quality of the Olympic village, venues and transport. The Games are for the athletes, the Games are not for London, the Games are not for Great Britain.”

Doesn’t it ever cross the mind of the head of a self-perpetuating oligarchy running a three week programme of minority sports that this is a tad over the top?
National governments I suppose have only themselves to blame for pandering to this degree of hype and elevating the IOC to the status of temporary world government . Remember Tony Blair’s finest hours in the Singapore bid during the roller-coaster week of Live Aid, when Blair was stretched to the limit, with Olympics bid and result, G8 summit and then the plunge into shock with 7/7/? I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been Brown in Singapore, growling out a few platitudes – maybe £9.3 billion savings?

For once Boris is right, defiantly promising a “games under budget,” a view supported by leading scrutineer of the London mayor Andrew Gilligan. Democracies can’t say ” no expense spared” in harder times, unlike authoritarian regimes trumpeting their arrival on the world stage.

Scaling down the issue somewhat, what price now an Olympics role for an NI stadium, now that another modest politician Gregory Campbell is bravely promising a decision “within weeks?”

The extra cost of hawking an Olympics infrastructure with local support over to the Maze/Belfast/ the Sperrins??? doesn’t bear thinking about.

A more modest intimate Olympics in 2012 maybe, but London’s 8 minute segment in tomorrow’s closing ceremony is costing a cool £ 2.5 million.
In “Shipping forecast and rejigged anthem to kick off 2012 Olympiad tomorrow,” I see the hand of old BBC friend Bill Morris, once head of BBC Radio 2 and now 2012 Events organiser. Overall, I hope Bill can pull off an old BBC trick of making spectacle look more expensive than it really is ( yes really).

Quotes from Daily Telegraph story:

“As the Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong passes the flag to Boris Johnson, the Greenwich pips will herald the start of the London section of the show followed quickly by a rendition of the national anthem – including, unusually, its second verse, performed by 25 children from the National Youth Theatre.

A London bus will then be driven into the arena, chased by Britain’s Olympic gold medal winning cyclists Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.
The top section of the vehicle will open up like a “lotus flower” to reveal a stage from which elevated platforms will lift Lewis and Page. A further platform will rise up to reveal former England captain Beckham, flanked by a violinist and a cellist dressed in Britain’s official Olympic kit.

Beckham, who featured in England’s disappointing 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic at Wembley on Wednesday night, will then kick a football into a crowd of athletes in the centre of the arena.”

All very tasteful!

  • Chris Donnelly


    Good article here on the link between a country’s GDP and medal tally- though it does not the exceptions, as well as noting the trend for country’s turning to specialisation to maximise medal reward. Britain, Jamaica and Belarus would appear to be top of the class in the latter category, though from what I’ve been reading and hearing about recently, Ireland’s three boxing medals would appear to be a reward for a similar specialisation in that field for Ireland.

    Ahead of 2012, which Ireland would be as well to treat as virtually a ‘home’ Olympics, I’d like to see a proper strategy for delivering not just medals but facilities and coaches to maximise the opportunities for Irish athletes to reach their potential- regardless of which country they decide to represent at such Games.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Oops! Here’s that link:

  • Garibaldy


    Wasn’t Gilligan – like the Evening Standard general – the scourge of Ken rather than of the Mayor? Boris cheerleaders, promoting Boris’ message of trying to do this on the cheap.

    And as for Rogge, part of the deal with getting the Olympics is that you provide a good village, and that people can actually get to the venues, and that the venues are top notch. Nothing there that London didn’t sign up to when it bid for the Games.

  • Brian Walker

    “Ahead of 2012, which Ireland would be as well to treat as virtually a ‘home’ Olympics etc…”

    Great idea Chris. Football as you’ve already pointed out offers something of a precedent.

    UK and Irish sports moguls and the BBC, please note.

    And an extremely interesting article on “Gold means gold” Must file!

  • ulsterfan

    If a politician promises to deliver something under budget rest assured it will be 25% above budget.
    Lets buy more lottery tickets.

  • Dave

    I’d like to see the cost-benefit analysis that says that the Olympics is worth 23 billion of Chinese taxpayer’s money. A better idea is to re-run the TV footage of the last Olympics for the next 50 years. They’ll still be running around the same tracks, jumping over the same bars, eet al, etc, ad infinitum, within fractions of the same times.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    An estimate I read of away last year had the cost of this down to just over £2000 for every man woman and child in the UK.

    How is paying for these facilities going to benefit Scotland at all. Same as that other expensive pink elephant in the millennium dome. There is no way that the budget will keep, so more good money after bad.

  • Suilven

    That £2000 figure you pluck out of thin air is preposterous, PE. £2000 x 60 million (population of UK) is £120 billion, or 12 times the current projected cost of London staging the games. Even allowing for overruns, you’re way off.

    ‘How is paying for these facilities going to benefit Scotland at all’

    Ridiculous statement. Does Chris Hoy not train at the velodrome in Manchester, built for the Commonwealth Games? Speaking of which, has it slipped your mind that hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent on Glasgow hosting said Games two years after London? By your logic, what benefit does the rest of the UK, or even most of Scotland outside the central belt, derive from that expenditure? You’ve just given a pretty good example of petty one-eyed nationalism, PE.

  • Will Jacques Rogge demand that Britain produce as much fakery as the Chinese opening ceremony (or elsewhere *cough* gymnastics *cough*) and that the British Security Services be able to provide the comprehensive censorship that China has delivered in 2008?

    Didn’t think so.

    London doesn’t need to make a statement of “arrival” like Beijing or even Sydney, Atlanta and Vancouver. It’s just a larger than usual festival…

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Regading the 2012 opening ceremony in London I bet that the Royal Marines and it’s military band will be part of the entertainment!

  • ciaran

    If that 8 minute piece by the british cost 2.5 million, then there is no way the 2012 games will come in under budget. In fact , given the standard of that piece, the games will not be worth watching. It was absolute rubbish.

  • Driftwood

    Did anyone see Jimmy Page emerging from the red bus doing Whole Lotta Love with some non entity, and the people with brollys dancing? Embarrassing for all concerned. It was like some half remembered episode of The Avengers on acid.
    You couldn’t make it up. Oh! someone did, and got paid for it. Sad.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    I’m glad someone else agrees. Credit where credit is due. Team GB did superb winning medals at this Olympics and what a great song ‘A Whole Lotta Love’ is. I recently got Led Zeppelin’s compilation CD.
    But it was totally inappropriate to use it here. What a dreadful presentation. Robert Plant grimacing didn’t help. There was no choreography, there was no colour. It was all over the place. The sound quality was bad; what was the idea of the little child walking on the peoples backs! Thought the bus was going to open up and reveal something visually dazzling, na just Beckham’s baldy head. As England has numerous renowned contemporary visual artists and architects today, ie Hirst, Emin, Foster, Rogers, etc.. as well as the West End stage show folk, this was truly diappointing!

    The furore now over the appearance of Myra Hindley’s mugshot in the intro promo is totally OTT.

  • “leading scrutineer of the London mayor Andrew Gilligan.”

    Was that irony?