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Olympic overdose?

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Katy Searle | 14:54 UK time, Friday, 8 August 2008

Have you had enough of the Olympics already?

BBC News LogoWell, with BBC1 already showing the spectacular opening ceremony in full, tonight's BBC News at Six has its own high wire act to perform. How do we give audiences the full highlights of what's undoubtedly a great sporting event without driving away those who've seen it already - or worse - don't want to see it at all?

Luckily, despite the fact August has dawned, bringing with it the summer silly season, we have plenty of other stories to keep you watching.

With only 30 minutes of air time what exactly is the news today? Well, like it or not, Beijing has put on one of the most memorable ceremonies any of us have ever seen. Today is not about sport but about China making a statement to the world. It's worked - after years of planning - the design, the choreography, the lighting of this three hour performance guarantees its place at the top of the bulletin.

The BBC's Huw EdwardsSo what else? The housing market and the strains of the credit crunch continue to claim a good slot on the Six. Today's repossession figures are startling and on another day, could easily be our lead story.

For those of you who look beyond our shores, strong pictures of fierce fighting in the disputed region of South Ossetia will be explained and analysed. Not a natural story for the Six? With Russia threatening a robust response, it's right to be in the show.

So, keep watching - yes there's lots on the Olympics but remember it is only once every four years, and who knows, we might win a medal or two.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Personally I do not want to watch anything regarding the Olympics. Firstly your coverage is definitely pro China and gives them the impression that the world does not care that they have thousands of people in prison for simply being mainstream Christians or Muslims. Secondly because you have the rites to the games you chose to forget the issue of drugs and corruption around sponsorship.

    The Olympics games has become little more than a corrupt, international drugs festival. Worse this year its being used to justify and legitimise a terrible and amoral regime which will no doubt lead to further repression after the games as they take it from the worlds attendance that the world doesn't care what they do. I am annoyed that my license fee is being misused in aid and prop up such a regime.

    No doubt future generations will look back on this in the same way we do now at those who attended the Berlin games and with the same contempt.

    As to winning medals, as far as I am concerned there will be two groups of medal winners (regardless of their country of origin). Those who get caught taking drugs and those who get away with it!

    I may be a daily watcher but, as with the American election I think I will be skipping the news for the next week or two.

  • Comment number 2.

    South Ossetia "not a natural story for the Six"? Are you kidding? Hundreds of civilians killed and a superpower about to engage in war? On every other UK news outlet, from to Sky News, this is the lead story! Only the BBC, which presumably has to justify the oodles of cash it has splurged on the Olympics and the vast overstaffing in Beijing, would think that some contemporary interpretive dance deserves higher billing!

  • Comment number 3.

    You've got it live and in full during the afternoon, then a highlights programme in the evening.

    I'd say keep the coverage light on the news - as you say there are a lot of other things demanding your attention in a 30min slot. For those who want more? - Tell them it's on again, in detail, just after the news.

  • Comment number 4.

    What #2 said. You're fired.

  • Comment number 5.

    I know the Olympics are a big deal for a lot of people, and hence deserve some cover, but you're covering it all day already. There are far more important things going on in the world, so whilst I don't mind a quick mention (in the same way the news covers other major international events like Wimbledon, a European or World cup ball game and so on), I am disgusted that you would drop an item like Ossetia.

    Think about it - in a years time, how many people are going to care about the current Olympics? And how many will still be suffering from the impact of an invasion in Ossetia?

    Comment #2 above is far more eloquent than I on the matter, so I won't repeat what they said

    This is the sort of failure to focus on what is important in the world that is killing the BBCs reputation as a leader in the news.

    I will no longer be watching BBC news until someone can tell me you've regained a proper sense of what is important to your viewers.

  • Comment number 6.

    The overdose of the Olympics is obscene. Today the coverage was not only on BBC One, but also on the BBC News Channel and on Freeview 301, the interactive channel.

    Why does th BBC feel the need to show the same event on three separate channels when they themselves have said they struggle to fit their programming into existing Freeview bandwidth?

    Would 301 not have been put to better use with the excellent TMS video scorecard, and why should BBC News not be covering the Ossetia situation fully, rather than squashed into headline bulletins and - worst of all - covered in detail, but only on half of the screen (the other half was showing the Olympics).

    This is not the first time the BBC have devoted airtime like this - it was the same with Wimbledon.

    Does the BBC listen to its license-fee payers? Does it hell as like!

  • Comment number 7.

    Well said Katy.
    We will be getting repeats all the time ,all day on news 24 then BBC News slots, which is already like a history channel by its continual use of the same infills repeated exactly the same as what was shown from six in the morning on news 24. and at 6pm and every news programme thereafter.
    Still I should save on my electric bill by having the TV off now.

  • Comment number 8.

    What a relief to see the question on a news site. I am not remotely interested and while I recognize that the Olympics are a big deal to many people, I wish there were more alternatives to the relentless coverage.

  • Comment number 9.

    While his tanks were entering Georgia, Putin was happily exposing his sweat patches in The Birds Nest in Beijing, greeting his Olympic team. Also, Bush was almost having a laugh at the Iraqi team while a war is boiling a couple of time zones west. Would you interrupt the first HD Olympics for that?

  • Comment number 10.

    this is a disgrace to the whole Chinese ppl i hope that the blood money you all take is worth it the ppl that were kicked out of there homes to build this stadium should be given there homes back very nation that is taking part should be ashamed of them selves i also agree with other ppl on here about the ossetia situation and the fact that you use all your channels to put the Olympics on

  • Comment number 11.

    The obvious comment is that the Olympics are dull and unimportant. Though there can be no no doubt some paid sports commentator will tell us "the whole world is watching".

    The only reason people remember an opening cereremony is because it is relatively interesting compared to watching self-obssessed people compete in sports that normally attract audiences of a few dozen.

  • Comment number 12.

    While watching the BBC coverage of the Olympics today I was distressed to notice that the commentator tended to focus on the political goings on of a particular nation rather than the admirable journey that many athletes had taken to reach the pinacle of their respective sports. There is no need for the articulation of political issues in an event that is suppose to bring the world together. While yes, China has some questions to answer over a number of issues it is neither the time or the place during a telecast covering such an event to question these things.

    I found it particularly disturbing that when the Iraqi team made there way into the arena the director focussed on George Bush rather than the remarkable athletes.

    BBC have a look at yourself today was not a good show.....

  • Comment number 13.

    I am boycotting all coverage of the Chinese Olympics. I presume therefore, I should avoid the BBC for the next few weeks then.

    I should like to think that the possibility of all out war on Europe's doorstep would be of much higher importance than something that is no more than a party.

  • Comment number 14.

