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Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Fri Aug 02, 2002 8:52 pm

Lead story on the Manchester Evening News website today:

Our message today to Dick Caborn, Minister for Sport, is simple: Open your eyes.

If you want to see Manchester's achievements, look around you.

Despite the overwhelming success of the 17th Commonwealth Games and the fantastic enthusiasm that the biggest multi-sports event ever staged in this country has generated, Mr Caborn has ruled out any prospect of Manchester's involvement in a future Olympic bid, even jointly with London.

We think he is wrong.

Mr Caborn, visiting the city today with International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge, was, of course, only echoing what Craig Reedie, British Olympic bid chairman, said earlier this week.

Mr Reedie was also wrong.

We fully understand, after two failed bids for the Olympics in 1996 and 2000, their belief that the IOC would only consider a British bid from London.

They obviously recognise the way things too often seem go in this country: there's London, then nothing - ignoring the fact that Manchester's Commonwealth Games facilities were built on budget and on time.

But we are not naive either. Manchester could not stage the Olympic Games alone. But this city has demonstrated in the clearest possible way, both through its ability to provide world-class sporting facilities less than the cost of reducing Wembley to rubble - and the enthusiasm of its people - that we deserve to be part of any future bid.

Top athletes who will never forget their Manchester experience, have launched a "crusade" to save the athletics track at the City of Manchester Stadium.

That, today is an impossibility, not of our making. Manchester offered to build a national stadium. We were rejected and cut our coat according to the cloth afforded us - which meant the deal with Manchester City FC was imperative to get a stadium build at all.

Manchester also offered to modify the stadium design at a later stage to incorporate retractable seating, which would have saved the track at a modest cost, and might, with negotiation, have saved the 2005 World Athletics Championships for the UK. It too was rejected.

Will Mr Caborn accept any government responsibility for these decisions, plainly and demonstrably wrong? Will he explain to Paula Radcliffe, Ashia Hansen, Marlon Devonish and Jonathan Edwards, why that running track has to go?

Frankly, if London was sceptical about Manchester's ability to deliver the goods, we have major misgivings over London's ability to get its act together by 2012. Look at the evidence.

Does anybody yet know whether Wembley, if it is ever rebuilt, will incorporate athletics? Or would there have to be another few hundred million thrown at another stadium capable of staging the Olympics?

There is a feelgood factor in Manchester that has brought pride to our nation. Don't ignore it.


This has been a party political broadcast by the "Life Exists Outside London Party"


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Just My Rant ....

Fri Aug 02, 2002 9:22 pm

Too right, Wembley is the national stadium for the whole of Britain, not just England. I reckon it should have went to Manchester so it's a little easier for everyone to get to. To be honest, I don't think the Olympics will go to London for a long time, it would be far to expensive - there's just too much work to be done. (designing a suitable stadium for a start - I think the Wembley design started off with a track and so on, but it's now been scrapped to cut costs, this project has been a total disgrace). I would say the public (in fact all) transport in London is struggling to cope with present demand, and a major sporting event on this scale would be disastrous. It will take London at least 10 years to get the basic infrastructure sorted out.

Manchester (or almost any of the other smaller cities) is in a much better position to adapt to the requirements needed. It has shown it has this ability through the great success of the Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow has recently shown it's ability to host important sporting events (champions league final, and yes I know it's not quite the same) even though the parties/celebrations got no TV coverage at all. This event without a hitch, and was enjoyed by everyone.

Edinburgh has hosted the Commonwealth Games before, and could do it again (and lets face it, the Scottish Executive is far more likely to support a bid from Edinburgh than Glasgow - but IMHO, a joint effort would be the best option). Lets hope Scotland does get euro2008, it would be amazing.

But no matter who hosts the Olympics, Sydney will always be hard to beat.
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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Fri Aug 02, 2002 10:26 pm

Successful games or not, Manchester is not the place to site a national stadium. I think that practically, somewhere around Birmingham would be a better choice. London's too expensive for a start and at least Birmingham is central and has good motorway / rail / air access. If there is going to be a new stadium it should incorporate a running track but have the ability to cover them with seats when athletics are not happening.

An Olympic bid would be more successful if it was a national bid and not a city based event. That way you would not have to build new stadia just for the event but utilise existing facilities around the country. It also spreads the costs and profits around too.

One other thing. Does it really cost £750 million to build a new football stadium? I don't think so, someone will be taking a big chunk of that money for themselves one way or another.
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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Sat Aug 03, 2002 12:52 am

This is in no way meant to be anti-British or anything - in fact I say this about Olympic Games in the US too - but I really wouldn´t like to see one city get the Olympic Games awarded for a fourth time/to host them a fourth time. There have been countries that have never had games, whole (sub)continents - let them do it first, then rethink about London or Paris.

Daniel Smile
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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Sat Aug 03, 2002 1:16 am

Daniel, Britain has never actually won the right to the Olympic Games; each time that London has hosted them, it's been a case of helping the movement out. Therefore, it would be nice if Britain were to win a bid!

But with the congestion problems that London has at the moment, any British bid must be away from there! I've experienced no delays here during the Commonwealth Games despite having both the Athletes Village and the Aquatic Centre on my bus route, with the G-Mex Centre, MEN Arena and Manchester International Convention Centre also reached via my bus route.

I'm not too sure that there would be many cities in the underdeveloped world who would be able to afford to host the Olympic Games - remember the winning city will be the one that has the best shops and most 5 star hotels so that the IOC delegates can stay somewhere nice and also spent the most amount of money bribing...oops entertaining them. It doesn't matter about the sporting facilities. We in Manchester were told that we had too few 5 star hotels.....quite what these hotels would have been doing after an Olympic Games is another matter as there is relatively little need for that kind of luxury here!

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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Sat Aug 03, 2002 2:45 am

I would love to see the 2012 Games in Frankfurt, but that's probably just a dream. The German winner will be either Berlin or Rhein/Ruhr, and I think both regions have good chances to get the Games. If, and that's a big If, if the Olympic Comitee isn't corrupt anymore ...
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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Sat Aug 03, 2002 3:24 am

Being a resident of a former Olympic city (Atlanta '96), I can say that Manchester would make a good site for the Summer Olympics, but in terms of name association, it ranks up there with Atlanta. You think of U.S. Olympic sites, two cities spring to mind LA and Lake Placid, not Atlanta. You think of Britain and Olympics, you think London. Any future bid for an Olympics in the UK will have to be an concerted effort among many cities in the country. Here in Atlanta, most of the events were within an hour's drive of Atlanta, with the furthest events being between 2-5 hours away by car. In England, the venues would have to be spread out to other cities like Southampton, Brighton, Cambridge, etc., somewhere like London does not have the abiltiy to have all of the events within a set area. Yes the area around London has numerous football stadiums, but with most league seasons ending about two months prior to the usual start of the Summer Olympics, some teams would have to share stadiums during the season(s) prior to the Olympics coming. As for Wembley, they've really dragged this one out. If Britain really wants to have the World Cup return, they're going to have to build a showcase stadium in London, whether or not it is going to be at the current Wembley site. Where would they hold the Finals at? Craven Cottage?
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RE: Future British Olympic Bid...London Alone?

Sat Aug 03, 2002 4:26 am

Are you sure that we'd need that many cities to host the Olympic Games? Below is the plan of venues for the Commonwealth Games.

Full description of the venue are to be found here.

Most other Olympic events can take place within an hour of the city centre e.g. Tennis in Bramhall (near Stockport), Football (Old Trafford, City of Manchester Stadium - might even rope in Liverpool and Everton's new grounds). Rowing would probably take place in Nottingham.


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