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  • IOA Pens Dow Protest Letter; NBC Adds Super Bowl Rights to 2018 Olympics


    IOA Board Protests Dow Sponsorship

    The Indian Olympic Association's executive board plans to write a protest letter to the IOC over Dow Chemical’s sponsorship.

    Dow’s relation to the Games has been harshly criticized due to the company’s link to an industrial disaster in Bhopal, India that killed thousands.

    Indian media report that the IOA’s executive board decided Thursday to write the protest letter but does not support a boycott of the Olympics.

    "We will write a strong letter to IOC about Dow Chemical's association with the Olympic Games. It will convey the strong sentiments of the Indian people in this regard. The executive has also decided to discuss the issue and leave it to the IOA General Body," said a top IOA source, according to Press Trust of India.

    "The members are not in favor of a boycott of the Games as it would be unfair on the athletes and go against the spirit of the Olympic Movement.

    This decision comes as activists, athletes and Bhopal survivors continue to rally against the sponsorship over an industrial disaster. In 1984, a pesticide plant leaked toxins into Bhopal and killed tens of thousands over the following days and years.

    Dow Chemical never operated the plant, which was owned by Union Carbide India Limited, but it did purchase the Union Carbide Corporation in 2001. Protestors say Dow has failed to clean up the affected area or to compensate victims.

    Reached on Thursday by Around the Rings for comment, a Dow spokesman declined to add anything new to the company's stance that "Dow did not and does not have any connection to the tragedy or its aftermath."
    In 1984, a plant owned by Union Carbide India Limited spewed toxins into the city of Bhopal. (Getty Images)

    The cause has also gained support outside of India. British parliament members Zac Goldsmith and Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, signed a petition demanding Dow be dropped as a sponsor, according to London's Daily Telegraph.

    Celebrities like actor Martin Sheen and DJ Paul Oakenfold also signed the petition.

    The Telegraph also reports that MP Barry Gardiner is demanding an inquiry into Dow’s procurement process.

    NBC Adds Super Bowl Broadcast Rights
    NBCUniversal acquired the rights to the 2018 Super Bowl, according to its new nine-year agreement with the NFL, so the network will be in the driver's seat if there is any conflict with the 2018 Winter Olympics, which NBC will also broadcast.
    As one of the world’s biggest spectacles, the Super Bowl commands massive TV viewership and ad revenue. (Getty Images)

    The PyeongChang dates are Feb. 9-25, 2018. If the NFL expands its regular-season to 18 games in the meantime, the Super Bowl will be scheduled later in February.

    "We are aware of it and we think having both of them on our air is a good thing," NBC spokesman Adam Freifeld tells Around the Rings.

    NBC bid about $4.4 billion for the rights to the 2014-2020 Olympic Games earlier this year.

    U.S. networks CBS and Fox also announced new deals with the NFL through the 2022 season on Wednesday.

    CBS has the rights to the 2022 Super Bowl. Neither the Olympic host city nor the U.S. rights holder has been determined for those Games. CBS last broadcast the Olympic Games in 1998 in Nagano.

    Russian NOC Backs Bid with “No Sports Facilities”

    Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov says the ROC is supporting Dagestan’s 2018 Youth Olympic Games bid despite there being “no sports facilities” in the city.
    Znamensky Cathedral in Dagestan.
    Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Zhukov was quoted by Russian media as saying: "it would be nice if we held the Youth Olympic Games in the Caucasus."

    On the lack of facilities, Zhukov added: “the local authorities are intending to construct them and there is still time to create everything needed.”

    The IOC will select a host for the YOG in 2013.
    Arab Journalists Get Athletics Advice

    Doug Gillon, former athletics correspondent for The Glasgow Herald, says covering faces rather than feats is what makes track and field so compelling.
    The IAAF communications department was in Doha to assist Arab reporters and to increase promotion of athletics in the region. (ATR)

    “Human interest stories about athletes grip readers far better than athletics stories defined by mere numbers, which only tell us how fast, how far or how high,” he said.

    “Athletes are people, and it's usually the human being behind the athlete who is interesting.”

    Gillon was speaking Wednesday in Doha on “Sports in Qatar and Coverage of Athletics” at an IAAF media seminar staged within the Main Media Center for the ongoing Arab Games.

    “Journalism and its technology has changed dramatically since I started nearly 44 years ago, but the key question remains the same: What is a story?” asked the veteran Scotsman who retired earlier this year.

    “Learn to peel away at the outer skin, and get to the juicy fruit inside, the real story. One is aware of a responsibility to report accurately, fairly and do justice to the athlete. Triumph of the human spirit is what athletics is about.”

    IAAF deputy director of communications Anna Legnani added that Arab journalists have a role in helping to create a culture in which athletics is understood.

    “Athletics is a universal sport, and it is important that we provide opportunities for journalists in all regions to improve their knowledge and fine-tune their reporting skills,” she said.

    “By helping to develop deeper and better coverage we can do a lot to promote the sport and ensure that the athletes’ fantastic achievements and fascinating life stories are transmitted by their countries’ media to the general public, further increasing their interest for athletics.”

    Arab Games Chair Visits Athletes

    Arab Games organizers made special mention of Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani’s visit with the Moroccan delegation, seen here. (AGOC)
    Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, chairman of the Arab Games Organizing Committee, spent part of the week mingling with athletes in the athletes village.

    The 2011 Arab Games, running in Doha until Dec. 23, are the first to have a village housing all competitors and coaches.

    Hubert Promoted at JTA

    JTA, the communications specialists behind London’s victorious 2017 IAAF bid, has promoted Séverine ‘Sevi’ Hubert to managing director following a year of "significant growth" for the consultancy.
    Sevi Hubert clowns around with EuroSport's Christian Seychal in Jordan in 2007. (ATR)

    Hubert moves up from international relations director to board director, with responsibility for overseeing all client relationships and ensuring a sustainable development strategy.

    JTA said the move comes after a record year for the company, with an anticipated 45 percent growth in revenues and profits in 2011.

    Commenting on the appointment, JTA founder Jon Tibbs said: “Sevi’s promotion is richly deserved – she has helped to spearhead JTA’s impressive evolution over the last five years, whilst still maintaining a hands-on approach for our clients."

    Sevi played a key role in London’s successful 2017 IAAF World Championships bid. She has also spearheaded JTA's expansion in Russia following the company's long-standing relationship with Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics organizers. New Russian clients this year include fashion label Bosco, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian International Olympic University.

    Paris-born Hubert, who has been working with Jon Tibbs since 2005, said: "JTA has gone from strength to strength in the last few years and it has been a fascinating journey. We work with some of the most prestigious organizations in the world of sport and I look forward to playing a big part in JTA’s continued development and progress.”

    Earlier this year, JTA extended its work beyond the Olympic Movement with its appointment as corporate communications consultancy to English Premier League champions Manchester United.

    Media Watch

    ZDnet compares technology between the 2012 and 1948 Olympics – the last time London hosted the Games.

    With reporting from Armstrong Augusto Vaz in Doha, Ann Cantrell in Atlanta and Mark Bisson in Rotterdam.

    For general comments or questions, click here.

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