Olympic & Paralympic Games

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Jon Austin, CEO of British Pentathlon, Part 1 05:14
2012-08-30 09:12:57
Jon Austin, CEO of British Pentathlon, Part 2 04:54
2012-08-30 09:12:37
Jon Austin, CEO of British Pentathlon, Part 3 04:16
2012-08-30 09:11:34
Tim Reddish OBE, Chairman British Paralympics Association, Part 2 05:33
2012-08-29 09:08:52
Tim Reddish OBE, Chairman British Paralympics Association, Part 1 06:59
2012-08-29 09:08:25
Mark Riseley, President Triathlon Ireland, Part 2 04:50
2012-08-28 10:48:33
Olympic & Paralympic Games

KeirRadnedgeNewSochi 2014 boss Dmitry Chernyshenko has disagreed with Olympic president Thomas Bach over athletes’ right to express personal, political opinions during Winter Games press conferences.

Freedom of speech has been one of a number of issues, along with cost, security, corruption and anti-gay legislation, to have distracted attention from the point of the imminent winter sport circus in the Black Sea resort.

Russian organisers have set up so-called ‘protest zones’ away from the sports venues and the International Olympic Committee has explicitly barred political gestures on the medal podiums.

IOC president Thomas Bach said earlier this week: “It is absolutely very clear the Games cannot be used as a stage for political demonstrations, no matter how good the cause may be. If so, the IOC will take individual decisions.”

However the German who succeeded Jacques Rogge only last September then added: “On the other hand, athletes enjoy the freedom of speech. At a press conference if they want to make a political statement they are absolutely free to do so.”

Chernyshenko, in a multi-media telephone conference, disagreed.

The Sochi 2014 President and CEO said: “Everyone in attendance are welcome to enjoy themselves. We are ready to welcome everybody regardless of race, gender, religious or sexual orientation.

“[But] I don’t think it is allowed by the Olympic Charter [for athletes] to express views not related to the sport in the press conference room.

“For such expressions - in accordance with our recent statement and amendments of the laws - the special ‘Speakers’ Corner’ has been recognised in Sochi city where everybody can express themselves.”


Chernyshenko also sought to play down the reports of the number of foreign politicians who will stay away as a gesture of disapproval against the year-old Russia legislation which bars ‘gay propaganda’ to minors.

The Presidents of the United States, Germany and France are among those who will stay away from the Opening Ceremony at which the US delegation will include a number of gay former athletes.

Chernyshenko insisted that a record number of world leaders would be turning up.

He said: “These are some of the busiest people on the planet and it is not necessary for them to visit the Games. You will see that if you evaluate who visited which Games in the past.

“We are very happy to conclude that, so far, the number of state leaders who have expressed an intention to attend the Games’ Opening Ceremony is the highest ever in the history of the modern Winter Olympics.”

Those who attend, according to Chernyshenko, will be treated to the safe and secure sight of “the brilliant showcase of the new Russia” at work and play.

So far 70pc of tickets have been sold, hence public access to some events will be on sale during the Games. Visitors who do attend will do so to a cacophony of continued reassurance about security.

Chernyshenko said: “I can assure everyone that Sochi will be one of the most security friendly games and all the procedures will be gentle and smooth and visible. Sochi, as a city, is the most secure on the planet.”

Looking forward to the climax of a remarkable seven-year journey since Sochi’s surprise award success in Guatemala City, he added: “The stage is perfectly set for the stars to step forward at our state of the art venues.

“More than 160,000 spectator passes have already been issued and . . . the focus is on celebrating the excellence of the athletes who come to compete and take home the medals – though maybe a lot will stay here.

“We are fully ready, in great shape, with everything in place. Everyone is satisfied that we have delivered on what we have promised. Some IOC members have already arrived and one of the most demanding has already told me: ‘Dmitry, everything so far is perfect.’

“I wish we can maintain such a standard so let the Games begin.”

Keir Radnedge has been covering football worldwide for more than 40 years, writing 33 books, from tournament guides to comprehensive encyclopedias, aimed at all ages.

His journalism career included The Daily Mail for 20 years as well as The Guardian and other national newspapers and magazines in the UK and around the world. He is a former editor, and remains a lead columnist, with World Soccer, generally recognised as the premier English language magazine on global football.

In addition to his writing, Keir has been a regular analyst for BBC radio and television, Sky Sports, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNN.

Keir Radnedge's Twitter: @KeirRadnedge

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Group for professionals involved in Olympics to share their views and opinions with other fellow members.


I completely agree with Sir Philip Craven, the Paralympic Games is the most valuable asset of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the schedule should not change. This will ensure that this growing multi-sport major event is organised at the highest standards. The Olympic Games are a "Test Event" for the Paralympic Games. Venues, Transport, Accommodation and other Service Levels are tested throughout the Olympic Games and are the most valuable experience for IPC senior management to assess what needs to be improved in the transition period in between both events; therefore, hosting the Paralympic Games before the Olympic Games will have an impact on the quality of this inspiring event. Hosting the Paralympic Games in Rio after the Olympic Games showed that even in challenging economic and social environments this "tremendous" Games can attract (last minute) a great number of spectators from different socio-demographic backgrounds to the Park or Venues, and inspire millions of spectators on TV worldwide.
Last replied by Jose Gigante on Friday, 23 September 2016
2020 is likely to be the OTT tipping point in some countries but the picture will vary greatly country by country depending on factors like the quality and speed of wifi and 3G/4G connectivity and the time difference between that country and Japan. Much will also depend on the quality and availability of the OTT offerings from Olympics rights holders. Rights holders need to provide OTT services on all devices so that fans can watch from the comfort of their living rooms on a Smart TV, on their phones while on the go and (perhaps covertly) at work on a PC. The user experience of these services will need to be intuitive and strike the right balance between flexibility and ease of use and streams will have to be of high quality and reliability to match or better traditional TV. In countries other than the UK where the the Olympics can feature commercial breaks, rights owners will need to strike the right balance with ad load and should consider how to deliver more personalized ads to earn higher ad revenue while providing a relevant experience to viewers. Given the 7 or 8 hour time difference between Tokyo and Europe, OTT services do offer rights holders a way to engage sports fans when they're not in front of their main TV during prime time. So I really hope that OTT services will take off and represent a much larger percentage of total viewing, possibly even with minimal erosion in linear viewing meaning higher overall ratings for the games. Rights holders have the next 4 years to work this out. On your marks, get set, go
Last replied by Sarah Kiefer on Thursday, 15 September 2016
Besides the enjoyment of each and every moment of genuine sportmanship that the only the Olympics can offer (and not so generously, unfortunately), for the first time this year I watched the Games through the lens of Data. It was a unique experience, which gave me plenty of insights to measure and explain athletes and teams' performance: goo.gl/dBaO3J I hope the next 4-year Olympiad will grant me the opportunity to train intensively at sports analytics and be fit for Tokyo 2020.
Last replied by Paola Vercesi on Tuesday, 06 September 2016
The decision of the IPC is another sign that this is a "double standard" edition of the Games and we all have to live with it. Some athletes have suspiciously fallen victim of the ban and some have surprisingly escaped it. As Usain Bolt said in a recent interview, it will take some years before the sport gets cleaner. What the IOC and the IPC are willing to do to secure (and impose) a cleaner sport the day after the Rio flame goes off will make the difference.
Last replied by Paola Vercesi on Wednesday, 10 August 2016
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