    A tip for BBC editors:

    When a war breaks out, you suspend the coverage you have preplanned and are obsessing about like a new toy and you cover the war.

    It's called "breaking news."

  • Comment number 15.

    Shame on you all, while georgian tanks and troops are KILLING the South Osetia's civilians - mainly woman, children and old people, while Tshinvali lies in ruines under the georgian fire you DARE to LIE that it's a Putin's agression. Is all western world out of it's senses?
    I always thought that russian tv and news is greatly influenced by russian goverment and there for lying and thought that at least the BBC can be objective and just enough to be believed.
    Now I see how facts about thousands of civilians deathes and suffering can be perversed and blundered.
    But while doing so remember- those who prefer to conceal the truth will later receive it's bitter lessons
    If Georgia is a victim and they are under fire, why they are not allowing The Red Cross to organise a refugees corridor? While thouthands of people are suffering without water and safety at the very least?

  • Comment number 16.

    A quick comment: during the Olympic Games all wars were stopped at least in Greece.
    Wouldn't you like to remind to Georgian government about this since all the tanks that you call russians have sighs of Georgian army and those fire attacks which you show as russian attack on georgian's army is actually the picture of destroing the Tshinvali with georgian armour?

  • Comment number 17.

    What I meant by my second post were your reports and fotos of "russian" tanks with georgian army signs on them. Both were seen on your site.

    If you care about your reputation please check the info you are showing to us and don't think us brainless enough to believe everything just because you want it to be so.

  • Comment number 18.

    Have you had enough of the Olympics already?


  • Comment number 19.

    I was incredibly disappointed by the BBC program this evening showing 'highlights' of the opening ceremony. There was barely 15 minutes of the incredible show that was put on by the Chinese. Did no one think of the fact that most of the working population in the UK would not have been able to watch the ceremony? Surely the whole hour could have been used to show many of the amazing displays put on (of which many 2 second glimpses were shown, but no more). What a waste and huge disappointment for many people lcoming home from work hoping to see significant highlights of a great event.

  • Comment number 20.

    So, even though large numbers of people accuse the BBC of showing political and cultural bias on a regular basis, there are others who are saying it *should* show political and cultural bias by refusing to show the Olympics ...

    I guess it just goes to show that bias and prejudice are perfectly OK as long as it's addressed at the "right" things.

    As for South Ossetia - you have to wonder how much reporting they're able to do, at the start of a shooting war.

    Most armies tend to really bork up any communications in the area of operations, not to mention reporters are likely to be keeping their heads down right now until things go from all out initial attack frenzy to occupation/post-occupation atrocities.

    Yes, the Olympics are going to be covered like crazy - but they only happen once every four years - and it makes a change from the interminable boring footie.

    There you go - if you're that interested in watching a war, watch a football match on Sky instead - same thing, only more violent without the use of tanks and fighters.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well done number two, and number four and others. I never thought I'd say this but well done to ITV news tonight. My wife called me in to watch it because of the war in Ossetia, though I'd already watched the ten o'clock news.

    That was the ten o'clock news which led with the Olympic opening ceremony. A sporting event! Though important and political, nobody died, unlike in Ossetia. Shame on the Beeb's news editors.

    And another report later on the ther side showed people in China whose houses had been demolished in order to build that fabulous stadium and then imprisoned when they requested permission to peacefully protest about it.

    Nice to hear the other side of the story. One I suspect may come to the fore again once the games are over. No sign of that on the BBC's fawning coverage.

    The Games are important, China is important, I hope Team GB does really well, but it's sport, let's keep it in perspective.

  • Comment number 22.

    I completely agree with #2.

    Your own website gives a clear indication of which story the public are most interested in. From 2pm onwards the South Ossetia story was the most read story and most watched video for the rest of the day.

    While I am happy to see a brief summary of the highlights of the Olympics opening ceremony, I was dissappointed at how long I had to wait to see the news from South Ossetia.

    "Not a natural story for the Six?"
    - I have no idea what that means. Surely that is exactly the story the news should be covering?

    Very poor performance BBC.

  • Comment number 23.

    700 million people in China living on two dollars a day or less and the government spent 80 billion dollars on a two week sporting event. There is THE REAL STORY right in front of your nose and you didn't even tell it? Why not? Didn't you see it? Were you afraid you'd be thrown out of China the way you were thrown out of Zimbabwe if you did report it? You could have told the world that only in a tyrannical dictatorship could the welfare of so many people be sacrificed for such a frivolous publicity stunt. What a useless and incompetent journalist BBC is.

  • Comment number 24.

    i dont think the bbc care about real subjects like wars they dare not take off programmes for real news as it would spoil ppls viewing if the war in South Ossetia. or in china happend at 7 or 8 in the evening they would still show eastenders so i dont think we stand a chance of seeing it during the day why dont the bbc spend our money on a sports channel then every one is happy

  • Comment number 25.

    Totally agree with post #2.

    You seem to confuse news with entertainment. Recent examples are the 'breaking news that Morgan Freeman had left hospital' and 'Paris Hilton produces a presidential broadcast'.

    It has become increasingly apparent that BBC News editors have lost all sense of what is important. A great example is the amount of coverage given to the 'back from the dead canoeist scam' and the recent trial. Why did I need to know about that?

    The Olympics are a major event, I watched the ceremony, but I would expect a news bulletin sandwiched between 6 hours of Olympic coverage to focus on other events. The opening ceremony is just a show, war is real.

    I would love to see more positive stories rather than the endless stream of stabbings and financial scares, and I appreciate that the importance of a story is a subjective matter, but this time you were wrong, wrong, wrong!

  • Comment number 26.

    If the British government decides to spend 80 billion dollars or whatever the equivalent in pounds will be for the 2012 olympics while NHS still has long waiting lists of people needing medical care and the hospitals are still filthy, will BBC fail to cover that too?

    MutantFriend, the Olympics are not a major event. World War II was a major event. The Cuban missile crisis that nearly brought human life on earth to an end was a major event. The collapse of the Soviet evil empire whose goal was to rule over the entire world through military conquest was a major event. A bunch of athletic games over two weeks with a lot of expensive publicity is not a major event. The news is that this publicity was paid for by the sacrifice of hundreds of millions of the most desperate people who could have benefited directly in the quality of their lives had that money not been wasted on an insignificant event. The other news is that the most lavishly financed "news" organization in the world failed to even mention it once.

  • Comment number 27.

    totally agree with number 26 your spot on but i still think its too late they wont stop the Olympics

  • Comment number 28.

    The Olympics are no more than a glorified sporting equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest.

    British Olympic organisers have already stated that funds go to those most likely to win medals. That's hardly going to provide sporting facilities to thousands of UK kids who have had their playing fields sold off over the years.

