Inside Lines: Battling Boris the cuts man as 2012 bosses fight their corner
Sunday 07 December 2008
London's Olympic organisers face a far tougher inquisition from MPs on Tuesday than the cosy questioning by the International Committee recently over economies that need to be made for 2012. Some members of the Culture, Media and Sport committee will suggest that insufficient heed is being paid to the effects the deepening recession will have on the Games – a feeling apparently shared by Boris Johnson. The mayor is believed to have some differences with fellow members of both Locog (the London organising committee) and the ODA (Olympic Development Authority) over proposed cut-backs and wants more use of existing venues rather than expenditure on temporary ones.
Only in America
The Americans have taken a rather different approach to the financial crisis than our sports overlords. The United States Olympic Committee have actually increased athletes' funding by 10 per cent – finding the cash by cutting their own staff and administrative costs by the same amount. No use wondering why no one thought of that here.
Barking mad for shooting
One Olympic venue still the subject of debate is Woolwich Barracks, earmarked for shooting. Army chiefs say it is no longer convenient to stage the event there and the IOC insist Bisley, the logical choice, is too far from London. Yet surely needs must in these straightened times? Barking has been considered as an alternative. Barking? Well, as this was where someone took a pop at promoter Frank Warren 19 years ago, at least it has some experience of gunplay.
All bets off on Becky?
Is Lewis Hamilton about to suffer the irony of beingovertaken on the last lap by Rebecca Adlington as 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year? Bookmakers have slashed the odds to make the golden girl of Beijing joint favourite with the previously odds-on Formula One champ. William Hill say the surge of big bets on her is "unusual... the biggest gamble we've ever seen at this stage of the event".
ABA not smelling of roses
We wait to see if James DeGale has the punch to match his right-on personality but he sure has style. Just after winning his Olympic gold the middleweight boxer had a £10 bet on air with the BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire that he would not go pro before 2012. Last week an envelope containing a tenner arrived for her. Attached to it was a red rose. The Amateur Boxing Association are awaiting a similar delivery from Billy Joe Saunders. There'll be no rose but a cheque for £250, the fine he must pay for a misdemeanour even they now admit was a 'storm in a teacup' before he, too, is formally allowed to shed his vest.
Half of the original eight boxers who went to Beijing have quit the amateurs, all giving the ABA a good kicking over allegedly broken promises. Coach Terry Edwards, who fought hard to try andget them their bonuses, and was undermined by his bosses during the Games, looks sure follow. Saunders says: "They're idiots. Without Terry there I couldn't trust them."
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