London 2012 – Best Olympics Ever?

Author: Paul Arnold @ BritEvents

London 2012 – Best Olympics ever?

As the rosy glow fades and the Olympic tingle dissipates the nation starts to settle back into normality; an existence where our TV’s and radio’s are not permanently switched on to the BBC whilst we listen out for news of more British Olympic success.

For, lets not understate this, London 2012 was the most successful Olympics in living memory. The fantastic medal haul of 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronzes has only ever been bettered once – London 1908, where competition was nowhere near as fierce as now.

So, London 2012 was a sporting success, whether or not you judge the huge amount of funding that has been required to produce this result as value for money. On many levels though, what was great about the games cannot simply be measured in terms of the weight of medals. In time this Olympic Games has the potential to be a defining moment in the development of our country.

Once the euphoria of actually landing the games in 2005 had faded amongst the reality of the terrorist attacks, the massive logistical issues that surround the planning of any Olympic games and the subsequent global financial crisis there was a backlash of pessimism. The plans were too expensive, too London centric or inappropriate in a climate where thousands were losing their jobs. We wouldn’t be able to organise it properly and the transport infrastructure would collapse.

As the games drew nearer and each sport focused its attention on honing performance it didn’t really seem that the UK in general was too bothered at the prospect of a home Olympics. The fiasco that was the LOCOG ticket purchasing system only served to emphasise the fears that London wouldn’t be able to cope.

However, the arrival of the Olympic torch saw a massive sea change in the attitude of the country. The crowds wherever the torch went around the UK – and it went neat to most places – were huge and enthusiastic beyond belief. One of the torch relay organisers who has been involved in every games since Sydney stated that it was the best response he had ever witnessed. It appeared from then that the nation was ready. Ready and willing to embrace the Olympic spirit.

The opening ceremony, orchestrated by Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, arrived and just blew the nation’s mind, setting the scene for an absolutely wonderful and emotional 16 days of, quite simply, the finest sporting action and drama, featuring iconic locations and buildings such as Horse Guards Parade, Wimbledon, Wembley, Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, Hampton Court Palace, Lords and of course London itself with its fantastic east-end Olympic Park.

The opening ceremony was quintessentially British with James Bond and the Queen, Mr Bean and Mary Poppins entertaining the 80,000 strong crowd and the millions of TV viewers. The representation of England as a green and pleasant land, moving to the forging of the Olympic rings echoed our agricultural and industrial past whilst the inclusion of the suffragette movement and the NHS exemplified our recent social history. The image of emerging athletes lighting the cauldron at the end of the ceremony epitomised the legacy promise of the London games. Danny Boyle definitely delivered. Now it was the turn of Team GB’s athletes.

The sporting games started slowly for Team GB. Hopes were high of early gold medals with Mark Cavendish favourite to win the road cycling race and Rebecca Adlington, already a double Olympic champion, expected to excel in the pool. However it was Lizzie Armistead who secured Britain’s first medal with a silver in the women’s road cycling race. This proved to be the opening of the flood gates.

Bradley Wiggins, fresh from becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France, further established his knighthood credentials by securing Team GB’s first gold medal in the road cycling time trial and this was swiftly followed by outstanding performances on the rowing lake, in the velodrome, in the equestrian and boxing rings as well as in the Olympic Stadium itself.

Each day of games success brought new sporting heroes into the nation’s sitting rooms and hearts. We got to know their names and their individual stories. We shared their triumph, their joy and their tears as they fulfilled their own, as well as our, dreams of Olympic glory. The majority of the UK was hooked, interested and totally absorbed.

People who couldn’t have told you what dressage was a month ago became transfixed with the fortunes of our riders and their unbelievable skill and bond with their horses. Bikes were dusted down as people took to the streets for a ride in emulation of Wiggo, Sir Chris Hoy, Queen Victoria and the young Laura Trott. We remembered our own childhood dreams of sporting success and vicariously lived them through our wonderful Team GB athletes. The feel-good factor was palpable – people even said hello to each other on the Tube and talked of being proud to be British!

There are too many great memories to recall all of them here but some were so poignant that they bear repeating. I, for one, will never forget the face of Katherine Copeland as she and her crew mate Sophie Hosking crossed the finishing line winning the gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls. Her sheer disbelief at having achieved her lifetime’s ambition immediately followed by her unadulterated realisation and joy was one of my Olympic highlights. Of course, there were many others.

