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Category Archives: Olympic Games

THE XXIII Winter Olympic Games will be held from 9-25 February 2018 in… the South Korean city of Pyeongchang!

Pyeongchang (population 47,000), approx. 180Km (111-miles) East of the South Korean capital Seoul (host city for the Summer Games in 1988) saw off competition from Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) to win the rights to host a Winter Games at the third time of trying.

The result of the vote was announced late at night in South Korea, but that hasn’t stopped people partying.

Pyeongchang was edged out by Vancouver (Canada) by just three votes (56:53) in the final round of voting for the 2010 Winter Games after the South Korean city obtained 11 more votes than Vancouver in the first round. There was further disappointment when Sochi (Russia) beat Pyeongchang by only four votes (51:47) in the final round for the 2014 host city after the South Korean city had again won the first round.

But on this occasion, at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban (South Africa) there was only the need for one round of voting. Pyeongchang won 63 (two-thirds) of the 95 votes cast while Munich had 25 votes, with Annecy getting only seven.

This will be the third time that the Winter Olympics will be held in Asia. The previous two occasions were in Japan (Sapporo ’72 and Nagano ’98).

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak was in Durban to see IOC President Jacques Rogge announce (for the last time) the winning city.
President Lee said that it was: “his duty and mission to deliver the Games to Asia. I will make a good Olympics.

President Lee Myung-Bak (second from left) celebrates the long waited victory with the bidding team.

The Pyeongchang bid chief, Cho Yang-ho, added that: “This is one of the happiest days of our country, our people and millions of youth dreaming of winter sport.

Back in late 2009, The Chosun Ilbo (Korean Daily News) published a survey that said 91.4% of South Koreans and 93% of Gangwon residents (Pyeongchang’s region) backed the bid.

I am personally delighted for Pyeongchang. They were narrowly beaten twice and could have given up, but they showed true Olympic spirit to learn from their mistakes to come back even stronger than ever this time around.

President Rogge said: “The best one [bid] has won convincingly. I think that there is a lesson in the achievement of Pyeongchang. Patience and perseverance has prevailed.

My sympathies to the Munich and Annecy bid teams. If Munich had won, it would have been the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, whereas an Annecy games go back to Chamonix – the site of the first ever Winter Olympics back in 1924.

The date of the vote (6 July) is turning out to be unlucky for the French Olympic Committee. It was on 6 July 2005 that Paris lost in the final
round of voting (54:50) to London in the 2012 Summer Games vote.

Attention will now turn to the 2020 Summer Olympic bids. 1960 hosts Rome have made an official bid, as have 2012 and 2016 candidate city
Madrid (Spain) and 2016 candidate city Tokyo (Japan). Tokyo should save their time and money in my opinion, because there will not (surly) be back-to-back Far East Olympics.

We will find out which city will host the 2020 Games on 7 September 2013.

Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920-2010)

FORMER president of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch died today at the age of 89. He had been admitted to a Barcelona hospital after being taken ill at the weekend with acute heart problems, but passed away with cardio-respiratory failure.

He took over as IOC president just after the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, which were the third summer games in a row to be remembered for all of the wrong reasons. The events in Munich were still fresh in the mind; the huge financial loss in Montreal would be felt for a generation and now Moscow had seen 65 countries – including the United States – boycott the games. Los Angeles was the only city to bid for the next summer games in 1984 because no country other than America wanted them. Mainly because no summer games had made a profit since L.A. last held the summer games in 1932. The IOC was also in a deep financial crisis itself, and modern Olympic Games seemed to be doomed.

But Samaranch secured big TV deals as well as sponsorship, and the LA games – despite the Soviet boycott – proved to be a huge success.  He also helped with the gradual acceptance of professional athletes into a traditionally amateur sports event. Without this move we wouldn’t have the high standard of competitions we see today. Furthermore, Samaranch increased the number of nations taking part at each summer games during his presidency. Before he took over, Moscow ’80 had 80 nations taking part. Los Angeles ’84 had 140, Seoul ’88 had 160, Barcelona ’92 had 169, Atlanta ’96 had 197 and Sydney 2000 had 199 nations present. This trend has continued after his presidency as well.

In 2001, the current IOC president, Jacques Rogge, took over from Samaranch who became honorary president for life. His 21 years as president is the second longest in history of the IOC. The founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin was president for 29 years.

