Tag Archives: 2012

The IOC is wrestling to drop this Olympic sport

15 Feb

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It’s been six months since the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games but the international sporting event is still generating plenty of coverage this week:

Leading the pack is South African Paralympic gold medallist and double amputee Oscar Pistorius who’s recently denied murder after his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was found dead at his home.

Secondly, ‘poster girl for London 2012’ Jessica Ennis has topped a poll, alongside the Queen, as one of the country’s most inspirational women.

Lastly, the International Olympic Commission (IOC) is facing criticism after it announced it wanted to drop wrestling as an Olympic sport – an event that dates back to the ancient Greek games and has been part of the modern programme since 1896.

There’s still a chance it could stay – if the IOC officially ratifies it at a meeting in September – but at the moment it’s competing against six other sports, such as baseball and squash, for one spot in the 2020 programme.

Of all the recent news the latter bothers me most. Why? Because those that have been with Prime Time from the beginning will remember that when I was a GamesMaker I helped to oversee the wrestling at the ExCeL centre.

The Olympic Games has such a unique history that it’s a privilege for countries to host this amazing centre stage to showcase talented athletes. (You only have to watch a snippet of Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony to see how much effort we put in.) With this in mind, I appreciate that to keep the Olympics current, occasionally it has to redevelop itself. And I’m all eyes and eyes for modernisation, but when elements of the event’s history and heritage are at stake then that’s a different matter.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a closet member of FILA – the wrestling federation. Until last August I’d never even seen a Greco-Roman match, but the fact that the IOC has deemed it a good enough sport, to recognise and reward athletes for demonstrating their skills and strength, for more than a century must worth something.

If it’s about ticket sales, the IOC should be supporting FILA with advice to raise the sport’s profile. After all, more athletes and more fans would benefit both parties. But, instead the committee bull-dozed ahead without talking to anyone. So, not only does the IOC look rash but also now appears defensive by saying:

“We knew even before the decision was taken whatever sport would not be included in the core programme would lead to criticism from the supporters of that sport.”

The backlash against the IOC has spread quickly and I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels surprised. ESPN’s Jim Caple highlights a range of other sports that could’ve been given the chopper which would’ve caused less controversy. (Trampolining anyone?)

Wrestling is an ancient sport. I mean that in the historical sense, not old.
It’ll be interesting to see what the outcome is as the wrestlers, and their fans, fight to feature in Rio and beyond.

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What have you been talking about in 2012?

11 Dec

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As the year comes to an end, search engines and social media platforms are evaluating what people were most interested in during 2012 – the year where global sporting events and celebrity status carried even more weight than normal.

Most of the results across the board are similar but there are some curve balls. Here’s a useful round-up of all the top reviews in one place:

Most tweeted
The annual Twitter review reveals that the London 2012 Olympics was the most tweeted about topic, generating 150m tweets during the Games. This peaked during the Spice Girls‘ performance at the closing ceremony. But, according to Google, despite the daily online scramble for tickets, it was only the second most searched for term – beaten by Euro 2012. What’s more, celebrations such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee don’t even feature.

Most re-tweeted
Barack Obama summed up his mammoth victory quite simply by tweeting ‘four more years‘, accompanied by an image of him and Michelle which went viral within two minutes of sending to become the most re-tweeted update, generating more than 810,000 re-tweets.

Most searched for
According to Google, Euro 2012, Whitney Houston and Andy Murray were among the most searched for terms, celebrities and Olympians.

Most talked about
Facebook revealed today that (surprise, surprise) the Olympics were talked about most on timelines with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee topping the chart. But other discussions included mummy porn phenomenon Fifty Shades and X Factor graduates One Directon.

Alongside these results, users were most likely to check in at Alton Towers (is it your biggest disappointment too?) and listen to number one ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ by Gotye.

So, there you have it – 2012 in a social media nutshell. But, what do we have to look forward to next year?

PRs were licking their lips at the thought of campaigns fitting into ‘2013 – the year of no sport / the royal void’. But, then the national press had a dream come true – a royal baby.

All chances of coverage have now been significantly reduced due to column inches re-written for stories on suicide inquiries, baby names, public schools and the general structure of the monarchy.

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Adverts don’t make nations fat, people do

20 Nov

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There was an interesting article from the Independent on Sunday yesterday on celebrities advertising junk foods.

Health campaigners plan to make a fresh attack on food and drink companies in an attempt to ban them from using celebrities to advertise their products. The finger isn’t just being wagged at celebrity ambassador veterans David Beckham and Gary Lineker, London 2012 Olympians are also under scrutiny for backing salty Subway rolls.

Journalist Paul Gallagher reports that the food and drink industry should be condemned for acting irresponsibly for fooling customers into thinking they can look like celebrities by eating the product they’re endorsing. RIDICULOUS. As clever as PR and marketing is, people are born with an innate detector that helps them to recognise ‘spin’ when they hear or read it. Who would fall into this ludicrous trap? Wait. I really don’t want to know.

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that food and drink companies must act responsibly, they can’t think for people. Campaigners are hardly giving the Government’s Responsibility Deal for Public Health a chance. This voluntary scheme, which has new pledges thrown at it almost weekly, has attracted hundreds of businesses who want to make it easier for their customers to eat healthier, including Unilever Food Solutions.

If celebrities can grow food and drink sales by association, I say ‘well done’. I don’t call it demon marketing. Adverts don’t create fat nations, people do. And recession, according to rival paper The Guardian today.

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