Mo Farah’s eye popping delight when he won the men’s 10,000m and the subsequent Mobot fever, Jessica Ennis’ open armed, eyes-closed look of relief and satisfaction when she crossed the line in the 800m confirming her heptathlon gold, Chris Hoy’s tears at becoming the most decorated British Olympian, Katherine Grainger’s reaction to finally reaching the top step of an Olympic podium, Jade Jones’ ear splitting grin at winning Teakwood gold at just 19 years old and, Alan Campbell’s exhaustion filled interview with John Inverdale and of course, Gemma Gibbons emotional message to her dead mother after reaching her Judo final. I could go on and on.

In all Team GB won 65 medals in 18 different sports (cycling being classed as one not two) showing a huge diversity in effort and competition. Some sports we dominated, such as cycling and rowing. In others, like athletics, boxing and sailing, we more than held our own and in others medals were more surprising and, for that, more welcome.

And it wasn’t just the supreme performances of the home athletes which served to make London 2012 such a memorable festival of sporting endeavour. Usain Bolt cemented his reputation as the planet’s biggest sporting star, repeating his sprint double achievement from Beijing as well as helping his team mates break the 4x100m world record in earning his third gold of the games. Michael Phelps, the US swimmer, has had to build an extension to his medal cabinet after he eclipsed Larisa Latynina as the all-time winner of most Olympic gold and total medals with 18 and 22 respectively.

Who could forget the raw emotion of other Olympians and their families? The father of South African swimmer, Chad le Clos, was as proud a parent as I have ever seen and his interview an incredible reminder of the sacrifices some families make to get their loved ones to Olympic participation. Felix Sanchez and his flood of tears at receiving his gold medal for the 400m hurdles has been a You Tube sensation. And, whilst we marvel at the public’s reaction to Britain’s sporting success we should appreciate what just a single gold medal can mean to a country.

Stephen Kiprotich’s win in the marathon, Uganda’s first gold for 40 years, brought the nation to a stand still. On Kiprotich’s return home the crowds were euphoric and the President of Uganda promised to invest in sport and build a high-altitude training camp to nurture future distance running stars – Kiprotich had to move to Kenya to realise his talent.

There’s no doubt the London games were special and they made a lot of people very happy, albeit for a short period of time. Britain proved that it is a sporting power but more than that it re-established itself as a first rate nation. We put on a marvellous show for the world, we were welcoming, we were friendly and we were well organised. The trains ran on time (mostly), the food was generally good, the hastily arranged soldiers and bobbies accommodating and even the rain didn’t put too much of a dampener on events. In short, Rio has a heck of a lot to live up to if it is to eclipse London 2012.

Meet the Superhumans

As one era comes to a glorious finale, another one looms its head around the corner… As London 2012 Olympics won me, and much of the Nation, over – I am now looking forward to the impending Paralympic Games and the incredible people who make up its superhuman athletes.

Meet the Superhumans, the stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, exclusively on Channel 4 from 29 August to 9 September.

Welcome to a world with no barriers, a world where possibilities are endless and potential is limitless.

Channel 4 is broadcasting an unprecedented 150 hours of live coverage on multiple television channels as well as online, along with dedicated mobile and tablet apps. Multiple streams, live text commentary, sharp social media observations and much more will be available at

Some tickets for the 2012 Paralympics are still available at

London 2012: Closing Montage

Whatever you thought of the Olympics, whatever you did or did not watch, whichever Country or individuals you favoured or detested, and regardless of the sport you focussed your own attention on and whatever mood you might be in – I would advise that you check this out.

Once again, the BBC come out on top with a stunning montage to bring to a close their coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


LOCOG: Should’ve gone to…

Specsavers has taken out advertising poking fun at the mistake which saw a South Korean flag displayed before North Korea’s football match in the Olympics.

The opticians reacted swiftly to the mistake, which occurred on Wednesday night, to take out advertising with its signature ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ tagline in Korean.

North Korea’s women’s football players stormed off the pitch for an hour in protest after Olympic organisers accidently displayed the flag of hostile neighbours South Korea on the electronic scoreboard before the match against Colombia at Hampden Park.

Specsavers took out the ad, which urges readers to book an eye test, in The Daily Telegraph today.

Olympics organisers have apologised to the North Korean team for the gaff.

Startups to Watch in 2012

Author: Sarah Kessler @ Mashable

An Olympic games, a U.S. presidential election and the end of the world are already planned for 2012, but we’re more excited about the startups. Here are six of them (in no particular order) that we expect to help define the coming year. We chose companies based on the momentum they gained in 2011, promising new takes on old problems and, in one case, the possibility of an IPO. Did we look at every startup in the world before compiling this list? Nope. Did we overlook some of the startups speeding toward 2012 definition-dom? Yep. Which is where you come in. Let us know in the comments which startups are on your list to watch in 2012.


