AC Alert for March 19, 2012 Is It Time For Another Summer Olympics?

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Monday, March 19, 2012 - 6:45pm

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August 2008: Who will ever forget the display put on by Baltimore native Michael Phelps? The US swimmer broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian by winning eight swimming events. In all, there were 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set at the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing China.

86 countries won at least one medal during the Games; host country Chinese athletes won the most gold medals (51) while the United States had the most medals (110). It seems like it was only yesterday, yet here we are in the countdown towards another worldwide competition, this time in London this summer.

Few in the mainstream media are yet paying close attention but your AC editors have established a special London Olympics Hot Topics Section devoted exclusively to coverage of this year's games. This Hot Topic focuses on the challenges of staging, securing, governing/organizing and financing the 2012 London Olympics -- coupled with the challenging dynamics of national pride, corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship. 

You will not read the results of the 100-meter dash in this section, but you will learn about aspects of the 2012 Olympic extravaganza and issues of sustainability, security measures and the overall impact on the UK environment.

The exact origins of the Olympic Games are things of myths and legends and rooted in the mists of time past in ancient Greece.  Ancient records do indicate however that they were first held in Olympia, Greece in 776 BC and were celebrated with some regularity for the next 600 plus years.

The modern games were first held in Greece in 1896 under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee.  Reflective of the views of the Victorian Age, the Games held the highest traditions of athletic competition and individual strength and ability. Suspended during World Wars I and II, and limited during the Cold War in 1980 and 1984, the games have grown into an event welcoming 200 countries and attracting more than 13,000 athletes.

They have also become a platform for some countries and ideologies to express their views on a worldwide stage. To be sure, the modern Olympic Games are a much sought after event by host cities for the prestige attached to being an “Olympic venue,” and hoped-for economic benefits. The Olympic Games are larger than life showcases for the accomplishments of individual athletes and nations in more than 400 separate events. 

As we saw in 2008, they can also be powerful symbols of progress for the host cities.
Sadly, the games have also been the venue for destructive behavior, as the world saw in the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.  London, being the crossroads of the Commonwealth, a financial capital, and a top city for tourists, will surely be on guard as the games approach. Already there is a significant amount of security preparation taking place and many articles of interest. AC's Hot Topic Section covers it all. Here are some recent excerpts:

London 2012: Olympics plan to combat summer drought
(Source: BBC – water focus) Two very dry winters have left rivers, aquifers and reservoirs in southern and eastern England below normal levels. Yet as parts of the UK face restrictions on water usage within weeks, work continues to ensure Olympic venues will not be affected by the drought.


London 2012 Olympics: Nazi Bomb Brings Construction To A Halt
(Source: Huffington Post) Work on the London 2012 Olympic Games momentarily came to a standstill last week as workmen uncovered a Nazi-era aerial bomb left over from the London Blitz. A small incendiary device, around 1kg, was found on the east London site for temporary basketball training courts in Leyton Marshes. Scotland Yard bomb disposal experts were called to the site to get rid of the unexploded bomb.

London Underground Getting Wi-Fi for the Olympics
(Source: PC Mag) London mayor Boris Johnson has picked Virgin Media to provide Wi-Fi to the Underground (subway system) during the games this summer. Before summer, Wi-Fi will be added to 80 stations, with 120 Tube stops connected by the end of the year.

Boon or bust? London locals split on Olympic impact
(Source: USA Today) The 2012 Summer Olympics, which begin on July 27, are being lauded not only as a status symbol but also as a savior of Britain's battered economy.
The Games will bring in US$1.6 billion for British business and are vital for the country's return to sustainable growth according to Prime Minister David Cameron. Yet there are some who suggest that the Olympics will be a boon for some but a potential bust for others.

Dow CEO Says Opposition to Olympics Sponsorship 'Beyond Belief'
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle) Dow Chemical Company Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris says opposition to his company's sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics is "beyond belief" because Dow wasn't involved with the 1984 toxic gas leak in Bhopal (India) that killed thousands of people. The London games, which start in July, are the first for Midland, Michigan-based Dow under a 10-year sponsorship agreement with the International Olympic Committee. Indian Olympic Association President Vijay Malhotra said in December he would lodge a protest with the IOC and the U.K. government, and 20,000 people have signed a petition asking British authorities to drop Dow.

London Olympics go for environmental gold
(Source: Mother Nature Network) London's Olympic organizers have an ambitious plan to host the first truly sustainable games this summer. Green-minded London visitors will be able to appreciate the green features that are going to be a part of the 2012 Olympic experience.

The objective of our Hot Topic Focus on 2012 Summer Olympics is to improve and expand public dialogue on this vital issue as the competition grows closer. It will be fascinating to watch how our friends across the pond handle the pressure of staging a truly sustainable Olympic event, all while under the pressure of making it an economic success.

Stay with our Hot Topic for frequent updates as the start of the Games approaches. As always, we are also interested in your comments on this important and timely topic. Send your comments to .

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.

Keywords: Media & Communications | Accountability-Central | G&A Institute | SRI | csr | esg | sustainability

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