BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for May 2012

West Ham bid overshadows legacy

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David Bond | 13:33 UK time, Friday, 18 May 2012

There is a lot more at stake in the Championship play-off final tomorrow than simply West Ham's league status. A matter of national significance rests on whether they can secure a swift return to the Premier League 12 months after they were relegated.

After so many false starts and mistakes, the Olympic Stadium saga has entered yet another phase of uncertainty.

Earlier this week the London Legacy Development Corporation (the new name for the Olympic Park Legacy Company) announced it was extending the tender process for the stadium by a further eight weeks to allow those parties who expressed an initial interest the chance to submit a bid.

If you didn't know anything about this tortuous story you might have thought this was a response to a dramatic, late intervention from a big player offering a viable, long term alternative to West Ham - the first and only real credible long term tenant for the stadium.

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Olympic pressure has got 'worse'

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David Bond | 16:23 UK time, Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Olympic Games have changed a lot in the 36 years since the Princess Royal competed for Britain at the Montreal Games.

A member of the three-day eventing team, she is well known for her competitive streak and proud of her achievements in equestrian which also include a European Championship winning medal in 1971.

She is the only member of the Royal Family to have competed in the Olympics and Sebastian Coe reflected here today that she often speaks as a former athlete when she is involved in meetings of the organising committee's board.

As president of the British Olympic Association she was asked to receive the Olympic flame on behalf of Britain and London at an official ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium.

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Beijing's monuments to a lost Olympic era

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David Bond | 15:55 UK time, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were probably the last of their kind. In a vastly changed global economic landscape, few future hosts will have the money or the will to stage a mega-event on that scale.

Everything about it was supposed to leave you with a sense of awe. From the venues and the ceremonies to the home team's dominance of the medal table, the Games were designed to announce China's arrival as a global superpower.

Returning to Beijing's Olympic Green for my third and final special report on Olympic legacy, it felt as though little had changed over the last four years.

The Bird's Nest and Water Cube are still decked out in 2008 branding and one can't help feeling that the venues are seen more as monuments to China's big moment in the spotlight than functioning sporting venues.

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The £1billion title

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David Bond | 08:00 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

Manchester City’s first Championship title since 1968 will certainly live long in the memory. Afterwards, as he sipped champagne in the press room, the club’s Italian manager Roberto Mancini summed it up perfectly: “A crazy finish for a crazy season”.

Inevitably comparisons will be drawn with other nail-biting footballing climaxes. Liverpool v Arsenal in 1989 (the last time the league was won on goal difference), Manchester United against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final 10 years later and Liverpool’s miracle of Istanbul in 2005.

England cricketer Kevin Pietersen tweeted that it was why “there is NOTHING (his capitals not mine) better than sport. Fact”. And who could disagree? When it comes to delivering incredible drama, football and sport can conjure up heart-stopping, mind-boggling scripts.

How fortunate for the Premier League that their television and media rights are about to go out to tender.

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Olympic torch ceremony lifts Greek gloom

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David Bond | 18:56 UK time, Thursday, 10 May 2012

The lighting of the Olympic flame here at the birthplace of the ancient Games was a stirring moment, which reminded you of the historic significance of the movement and London's responsibilities this summer.

Besides a brief scare when the flame went out, the ceremony passed smoothly. But even with the sun shining it was hard to ignore the gloomier economic backdrop for today's event.

Greece is facing a crippling economic crisis. And while it seems slightly perverse to bemoan cuts to sport at a time when so many are losing their jobs here, the impact on elite athletes has been severe.

All domestic competitions have been cancelled and the International Olympic Committee has been forced to step in with another Greek bailout - this time to ensure they can field a decent team in London.

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Hague warns of travel bans

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David Bond | 15:00 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

The Foreign Secretary William Hague says the government won't hesitate to use its powers to extend London 2012 travel bans to individuals and officials with connections to undesirable regimes.

While refusing to comment on specific cases, Hague made it clear in his first interview on the subject that Olympic officials like General Mowaffak Joumaa of Syria and Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain would be closely assessed before being granted entry to Britain to attend the Games this summer.

"The power exists to stop people coming to Britain if we think it's not conducive to the public good," he told me. "We won't hesitate to use that power."

General Joumaa, the president of the Syrian Olympic Committee, is reported to have close links to President Assad whose regime has been described by Hague as "criminal" for its brutal crackdown on government opponents.

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