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  • Dow Rejects Criticisms; Australian IOC Nominee; Japan Plans "Mini-Olympics"


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    Dow Says Criticism Unfounded

    Dow Chemical tells Around the Rings the company is not responsible for an industrial disaster that has activists calling for the end of its London Olympic sponsorship.
    In 1984, a Union Carbide plant emitted toxic gases into Bhopal, India. Dow bought the company in 2001. (Getty Images)

    In 1984, a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide spewed toxic gas into the city of Bhopal. According to the Indian government, around 3,000 people were killed in the following days and 15,000 died subsequently.

    In a statement supplied to ATR, the TOP sponsor says Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001, long after the issue was resolved.

    “Although Dow never owned nor operated the plant and the legal claims surrounding the incident were resolved in 1989, long before Dow acquired Union Carbide, we — along with the rest of industry — have learned from this tragic event, and have helped to drive global industry performance improvements to ensure that such incidents never happen again,” the company said in a statement.

    Despite the fact that Dow did not own or operate the plant at the time of the incident, the Indian Olympic Association says Dow is responsible and the case is still pending in courts.

    According to Indian media, IOA president V.K. Malhotra says the Indian Olympic Association will write to LOCOG asking for the cancellation of Dow’s sponsorship.

    Malhotra is also calling on the Indian government to look into the matter.

    Lorraine Close of the U.K.-based Bhopal Medical Appeal argues that Dow and Union Carbide have ignored the aftermath of the disaster and refused to clean up contaminated water in the area.

    “Living around the former Union Carbide factory site are some of the poorest people in the Indian city of Bhopal, who for the past 27 years have been slowly poisoned by contaminated groundwater which they use for drinking, cooking and bathing,” said Close in her blog.

    Dow contends that its Olympic sponsorship is part of its commitment to a sustainable future.

    “Fundamentally, the Olympic Games are about peace, progress, sustainability and the world coming together to celebrate our common humanity. We share that vision and are committed to achieving it,” said Dow in the statement.

    The highlight of Dow’s sponsorship, is a sustainable wrap to encircle the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

    Olympic Rower Up for Athletes’ Commission

    Tomkins was Australia's flagbearer at the Beijing Olympics. (Getty Images)
    Four-time Olympic medalist in rowing James Tomkins is a candidate for the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

    Tomkins was selected by the Australian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission and endorsed by the AOC executive body to be their joint candidate.

    He won gold medals at three different Olympic Games and has competed at every Olympics since the 1998 Seoul Games.

    After the candidates are approved by the IOC Executive Board, a list of nominees will be sent to all the National Olympic Committees by the end of December 2011.

    At the London Olympics, four athletes will be elected to the Commission. All 2012 Olympians are eligible to vote.

    Japan Plans “Mini-Olympic Games”

    JOC president Tzunekazu Takeda declared Tokyo will bid for the 2020 Games last month following a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the JOC. (ATR)
    The Japanese Olympic Committee is pitching a “mini-Olympic Games” as a way to help recover from the devastation wrought by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

    Kyodo News reports that JOC officials plan to organize roughly 60 events – torch relays, opening ceremonies and all – in five of the hardest-hit areas over the next three years.

    "We would like to provide opportunities for children and the elderly alike to enjoy what would amount to be a kind of sports festival," JOC president Tsunekazu Takeda was quoted by the Japanese news service.

    With IOC permission, Takeda added that he hopes to invite Olympians from overseas to take part as well.

    The “mini-Olympic Games” could ultimately prove part of a much larger rebuilding effort that includes the real Olympic Games. Takeda declared Tokyo will bid for the 2020 at a reception following last month’s ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the JOC.

    Three Cities for World Games Bid

    On Wednesday, the International World Games Association announced three cities were shortlisted to bid for the 2017 World Games.

    The cities are Budapest, Cape Town and Wroclaw, Poland.

    “We are very fortunate to have three bids of the highest caliber for The World Games 2017,” IWGA President Ron Froehlich said.

    In May of 2012, the IWGA will select a host city.

    The shortlist was decided after Froelich and IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow inspected the cities.

    “Our visits to the Candidate Host Cities only reinforced the first impressions we had reviewing the questionnaires and supporting documents since June,” said Froehlich. “Our conversations with the bidders were productive and will serve as the basis for the finalization of the winning city.”

    The World Games is a multi-sport event for disciplines and sports not included in the Olympics. They are organized under the patronage of the IOC.

    Oldrich Machac, Three-Time Medalist, 67

    Oldrich Machac, a three-time Olympic medalist in ice hockey died. He was 67.

    According to a statement from the International Ice Hockey Federation, Machac died of “heart failure after a long illness.”

    Representing Czechoslovakia, he was a defenseman.

    At the 1968 Grenoble and 1976 Innsbruck Olympics he took silver and in 1972 at Sapporo he and his teammates earned a bronze. The Czechoslovaks also won three IIHF world championships in the 70s.

    “Oldrich Machac was perhaps the most stable and reliable defenceman of the Czechoslovak national team which dominated international ice hockey in the 1970s,” the IIHF said. “Punishing bodychecks and thunderous slapshots from the point were his trademarks.”

    Mike Barrett, Gold Medalist, 67

    Mike Barrett, a gold medalist on the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, died on Tuesday. He was 67.

    Media reports in his native West Virginia said he succumbed to a fight against cancer.

    “It’s not only a sad day for West Virginia Tech, but for the state as a whole,” West Virginia University Tech coach Bob Williams was quoted as saying. “I know he was always concerned with what was going on at Tech. He was always willing to pitch in. He was real supportive of the program, and he obviously loved his alma mater.”

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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