Archive for the ‘Olympic Games’ Category
West Ham’s move to Olympic Stadium not just hammer blow for Leyton Orient, it will challenge balance of power in London
Whether or not they take full advantage of the opportunity that has been granted to them remains to be seen, and there is still a legal challenge to be considered. But there is no avoiding the facts.Handing the keys to the Olympic Stadium to West Ham United will change the face of football in the Capital.
Whichever way you break this down, there is no escaping the fact that the Hammers will be paying just £15 million pounds for the keys to an iconic stadium with a 54,000 capacity and that could catapult the East End club into Champions League contention.
Purely based on capacity, that will give the Hammers the potential for more matchday revenue than Chelsea or Spurs. It will also put them close to being on a par with Arsenal, who invested £390 million pounds in building the 60,000 seater Emirates Stadium and have consequently struggled to hold off the challenge of neighbours Tottenham as the dominant force in North London.
It remains to be seen if West Ham fans, and most do not want to leave the Academy of Football at Upton Park, will fill the Olympic Stadium. By the time the Hammers are scheduled to take up residence in 2016 they may be watching a team back in the Championship.
But owners David Gold and David Sullivan, and vice-chairman Karren Brady, in agreeing such an advantageous deal with the London Legacy Development Corporation, have been handed a golden ticket that is better than winning the lottery every week for the next year.
As far as business deals go it is pure genius because when the new owners took control the club was in financial meltdown. Now there is an extremely bright future ahead if the Hammers can build on the solid foundations that have been put in place and continue to make progress on the pitch.
If West Ham play their cards right they could be knocking on the door of the Champions League within the next five years. But there is still much that can go wrong with this master plan and much will depend on the legal challenge being mounted by neighbouring Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn.
There is something obscene about the ruthless way the League One club have been dismissively brushed aside by the LLDC. And you have to ask why London Mayor Boris Johnson has been so vocal in his support of West Ham at the expense of both Leyton Orient, who want to ground share, and Tottenham.
The financial facts are simple. The Olympic Stadium has been paid for by the public, the total bill topping £600 million pounds. The cost of extending the roof and adding retractable seats could be as much as £190m. And all but West Ham’s £15 million contribution is coming from the tax payer.
While Tottenham have the financial resources to search for an alternative, West Ham’s move – and whichever way you break down the figures they are getting it on the cheap – looks like a death sentence for the Os. It is hard to ignore the complaints by Hearn who quite rightly argues his small club are being trampled on.
“It is a mess, the whole thing has been a mess for the last six years, horribly handled by lots of different people,” said Hearn in an interview with London’s Evening Standard. “We are at the point where we are seeing if the club that is 750 yards away from the Olympic Park are being abused, ignored and sledge-hammered by a massive club.
“We think they have over-stretched their mark and the taxpayer will have something to say about it, but in the meantime we want to preserve the independence and existence of Leyton Orient Football Club.
“It is unbelievable, I remember four or five years ago one of the Olympic organisers said the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium would be decided four months from that point.
“Although West Ham have been confirmed as the tenants, there are still so many questions that need to be asked.It looks to me like there has been a deal done through a back-door somewhere and I have plenty of questions that need to be answered.
“Newham Borough Council have come up with £40million and in the difficult world when you are closing hospitals and libraries and putting people out of work, is this the right money to spend? West Ham are selling Upton Park but only contributing £15million to the stadium, should they be given a free home like this? I’m just asking a question.
“It does seem unfair that Arsenal and Tottenham are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on their own stadiums because they are stand-alone commercial enterprises and West Ham are being levered at huge discount and you have to ask yourself the question why. What has gone on for them to get that deal?”
Hearn is banking on a judicial review in his favour that will force the LLDC and West Ham to discuss the idea of ground-sharing. Whatever the outcome, questions will be asked by the public and the media for years to come.
Forget 1966 – London’s Olympic year of 2012 is the greatest ever in the history of British Sport. That is why winning this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Award will carry extra significance for the winner.
Simply getting nominated is an achievement in itself this year and the BBC’s shortlist for the Top 12 is a remarkable roll call of extraordinary sporting heroes. Britain can be proud whoever gets the people’s vote. And we could genuinely make a strong case for every one of these incredible men and women.
