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  • Obama's Costly Trip to Copenhagen; London Olympic Park's New Look


    Obama’s Costly Trip to Copenhagen

    A two-year struggle to determine how much the Obama administration spent lobbying the IOC on behalf of Chicago 2016 ended this week when a conservative watchdog group reported that U.S. taxpayers coughed up more than $450,000 for the jaunt.
    Details of costs surrounding President Obama and the First Lady Michelle’s unsuccessful trip to Copenhagen on behalf of Chicago 2016 were released this week. (Getty Images)

    Officials from the White House spent two weeks in Copenhagen ahead of the IOC Session. After Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2009, the group received documents showing the cost for hotels, press travel and food was $467,165. Not released – the cost of President Obama’s travel on Air Force One, and his other support aircraft.
    Senior advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett led the delegation.

    But, as Judicial Watch notes: “Jarrett’s work on the Olympics bid would have violated Obama’s own Executive Order against engaging in lobbying activities prior to his administration. However, then-“Ethics Czar” Norm Eisen granted Jarrett an “ethics waiver” [sic] from the President’s highly-touted ethics pledge so Jarrett could run the push for the Chicago Olympics bid.”

    Judicial Watch also sought records from then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in 2009 about costs related to his trip but has been unsuccessful so far. The group launched a lawsuit against Daley for the information.

    Click here to review the 172 pages of documents.

    Olympic Park Gets Artsy

    Installation is underway for London Olympic Park’s largest standalone work of art.
    RUN will grace a plaza outside the Copper Box, London 2012's newly named handball arena. (ODA)

    Monica Bonvicini’s aptly titled “RUN” consists of three steel and reflective glass letters each standing nine meters tall and weighing 10 metric tons.

    Workers will spend the next six weeks attaching a series of curved mirrors as well as 305 meters of LED lighting to give the letters “a playful glow” at night.

    “RUN will blend in perfectly in the landscape, avoiding monumentality through the mirroring of the surroundings,” said the Italian-born Bonvicini.

    “At night the psychedelic light reflections will illuminate it in a vigorous, elegant and witty way, reflecting the great liveliness of London."

    The sculpture is funded by the Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority.

    African Qualification for 2012 Taekwondo

    Athletes from nine African countries will compete in taekwondo at London 2012.

    Host country Egypt clinched four berths at this week’s African Olympic Qualification Tournament followed by Morocco with three, Nigeria and the Central African Republic with two apiece as well as Gabon, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Tunisia with one each.

    Out of the 85 athletes from 30 countries to compete in Cairo, the ones heading to London are Bayoumi Tamer (Egypt) and El Yamine Mokdad (Algeria) in men’s 58kg; Boui Patrick (CAR) and Muhammad Isah Adam (Nigeria) in men’s 68kg; Issam Chernoubi (Morocco) and Ahmed Abdelrahman (Egypt) in men’s 80kg; Anthony Obame (Gabon) and Chukwumerije Chika Yagazie (Nigeria) in men’s 80+kg; Atabrour Sanaa (Morocco) and Kang Catherine (CAR) in women’s 49kg; Wahba Hedaya (Egypt) and Diedhiou Bineta (Senegal) in women’s 57kg; Elsawahly Seham (Egypt) and Gbagbi Ruth Marie (Cote d’Ivoire) in women’s 67kg; and Dislam Wiam (Morocco) and Ben Hamza Khaoula (Tunisia) in women’s 67+kg.

    It’s the first time qualifying for both Algeria and the Central African Republic. CAR took part in taekwondo at the Games once before via a wildcard.

    AIPS Brokers Peace Talks

    The International Sports Press Association held a meeting to protect Israeli and Palestinian sports journalists on Thursday, the eve of the AIPS 75th Anniversary Congress in Innsbruck.
    AIPS president Gianni Merlo at Friday's congress. (ATR)

    In a statement, AIPS called the meeting “another milestone in using sports to heal wounds.”

    Palestinian Olympic Committee chief Jibril Rajoub and Jossi Aharoni, sports chief for Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, participated in the summit.

    “We can use sport as a tool to build peace – sport is the world’s universal language,” said AIPS president Gianni Merlo.

     “We are here to discuss solutions to a professional problem. This is one of the duties of our association, the defense of the rights and the independence of journalists.”

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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