Skillshare is an online marketplace for offline classes. When we spoke to the startup in May, a month after it launched, more than 100 users had posted classes about everything from crocheted jewelery to how to invest your first $10,000. Eight months later, thousands of teachers have used Skillshare to teach more than 15,000 hours of classes. A few have even quit their jobs to teach Skillshare classes full-time. While the startup began with classes clustered in New York City, it now has budding communities in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. Its site interface is already set up to accommodate more than 70 U.S. and International cities. There are no or few classes offered in most of them, but by the end of 2012, we’re betting there will be.

Zaarly, Taskrabbit or Something Similar

We’re pretty sure that the mobile, local version of Craigslist will gain traction in 2012. We’re just not settled on which one yet. Zaarly and TaskRabbit both allow users to find someone nearby to complete odd jobs. Zaarly also lets people request items like a reverse eBay. Both are liable to gain traction in 2012.


While solutions such as Google Wallet try to introduce mobile payments through NFC technology at a time when there are few devices on the market that supports it, SCVNGR has launched a solution called LevelUp that works with any phone and any bank account. The app gives any merchant the ability to run a loyalty program that works similarly to the Starbucks App, which allows users to pay using a code displayed on their phone and collect reward points. LevelUp users link any credit or debit card to their LevelUp accounts the same way that Starbucks links a gift card to its app. When they get to a LevelUp merchant, the app generates a unique QR code at the register that can be scanned with a merchant app to pay. Merchants can add rewards to LevelUp that are already waiting for customers the first time that they use the app, and customers earn free credit at that merchant every time they spend money there using the app. Since launching in October, the app has signed up more than 100,000 users and has about 1,000 businesses. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has helped deploy more than 2,500 docking stations that stand in for the merchant app as a scanning mechanism at checkout counters. It’s a modest start, but LevelUp has all of the ingredients to become more widespread than competing mobile payment options.


Let’s be frank: transferring money through social networks sounds shady. Which is what makes it impressive that Dwolla, a payments startup that makes transfers through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels, was processing $1 million per day less than a year after launch. Dwolla’s 70,000 users make payments through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels by connecting their bank accounts to their Dwolla accounts. The service integrates with social networks to alert payment recipients there is money waiting for them in their own Dwolla accounts that can be transferred to their bank account. Payments of up to $10 are free and anything larger costs $0.25 — which is cheaper than paying a credit card fee. In December, the company launched a new feature called Instant that lets users pay on up to $500 of credit while waiting for bank transfers from their accounts, making this process instant.


Eventbrite is the oddball on our list of companies to watch in 2012 because the ticketing platform launched five years ago. But here are some reasons we think that 2012 is a good time to keep an eye on the startup: It’s on a growth streak. Last year it sold about 11 million tickets. This year it sold about 21 million. It’s being taken seriously by big events. This summer, for instance, it handled tickets for a Black Eyed Peas concert in New York City’s Central Park in addition to 458,000 other events (more than twice as many as last year). It’s expanding internationally. Eventbrite opened a London office in October and launched localized versions of its platform in Ireland and Canada in December. It’s offline. A new iPad app lets event organizer sell tickets through Eventbrite at the door. It could IPO. In a ZURB podcast this summer, Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz said that Eventbrite could file as early as 2012. “We have to continue to perform to very lofty expectations to do that,” he said.


Codecademy took something that scared people, learning JavaScript, and turned it into a game. And when it’s not intimidating, it turns out that learning how to code is something that a lot of people want to do. In its first 72 hours after launching this summer, Codecademy signed up 200,000 people for coding lessons. When it launched a New Years resolution class on Jan. 1, Code Year, it signed up 97,000 people in less than 48 hours to receive emails with weekly coding lessons. By the end of the week, more than 170,000 people had signed up for the class, including the Mayor. What’s interesting about Codecademy’s traction is that its product is still quite limited. Lessons are restricted to JavaScript, and there isn’t a clear pathway for working through the lessons. In 2012, Codecademy will expand to other coding languages, and as it does so, it will also expand its potential userbase. Thanks to Code Year, the startup will for the first time have thousands of students working on specific lessons around the same time, which could present an opportunity to add social features to the platform or create curriculum.

The 2012 Games, it’s sponsors and their legacy

As the London Olympic Games fast approaches (less than one year from now), Ive been exploring a little into the roles of its sponsors ultimately to see what they are hoping for from their significant association fees but also what part each has to play in the all important Olympic legacy that has been a part of the events important core message.