The most emotional triumph for me was watching Sir Chris Hoy make it six Gold medals. But this was the year that his good friend Bradley Wiggins put the cherry on top by winning the Tour de France.
It has been a traumatic year for the sport following the exposure of Lance Armstrong as a drugs cheat. But Wiggins and the rest of our great British cycling stars are now deservedly the envy of the rest of the world – and Wiggo this year stands out from the crowd, not just for his sporting achievements, but also as a wonderful personality with style, poise and an impressive aura that makes him the pride of 2012.
Age: 30 Sport: Boxing – First woman to win an Olympic boxing title
Age: 35 Sport: Sailing – fourth straight Gold made him most successful Olympic sailor
Age: 26 Sport: Athletics – Olympic poster girl set three personal bests on way to Heptathlon Gold
Age: 29 Sport: Athletics – first Briton to win Olympic Gold in both 5,000m & 10,000m at the same Games
Age: 37 Sport: Rowing – struck Gold in rowing after three silvers at successive Olympic Games
Sir Chris Hoy
Age: 36 Sport: Cycling – emotionally made it a British record six Olympic Gold medals
Age: 23 Sport: Golf- youngest winner of US PGA Championship since Seve ballesteros and a Ryder Cup winner
Age: 25 Sport: Tennis – ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a Grand Glam champion in epic US Open final after Gold at the Olympics
Age: 18 Sport: Swimming – won two Paralympic Golds to add to the two she secured as a 14-year-old four years earlier.
Age: 35 Sport: Cycling – four cycling titles at Paralympics to complete a British record-equalling total of 11 gold medals.
Age: 33 Sport: Athletics – clean sweep of four gold medals at Paralympics for the ‘Weirwolf’
Age: 32 Sport: Cycling – first Brit to win Tour de France and then took his fourth Olympic Gold
Usain Bolt will play for Manchester United because Sir Alex Ferguson wants him to pull on the famous red shirt
Maybe I was too hasty last month when I wrote off Usain Bolt’s chances of playing for Manchester United . . . because the hot news from Old Trafford is that Sir Alex Ferguson is lining up the world’s fastest man to pull on the famous red shirt against Real Madrid.
To be fair, I was talking about Bolt’s chances of playing for the Reds in the Premier League. And Sir Alex is only suggesting a charity match appearance when Manchester United Legends play Real Madrid Legends again next summer.
But there is no doubt The Boss can see the benefits of The Bolt teaming up with the United squad on a more regular basis.
A huge fan and a guest of honour at the season’s opening win against Fulham when he paraded his medals, Bolt has made no secret of his desire to play for United. He has even engaged in banter with Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney on twitter about getting signed up.
What is now clear is that Sir Alex is a huge fan and the pair clearly enjoyed each other’s company when they chatted behind the scenes at Old Trafford after the Fulham match. Fergie was able to thank him personally for enabling him to cash in on his triple gold medal haul.
“I must thank him because that was my biggest bet,” said Sir Alex.
The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt wants to play football for Manchester United – but he’s more likely to take a jump
In 2005, during the bidding process for the 2012 Olympics, Lord Coe proclaimed: “London’s vision is to reach young people all around the world. To connect them with the inspirational power of the Games. So they are inspired to choose sport.”
Seven years later, as we bask in the glory of arguably the greatest Games ever, and the nation considers what the legacy will be for London 2012, there has never been a better time for all sports to promote themselves and get the public taking part.
With so many role-models among Team GB’s medal winners there is no lack of sports men and women to be inspired by. And the early signs are encouraging that success at the Games will result in increased participation of sport across the board.
Here at VISIONSPORT.TV we are aiming to do our bit by producing inspirational sports videos and documentaries. And we hope to hear from sporting bodies across Britain who want us to help them by producing dynamic content to promote their sport.
To get the ball rolling we have produced a short promotional film featuring some of Team GB’s brilliant medal winners.
Hopefully watching this video will not only inspire people of all ages to take part in sport, but encourage administrators who can build on the success of London 2012 to get in touch and hire our winning team.
