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  • IOC Tours Olympic Village; Acer CEO Quits; Doubts for Gymnastics Worlds


    IOC Encouraged By Olympic Park Tour

    The IOC inspection chief for London 2012 says he’s pleased with progress in the Olympic Village, its first residential section now complete.
    IOC Coordination Commission chair Denis Oswald and LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe led the way during Thursday’s tour of the Olympic Village. (Olympic Delivery Authority)

    “It is encouraging to see that excellent progress has been made in constructing this accommodation, especially knowing that this Village will become a vibrant new community in legacy,” IOC Coordination Commission chair Denis Oswald said Thursday in a statement distributed by LOCOG.

    IOC members are in the midst of their first of two scheduled inspections for the year.

    Oswald, who helped lay the final piece of turf Tuesday at the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, visited the cycling venue, aquatics center and Olympic Village during Thursday’s tour of Olympic Park.

    Olympic Delivery Authority CEO Dennis Hone showed off one of the 11 residential sectors that athletes will call home during the Summer Games. The other 10 are slated for completion by year’s end.

    “With our first residential plot now completed, we are seeing beds for athletes and new homes for Londoners taking shape,” he said.

    The Village will bequeath east London more than 2,800 apartments in legacy mode.

    Oswald is expected to sign London’s praises during a Friday press conference with IOC executive director for the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli, LOCOG chair Seb Coe and LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton.

    Just under 500 days remain until the 2012 Olympics.

    Acer CEO Resigns Over Difference of Opinion

    Olympic TOP sponsor Acer is losing its leader with less than 500 days until the London Olympics.
    Former Acer president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci. (Acer)

    The resignation of president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci was approved Thursday at a board meeting in Taipei.

    “On the company’s future development, Lanci held different views from a majority of the board members, and could not reach a consensus following several months’ of dialog,” Acer said in a statement.

    “They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation.”

    Based in Taiwan, Acer ranks behind HP as the second-largest computer maker in the world but leads in laptop shipments.

    The company signed on with the IOC in 2007 just two days after Lenovo declared it would not renew past the Beijing Olympics.

    Acer then took over the computer category in 2009, covering the Vancouver and London Games in a four-year deal similar to the one with Lenovo.

    Chairman J.T. Wang will head the company until a new CEO is named.

    “The change does not affect current operations,” Thursday’s statement read.

    Whether the same can be said about Acer’s appetite for Olympic branding remains to be seen.

    Tokyo’s Gymnastics Hosting Rights In Doubt

    The International Gymnastics Federation will decide whether its artistic world championships remain in Tokyo despite the willingness of Japan to host.

    “Today, the consequences of the nuclear catastrophe are still unknown and there is a worldwide anxiety and concern,” the governing body said Thursday in a statement.

    “The FIG - in close cooperation with the Japan Gymnastics Association - shall follow the development of the nuclear catastrophe closely and shall reevaluate the situation by the end of May.”

    Thursday’s statement comes two days after JGA president Hidenori Futagi posted a letter on the organizing committee’s website reiterating his country’s readiness in the wake of tragedy.

    “We do believe that we will host the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo successfully and hope to turn grief and sorrow of Japanese people into energy and courage.”

    The event is scheduled for Oct. 7 through 16 at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Gymnasium.

    On March 11, an earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami and left thousands dead. Recovery efforts are still underway, and the country’s nuclear power plants remain volatile.

    Samsung, Visa Partner for London 2012

    Olympic fans will be able to make payments from their Samsung Olympic mobile devices during the London Olympics.
    Visa and Samsung leaders announce their partnership on Thursday. (Samsung)

    TOP sponsors Samsung and Visa partnered together to provide a mobile payment system during the Games.

    It is the first joint sponsor program for London 2012.

    "We are not only breaking new ground for Olympic partnerships, we are committed to enabling consumers to connect with mobile and contactless payments technology for 2012 and beyond," Visa Europe CEO Peter Ayliffe said in a statement.

    "As a pioneer in mobile technology, Samsung is striving for long term change in the way we use mobile payments. In London next year, we regard the greatest show on earth as the perfect opportunity to showcase how this technology can make a positive difference to people's lives - enabling them to feel closer to the Olympic and Paralympic Games" said Seokpil Kim, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe.

    The mobile payments will be available through a Visa mobile contactless application. Customers will hold their phone in front of a contactless reader when making a purchase.

    There are more than 60,000 places in London that will accept the mobile payments. Visa is partnering with banks and retailers around the worldwide to increase the number of locations that will accept the mobile payment.

    Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes will receive Olympic mobile devices that are enabled with the mobile payment system.

    Consumers will be able to purchase the enabled devices from mobile network operators and other distributors.

    Yang Yang Leading Commission
    Yang Yang. (Getty Images)

    IOC member Yang Yang will lead the Evaluation Commission for the second Youth Olympic Games.

    The Chinese IOC member was selected by Jacques Rogge on Thursday for the position.

    She will be the only IOC member on the panel.

    Six others will comprise the panel, including four IOC staff members will join her.

    The Evaluation Commission will submit a report to IOC members, who will then elect the YOG 2016 host city by postal vote before the end of this year.

    Claudia Hiell, Silver Medalist Judoka, 29

    Claudia Heill with 2004 gold medalist Ayumi Tanimoto of Japan. (Getty Images)
    Claudia Heill, silver medalist in Judo at the 2004 Olympics committed suicide. She was 29.

    A statement posted on the Austrian Judo Federation’s website Thursday said “Claudia was an outstanding athlete and a role model for all judoka.”

    It added the federation “will keep Claudia in honorable memory”.

    She retired after finishing fifth at the Beijing Olympics in the under-63kg division.

    Written by Matthew Grayson and Ed Hula III.

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