Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Doing Business in the Southern Olympics

LAST Friday in the Herald Tribune, Jules Boykoff and Alan Tomlinson wrote:  'Although the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) has been periodically tarnished by scandal - usually involving the bribing and illegitimate wooing of delegates - those embarrassments divert us from a deeper problem:  The organisation is elitist, domineering and crassly commercial at its core.'   The revival of the Olympics by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in the 1890s was down to an assembly of princes, barons, counts and lords to help co-ordinate the Games.  It seems that in the present crop of 105 I.O.C. members still have a good chunk of royalty including Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. 

Then there is the commercial end of the Games, Mr. Boykoff and Tomlinson write:  'The I.O.C. has turned the Olympics into a commercial bonanza.  In London, more than 250 miles of V.I.P. traffic lanes are reserved not just for athletes and I.O.C. luminaries but also for corporate sponsors.  Even the signature torch relay has been commercialized:  The I.O.C. and its corporate partners snapped up 10% of the torchbearer slots for I.O.C. stakeholders and members of the commercial sponsors' information technology and marketing staffs.  Michael R. Payne, a former director for the committee, has called the Olympics "the world's longest commercial".'

Good business for some of these folk down South!

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