Here is a breakdown of the 46 core sponsors to this point, their role and what they will contribute, if anything, to the legacy.

Name of
Role of partner Contribution to the Olympic
Acer Acer will provide support
related to its technology, including defining and testing the PC equipment
for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Acer aims to provide winter
sports facilities within London. The indoor resorts will last beyond 2012 and
help to sustain the Olympic Legacy by promoting indoor sporting activities in
a city which would not normally have the opportunity to provide such facilities.
Adecco Adecco will be responsible for
the Organising Committee’s permanent and temporary recruitment up until 2012.
An online jobs board has been launched that features all available roles.
Diversity and inclusivness is key focus.
Adecco has partnered with the
British Olympics Association to launch the BOA Athletic Career Programme.
This initiative aims to help athletes before, during and after competition by
providing placements and other opportunities for financial support. The Athlete Career Fair will also help those athletes who are retiring after 2012 to find
work and support. Additionally, the online jobs board will specifically aim
to recruit a diverse workforce to the Games that is inclusive of people with
disabilities, from ethnic minorities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
adidas adidas will provide sportswear
for Olympic staff as well as kit for the British Olympic Association and
British Paralympic Association.
adidas will launch five
multi-sport outdoor venues called adiZones which will help to involve young
people in sport and other physical activities. They will also support the
Young Ambassadors movement, an initiative to train young ambassadors for the Games in an attempt to attract more young people to sport.
Aggreko Aggreko will provide temporary power supplies for the
Information unavailable
Airwave Airwave will provide private mobile radio service for use
within all Games venues.
Airwave will develop a specialist mobile radio communications system called Tetra, which is designed for emergency services and public safety agencies. Tetra will continue to develop after 2012 and provide new services in the London area.
ArcelorMittal ArcelorMittal will provide steel and other construction
services for the Olympic Games.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit tower is a new, 115m-tall sculpture that will be situated near the Olympic Stadium. It is expected to generate £10m per year in revenue and around 50 new jobs.
Atkins Atkins is the official
engineering design services provider for the Games, which includes help with
building design, acoustics, fire and accessibility advice for Games venues
across the UK.
Atkins will transform the Horse Guards Parade into an Olympic venue for the Beach Volleyball competition.
Atos Origin Atos Origin is responsible for
designing, integrating, testing, managing and securing the IT systems for the
Atos Origin aims to reduce IT
power consumption for the London Games, thereby promoting an environmentally   sustainable Olympics.
BMW BMW will supply more than 4000 cars and motorbikes for the
Olympic Games.
BMW’s Olympic Legacy involvement
includes the introduction of numerous electronic vehicles in an attempt to
create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Olympic Games.
BP BP will provide oil and fuel for
the 4,700 official vehicles during the Games, as well as car cleaning
services and liquified petroleum gas for catering needs.
BP aims to create an enduring
and reusable infrastructure for the Games, promoting sustainability around
London in the process.
British Airways British Airways is the official
airline for the Olympics, and it will fly Team GB to training sessions and
other events in the run-up to the Games.
British Airways will suport the
Great Britons programme by investing in a £500,000 fund for up to 180 flights
a year until 2012 allowing people to develop their talent and realise their
BT BT is a sustainability partner
for the Olympics and will provide the communications infrastructure for the
Olympic sites.
BT promises a green Olympic
legacy and will develop a methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of
its communications technology.
Cadbury Cadbury, as the official treat
provider to London 2012 will supply confectionary throughout the Games.
Cadbury has launched a campaign
to get people involved with physical activites. Called the Spots V Stripes
campaign, the aim is to get millions of people around the country involved in
playing ‘mini-games’.
CBS Outdoor CBS Outdoor is the official
outdoor advertising supplier for London 2012 and will supply outdoor media
space to support the major marketing campaigns up to 2012.
CBS Outdoor will sponsor the new
green energy lighting system for the landmark fountains in Trafalgar Square,
inspiring long-term environmental sustainability in time for the Olympics and
beyond. They will also CBS Outdoor will help market the vast volunteering
programme, which aims to involve 70,000 in the Olympics, using its outdoor
media space.
Cisco Cisco’s Borderless Network
architecture will enable a vast Network infrastructure, allowing athletes and
spectators around the world to connect with each other.
Cisco will help to transform the
Olympic Park by providing IP services to various systems around the area.
They will also develop a Innovation Centre which will promote technical
excellence and demonstrate how technology can transform local businesses and communities.
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola will provide beverages