    The Olympics are a "look at me" fest. It is alledgedly corrupt from what I read and worthless.

    The coverage on so many channels including BBC Parliament today is totally rediculous. The number of BBC news reporters and sports presenters and magzine presenters is obscene use of our money.

    Have a specific sports channel, over run and show what you like on that, but don't push this worthless tripe on everone.

  • Comment number 29.

    Bush leave Russia because you can not do anything. It is not Iraq or some small countries you threat.

  • Comment number 30.

    On Friday I along with billions of other people watched what was a spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Olymics. The images were mindblowing, spoilt only by what I considered to a woefully inadequate commentary team lead by Hugh Edwards.

    Chineese culture and history is a mystery to many in the west and it would have been of real benefit had the BBC team undertaken some basic research in order to inform the viewer of the significance of the events being depicted. Instead we were served up almost meaningless sound bits interspesed with unnecessary cynical comments.

    Come BBC you can do much better that this.

  • Comment number 31.

    Agree completely with #30

    I was quite looking forward to watching the Opening Ceremony on iPlayer after missing the original screening. How disappointed I was to have such a fantastic spectacle ruined by Huw Edwards and sidekick espousing inane rubbish about Confucius, Imperial Cities and other subjects he quite obviously knew next to nothing about. I'd have preferred it if there was no commentary, and would've muted my laptop if it wasn't for my desire to hear the wonderful music and feel the full impact of the ceremony. In the end I gave up, not being able to take any more of Edwards mastering the obvious and his inept sidekick and her dull voice.

    The coverage was abject. How the BBC could have spent so much of their budget on an event and not get their very first coverage of it right is beyond me.

  • Comment number 32.

    One day in, and already we've got blanket coverage of the Olympics. This hotchpotch of minority sports is forced upon the majority of the population by the out of touch bbc. Don't you lot ever take any notice of the fact that athletics stadiums, are always embarrassingly devoid of spectators. Perhaps it's slipped you're attention that, most people find almost anything else more appealing. The world's moved on. Goodness knows how many people, you're losing to any other channel, that's not showing the games. I hate to think of how much money you've backed on this loser.

  • Comment number 33.

    At #3 above I expressed a personal view that olympic coverage on the news should be limited and most of the time dedicated to real news.

    1/3 of the actual broadcast was olympics with the outbreak of a war as an afterthought. I understand from some sources that 1500-2000 died that day, for comparisson thats equivalent to 9 months of the Aghan conflict by some estimates.

    I can't help wondering why Russia picked 08/08/08 to escalate, after all this had een going on for some time.

    Was it a 'good day to bury bad news'?

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm writing from Russia, and I want to say you that our country DO NOT WANT to attack Georgia. M. Saakashvili lies about that situation. As a citizen of Russia I want to say that you musn't think about Russia like about USSR. We dont enemyes to you! The only thing which is important - a lot of dead people is Osetia. We must stop this war and Saakashvili now! Only together we can do it

  • Comment number 35.

    The Olympic games are only bread and circus promoting national eeego arrogance; they're part of a $cam used by the ruling class for keeping people $tewepid and clueless... and divided. The world is facing a plethora of problems that threaten the very survival of human civilization... but the corp-rat owned media, especially in the United $tates, gives us drivel and useless poppycock such as the Olympic games. Where is the real news?

  • Comment number 36.

    Well.. you asked.

    It's a major international 'sporting' event that probably deserves a decent level of coverage for those who give a flying fig for contests between those whose sponsors can afford to tune them to ever greater micro-improvements in human endeavour.

    Not the only thing on the planet. And certainly not worth draining a £3B+, tens of thousand-strong, publicly-funded national media entity of staff and money to the exclusion of all else.

    However, this inconvenient war in our own geographical and economic backyard has at least highlighted that even though we knew the tea-lady was running the show at the weekend while editorial was on 'don't lie to the public; it's bad' training at a Cornish retreat, at the moment the entire BBC is in the hands of a security guard and a work-experience activist from Kingsnorth while all the rest are 'reporting' from the next 'fun' location in Beijing.

    You are... the weakest link. I'd like my money back.

  • Comment number 37.


    Although I love the BBC, I despair sometimes when you take a wrong editorial decision, know you have done so, then try to twist things to justify it afterwards.

    Try saying to yourself everyday:


    The suggestion that whatever else happens the Olympics is the top story reflects their importance to your ratings, nothing more.

    And the implication that a war in South Ossetia might be too difficult and unimportant for the people who watch the news at six is patronising and depressing.

    Also the admission that "strong pictures" led your coverage of Ossetia.


    30, 31

    Dead right!

    Huw Edwards commentary was inane and uninformed.

    If you can't get someone who knows what he (or she) is talking about to do the commentary, just let us see the pictures.

  • Comment number 38.

    Having spent goodness knows what in sending presenters to china, you could at least teach them the name of the UK flag - IT IS NOT THE UNION JACK IT IS THE UNION FLAG

  • Comment number 39.

    One of the biggest lies supporters of bringing the Olympics to their country tell is that the structures built for them at huge cost and paid for by the taxpayers will be used for other purposes after the Olympics is over. I have no doubt that the Bird's nest stadium will still be around and wealthy Chinese will be able to buy or rent the living accomodations built to luxury standards by Chinese measure but most money spent on these kinds of monuments prove utterly useless and Olympics are a big money loser taxpayers foot the bills for for decades. Anyone want to buy a Millenium Dome?

  • Comment number 40.

    As someone who has lived long enough to see many olympics - the BBC now seems to think that presentation means showing their tedious presenters for hours and hours of opiniated drivel.

    PLEASE let the sportsmen and women speak for themselves by their perfomances (and not just the british team! when there are (sadly) much better sportspersons.)
    Why do we need the heavily over-rated Adrian Childs. Sue Barker etc?
    and I don't know who is covering the gymnastics but the woman is absolutely appalling. Don't your producers/directors actually listen to these people objectively? or do they fail in courage to say not good enough?
    What happend to skilled reporting and coverage - the BBC coverage is cheapened by this coverage of what is supposedly world class sport.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mat Wells (#2) I think what Ms Searle means by 'not a natural story for the Six' is 'not a story that fits the semi-light hearted, one-step-above-Breakfast magaziney box into which we've spent the last three years trying to re-brand the Six'.

    The way it works is thus: war, genocide, politics and any form of measured or international commentary more often than not get bumped to the Ten, when fewer people are watching, or to the later-still Newsnight in favour of Kate Moss's new summer collection, 'researchers discover obesity gene' (or something else related to one of several ongoing health epi-panics), Madeleine McCann or the aforementioned prodigal canoeist.

