UK Prime Minister Pledges $1.1 Billion Despite Doubts
On Saturday, United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged more than $1.1 billion to ensure that a passion for sport in the UK is restored by the 2012 Olympics. Brown’s initiatives call for primary school curriculums to raise the amount of time kids spend in physical education from two hours per week – ranking them eighteenth in the EU – to five hours a week.
Though Brown is certain his initiative will work due to the mammoth sum of money he plans to contribute, teachers warn it may not be a reality. According to the plan, the extra hours would have to come in extended school hours or with sports clubs. This would require an extra 200,000 coaches, 70 percent of whom would be voluntary.
Chairman for the London Organizing Committee Sebastian Coe told the Guardian, "We shouldn't kid ourselves, we are coming from a long way back. This is not something that has crept up on us for the last five years. The seeds of this were sown in the 1960s. It is not enough to say, 'We've got the games, everything else is going to fall into place.”
He still maintains the Olympics will provide the inspiration for competition in sport, but he thinks the UK has much work to do before the infrastructure is in place to nurture the desire. Beijing Faces Over-Abundance of Tickets
According to the Daily Telegraph, in this round of ticket allocation, only a quarter of the available 1.8 million tickets were sold. Games officials have not commented, but Xinhua news agency has speculated that it’s due to selective Chinese enthusiasm.
"It is believed that it resulted from the fact that some popular events were extremely over-subscribed while the rest of the events had much fewer bookings," Xinhua reported. Best of China to Ready UK for Games
China Now, a series of events across the UK leading up to the Beijing Games, will kickoff Thursday. Festivities include a performance by the UK Silk String Quartet, a 175-foot dragon in Manchester, and a Chinese New Year parade, said the Sunday Times. Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only.