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  • London Logo Complaint Goes Viral; Olympics Shop Opens at Heathrow


    03/01/11

    London Logo Story Goes Viral

    As the story about Iranian objections to the London Olympics logo goes viral worldwide, IOC President Jacques Rogge tersely refutes the complaints from Tehran.

    "The IOC response is quite clear. The logo of London means London Olympic Games 2012. Nothing less, nothing more,” said Rogge Tuesday at the close of a press conference dedicated to the illegal betting symposium held in Lausanne earlier in the day.

    Four years after the logo was launched, Iranian NOC leaders went public this week with accusations that the jagged-edged London logo spells out “Zion”, the biblical name for the land now called Israel.

    A letter sent to the IOC from Iran calls the logo “racist” and suggests a London boycott could be considered.

    Attempts to reach the Iranian NOC on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.

    Since the first report from the Iranian Student News Agency surfaced Monday, the claims by the Iranian NOC have been reported worldwide, with hundreds of links to stories on search engines.

    At least in the English-language media, commentators seem to have little regard – and plenty of derision for the Iranian complaint.

    “So hey, Iran, stay home. That's one less security threat to worry about. One less team that's likely to drag religion or politics onto the sports stage,” writes Tom Weir of USA Today.

    Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post says the London logo may be offensive – but not for some hidden meaning.

    “There were complaints when the logo debuted, as well. But they weren't pointing out that it was offensive -- at least not because it spelled Zion. The only thing this logo is offensive to is good taste,” says Petri.

    Heathrow Gets London 2012 Store

    London 2012 has its largest dedicated merchandise outlet yet.
    The Heathrow shop is London 2012's largest to date. (LOCOG)

    Mascot duo Wenlock and Mandeville were at Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 on Tuesday to open the 2,300 square-meter space, London’s third such store but first in the host city’s largest airport.

    “Our new flagship shop offers a unique opportunity for London 2012 to connect to UK travelers and international visitors, offering them a great chance to take home a piece of the Games,” LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said in a statement.

    “The range of products on offer is huge, and the diversity really means there is something for everyone – from pocket-money toys to collectables.”

    Organizers expect several hundred thousand spectators to travel through Heathrow come 2012 as well as more than 125,000 members of the Olympic and Paralympic family and more than 30,000 international journalists.

    London 2012 opened stores at both Paddington and St. Pancras stations last year.

    Host Exemptions Extended to British Lifters

    British weightlifters will compete at the London Olympics.
    British lifter Michaela Breeze has three silver medals and two gold from the past three Commonwealth Games. (Getty Images)

    The British Olympic Association announced Tuesday that up to five athletes – three men and two women – will get host nation qualification spots for 2012.

    "British weightlifters have come a long way since 2007, when there were no athletes in the top 10 at the European Championships,” BOA CEO Andy Hunt said in a statement.

    Britain placed one man and three women in the top 10 at last year’s Europeans.

    Though exemptions are custom for Olympic host countries, the BOA says only those British athletes who can deliver both “a credible performance” and “a meaningful legacy” will receive automatic berths into the Games.

    As usual, the decision was taken by the BOA’s Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel in consultation with the sport’s NGB, in this case British Weight Lifting.

    Olympic Rings to Adorn Games Gateway

    Games-goers’ first glimpse of London 2012 will be the giant Olympic rings at St. Pancras Station.
    The Javelin train travels from St. Pancras in Central London to the edge of Olympic Park in six minutes. (ATR)

    LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe and London mayor Boris Johnson will unveil Thursday a 21mx9m version of the symbol to hang in front of the station’s clock until competition’s end.

    St. Pancras provides the “Javelin” bullet-train service that spectators will ride out to Olympic Park in nearby Stratford.

    Rings will later decorate Tower Bridge, the London Eye and possibly even the Houses of Parliament.

    Latest London Mascot Video

    British diver Tom Daley is one of the characters in the second animated video featuring London mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. The video, just under five minutes in length, is titled “Adventures on a Rainbow”.

    Written by Ed Hula and Matthew Grayson.

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