    So BBC1 viewers at least are treated to the 'light and fluffy Breakfast, followed by trashy daytime property and antiques programmes, the heavily domestic bulletin at One, a few more soaps and gameshows followed by the fluff of the Six, the cat-stuck-up-tree local bulletins and the One Show, which is so trite (when it's not plugging other BBC shows it's going 'out on the streets' to gather 'vox-pops' about superfoods or some similarly inconsequential dross) as to be completely unwatchable; indeed Matthew Wright makes a much better job of this 'issues-lite' format on Five.

    Hence I increasingly find myself limited to (bits of) BBC Two, BBC Four and the darker reaches of the website (because heaven forbid any of that measured, balanced coverage should make it onto the front pages). I appreciate that not being in the 16-25 C/D/E demographic you're not particularly bothered about whether I watch or not, but for what it's worth, I think the Olympic coverage on the main stations has already gotten way out of hand - maybe the time has come to rebrand the excreable BBC Three as a dual sports / music channel (Freeview in particular will soon lack both with the co-option of The Hits into Channel 4' s Tigi Bedhead empire).

  • Comment number 42.

    > As for South Ossetia - you have to wonder how much reporting they're able to do, at the start of a shooting war.

    They had an extended interview with the President of one of the warring parties! And even if they don't have a direct interview with anyone in Russia, the BBC's monitoring service used to be good at picking up that sort of thing from places like Russian TV...

  • Comment number 43.

    It's surprising the BBC cosiders what's going on in China more important than the the Russians atarting to flex their muscles, they have not changeg their regime nor their attitudes to the west, we have given them the finance and opportunity to impose themselves. The war in Georgia is more important and the distraction of the olympics has handed the Russians an ideal time to strike

  • Comment number 44.

    To #23,

    Before you start criticizing China, you'd better get your facts straight. First of all, China did not spend 80 billion US dollars, but 40 billion, but the money has not been all spent on the games alone, but also on improving infrastructure, building new subways and highways, and so on and so forth, the benefit of which will last for years to come. (Many host countries do the same, not just China.) And so what if the Chinese spent $40 bn! They have billions of $$ in surplus, and hold about 1 trillion dollars of in foreign reserves, so they can certainly afford it, unless some other countries like the U.S., which is trillions of dollars in debt. And 40 billion is but a small % of China’s GDP – in comparison, the Greeks spent 100% of their GDP for the 2004 Olympic games. And the Canadians didn’t finish off paying for their “big owe,“ debts from their 1976 Olympics, until 2002!

    China put on a spectacular show for 4 billion people around the world to enjoy. The opening ceremony was the widely hailed as the best ever. It was money well spent. So please don’t rain on their nice parade. Plus, China has 5,000 years of history, the longest in the entire world. They have every right to spent however much they want to celebrate their rich heritage, in a peaceful manner. In contrast, the U.S. and Britain spent a total of 1 trillion dollars dropping bombs in Iraq and killing countless innocent Iraqis.

    Many people in China indeed live on $2 a day, but China has made enormous progress bringing millions of people from abject poverty. And the vast majority of the Chinese people support hosting the Olympics, and I assure you most of those who live on $2 a day would more than happy to give up $1 so that the Olympics could be even more spectacular.

    And please don’t forget that throughout most of its 5000-year history, China was the richest and most advanced nation in the world. China’s misery started with the British, who waged a war on China after China refused to allow the British to sell opium to the Chinese. This was the Opium War in 1840, which plunged China to the darkest period in its history. After China lost this immoral war started by Britain, it had to pay tens of billions in silver to Britain as war “indemnity,” and the British troupes, along with its French and other European allies, wasted no time looting and killing their way through China -- just visit the British Museum and some of the burned down palaces in China to see the evidence. Although the misery wrought by Britain was boundless to the Chinese (just try to imagine how you would feel if the Chinese waged a war on Britain so that it could ship crack cocaine to Britain and get the entire population addicted, and then Britain had to pay the Chinese for losing the war, and then saw the Buckingham Palace burned to the ground). But the Chinese do not hold grudges against the British people, so the least thing you could do is to the Chinese on and give them credit for hosting a great Olympics, rather than piling on and on.

  • Comment number 45.

    Until China stops treating it's citizens like small children, I'll caryy on with my criticism. What does autonomous mean anyway?

  • Comment number 46.

    #44. Lets get something straight- I don't approve of the opium wars either, but your account is incredibly biased, not least because you're combining three separate wars into one great incident.

    Britain sold Opium to china for 1 reason: we wanted tea, the chinese would only take silverand this was bankrupting us. We offered every trade good the UK could manufacture but they didn't want to know. In the end we found the only thing they'd trade silver for was opium- a substance enjoyed by the manadrins in China for thousands of years. We didn't want to get the Chinese hooked on drugs- we wanted to buy tea. Thats not a defence, merely a statement of fact.

    The summer palace was burnt by the British and French after the chinese emperor ordered the execution by torture of our diplomats (using a method than you really don't want to know). We COULD have burnt Peking to the ground, but that would have punished the regular chinese not the emperor. Destroying his palace was a carefully calculated method of punishing the guilty without harming the ordinary people- a policy we could do with repeating today.

    Its also worth pointing out that during this period China was fighting the Taiping rebellion- a war that had nothing to do with britain, but which killed 60 million chinese (more than WW2).

  • Comment number 47.

    # 38

    Not only pedantic but wrong.

    Either wording is correct.

    "It is often stated that the Union Flag should only be described as the Union Jack when flown in the bows of a warship, but this is a relatively recent idea. From early in its life the Admiralty itself frequently referred to the flag as the Union Jack, whatever its use, and in 1902 an Admiralty Circular announced that Their Lordships had decided that either name could be used officially. Such use was given Parliamentary approval in 1908 when it was stated that "the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag"


  • Comment number 48.

    the Olympics is just a glorified sports day for world leaders. Why peoples till acre who can run 0.0001s faster than the last person, and where those people are born baffles me.

    No wonder we have no decent teachers or scientists or engineers. All people consider to be heroes are people who can jump really high or throw a stick a long way.
    Who cares?

  • Comment number 49.

    Too much Olympics? I find a surprising number of people I meet are now paying interest once Team GB started to win some gold medals. Swimming too, who`d have thought it? Go girls.

    Peter Syme # 46
    The opium wars are controversial even amongst British historians, but can hardly be regarded as our finest moment. We tend to see things through the eyes of the victors and justify retrospectively. Those on the receiving end have a different perspective that we too easily ignore.
    I think the real point is that the Chinese see it as the start of a period of exploitation by western powers, occupation and national humiliation. They haven`t had much to feel proud of since then until very recently. In many ways the resurgence of Chinese national pride was the subtext and point of the Olympic opening ceremony.