LOOK OUT FOR MORE INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS FROM VISIONSPORT.TV
Why the media are to blame for fostering hatred in football – and how we can learn from the Greatest Show on Earth
Not only did the opening weekend of the English Premier League remind us that we are blessed with the world’s most exciting domestic football competition, for me it clearly demonstrated why we all fell in love with the Olympics during London 2012.
So many voices in the media and members of the public ringing radio phone ins have been rubbishing our national game, urging our overpaid footballers to grow up, learn how to be humble and reconnect with the fans. But jumping on the bandwagon of badmouthing our footballers is a lazy reaction that misses the real lessons to be learned from The Greatest Show on Earth.
As Gary Neville so perfectly voiced in his Daily Mail column: “I don’t mean to shy away from the real challenges football faces. We do need to link football back to the community, get closer to the fans and make it more affordable. There is excess. There are problems with the globalisation of the game. And there are incidents of ill-discipline by players.”
But one of the biggest differences between football and the Olympics for me is the way it is portrayed by the media, who take great delight in whipping up confrontation, hatred and the ugly side of the beautiful game. And I’m not just talking about the effect on the players, I’m talking about the fans. Too many football fans lose all sense of decency and respect when they are supporting their team.
How many times have you seen slow motion replays on Match of the Day and witnessed ordinary people, and there are just as many foul-mouthed women as men these days, clearly screaming obscenities at the players on the pitch.
Could you ever imagine such a scene at the Olympic Stadium where the partisan host nation always had the dignity and appreciation of sport to applaud great performances, whatever nation they represented. Many of these are the same people who attend football matches. But can you imagine such respect at a major football match. The answer is ‘No.’ But it wasn’t always like that. When I was a kid I remember standing on the Stretford End and applauding with the rest of the crowd when we witnessed great footballing skill. So what has changed?
Maybe I am biting the hand that fed me for several intervening decades, but the honest answer is the media. The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to the way the minds of ordinary fans have been polluted by headline writers and talk show hosts who can never resist promoting confrontational emotions beyond friendly rivalry to the point of pure hatred.
Whether it is a vile outpouring of abuse in the stadiums, radio phone-ins or more frequently these days on Twitter, there is no avoiding the fact that today’s average football fan is more accustomed to giving out negative comments than paying respect.
Watching Marouane Fellaini produce a brilliant matchwinning display as Everton upset Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison on Monday night, it was embarrassing to hear an abusive voice shout ‘break his f******* legs” every time the Belgian star touched the ball. I hesitate to call the abuser a football fan. Hooliganism is all but dead in Britain. But this ill-educated person is typical of so many followers of football encouraged by the modern media.
Journalism these days is all about comment and voicing an opinion, and sensational headlines and controversy is good for business. Negative stories are easier to write than positive ones and every journalist knows how they can shape public opinion by the way they present stories, the sports that we watch and sporting rivalries. The consequential atmosphere of hostility generated between ordinary fans and players by the media is the thing I hate most about football. Why can’t we have healthy rivalry backed by an appreciation of the beauty of the sport
Before the Olympics started most of the media were trying to bring down the Games with a succession of negative stories about security, transport and overspending. Happily the Great British public saw through the spin and were swept away by an unprecedented wave of euphoria generated by outstanding sporting excellence and a magnificent management of the Games that proved all the doubters wrong.
Sports writers were able to glory in the remarkable achievements of Team GB and the voices of the hatchet men in the media who revel in spreading gloom and confrontation were drowned out by the wave of positive stories. Sadly in football, too many negative stories over many years have led to a massive disconnect between the players and the media they are unable to trust. While too many fans have lost sight of what sport is all about.
For a fabulous fortnight the public and the media remembered how to appreciate the beauty of sport. Now the Olympics are over let us show the same respect to football – and maybe players will respond by discovering the spirit of fair play, excellence and good sportsmanship that we witnessed at London 2012.
On the morning after the night before I joined a privileged group of broadcasters for a private chat with double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah – and I asked him about his friendship with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.
Watch the video to hear what Mo said about Usain Bolt and see how he demonstrated the Mo Bo.
WATCH OUT FOR MORE MO MOMENTS ON VISIONSPORT.TV
Farah’s Mo-mentous second gold crowned another epic day for Team GB – and this time it’s the men who rule the roost!
