Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bored Of The Rings

Good morning - it's the weekend and for some people a time to relax. 

However, for others such as us, there are no such thing as weekends. Being retired, the biggest change to get used to was that there are no weekends. In fact - weekends are now to be avoided by us. The weekend are the busy days in most towns as people rush about trying to get all of their chores completed before Monday comes around again.

So I find that I have to make a concious effort to find things to keep my mind active. Writing a blog is one of them, but in itself is not enough to give me my daily fix of mind and imagination stimulation. For me, radio is a good medium for stimulation. With the odd viewing on the goggle box. Now on radio and television we are beginning to see the start of the rugby scrum that is the Olympic games. With just less than 100 days to go!

Designed by Wolf Olins  at a cost £400,000

Iran is threatening to boycott the Games after “Internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against Olympic’s valuable mottos.” 
Iran objects to the logo for the 2012 London Olympics, contending it is racist because it resembles the word “Zion” and warning of a possible boycott of the games. The secretary general of Iran’s National Olympic Committee said Iran sent a letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. The letter claims the 2012 logo spells out “Zion,” a biblical term widely recognized to refer to the city of Jerusalem. Secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh said the letter urges other Muslim states to oppose the “racist logo.” “There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles,” the letter said.

The London logo until now has been criticized only for its design.  I can't see the word Zion myself. 

“It is an invitation to take part and be involved.”

However, the Olympic Games are no longer a sporting event. The Olympic Games like football and motor racing are big business. I love sport the Olympics are supposed to be a sporting event, but the rampant commersialisation of it sickens me.

How big a business is the Olympics?

Three years ago, the Government introduced some sledgehammer legislation to protect the copyright of the London Olympic Organising Committee. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 made the words "London 2012" ,  "2012" and "various derivatives" protected trademarks.It also tried to take ownership of the English language by making it unlawful for advertisers to combine certain key words such as "London", "games", "medals", "gold", "2012" and "summer". This government really does have a messed up sense of reality. Its made it illegal to have a 2012 calendar and my watch shows the year as "2012" I must run and hide!

Lets take a look at just one tiny aspect of how big the business is.

The British Olympic Association is out of kilter with the rest of the world. If a competitor is found guilty of cheating, then they get a sporting ban at the end of which they either return or not to their sport of choice. Our competitors are treated differently and The British Olympic Association could now be landed with legal costs of up to £200,000 if, as anticipated, it loses its attempt to bar Dwain Chambers and David Millar from competing in this summer’s Olympics. BOA's policy of life bans for convicted drug users such as Chambers and Millar are likely to be overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Any costs will be mitigated by the fact that the BOA’s counsel in the case, Adam Lewis QC and David Pannick QC, are understood to have agreed to appear for significantly reduced rates.

Carrying The Olympic Torch has been used as for years as an advertising medium. Advertising is big big business! Who better than "Coca Cola" to be an event sponsor!

Many times the flame has been carried by hand, on the sea, and in the air. Using a device similar to the one invented by Sir Humphrey Davy that works to protect the flame. Now, after carrying out tests, the Olympic torch has emerged with its flame alight and been pronounced "weather proof" by Olympic organisers. But what exactly was the torch subjected to, given it has only to survive our hopefully soggy summer. (We are in a serious drought after all) 

Tecosim Technical Simulation have tested the way that the torch would react to extreme weather.The criteria: stated that the torch had to work within temperatures of -5C to 40C, as well as in 95% humidity, rain and snow, in wind speeds of 35mph, gusting up to 50mph.  Remembering our only space woman Helen Sharman, the torch also had to also survive a three metre drop test. 

Gary Landsdown said "We had three torches - two were ours, prototypes of the ones designed for the 2012 relay - and one was a "benchmark torch". It was from the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics as this torch was considered to be the best previous one with the least number of flame-outs." He added "The torch can survive rain as long as it's not bucketfuls of water." He also added "An energy efficiency solution using Elephant grass was looked at for the torches. But the problem was the timescale required to develop the fuel. The torches are so high-profile and there are such high numbers of them that there just wasn't time. But it was useful to do the work on it, and the research will have other uses.

Gary was able to get the name of the fuel sponsor in, when he said "We took the torches to beaches near the EDF (French owned) nuclear power site in Dungeness, Kent, which has 20-39 mph winds. EDF are supplying the fuel for the torches. It's a pebbly beach and you can't measure the exact amount of dust and grit in the air, but there were lots of areas that were dusty and dry." 

Maybe if the torches go out, after their visit to Dungerness they will at least glow in the dark. Sounds like a good reason for using a good old Davy Lamp as a back-up device. It would save such a lot of dosh. Or do they know something we don't know about the long range weather forecast for our summer?

Nigel Williams said "It needs to burn for a minimum of 10 minutes, but with the gas cylinder and burner we've got now, it will last 13 to 14 minutes." Clare Pelly said "The average distance each torchbearer will travel with the torch is 300m and each leg of the relay is expected to take between three and six minutes. We've allocated one cylinder per torchbearer." On health and Safety she added "We are issuing a torch safety document for the Metropolitan Police, who as part of the torch operations team will turn off the gas on each torch when it has been used. The torch then has to cool for 10 minutes before being handled. Safety is paramount - our youngest torch bearers are aged 12." 

Clare Pelly said "We always have the mother flame in a back-up lantern. We're able to use the lantern to relight a new torch in extreme situations and we'll always have additional torches within 30 seconds' reach."

So, apart from a bit of kudos with their school friends, what's in it for the kids? 

The Olympic torch bearers who are giving their time free of any charge.  Will have to pay if they want the ultimate souvenir of the relay - their own torch. From It will cost the torch bearers £199 to buy a torch from Games organisers. However, if they want the one that they carried during the relay the cost rises to £215.

The Olympic organisers suggested that anyone finding cost a factor in buying a torch should consider fundraising in their community, with a "cake sale" or "sponsored swim" as possible ideas. Payments by card are accepted only on Visa although cheques, cash, postal order or bankers draft are also acceptable. Torchbearer merchandise is also available, including a torch stand (£39), pin badge (£7), commemorative book (£19.99) and t-shirt (£21).

Each torch could have been auctioned off for charity, something like like CaRT for instance.  However all is not lost, for if you think your missing out - have a look on eBay after the event!

Yes, it has to be said "I'm "Bored Of The Rings"


1 comment:

  1. I hear ya..

    That one word & 4 little numbers:

    "LONDON 2012"

    I mean there's more to this great land of ours than just that place. So why not:

    UK 2012 or
    ENGLAND 2012 or even
    GB 2012

    Whenever I hear that word & those 4 little numbers & I find My voicebox utters 4 little words thus: "Oh no what now"

    Love the SHIT logo by the way.

    Another alternative which could be a compliment but also carries the risk of initiating world war 3: IRAN circa 1000 years BC to erm, well, forever:
    IRate Antogonistic Nutters

    There, that's better,


Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.