2012 Olympic 'segregation' for warring nations

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The Independent Online

The delicate equilibrium of global politics is rarely a hotel manager's concern. But Chris Hale, who is managing London's Olympics' athletes' village for the InterContinental Hotels Group, has revealed details of the geopolitical segregation he has had to enforce in the hope of maintaining peace among his 17,000 guests.

Bitterly hostile Israel and Iran will be housed at opposite ends of the village, while friendly nations will be consigned to the same apartment blocks at the giant £1.1bn development, he said in an interview with the London Evening Standard.

Team GB will be suitably far away from their Argentine counterparts in light of increasing tension over the Falkland Islands. German athletes will be kept their distance from Greeks after protests erupted in Athens over austerity measures forced on the country led by Berlin.

But it's not only politics he has had to consider. "You don't want to be next to the Brazilians, who are the biggest party animals," he said. "And equally, if you are an athlete you don't want to be next to the swimmers because they finish in week one and they are out and having a good time."

For the first time, athletes can expect four-star standard accommodation while in the village.

The village is the largest single building project at the site. When the Games and Paralympic Games are finished, contractors will move in, installing kitchens, removing temporary partition walls, and it will be converted into one-, two- and three- to four-bedroom apartments. The Qatari sovereign wealth fund has bought half the development. The rest will be owned and managed by Triathlon, and much will be affordable housing.