There were allegations of corruption in the IOC during his presidency, but he was cleared of any wrong doing. But some still wanted him out. When vote buying allegations became public in light of Salt Lake City being awarded the 2002 winter Olympics, runaway corruption was exposed in the IOC.

But to me, Samaranch will always be the man who saved the modern games from an apparent abyss. Without him we wouldn’t have the global sporting spectacle we have now.

R.I.P

AS we all know only too well, these games started off in the worst possible way.

Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a last minute training run just hours before the opening ceremony. As a result the starting gates were altered to reduce speeds and all the Lugers wore a black mark on their helmets as a mark of respect.

R.I.P Nodar

Canada set out to “Own the Podium” during their games, but they had to wait until day three to get their first ever gold on home soil in either the summer or winter games. Alexandre Bilodeau secured his place in Canadian sporting folklore when he triumphed in the men’s Moguls competition. The hosts went on to claim a record 14 gold medals, topping the medals table. They reached this historic landmark when they took gold in the one event they wanted to win above all others, the men’s Ice Hockey competition. The gold was made more valuable to them because it was their old enemy the USA who they beat 3-2 in the final in overtime.

My award for the most spectacular crash of the games goes to Swedish skier Anya Paerson for her “big one” in the women’s Downhill. She mistimed a jump near the end of her run and was launched into the air, travelling 60-meters (200ft). She recovered to win bronze in the Super Combined!

In men’s skiing, Didier Défago of Switzerland won the blue-ribbon event (men’s Downhill), and Bode Miller of America finally won an Olympic gold in the Combined.

The lack of snow which made it seem like the Spring Olympics didn’t take away any of the drama, especially in the new sport of Ski-Cross. With thrills and spills aplenty, we will defiantly be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

One of the most eye-popping moments of the games was when American Snowboarding legend Shaun White took gold by performing a “Double McTwist 1260” or “The Tomahawk” in the final of the men’s Halfpipe.

In Ski Jumping, Swiss legend Simon Ammann won both the normal and large hill competitions. Exactly as he did in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Figure skater Joannie Rochette of the host nation bravely skated through the grief of losing her mother just two days before to clinch a bronze medal.

By the way, is it just me or did nobody at these games get caught cheating or was caught doping? If that is the case, it is fantastic news. 🙂

And finally (but most importantly), Britain’s Amy Williams became Olympic Champion in the women’s Skeleton. This was our only medal of the games, but at least it was gold. I was jumping all around the front room at well past midnight when she won.

Amy Williams OC

Overall, these games will be classed as a disappointment for Team GB. We set out to get between three and five medals and only came away with one. But remember, we are not a country that sets winter sports that highly on its sporting list. But if we want to come way from Sochi in 2014 with more medals, more money should be given to the sports we are more likely to do well in. With a bit more cash, our Curlers and sliders may be higher up the rankings. Now I don’t want to sound nasty but in order for the above mentioned to happen, perhaps the money needs to be redirected from the Alpine Skiing programme?  Britain celebrating coming in the top 30 just seems a bit silly to me.

However, when it comes to my final athlete, I am going to make an exception. Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong of Ghana, AKA “The Snow Leopard” who started the men’s Slalom 102nd and last, finished in 47th place, over 43 seconds behind the winner. But more importantly, he wasn’t last!

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong “The Snow Leopard”

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not the winning but taking part.”

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics.

WELL DONE TO YOU ALL!      And thank-you!

Medals Table:

1. Canada = 14 golds – 7 silvers – 5 bronzes

2. Germany = 10-13-7

3. U.S.A. = 9-15-13

4. Norway = 9-8-6

5. South Korea = 6-6-2

6. Switzerland = 6-0-3

7. China & Sweden= 5-2-4

9. Austria = 4-6-6

10. Netherlands = 4-1-3

19. Great Britain = 1-0-0

I have just head / read of the death of Georgian Luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili.

He was on his last training run for his first Olympics when on the last corner, his sled flipped, sending him flying into a steel pole. Paramedics tried to save him, and he was taken to a local hospital, but his injuries were too grave.

He was just 21.

I’ll try and write a better blog about him later on, but I’m too upset to write right now. I actually cried a little for him, a man who I didn’t know from Adam less than 30 minutes ago. Strange that isn’t it.

Yes I accept that these things do happen. But not at the games. Not at the games. 😦