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  • No-Shows for Opening Ceremony; New Police Chief Takes Charge


    09/13/11

    GB Cycling and Swimming No-Shows for 2012 Opening

    The British Olympic Association tells Around the Rings it’s putting no pressure on athletes to attend the London 2012 opening ceremony after news emerged that around 150 of the 550-strong Team GB are not expected to attend the Olympics curtain-raiser.
    Team GB may appear a bit skimpier than otherwise at London's own opening ceremony. (Getty Images)

    The cycling and swimming teams are set to join athletics in withdrawing their athletes from the ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, according to a report in the London Evening Standard.

    Athletes and coaches are concerned the showpiece will drain the energy of competitors, particularly with the cycling and swimming events beginning the following day.

    “Our first priority is to make certain every member of Team GB has the opportunity to compete at their highest level. After years of preparation and training, performance must be priority number one," BOA director of communications Darryl Seibel told ATR.

    "We do, however, believe it is important for athletes to celebrate the experience of being an Olympian and, whenever possible, participate in special events such as the ceremonies.

    "Ultimately, it is a choice for the teams and athletes within Team GB to make."

    With LOCOG still finalizing important elements of the overall plan for the opening ceremony, including the timing for the parade of nations, Seibel said it’s impossible to say who from Team GB will and will not be participating in the event.

    New Met Police Chief Takes Charge

    Bernard Hogan-Howe is the new Metropolitan Police commissioner who will be responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the London Olympics.
    Bernard Hogan-Howe is introduced as the new Metropolitan Police commissioner. (Getty Images)

    The former acting deputy commissioner of Scotland Yard was one of four candidates interviewed for the post by Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May on Monday.

    She said Hogan-Howe impressed with his vision for the Metropolitan Police, his commitment to cutting crime and the important work he had done for the public.

    "London is a great city and will next year host the biggest sporting event in this nation's history. I am confident he will lead the fight against crime with determination and vigor," she added.

    Following criticism of the police force's handling of the London riots last month, Hogan-Howe promised a “total war” on crime after taking up his post.

    Hogan-Howe, 53, replaces Sir Paul Stephenson and former assistant commissioner John Yates, who quit over the News of the World newspaper phone-hacking scandal.

    London Mayor Boris Johnson welcomed the announcement. "Londoners deserve strong and dynamic leadership at the helm of the country's largest and most industrious police force,” he said.

    “I'm pleased to welcome the appointment of Bernard Hogan-Howe as the man I believe will deliver the firm, strategic lead our great city needs."

    Aquatics Center Legacy Plans

    Post-Games costs for users of the 2012 aquatics center are now public, with adult swimmers paying $6.84 for a peak time session – a figure that would match the East London average.
    Around the Rings was on the scene in London for the opening of the aquatics center during year-to-go events. (ATR)

    Peter Tudor, director of venues at the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), told the London Assembly’s economy, culture and sport committee Tuesday that he was in talks with potential operators and was expecting them to match the average cost in the surrounding 2012 host boroughs.

    One operator is likely to run both the aquatics center and the handball arena with ticket costs partly subsidized by corporate and cultural events as well as major sports competitions.

    “We all want to see the aquatics center put to good use after the Games and affordable tickets are key to getting local people, and especially families, through the door," said Dee Doocey, chair of the Assembly's sport committee.

    “Achieving the right balance between any public subsidy required and fair access for London’s elite and amateur athletes is essential to Londoners getting real value for money after the Games.”

    The committee is currently investigating legacy plans for the velopark, hockey arena and Eton Manor with a report to be published this winter.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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