Inside Lines: Boris may offer Hoey key Olympics role
Sunday 04 May 2008
Boris Johnson will need more than a little help from his friends, among them the one-time Labour sports minister Kate Hoey, to navigate the inevitably stormy waters of the Olympics over the next four years. Hoey confirmed to us last night that she will be advising the Tory London mayor on Olympics and sport "on a non-partisan basis", adding: "The kind of thing I will be doing is what has been missing from the running of London." It is even possible the feisty Hoey may be Boris's nominee on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, which would be ironic for a Government which treated her so shabbily. Johnson will also rely heavily on advice from the able shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson and Richard Ottaway, Tory MP for Croydon South, who is vice-president of the Parliamentary Olympic Group. The government will be concerned that Labour's influence on the Olympic project is dissipated with the exit of Ken Livingstone, but 2012 chief Seb Coe says: "We congratulate Boris and owe much to Ken for his vision but remain strictly neutral on Olympic issues."
Jowell to pay price for rising Games costs?
The future of Olympics minister Tessa Jowell is in jeopardy after Labour's May Day débâcle. In her dual capacity as Minister for London she orchestrated Ken Livingstone's losing campaign, and Westminster sources expect Gordon Brown to axe her in a forthcoming reshuffle. The Prime Minister is known to be furious at Livingstone's boast that he "conned" billions from Government for regeneration projects via the Games and believes a much firmer grip needs to be kept on the rocketing Games budget. He also doubts her ability to counter-punch Boris Johnson.
Pascoe in the running for 2016 battle
Former athlete Alan Pascoe, who helped to mastermind London's acquisition of the 2012 Olympics as a bid vice-president, has joined the clutch of Britons who will be influential in deciding the destination of the following Games in 2016. Pascoe, 60, is lending his promotional expertise to contenders Madrid through his company Fast Track, who with stablemates Bell Pottinger have been appointed to support the Spanish bid. Pascoe says his role will be to "provide strategic advice on a bid that is coming together very well". With London's former communications chief Mike Lee pushing for Doha and Briton John Tibbs, who worked for Paris, now in charge of Tokyo's publicity campaign, it should be a fascinating battle of PR wits.
No Oscar, so Jones gets his chance to star
The Paralympic World Cup, another enterprise that was originated by Pascoe's Fast Track empire, gets under way again in Manchester this week with a record number of competitors (about 400 from 45 countries). Bionic Man Oscar Pistorius, now awaiting the legal judgement on his fight to line up alongside the able-bodied in the Olympics, is not among them, which gives British sprint rival Ian Jones, 18, the chance to make a name for himself before Beijing on his home track. "Oscar is an inspiration," he says. "I fully support his campaign to run in the Olympics."
Don't write off Cuba, warns Khan's Olympic adversary
Following a visit to Cuba, we passed on felicitations to Amir Khan from his old Olympic adversary Mario Kindelan, who is also impressed with the rise of Britain's amateurs. While defections have weakened Cuba's Beijing hopes, Kindelan promises: "We have many good youngsters and will be strong again in London."
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