London Olympic Authority decided to drop Carbon Neutral goal

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In 2010 it was announced by the London Olympic Authority that they planned to make the Olympic games 2012 the Greenest Olympic ever. They ensured that they were fully sustainable and carbon neutral.

Two years later, these words have change and instead of being carbon neutral and the greenest Olympic ever, they talked about reducing and mitigate the carbon footprint instead.

There was a fear that it would cost to much to aim for carbon neutrality even though it only would have raised the ticket prices by two to three percent per ticket. Instead the London Olympics decided to offset the emission from transport and building projects by funding environmental projects around the world.

This solution has had a lot of criticism since many believe this gives countries the idea that they can do whatever they want with transport and building without trying to reduce their carbon footprint in the first place. A spokesperson from Friends of the Earth states that the focus has to be on reducing the emissions and not on a false solution to “solve” the problem after the damage already has been made.

Why the London Olympic Authority decided to drop the idea of a carbon neutral Olympics is still a question. But like so many Olympic promises it turned out to be just hot air. Greenwash at its worst.

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Londoners paying for most of the new West Ham stadium

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It has now been decided that West Ham Football Club are the new tenants for the Olympic Stadium. They have agreed to a 99-year lease with the LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation), and are planning to move in to the stadium for the 2016-17 season.

The conversion of the stadium will cost £150m of which West Ham will pay £15m, the local council £40m and £80m will be 18.75% is private sources and 81.25% public money. UK government has also set aside £25m of funds if needed for the work on the stadium. Other then that the club is going to pay £2m per year as rent and share the revenue from catering on the match days and any naming rights deal.

Even though different events are going to take place in the stadium, other than football games, West Ham Football Club are getting the stadium for a ridiculously small amount of money, while Londoners have to pay for most of the conversion.

Are there not better things to spend millions of pounds on than on a private football stadium? When the government are making cuts in welfare and cap the housing allowance to £400 now in April, forcing 761 families just in Camden Council to move, is it really necessary to put public money in to an investment like this?

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Anti-gay law set for Winter Olympic Russia

To be gay and compete in the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi seems to become a problem. An anti-gay bill, to outlaw “Homosexual propaganda” which would involve making public display of affection by same-sex couples and public events that promote gay right illegal, is working its way through Russian parliament. Some cities in Russia, such as St. Petersburg, already similar laws.

If the new law gets approved, which it seems it will, gay athletes will not be allowed to talk about their sexuality or show their partners affection in public. It also prevents athletes who has not stepped out of the closet yet to do that anytime soon, since that might make them a target for discrimination during the winter olympics.

Vancouver and London hosted a Pride House for their gay fans and athletes, but even if a gay-rights group in Russia wanted to do the same the members claims the Russian Ministry of Justice banned them for doing so.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says that they can not do anything about there not being a Pride House in Sochi since they have no responsibility for the various national or special interest houses common during the Olympics. They also claims that there will not be any discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games.

You would think though that IOC would be big and powerful enough to be able to make the Russian Ministry of Justice to remove their ban from the Pride House, especially since they are keen to make sure that everybody knows they are against any kind of discrimination.

Marc Naimark, from the Federation of Gay games, says: “When they choose a country that’s homophobic, they send a message to the world and to gay athletes, among those messages is, ‘if you’re not out, stay in the closet.”

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2012 Unemployment increases in Olympic boroughs

The British Government promised work for 20,000 of the people who lived in the Olympics host borough. Despite that fact only 9,700 jobs went to the residents of these borough.

The Guardian wrote an article about how the unemployment has increased during 2012 in some of the Games host boroughs. What happened to Cameron’s promise to keep the legacy of the games alive and as a part of that legacy to bring jobs to people in East London? The long-term youth unemployment in Bethnal Green and Bow increased by 55% in 2012. Wasn’t it supposed to decrease according to Cameron’s promise?

So the real Olympic legacy, as in Athens, is debt, despair and less access to sport than before…

 

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Loss of tax revenue is called negligible despite reduced funding for sports

The Government have now decided to grant a tax amnesty to overseas athletes who are to compete in London Grand prix in the Olympic stadium this summer. This to ensure that famous athletes, such as Usain Bolt, will come and compete.

Britain used to impose taxes on appearance fees and prize money for non-resident athletes who competed in any sports in the country. This tax has prevented Bolt racing in Britain since 2009, except for the summer olympics, because he thinks it is to expensive.

George Osborne, British treasury chief, agreed to the tax concession because it is important for the Olympic legacy. He also means that the loss of tax revenue is negligible compared the to the benefits for London and athletics.