    Though Chinese doctors used it as a painkiller, China made trade in opium illegal in 1729. (Britain had already made trade in opium illegal within the British Empire!). Competing against Dutch merchants the East India Company gained a monopoly on opium production in India and then wanted to develop overseas markets; it was smuggled into China in return for tea and porcelain. The EI Company DID want to sell drugs; opium had become its most valuable export at this time. It`s worth noting that many British missionaries and merchants opposed this trade. The Chinese didn`t want many of the goods Britain had to offer, but wanted silver to support its currency, just as Britain did to support its own. The British invasion of China was in response to a Chinese governor destroying a large shipment of seized drugs, as addiction had become a serious problem for the Chinese. The sole aims of the wars were to force the Chinese to allow the import of opium, but Britain also extracted territory and large compensations. 1850 to 1873 saw a number of rebellions (including Muslim uprisings) as well as droughts and famines that combined to kill 60 million. It is not quite fair to blame all casualties on the Taiping rebellion. (Which was an oddity in itself, led by a fanatic convinced he was Christ`s brother.)

  • Comment number 50.

    I wouldn't expect to see anything of the Opening Show to the Olympics during the news in the same way that I wouldn't expect to see highlights from a Fireworks display, or Glastonbury or the Edinburgh Tattoo.

    Seeing an athletics record broken, a medal-winning performance by one of the Home Nations, or some sort of grave incident during a competition (god forbid!) - now that's a different story and a newsworthy story at that.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, it seems obvious from the comments to date that the Olympics themselves might be getting excessive coverage - but that's OK, people are making up for it on blog comment sections ...

  • Comment number 52.

    #49 thats fair enough. Its worth pointing out that the Chinese only started seizing opium after the flow of silver started going Britains way again. The war was about balance of payments on both sides, not drug addiction. The mandarins couldn't care less if the peasants were high, but they started caring when the silver ran out.

    I wouldn't attempt to justify the war at all- it was the comment 'imagine China went to war to try and get everyone in the UK addicted to crack' that annoyed me as it implied our sole aim was to turn the whole of China into junkies. You correctly point out that even at the time there was huge opposition to the war and the opium trade in the UK.

    'oddity' is the understatement of the year regarding the Taiping rebellion...... its worth pointing out though that British and French armies assisted the Chin dynasty in finally crushing it.

  • Comment number 53.

    "For those of you who look beyond our shores, strong pictures of fierce fighting in the disputed region of South Ossetia will be explained and analysed. Not a natural story for the Six?"

    Are you kidding me? How could this possibly not be a story for "the Six"? How could this not unequivocally be the lead story? A bunch of fireworks, fancy though they are, cannot be compared to a fierce outbreak of fighting in the Caucasus that has major implications for NATO, Western-Russia relations, oil supplies etc., and that's on top of the humanitarian casualties and devastation. Unbelievable that you could even consider a dance and light show anywhere near as important.

  • Comment number 54.

    The coverage of the olympics on the BBC has been very good to date.What I dont understand though is why the popular news and current affairs programmes like BBC breakfast are transferred to a channel that 90% of us can't get.What's wrong with putting these programmes on BBC2.

  • Comment number 55.

    I am amazed at the way British athletes are described in the olympic coverage. It seems to me that Scots are referred to as Scots, Welsh as Welsh, and English as Britiish. Why is that?
    Are we a British team or not!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony. It was impressive, but later on in the News, a reporter spoke to a chinese lady who had been thrown out of her home with the promise of compensation, which, needless to say, had not been forthcoming. Her home had been demolished, and the land on which her home stood had been used for the olympics.

    What sort of Government evicts its own people for the sake of an event, and then just leaves them to fend for themselves?

  • Comment number 57.

    To 56,

    In the U.S., the govt can legitimately throw people out for what they deemed as the public good – this can be the building of a highway, a new apartment complex or a shopping mall. This is called the Eminent Domain, and it has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. If you send a BBC reporter here to the U.S., I can guarantee you that the reporter will find people mad as hell about being throwing out of their own homes to make way for shopping malls or a big box store, and those people will all have quite a sob story to tell.

  • Comment number 58.

    Why is the BBC's Olympic map showing the USA?

    Rather hard to navigate to Beijing's venues when all you have on the web page is the USA.

    Also, none of the links to the venues work on that page.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think it is a shame that the BBC does not put extra coverage of the Olympics onto BBC2 or one of its digital channels. No-one is really that interested in the Olympics and we are wasting electricity to broadcast it so fervently.

    As for putting breakfast news onto the digital channels to have a special Olympics - PLEASE- WHO CARES WHEN THERE ARE WARS EVERY WHERE.

  • Comment number 60.

    #52, you said, "The war was about balance of payments on both sides, not drug addiction." But surely the British, who gave the world Shakespeare, Darwin (and unfortunately Amy Winehouse), were not stupid enough to think the opium forced upon the Chinese would be used merely as kindling? Why did Britain ban opium trade within Britain itself then?
    In fact, confiscation and the subsequent burning of Opium (as a way of destroying it) by a Chinese official was precisely one of the pretenses Britain used to invade China.
    As for the Taiping rebellion, it’s actually viewed positively by most of the Chinese, who think if the Taiping rebels had succeeded, China might have been able to put up a better fight against Britain than the Qing emperors.
    #46, You said, "Britain sold Opium to china for 1 reason: we wanted tea, the chinese would only take silver and this was bankrupting us. We offered every trade good the UK could manufacture but they didn't want to know. In the end we found the only thing they'd trade silver for was opium…."
    If you have a tea addiction, see a shrink/talk to the vicar, drink more gin and play more polo! You don’t wage a war on another nation to force opium upon them that you can have silver enough to satisfy your tea addiction.
    If the Chinese don’t find British goods attractive, make better products, hire a better marketing expert; you don’t send gun boats to invade their country to correct a "trade imbalance." And then you burn down their palace, loot their national treasures when they rightfully defend their homeland?
    I never said Britain was responsible for all the suffering the Chinese had to endure subsequent to the Opium War, but the British was certainly the first to deliver the fateful blow that plunged China into the darkest period in its history that lasted 100 years. After Britain invaded China and started dumping opium in China, tens of millions of Chinese (perhaps over 50% of its population) became addicted, wasting away their entire lives in opium dens. And the Chinese treasury was completely bankrupt after fighting the British invasion and having to pay Britain tens of millions of dollars in silver for "war damages" for an unjust war Britain started! And then the French, the Russians, the Germans and the Japanese all followed suit, invading China and forcing China to make large territorial concessions (part of Siberia for example) and pay war huge sums of indemnities. China was defenseless against all the western powers and the entire country was in total chaos rife with foreign invaders, civil wars and famines. Sure, the Spaniards didn’t kill every single Indian, but the chaos and disease they wrought upon the native population led directly to the demise of their magnificent cultures. Thank God the Chinese were a little more resilient, but this does not diminish the fact that the Opium War was one of the most vicious events in British and European history. And you don’t have to take my word for it, read it here:
    As I said earlier, despite a century of immeasurable suffering brought upon by Britain, as well as its western allies, the Chinese do not bear grudges against the British people. (China has never asked for its looted treasures back.) All the Chinese want is a little understanding of what it had been up against and to be given a little credit for what it has been able to accomplish.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    hi there,I have some comment here about the news saying that in the beijing Olympic ceremony part of the fireworks is "fake",this was on the bbc news!!trust our media or not,your choice,check this video out ,after I watch this and I asked myself why??creat a bad chinese image?

