BBC BLOGS - Adrian Warner

Archives for May 2010

2012 Games could be revolutionary and recycable

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Adrian Warner | 10:27 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

London 2012 are building the first completely recyclable Olympic arena.

Former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell has told me that negotiations have been taking place to take down the temporary basketball hall after the Games and move it to Brazil.

Sao Paulo is interested in buying the Olympic Park venue and it could even before used at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

If this happens, London 2012 will play a special part in the history of the Olympics as well as getting some cash back.

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Don't believe the positive spin on £27m budget cut

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Adrian Warner | 15:31 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

olympic_park.jpg

The Government spindoctors were desperately trying to persuade me today that the new £27m cut in the Olympic budget wouldn't have a big impact.

I'm sorry but I wasn't convinced as I stood outside the Departure of Culture, Media and Sport building which, ironically, is just around the corner from Trafalgar Square where the biggest celebrations took place when London won the Games.

That's probably because I've spent the last three years listening to government and Olympic officials saying they have already saved millions of pounds on the project.

And it is also because I've never felt that the £9.3 billion budget is big enough, especially since the £600m allocated for security is largely believed to about half of what will be needed in 2012.

Don't just take my word for it. As I blogged in March, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee is worried that there is not enough rainy day money in the budget.

One senior Olympic official also told me recently that he feared some of the real costs of the Games have been hidden in the budgets of Government departments to keep the 9.3 billion budget intact.

The coalition Government will be looking to see if that is true. You never know, they may even come clean about it, if it is true.

But the cuts in other departments, such as the Home Office or Transport, are also bound to have an impact on the Games.

Watch an extended interview I did with new Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson about the cuts:

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I'm waiting to see how the big Olympic promises will be affected too. Will the sporting legacy aspirations be lost in all this cost-cutting?

And what about the transformation of the Olympic Park into an amenity for east Londoners? We still don't know where the money for all that is coming from.

So, forgive me for being sceptical. I've spent most of the last five years crawling all over the details of this project and I don't believe the spin.

Police morale 'crucial' for successful Games

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Adrian Warner | 13:54 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

I'm sorry, London 2012, but I decided to dodge your much-publicised mascot launch yesterday and went down to Bournemouth to a conference of the Police Federation.

On the surface, it's not such a sexy and headline-grabbing event but security is the number one priority of every Olympics and the way police forces handle it up and down the country will decide whether the Games are a success or not.

I'm starting to wonder whether we will be asking Britain's police forces to handle too much in 2012's unprecedented "Summer of Security".

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Sadness at Jowell's departure but 2012 work goes on

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Adrian Warner | 17:01 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

With the departure of Tessa Jowell as Olympics Minister, 2012 have now lost the two politicians who played the most important roles in bringing the Olympics to London.

In January 2003, Jowell sat down with former London Mayor Ken Livingstone for a crucial meeting in the Culture Secretary's offices just off Trafalgar Square. Sitting on Jowell's white sofas, they agreed a financial deal to cover the cost of the Games.

Without it, the bid would have been dead in the water. There was plenty of opposition in the Labour Cabinet to the Games and Jowell had to spend hours persuading her colleagues about the benefit of the Games.

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Keep an eye on 2012 during this World Cup summer

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Adrian Warner | 11:45 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Next month I won't be heading to report on the World Cup for the first time in my career.

It's going to be strange watching the tournament from home for the first time since 1986 when I juggled my university finals exams with late-night sessions in front of a cheap, black-and-white TV watching the finals - and that 'hand of God' - from Mexico.

But I can honestly say, that after five World Cups, I won't miss it.

And, one of the reasons is that the next few months are going to see some serious developments in the preparations for 2012 and beyond.

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Reset the Game Over message for young teenagers

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Adrian Warner | 10:06 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

When I was a newspaper correspondent at the Evening Standard, we ran a successful campaign to persuade the Government to back London's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

The Sports Editor, Simon Greenberg, now involved in England's World Cup bid, provided the inspiration for the campaign because he saw the value of the Games, not just to London, but also to the young people of Britain.

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