British Olympics minister Hugh Robertson. (Getty Images)
(ATR) Olympics minister Hugh Robertson says British sport can once again “be trusted to deliver on what it promises”.
He was speaking Monday at the London Stock Exchange, where he was joined by British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan for a BOA briefing to announce plans for a new Olympic Museum.
The Museum would be built adjacent to the ArcelorMittal Orbit across from Olympic Stadium and could open as soon as 2014 in the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In addition to showcasing stories and memorabilia from the 2012 Olympics, the Museum would also celebrate London’s place in Olympic history by displaying previously unseen relics and items from the 1908 and 1948 Games.
Good Start for Glasgow 2018
One of the other major talking points Monday was last week’s announcement that the BOA will bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in the Scottish city of Glasgow, an opportunity Robertson said is made possible by the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics.
Scotstoun Stadium, venue for athletics during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. (Getty Images)
“This is very much the start of the story, not the end of it,” he told reporters. “And the legacy aspect – if there is one thing that 2012 has given us, it’s the fact that British sport can once again be trusted to deliver on what it promises, which I’m sad to say was not the case 10 years ago.”
Moynihan echoed Robertson’s comments when talking about Glasgow’s bid for the 2018 YOG and maintained that the candidate city has an advantage over its rivals stemming from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“We think that Glasgow starts off from a very strong position against many of the other candidate cities,” he said. “They have volunteers, experts and a management team who have been working extremely hard to bring the Games to fruition.
“And when you have all the sports facilities in place, then you stand in a very strong position to be taken very seriously,” Moynihan added, citing the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships as yet another “added advantage” for Glasgow.
Illegal Betting Education
Moynihan also outlined Monday the BOA’s stance on illegal betting as well as plans to educate athletes and coaches in hopes of keeping the activity away from the Games.
BOA chairman Colin Moynihan. (ATR)
“We are keen in all our dealings with the IOC and government to make sure this threat which is a threat that has not been apparent to date in the Olympic sports world, but we’ve seen only too recently in cricket, can be a very significant challenge to the movement,” he said.
Moynihan also reassured reporters that the BOA would advise all NOCs arriving in London about the education program and what processes their athletes should follow in relation to betting.
But the BOA chairman also said that he would take a request to the IOC for there to be more “clarity” on what process should be followed by an NOC should there be an instance in which global monitoring of betting finds an anomaly on the actual day of a race, for example.
Robertson pledged the British government’s support for the program.
“There’s no evidence that there is an increase in illegal betting during the test events or in the lead up to London 2012,” he said.
“That’s not to say that the threat does not exist.”
Update on WADA Dispute
just two weeks until the Court of Arbitration of Sport hears the BOA’s defense on its eligibility bye-law, Moynihan updated the assembled media on where they were in the process of the dispute.
“Preparation for the defense of our selection policy continues. We put forward our case and WADA responded – we have now concluded our response back to WADA, which will go before CAS and they will then come back with their comments and then we will appear here in London a fortnight from today on March 12 and seek a resolution before CAS,” he explained.
“It is unlikely there will be a determination by CAS for three to four weeks after that. We’re expecting a month. For us the timing of all this is critical because the sooner we can get a determination, the sooner the athletes will know where they stand in terms of selection for the Games this summer.”
Moynihan also stood firm in his belief that the BOA’s law has always been compliant with the WADA Code.
“The strength of our case remains unquestionable. It is a strong selection policy
and one that has been in place for 20 years now. This is a policy
that reflects the wishes of the athletes,” he said.
“Every one of the 10 years that WADA has been in existence they have reviewed every member NOC and year-in year-out after detailed consideration, WADA found the BOA selection policy compliant with their code.
“We will vigorously defend our position on the behalf of our athletes on March 12.”
Team GB Lagging
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt says British athletes must work hard to convert silver medals into gold after reviewing Team GB’s performance in 2011.
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt. (ATR)
After previously stating that their target was to finish fourth in the overall medal tally at London 2012, he revealed that GB’s medal tally meant that they finished sixth overall in 2011.
“Clearly more work needs to be done,” Hunt said, adding that the good news is that 13 sports contributed to the medal tally in 2011 rather than just 11 at Beijing 2008.
“30 of our medals in 2011 were silver medals, and we need to convert those into gold if we are to reach our target. If you compare us to Australia, 45 percent of their medals were gold medals, whereas ours was only 24 percent so you can see the potential,” he said.
“British athletes achieved 212 top 20 positions in Olympic disciplines in 2011 – there are a lot of athletes knocking on the door of potential podium positions.”
But Hunt did take the point of reminding media that they were only “a short way down the journey” to London. The BOA has only announced 21 out of the 550 athletes to compete at the Games – the largest ever British team at an Olympics.
Packaging for the Team GB scarves. (BOA)
Also Monday, the BOA unveiled at a fashion show in London its answer to the fund-raising red mittens that will forever be linked with Vancouver 2010.
The BOA is hoping to sell at least one million of its red, white and blue supporters’ scarves at either $7.90 for a small square design or $15.80 for a larger version.
All profits will go to the BOA and British Paralympic Association to fund athlete support in 2012 and beyond.
Written by Christian Radnedge.
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