  • Comment number 63.

    Absolutely sick to the back teeth of the Olympics already, amazed and disgusted re dubbing of song and the fireworks 'art' -Jesus! Absolutely amazed and disgusted that I can't listen to Radio 5Live on the internet at the moment - I could understand the 5 Live Sport situ when its the ashes in OZ, but why the actual breakfast show is blocked quite stumps me.................

  • Comment number 64.

    When will people see these events for what they are, distraction from the important issues. While inflation soars and war breaks out in another former Soviet republic we are distracted by the farce in China, which has already shown itself for what it is with the whole anthem saga.
    Governments use these major sporting events to draw the focus away from major problems at home, it is not for no reason that football is described as "the opium of the masses" and this can be extended to all these major events. Yet another British soldier lost his life yesterday but that's way down the news, not as important as someone winning a bronze, which medal winner should we be more proud of the Olympian or the Soldier? the BBC seem to have decided that one.
    The BBC should show less sport and more current events.

  • Comment number 65.

    The Beeb, by transferring 'Breakfast' to the BBC24 channel, appears to have grasped the concept that there are people out here who a) prefer News to Olympics, and b) prefer BBC to others. However, the concept that we might continue to be interested in watching "the news, travel and weather where you are" seems to have got lost. Yes, it is still broadcast on BBC1, slotted in to the all-important Sports schedule as a movable feast at seemingly irregular times, meaning we have to take pot luck by trying to second guess the correct moment to turn over. If this situation must continue, whether for technical or scheduling reasons, or for sheer bloody-mindedness, is it not beyond the abilities of the organisation to at least give a warning on BBC24 that we might like to turn over?

    Re # 41 - why is the canoeist 'prodigal', which in my dictionary means wasteful and extravagant squandering of money? The prodigal son was prodigal because of his behaviour after leaving home, not because he returned home.

  • Comment number 66.

    "As for the Taiping rebellion, it?s actually viewed positively by most of the Chinese, who think if the Taiping rebels had succeeded, China might have been able to put up a better fight against Britain than the Qing emperors."

    In which case the Chinese are stupid or blinded by a misunderstanding of history. The Qing might have been corrupt but they didn't believe they talked to Jesus every night.

    The Taiping rebellion killed 60 MILLION CHINESE. Its like the Russians saying WW2 was great.

    Oh..tea was life and death for us. You couldn't drink the water in Britain in the 19th century. Boiling it for tea killed the cholera. At the time we didn't know about bacteria but we did know that tea was safe and water killed us.

  • Comment number 67.

    We are thoroughly enjoying the Olympics, so many different sports and competing nations. So much better than football, football, football which is the normal sport diet.

  • Comment number 68.

    The whole "breaking news" about the revelations that some of the fireworks were computer graphics and singing was my mimed is ridiculous. I watched the opening ceremony with me and my brother and we both said "thats really good CGI"... it was obvious unless you have eye problems... so i suggest the bbc goes to the opticians

  • Comment number 69.

    Sporting excellence has to be celebrated as human excellence is at the heart of the matter. The world is so embroiled in conflict that it is so refreshing to see the Olympic Spirit hold sway. After all when athletes are able to bury hatred in favour of sporting collaboration and excellence, politicians should also follow suit and foster international understanding and world peace. The world is at a very dangerous cross-road with politicians largely swayed by personal aggrandisement.

  • Comment number 70.

    For all the pomp and ceremony, I for one will not be watching the Olympics.

    Turning a blind eye to the outrageous actions of China in respect of Human Rights, Animal Rights etc - for the sake of some sportmanship ship doesnt make it right. Its totally hyprocritical - this united, happy front when behind closed doors there is death, torture, neglect and harrassment.

    Telling a little girl she is not 'pretty enough' to sing and represent her nation is indeed another example of 'CRUELTY'. Just what image are they trying to present?

    In my books they again 'add fuel to the fire'.

    Disgusting - they should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 71.

    #70. The little Chinese girl wasn't exactly China's finest moment, but to be honest its no different from Milli Vanilli etc. Do you think Katherine Jenkins would be such a star if she looked like a water buffalo?

    If we boycotted every country that had human rights problems, dodgy elections, dodgy criminal justice systems etc the pool of potential olympic nations would shrink to Andora or San Marino.

  • Comment number 72.

    what on earth is Adrian Chiles doing co-presenting with Hazel, he is obviously not interested, spends all his time reading notes and mumbling and seems general bored with the whole thing.
    Give us all a break and leave Hazel to present on her own she does a great job.

  • Comment number 73.

    I refer to your report"Sarkozy's Georgia gamble pays off"

    You give credit to Mr Sarkozy for obtaining the release of Ingrid Betancourt-the Columbian hostage. Please note that he played no part whatsoever in obtaining her freedom. It is simply a case of him giving himself a high profile, making a lot of positive noises and earning undue credit as a result. I am surprised that the BBC is taken in by this.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am enjoying the games.

  • Comment number 75.

    What Olympic overdose? Georgia, Bush and Putin have eclipsed any overdosing the Olympics could do. I the Chinese had know this, perhaps they could have moved their event forward or backword.

    Perhaps it is the comic value in the Geogia Event with Bush and Condi shaking their collective fingers in Putin and his assistant, the Russian President's, faces which upstages anything the Chinese can offer.

    Each side is accusing the other of doping the public into not believing what it is seeing with its own eyes or hearing with its own ears. Perhaps the War is just an extended commerical in between events at the Olympics.

    Just when we were having fun with the oppening and oppening in the facade of the War on Terror becomes a War of Terror on half the human race.

    Here's to 2012 London. Don't be outdone by the Chinese, the Russians, the Bush Administration, The Cold War Warrior, or any hypocricy coming out of Washington or Moscow.


  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    The olympic coverage on BBc is very good. I am however troubled by the fact that the news team i trust to be unbias has not reported on a serious issue affecting the two fasted men in the world. Usain Bolt and Assafa Powell and how they are being treated.