There has been so much talk of Girl Power these past few days that some of our men may have been getting an inferiority complex. But there was no danger of that happening on Day 15 as the boys were back on top with another remarkable Super Saturday.
At these incredible Games it is impossible to pick out the ultimate superhero in the British team. There have been so many magical moments and unbelievable achievements to savour. But none greater than watching Mo Farah complete his historic double gold medal-winning triumph, by adding an unforgettable 5,000 metres triumph to his extraordinary 10,000 metres success a week ago.
The facial expressions of Britain’s middle distance king as he again crossed the line first will be among the defining images of these Games for many people around the planet. His double celebration with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, after the Jamaican completed the unprecedented defence of his Olympic treble by wrapping up a new world record to win gold in the 4 x 100 metres, confirmed farah’s new status as a global superstar.
Against the backdrop of the incredible atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium generated by the home fans, it all combined to make this one of the greatest track and field events at any Olympic Games. And it crowned another gold plated day for Our Greatest Team.
When Ed McKeever wrapped up gold in kayak’s 200 metres sprint shortly after breakfast we knew it was going to be another special day. Hailed the Usain Bolt of kayaking, McKeever lacks the aura of the man who calls himself a living legend. But he is lightning quick and led his race from start to finish to give his sport a huge boost.
After the high drama at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB’s third men’s gold of the day was delivered by Luke Campbell when he defeated Ireland’s John Joe Nevin in a pulsating final to become the first British bantamweight to win gold since 1908.
Campbell, who raised the hands of Nevin after the result was announced and broke down in tears, said: “I’m lost for words, very emotional. It’s something I’ve worked for all my life. I can’t believe it. ”
But rivalling all those gold medals in the emotional stakes was the remarkable achievement by teenage diver Tom Daley winning a fairytale bronze in the men’s individual 10-metre platform.
After an horrendous year that cruelly saw Daley’s father Rob lose his fight against cancer before he could share the joy of his son competing in his home Olympics, it was one of the most moving stories of these Games to witness the hugely popular and charismatic diver from Devon win his medal.
On this occasion bronze meant gold for the Plymouth schoolboy who won the hearts and minds of the nation long before the airing by the BBC of the brilliant, intimate documentary that told the story of his father’s last days and their unbreakable bond.
Sport is forever the backdrop to so many poignant dramas that touch the watching world. And the Tom Daley story in one such tale that will resonate with everyone. The sheer joy of Daley and his team mates jumping into the pool to celebrate his success was a special moment that for many of us will sit alongside the fabulous images of Mo Farah rejoicing at the completion of his iconic golden double.
With 24 hours to go before the curtain comes down on a remarkably successful London 2012, there is already a feeling here in the capital that we are in for a highly emotional end to the Games.
After a fortnight of sporting celebration the likes no country in the world has ever surpassed, to say that anyone who loves the Olympics will be sad to see the party come to an end would be an understatment
For Team GB and the Great British public it will be one almighty party that will celebrate an unbelievable medal haul and the fulfillment of staging an outstanding Games. To quote International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, London has been “the beating heart of the world, giving new life to the spirit of fair play and competition.
Rogge has praised Britain, acknoweldging the huge crowds that have filled the stadiums as well as saying those that lined the Olympic torch relay route had sent cheers resonating in every home around the globe.
Without doubt, London has delivered across transport, crowds, security and enthusiasm, making the predictable pre-Games cynicism by certain sections of the media look rather foolish.
Britain’s biggest medal haul in more than 100 years and the quality of the athletes’ performances have boosted the party atmosphere. And what a great choice by the British Olympic Association to choose record-breaking sailor Ben Ainslie to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.
Following Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and then took his gold medal haul to six, it is a fitting tribute to Ainslie, who became the greatest sailing Olympian of all time during the Games when he won the Finn class – his fourth consecutive gold medal.
“It is a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at what’s been such an amazing Games for the whole country, ” was how Ainslie greeted the news. And I am sure every Team GB athlete will be proud to walk behind the 35-year-old who has a huge personality to match his legendary status.
Team GB’s Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “He has been at the heart of Great Britain’s Olymoic endeavours since 1996 and his achievements are already legendary. ”
Added Hunt: “As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way.”