It is interesting how the Government, who decided to reduce funding for connecting sports clubs and schools, and in some cases remove completely, funding for elite sports that do not have a chance of winning gold at the olympics, can afford to call a loss of tax revenue negligible.

Is the Olympic legacy only about getting athletic superstars to compete in the UK, or should it not about getting people active, especially children, in sports that interest them?

 

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The redevelopment of the Olympic Park has now started

Olympic Village Proposal released last year by The Olympic Delivery Authority

The redevelopment of the Olympic park has now started. The arenas are being reduced in size, to become more suitable for national events, and the temporary venues are being recycled, for example the Aquatic Centre’s stands are being send to a racetrack in Miami. All this to avoid the relics of the Olympics costing more than they are worth.

The plan for the centre piece of the park, the 80,000-capacity Olympic stadium, is still undecided. A decision is to be made in March but the favourite bidders to move in to the stadium on a full-time basis is Premier league football club West Ham United. This summer though, whatever the decision is, the stadium will host a series of concerts, the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony and the London Grand Prix athletics meeting. There is no talk about reducing the stadium in size at this moment.

The competitors rooms in the Athletes Village are being transformed into “luxury”- do developers build any other kind- flats with the first of the 2,818 tenants moving in later this year. They will also build new flats, houses and at least three schools for the new residents. Within 20 years the plan is that Queen Elizabeth Olympic park will be the home of 8,000 people, where a third are suppose to be “affordable” housing.

Interesting enough they mean that the new flats and houses are a boost for the city where rents are too high for many people to pay, but is luxurious flats and so called “affordable” housing really something a family with average or below-average wage can afford?

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, also insists that the new community will be vibrant and that there is no risk the neighbour will be empty most of the time, like the estates in the Olympic Park in Athens. Is it not a risk though, with another community in London for the wealthy, that the buyers will be rich people who lives abroad and only use the flat when they visit London? Is this really the way to make a community vibrant? Would it not be better to build houses and flats that “normal” Londoners can afford and not just people who have a lot of money?

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Basketball gets funding after all

Last week we wrote about how the government, despite their promise to keep the sports legacy from the Olympics permanent, decided to not fund British basketball anymore. This led to two angry open letters to David Cameron from 2005 ambassador for the games Amber Charles and British basketball superstar Luol Deng.

The government have now changed their mind and decided to fund basketball for another year, claiming that it is not the open letters that changed their mind. Instead Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s chief executive, says that the decision is based on performance criteria. According to the EuroBasket draw, that took place after the first decision, England has a chance of a place in the top-eight in Rio 201.

There are still sports that has to make it without funding, such as table tennis, wrestling and indoor volleyball, while sports such as weightlifting and powerlifting have to survive on smaller funds than they would have wished for.

The reason some sports do not get funding is because UK sport’s and the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, thinks it is better to fund sports that have a chance to win a medal, preferably a gold-medal, at the Olympics.

So does this mean that the government only plans to keep the legacy going for sports that can give them gold-medals? Is sport really all about winning or is it not mostly about getting people active in sports they enjoy?

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Government breaks its promise to keep sports alive – again

As we have written before, the government has failed to keep the sports legacy from the Olympics 2012 positive and permanent, and to encourage young people to get involved in sports. Now they have decided to cut all of the funding for basketball in the UK, something that has upset both Amber Charles, who was an ambassador for the Games around the time for the bid in 2005, and British basketball superstar Luol Deng.

They have both decided to write letters to David Cameron, letting him know how upsetting it is for them and others involved in the sport. Why basketball can’t keep its funding isn’t clearly answered and is it really the government’s job to decide which sports are more important then others? Especially when their promise was to encourage people, particularly young people to get involved in sports.

 

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Government reduces funding for sports

On Saturday the Guardian wrote an article about how the government has reduced funding, which establishes collaboration between sports clubs and schools, abandoned the goal for at least two hours of PE per week and also ended the surveys that measure how much sport is being done in schools.

Even though, they have increased the funding for elite sports and also some of the funding that boosts community sports, is that enough to ensure that all children have an opportunity to get involved in sports? When schools that are placed in not so well-off parts of the city lose their funding and are not able to give less-fortunate children a chance to learn sports from experienced trainers, is the government really keeping its promise to preserve the legacy from the Olympics?

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Atos Protests Continue

New protests have been planned to force Glasgow 2014 to drop Atos as sponsors.

This news comes after demonstrations were held in tandem with the paralympics, protesting against Atos’s poor record in their fit-for-work assessments.

The coming protests still aim to bring the inferior assessments to public light and are hoping to take Atos out of the sponsor list for Glasgow 2014, where they are hoping to gain good press.

Below is a video of one of the protests held during the paralympics games


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