    They have been overly tested. Way more times than the americans and lots of valuable blood have been taken from their bodies. This may put them at a great disadvantage in their races. And the BBC has reported nothing about it even though the both gentlemen have been complaining about their treatment.

    please fix this, I am hoping to see a transparent report on this issue before the track meet beigns at the olympics

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    "For those of you who look beyond our shores, strong pictures of fierce fighting in the disputed region of South Ossetia will be explained and analysed. Not a natural story for the Six? With Russia threatening a robust response, it's right to be in the show. "

    Possibly the most ridiculous comment ever posted on this blog.

    Yes, it probably had some right to be on the News. It's unusual for the News to cover breaking news as a war breaks out, but I'm glad the clowns on the 6 o'clock news found a little time for it. Also glad the Chinese PR show was on first and dominated the broadbast, because I enjoy illusions once in a while.

  • Comment number 80.

    What the devil was Huw doing as lead commentator for the Opening Ceremony? I hate to say it, but he's not the most talented newsreader and should stick to military/royal commentary.

  • Comment number 81.

    no suprise to find that that the good ole bbc has spent x,y,z millions on overcovering the olympics while poor old Queen of the South don't seem to get any coverage.

    no shock or suprise there. after all I am sure queen of the south will be in europe again soon.

  • Comment number 82.

    The Olympics are the most important event in the sporting calendar. It is right that there should be full coverage. However, while I realise that the venues are scattered, the question has to be asked," Why does the supposedly cash-strapped BBC need so many people out there?" Even BBC Wales has sent reporters. Yet again the BBC has gone into overkill mode.

  • Comment number 83.

    Lets get past all the crap about olympics and sportsmanship. The Olympics is just another business with substantial political overtones. The current dog and pony show has more to do the promoting of the 'self proclaimed" miracle called China. How many people really care to watch the intimate stoke by stroke win by 2/100s of a second of wang ling over billy bob redneck? Not very many I'll Warrant.
    I live in Canada and have the choice of 100s of channels. For news I tend to watch BBC world edition for world issues and CNN as a joke or which state has been executing the simple and dying overnight. The BBC noon (UK) acknowledges that there are more important issues such as Georgia and Russia's current bullying.
    publically funded networks such as CBCand BBC should not be carrying sports thatw a job for commercial channels and networks

  • Comment number 84.

    I started to watch the BBC coverage of the Olympic games at about 08:10 Saturday 16 August. Claire Short said the rowing will start at 08:20. I waited and all that happened was talk and more talk. The first race did not start until 08:50.
    Surely it would be possible to show highlights of what happened during the previous day to fill the time rather than talking heads rabbiting on about the chances of a rower from Britain obtaining a medal and showing excerpts from the Athens games.
    I want to watch more sport, rather than people talking about them.

  • Comment number 85.

    The coverage of the Olympics has been great.
    The problem I feel is in the amount of reporters and celebrities that are over there in China. It's been overkill. They must have cost a lot of Money in transportation,accommodation and fees. Just what sort of cost are involved and did you really need that amount of people there?

  • Comment number 86.

    I hope I’m not the first to ask this, but please would the Olympic commentators stop making up English, with their insistence in using the noun "Medal" as a verb. The verb "to medal" does not exist, and what is more, it sounds downright bizarre: "he has a good chance of 'medaling' on the pommel horse". It appears they have got so carried away with using their new verb-form that they are not listening to how it sounds.
    Please stop it. The BBC used to pride themselves on their accuracy and this deviation from the English language is irritating and frankly ridiculous.

  • Comment number 87.

    Firstly I would like to congratulate the BBC in their general coverage of the Olympics, however I and many of my fellow windsurfers have a gripe...........

    In Athens the BBC made almost nothing of the fact that Team GB had a potential medal winner in the Windsurfing event, even when Nick Dempsey got a Bronze medal he had little coverage.

    This time we have two potential Windsurfing GB medal potentials in both the men's and women's fleets with Nick Dempsey at his third Olympics and Bryony Shaw at her first.

    Nick is currently in second place with every chance of a podium position!

    Bryony is in 4th but could still come up with a result


    NO !!!

    Perhaps the confusion is it being called the RSX class ?

    We hear plenty about Ainsley and the GB dinghy team but once again the BBC are letting us windsurfers down by forgetting we exist.....

    Most people in GB do not even realise windsurfing has been in the Olympics for 20 years, why?



  • Comment number 88.

    A further quick ditty about BBC coverage, now that I have read the previous comments.
    How true that the commentators seem to ave little grasp over their own language. Not only has 'medal' become a verb, but two other words have come into their vocabulary over the last year.
    When someone is being put under pressure, he has become 'pressurised' rather than simply pressured. Someone has taken too literal a reading of their dictionary, rather than an understanding of the English language.
    The second word, I have just correctly used, unlike sports folk - literal/literally. A Jamaican athlete 'literally flew passed her oponent' yesterday! No she didn't, she ran passed her. Her feet DID touch the ground. Everything at the BBC has become 'literally'. I even heard a news story several months back where 'crime had literally driven her from her home'! A shocking story, but to be honest, wasn't it a taxi or family member who drove her from her home to somewhere else?
    It would also be nice if the commentators culd get some basic facts straight. eg Isinbayeva set a new high jump record, announced the Anchorman - 5m 5cm, but not a genuine high jump record - she was a pole vaulter and I presume 'pole assisted'. The Romanian marathon runner was said to have a '1 hour and 22minutes lead', phenomenal if true, but NOT. Apparently, 'Bolt broke all the rules'! So he false-started, ran out of his lane, took steroids etc. Yet, I bet he keeps all his medals.
    Finally, and really piffing me off, is the abuse of the word 'history'. Almost every story is labelled historic. Of course it is. Every performance is logged, and can be referred back to. The same can be said for every court appearance by an individual, every run scored in a county cricket game, every plane landing at an airport. All noted, logged and historic. Historic and notable does not equate to 'worthy of comment, never ming hyperbole'.
    I teach English, and no longer direct my students to the BBC tv, radio or web. The English is just too shoddy.

  • Comment number 89.

    As an organisation the BBC is hopelessly deluded.

    I have yet to meet anyone who is really interested in this yawnathon.

    Why can't I comment on the ludicrous nonsense in this article?

  • Comment number 90.

    "Have you had enough of the Olympics already?"


    Please stop all coverage.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm normally a staunch defender of the BBC and it's output and will stand up for Auntie in this argument on one point -

    the BBC has repeatedly run stories on the destruction of homes in Beijing to build the Olympic venues, and on the strong hand of the Chinese Government in censoring freedom of speech especially leading up to these games. The BBC was therefore right to focus on the amazing spectacle that was the opening ceremony.