The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt wants to play football for Manchester United – but he’s more likely to take a jump
What an intriguing thought – the fast man on the planet playing for the world’s most famous football team.
“People think I am joking when I say that I would like to play for Manchester United,” double double Olympic champion Usain told the British media on Tuesday.
“But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, ‘OK, let’s do this, come and have a trial and see if you are good enough’ it would be impossible for me to say ‘no’.
“I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference. I would be the fastest player in the team — but I can play as well.”
It was a story that gathered momentum when former England skipper Rio Ferdinand fired back on Twitter:”@usainbolt if you want that trial at Man Utd shout me, I’ll speak to the boss!!”
“If Alex Ferguson wants to give me a call he knows where I am,” the Jamaican has been quoted as saying.
Sadly, of course, there is absolutely zero chance of the Lightning Bolt giving up the track for the Premier League. Much shorter are the odds on Bolt taking up the long jump. And that of course could spell bad news for Team GB’s gold medal winner Greg Rutherford. After successfully defending both the 100 and 200 metres Olympic titles he won in Beijing at London 2012, Bold – who will be 30 on the day of the closing ceremony at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 – is considering bis options.
Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, has suggested Bolt should stick to his day job, telling the Manchester United website: “He’d obviously add a bit of speed to the team! But they are different sports. I think he’s best staying on the track!”
Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Trott & Victoria Pendleton provided thrilling cycling finale and are extraordinary role models
It was a day that began with the remarkable double medal haul for the Brownlee brothers and peaked with one of the most thrilling hours in the history of British cycling after a first ever gold for Team GB in the dressage.
Day 11 of London 2012 was another glorious landmark in the history of sport in Great Britain – and it saw Our Greatest Team confirm they are just that by taking our gold medal tally to an astonishing 22, surpassing the 19 won in Beijing’s medal tally of 47.
With five days remaining Team GB have already won 48 medals, making this our best Games since 1908 when Britain won 56 golds but provided a third of the athletes.
When Alistair Brownlee struck gold in the triathlon and was followed home by his younger brother Jonathan, who took the bronze, it was only the start of something special.
Laura Bechtolsheimer, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin became Britian’s first Olympic champions in the dressage when they took the gold ahead of rivals Germany.
But the greatest hour of the day for me, rivalling anything we have seen at these Games, came at the Velodrome where Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy provided courage, pulsating drama and the best of British sporting excellence to bring the curtain down on a remarkable cycling competition.
For Pendleton there was the pain of defeat to her arch rival Anna Mears as she lost her Olympic sprint title in the final, her last ever race. But the sheer brilliance of our most successful women’s cyclist, who had already won gold in the keirin, was matched by her dignity and good sportsmanship when she was wrongly denied by the officials after winning the first pivotal leg of the final.
That drama came hot on the heels of a second breathtaking gold medal triumph for 20-year-old Laura Trott, one of the new generation of young women inspired to take up the sport by Pendleton. Born with a collapsed lung and suffering from asthma, the raw enthusiasm, unrestrained delight and absolute modesty of this young woman is one of the most inspiring stories of London 2012.
Both Trott and Pendleton are outstanding role models for the women of Great Britain. And in Sir Chris Hoy, who was to follow them onto the track with a truly moving finale, we have in my opinion the greatest sporting role model for our men.
Defending his title in the keirin to win his sixth gold medal certainly confirmed him as track cycling’s greatest sprinter of all time.
With gold on the first night of the track cycling in the men’s team sprint, Hoy’s triumph in his final olympic race was the perfect finale for Team GB. It took him past rowing great Sir Steve Redgrave’s five gold medals, and with a silver from Sydney 2000, he equals Bradley Wiggins’s record total of seven medals.
But it is the humility and enormous modesty of the man as well as his brilliance that rightly makes him one of the all-time great sporting heroes. I have met many of the world’s most famous sporting stars over the past 30 years. But never have I met a sportsman who is a more perfect role model than Sir Chris.
Watching the 36-year-old Scot dig deep and fight back to cross the line first after momentarily being overtaken by Germany’s Maximilian Levy in the final sprint was a sporting moment to cherish. And I defy anyone who loves sport who watched the great man collect his gold medal not to share a tear of joy with this modern day braveheart.
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