Here are the Olympic-related links we’ve been looking at over the last week from July 27th through July 29th:
New Statesman – The Olympic spirit? – Arrestees were later released with stringent bail conditions, including a ban from cycling in an entire London borough, Newham. Very little is written about how bail conditions are often used to essentially supress protest, but as Alastair, a cyclist present at the ride, summarised, "This is about taking a big chunk of potential activists out of the picture for the duration of the Olympics and using police bail to do it."
The morning after a pro-cycling group were prevented from taking their monthly London route news comes in of clashes with the Police. The London Critical Mass group of approximately one hundred fifty cyclists broke through the police cordons, in place for the Olympic opening ceremony. Reports and images have come in of over one hundred arrests, including claims of a policeman pepper spraying a disabled man on a tricycle. Who was the pepper sprayed man? Follow the unfolding of events today.
Wheelchair athlete Jack Binstead is now aiming for the 2016 Paralympics after the disappointment of missing out on being a torch bearer in his home town of Kingston-on-Thames.
Jack got through to the final stage but the story of how the fifteen year old Kingston kid known as Wheelz to his 3,000 Twitter followers, was overlooked by LOCOG, is heartbreaking.
“I have raced the London mini-marathon five or six times and I have won about three times. Obviously I wanted to be selected and I understand, but I was told that the people who are carring it aren’t actually from the Borough and that is one thing that isn’t good,” Jack said. Continue reading →
Here are the Olympic-related links we’ve been looking at over the last week from July 25th through July 27th:
The Olympic Torch and how to game an eBay auction | The Albert Memorial is still there – Looking at the actual bidders in the actual auctions for each individual torch, the auctions are set to either private (so the usernames of the bidders are hidden), or from bidders apparently new to eBay with low feedback scores or histories of buying other items. There is also no indication of a behaviour of bidders bidding for one torch, being outbid, and then moving on to a torch with lower current bids – all the bidders seem to be clustered around just the one torch their bidding is attached to. What this indicates to me is that actually most of the bidding on London 2012 Olympic torches is not genuine – that most of it is being carried out by sock puppets, false eBay identities created in order to artificially up the bidding of items in order to create the impression of higher demand and a high value.
In the final part of the serialisation of Help Me Investigate’s first ebook – 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way we look at how the story affected one inspirational individual who did carry the torch – and the executives who carried the torch on the day the torch passed through Jack Binstead’s borough. You can download the book for free – or choose to pay a donation, with all proceeds going to the Brittle Bone Society – at Leanpub.com/8000holes
Part 5: 8,000 Holes
In June 2011, when the design for the official Olympic torch was unveiled, the Chair of LOCOG Sebastian Coe had said:
“The Torch that carries the Olympic Flame during the Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most recognisable and significant symbols of an Olympic Games. Members of the public right across the UK are busy nominating inspiring people to be Torchbearers and I am thrilled we have a beautifully designed, engineered and crafted Torch for them to carry.
“Integral to the design are the 8,000 circles, a lasting representation of the Torchbearer stories of personal achievement or contribution to their local community that will be showcased with every step of the Relay.”
But too many of those 8,000 circles turned out to be merely holes where local heroes should have been. The “message of inclusion” which the torch was supposed to represent had been replaced with a repeated message of exclusion. At almost every point where places were split up, a proportion was siphoned for allocation through non-public processes, whether the 15% of Lloyds TSB places for staff; the 10% of Samsung’s places; Coca Cola’s nomination judges carrying the torch as Future Flames, or the corporate partners who rewarded board members and business partners. Continue reading →
In the fourth part of a serialisation of Help Me Investigate’s first ebook – 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way we look at what happened to the thousands of torchbearer places that were allocated outside of public campaigns. You can download the book for free – or choose to pay a donation, with all proceeds going to the Brittle Bone Society – at Leanpub.com/8000holes
Part 4: The 21%
Between December 2011 and June 2012 the numbers of torchbearer places being awarded by bodies other than the Presenting Partners and LOCOG increased by a third. The International Olympic Committee‘s share of places saw the biggest change, going up by half – from 71 according to a December press release to 117 six months later, while commercial partners other than the three presenting partners – dozens of companies including Dow Chemical, G4S, Atos and BT – saw their share go up from 678 places to 913. Continue reading →
Olympic torch relay organisers are over 1,000 places short of meeting the promise that over half of Olympic torchbearers would be young people aged 12-24, according to an analysis of data in the official site.
Of just over 7,000 torchbearers published on the site by July 24, only 2,272 – 32% – are under 25. The proportion has remained consistent since details were first published in late May, but even if the other 1,000 torchbearers were under 25, the final proportion would be 40% – still well short of the target set at the relay’s launch.