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  • Media Frenzy, Pin Shortage and Great Weather for One-Year Mark


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    Rogge, London Olympics Leaders Spark Press Storm

    There’s nothing like a mild-mannered IOC President to stir the press into a frenzy. That’s what happened when Jacques Rogge waded into the biggest press scrum so far in the history of the 2012 Olympics – fittingly at the opening of the Aquatics Center for Wednesday’s year-to-go madness.
    A pool-side media scrum for Jacques Rogge. (ATR)

    After taking a VIP walking tour of the new aquatics venue, Rogge and communications chief Mark Adams struck off on their own on the pool deck to head to the main level, where dozens of TV crews, some scheduled to interview the IOC President, awaited.

    Always accommodating, the President stopped on his way to answer a question from one reporter, drawing a horde to the spot for more questions. With a smile on his face, Adams did the best he could to keep Rogge moving, eventually reaching the concourse for his first appointed round with BBC’s David Bond. With Queen’s Freddie Mercury crying out “I want it all” and the pounding open of “We Will Rock You” erupting from the arena sound system, Rogge and Bond waited for quiet to return before they could start.

    (We asked Rogge if he liked Queen, he said yes. But we're not sure it was Elizabeth or Freddie he was admitting as a fave?)
    Maybe a first – IOC President interviewed by a radio host in a bath robe. (ATR)

    The pack around the two had grown to a couple of dozen by the time the interview started with even more journos on the fringe waiting for Rogge to move on. But before that could happen a bathrobe-wearing BBC radio host strode into the scrum for a live chat with the IOC boss, a first as far as we know for such casual dress. She was one of the reporters who were to take a dip in the new pool after the VIP conflagration moved on.

    There must have been close to 400 media at the pools Wednesday, up by maybe 100 from last year’s two-years-to-go, but hardly the throng of 20,000+ expected next July in London.

    Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell. (ATR)
    Tessa Jowell On the Scene

    She’s now the shadow Olympics minister, but that doesn’t mean Tessa Jowell is in the shadows. She was part of the scene all day Wednesday, doing TV interviews and attending VIP receptions.

    “Cross-party support has made these Olympics a success so far,” Jowell told Around the Rings at the Aquatics Center. At the same time, she believes if the Conservatives were in charge at the time of the bid, there would be fewer legacy projects for East London.

    Ed Hula interviews Edwin Moses outside the Aquatics Center. (ATR)
    Edwin Moses Likes London Openness

    Hurdles superstar Edwin Moses, among the raft of Olympians sought for interviews at the Aquatics Center opening, tells Around the Rings he expects a more relaxed atmosphere for athletes and spectators in London over Beijing.

    “All of the facilities in Beijing were top-notch, completely state of the art. But I thought there was passion missing from it, a little too much military, a little too much programmed for me that I didn’t enjoy,” says the gold medalist.

    Only 202 Nations Can Expect Invitations to London

    The DHL truck will pull up to just 202 national Olympic committees with the invitation to send athletes to London, down from 205 in Beijing.

    Since then the Netherlands Antilles has ceased to exist as an NOC and two NOCs are suspended: Kuwait and Ghana. Should those suspensions resulting from government interference be lifted, each will be invited.

    The A4-sized invitations were produced by a Lausanne design firm in the look of the London Olympics.

    Yang Chun Park received the invitation for Korea. (ATR)
    Accepting the Invites in London

    Six NOC leaders were on stage in the Wednesday night ceremony to be personally handed their invitations, four of them NOC Presidents, two of them not.

    Presidents Carlos Nuzman of Brazil, Spyros Capralos from Greece, Liu Peng of China and Colin Moynihan of Great Britan were joined by Russian NOC vice president Akhmed Bilalov and Yang Chun Park, former Korean Olympic Committee international relations chief, now an advisor to the KOC.

    IOC Roll Call in London

    Spotted at year-to-go events: Great Britain’s Craig Reedie and senior British member Princess Anne ... Austin Seeley of Barbados ... Denis Oswald from Switzerland ... Lambis Nicolaou of Greece ... Carlos Nuzman from Brazil, as previously noted ... and the IOC President, of course ...

    World Olympians Scout London
    WOA President Dick Fosbury checks out the London 2012 gold medal. (ATR)

    World Olympians Association President Dick Fosbury and WOA global programs director Tracy Mattes spent three days in London this week scouting potential venues for the 2012 Olympians Reunion Center.

    The hospitality complex at the shiny new Westfield Stratford City mall on the edge of the London Olympic Park is believed to be one of the spots of interest. The British Olympic Association and Australia Olympic Committee have already booked floors in the mid-rise that provides commanding views of the park.

    Pins Hard to Find

    As precious as confirmation of winning tickets to the 100m final may be year-to-go pins – stocks depleted the day after at the flagship LOCOG goods store in St. Pancras station.
    The view from one of the hospitality floors at Westfield Stratford City. (ATR)

    Only year-to-the-Paralympics pins remained on the racks. Few plush-toy versions of mascot Wenlock remained on the shelf at the shop, by the way. The place was crammed with them a year ago when it opened; Thursday only two were left to be found at 20 sterling a piece.

    Weather Fine for First Day of Games

    Scattered clouds, periods of sun with a breeze, a high of 23 degrees Celsius on this day, the first full day of competition in London next July.

    Written and reported in London by Ed Hula.

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