    However, I agree with #41 that the BBC more and more appears to be dumbing down and concentrating on "fluffy" news broadcasting.

    The South Ossetia conflict should have been the lead story even if the coverage could only be light due to lack of information, rather than the games.

    The presentation was also poor. The he BBC surely has some highly knowledgeable reporters who would have been better placed to present this item even though they aren't household names. Why does Huw Edwards have to front all kinds of stories he clearly knows nothing about.

    I find increasingly that high quality output is difficult to find on the BBC other than on newsnight. I now regularly watch Channel 4 News whose reporting of both the conflct in Georgia and the Olympics has been of a much higher class. Where is that original cutting edge material I used to watch BBC News for? Come on, you can do better BBC.

  • Comment number 92.

    The amount of coverage of the Olympics is not a problem - but my concern is how it is covered.

    Firstly, the events involving the British athletes which are shown on BBC contain commentators and analysts who are too vocal in their suppport of said British competitors. After all, there are 10,200 other athletes from 203 other countries.

    My first point is furthered by the over-the-top coverage on BBC News.
    It led the BBC News at Six when more siginficant events were taking place abroad such as the War in South Ossetia and the political turmoil in Pakistan.

    Furthermore, I found that the BBC News Channel was showing LIVE coverage of the significant track and field events which involved British athletes when it was being shown on BBC One at the same time. Seeing as BBC One can be seen by more viewers than BBC News it semmed peculiar that the BBC News channel would cover an event shown on another channel instead of breaking news.

  • Comment number 93.

    The Olymipics this year has given me great pride, our sportsmen have worked their hearts out, and achieved more than our news commentors ever imagined. Why because for the rest of the year we are bombarded with football, its the overpaid super stars who constantly under perform, and are bad role models. I hope youngsters will see another way to be a celebrity without appearing on junk TV 's big brother or copying the likes of Jordan and Jade. Shame is, we will now go back to an over dose of football with halfwit presenters such as Adrian Chiles who is clearly out of his depth watching real talent. Drop football and spend the money on all the other sports and we can be a proud nation again.

  • Comment number 94.

    I was referred to this page after complaining in the strongest terms about the South Ossetia story taking second place to opening of the Olympics on the Six O’Clock News when ITV used the reverse sequence, so I strongly agree with comments 2, 14 etc. We naively expected the BBC to behave more like a serious news organisation than ITV, when the opposite turned out to be the case.

    I now find on this page that the ‘Output Editor’ herself questions whether South Ossetia is ‘a natural story’ for the ‘Show’. Perhaps the name of the ‘Show’ needs to be changed from The Six O’Clock News to something which better reflects its new focus away from ‘hard’ news items.

    Any suggestions?

  • Comment number 95.

    I am indeed a sports fan, I am also a self confessed realist and the reality of the Olympics is a just cause, IF we just stood back and look at the big picture.
    Billions of pounds spent on these games, some would say wasted money, partially I agree, the humane rights in china beggers belief, peoples homes demolished, people locked up, the disgusting behavior of the chinese thugs over here with the torch.
    Yet Gorden Brown has the gaul to say how well China has behaved.and that all the gold medalist arriving back in UK will be rewarded with Honours.???
    Wouldnt it be even more respectful to honour the soldiers who came back from IRAQ/Afghanistan be rewarded..?, Gordon Brown as never yet greeted any soldier dead or injured, or otherwise from these war zones when arrived back in UK, wouldnt it be respectful to spend some of that billions on the homes of soldiers and give them a decent way of life, wouldnt it be respectful to honour soldiers on arrival back in UK, I find it disgusting that billions of pounds spent on a party for sport speople. lets have a party for the troops for the war that Brown supported and gloated over, knowing the whole thing was a lie.
    Lets all remember these sports people do it cos they WANT to our troops didnt have a choice, lets get our priority in order.........

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Before we hear any more references to our Olympic “heroes” perhaps some individuals in positions of responsibility in the media could take a long hard look at how the use of the word “heroes” in this context mocks the English language and demeans the courage, self-sacrifice, and dedication to public duty of real heroes, those individuals in the armed forces, the emergency services and the public generally who risk life and limb, many on a daily basis, to protect others with no thought to reward or accolade. If I need to find a hero I need look no further than my uncle who at 16 broke the January ice on the Serpentine to save the life of a young boy and then volunteered at the age of 20 to fight against Franco in the Spanish civil war. Like the millions in this country who have close family associations with real heroes, both dead and alive, I find the use of this term in the context of sporting prowess, deeply offensive. I also find it difficult to believe that when people in the media use the word “heroes” in this way they actually believe that winning medals does equate with the heroic courage and self-sacrifice, for example, of British armed forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let us applaud the skill, prowess and dedication of Team GB but heroes they are not.

    We should not lose sight of the fact that Team GB’s success came at considerable public expense, and that the decision to host the 2012 games has already forced reductions in support for many, arguably, more worthy causes. We hear daily stories of cancer patients being denied life-prolonging drugs, reductions in support for urban programs to help get disaffected youths off the streets, and only this week-end the coast guard service is on strike after 3 years trying to get a small increase in the abysmally low pay of its members: I for one take no pride in knowing that Olympic success is being bought at such a high cost.

  • Comment number 98.

    Robbie19 - there is an old adage 'people in glass houses should not throw stones'.
    In Manchester, Compulsory Purchase Orders were imposed upon peoples homes and businesses to make way for the proposed new tram link, which was later cancelled, after these homes had been demolished. Peoples homes were stolen from them, destroyed and then our government changed its mind. At least the citizens of Beijing whose homes were taken by the state got the Olympic facilities.
    As for Human Rights infringements; Guantanemo Bay, Extraordinary Rendition, the removal of Habeas Corpus, imprisonment without charge - Hitler?Stalin? No, New Labour and the USA.
    If our soldiers (who are fighting an illegal and unjust war - not their fault) had not joined the Army, Navy, RAF, not only would they not be in Iraq, but neither would we. If people didn't enlist, of their own free will and to take the Queens Shilling, we wouldn't have an army to invade foreign countries illegally. Remember, when our nation was at threat, citizens enlisted to defend the country. If so threatened, we would do so again. These current troops enlisted knowing they might have to go to war, they even train for it. They also get awarded medals.
    You are completely right that our priorities should be more balanced, but I disagree with some of your ideas.

  • Comment number 99.

    We already have too many stories.
    Unadulterated news without opinions, padding and/or exaggeration would be nice.

  • Comment number 100.

    The story are great but what we need are the facts and the untold truth, we dont need to treated like at baby just as plain ole adults. :)


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