for the millions of athletes, tourists and visitors to the Olympics. It is
also sponsor of the Torch Relay and will be funding athlete development and
Coca-Cola will contribute to the
legacy vision of helping Britain get active by offereing free swimming via
bottles of Schweppes Abbey Well mineral water. In keeping with the theme of
sustainability, the company is increasing the number of recycle zones across
the country and will be seeking to reduce carbon emmissions through the use
of new technologies.
Crystal CG Crystal CG is the digital
imaging services supplier for the Olympics, which includes designing 3D
visualisations of Olympic venues.
Company unable to provide details
Deloitte Deloitte is the official
professional services provider for the Games and will help to organise and
distribute the nine million tickets around the world.
Deloitte will help shape the
business legacy of the Games by accelerating business performance and
providing a sustainable economic foundation for the future.
Dow The official chemistry company
of the Olympic Movement, Dow produces many of the products and materials
which form the building blocks of the Olympic Games, from the fibers of
swimsuits to the lightweight frames of bicycles.
Company unable to provide details
EDF EDF is a sustainability partner
for the Olympics and its role includes promoting climate change issues to
businesses and individuals
By aiming to save a tonne of CO2
from home energy use before 2012, EDF will help to inspire a decline in
carbon emissions. They will also team with the youth charity Envision in
order to support the Legacy Champions programme, a project to create a community
legacy for young people in six Olympic boroughs.
Eurostar Eurostar is the official international rail services provider
for the Olympics.
A new international station will
be built in Stratford by Eurostar which will provide a direct international
service for spectators during the Olympics and ebyond, increasing London’s
prestige as an international city.
Brukhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer LLP will be the official legal
provider for London 2012.
Freshfields will be supporting
three athletes in their quest to compete in the Games and is also part of the
Cultural Olympiad initiative to promote arts and culture. There is also a
‘Personal Challenge’ project for staff which encourages them to focus on
their own individual development before broadening its role to involve to
wider community.
GE GE will provide environmental
and infrastructure support, as well as cutting edge medical facilities for
the athletes
GE has donated £4.8 million
worth of medical equipment to Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East
London. This pledge will enhance the hospital’s care of premature and sick
babies and helo reduce the infant mortality rates across the Borough of Hackney.
GlaxoSmithKline GSK will supply laboratory services to the Games as well as
anti-dope facilities.
Through its anti-doping
facilities, GSK will set an ethical standard which will endure long after
Gymnova Gymnova is the official equipment supplier for the Olympic
Company unable to provide details
Heineken UK Heineken UK is the official lager supplier for the Olympics. Company unable to provide details
Holiday Inn Official Hotel Provider for the
Olympics. They will provide residential managers, receptionists and other
staff in the Athletes’ Village, as well as accommodating guests during and
after the Olympic and Paralympic Games.1,500 free nights will be provided to
emerging and established British athletes.
Holiday Inn will help visitors
from around the world explore the UK before, during and after the Olympics.
They will also employ aspiring athletes at numerous hotels to help them earn
money and build their work experience with a view to future careers.
John Lewis John Lewis is the official department store provider for the
The ‘Partners in Sport’
initiative from John Lewis involves sponsoring seven Olympics hopefuls as
well as funding sports coaches.
Lloyds TSB Lloyds TSB is the banking and
insurance partner of the Olympic Games and will support various businesses
through 2012 and beyond.
As part of its Legacy campaign,
Lloyds TSB has launched the Local Heroes programme which aims to help
emerging athletes by funding up to 600 hopefuls through the 2012 Games. They
will also support National School Sport Week.
McCann Worldgroup McCann Worldgroup is the official marketing services provider
for the Olympics.
Through FutureBrand, McCann
Worldgroup has designed and created the 2012 Legacy Corner. This major piece
of sustainable planning will transform the area into a new urban green space
and give an overlooked part of London a new park to enjoy for future generations
to enjoy post-Games.
McDonald’s McDonald’s will serve food to
more than 20,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of spectators over the
Olympic period.
McDonald’s aims to deliver an
Olympic legacy for farming. The company will be providing around 14 million
meals during the Olympics, an ideal opportunity for British agriculture.
Mondo Mondo is the official supplier of sports flooring and
equipment for the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Next Next will provide uniforms for
the technical officials at the Games and suits for London organising
committee staff.
Company unable to provide details
Omega Omega will provide time pieces
and various time systems and services, including electronic timing and
scoreboards, for the Olympic Games.
Company unable to provide details
P&G P&G’s brand portfolio will be utulised to reach over 4
billion consumers around the world.
The company will introduce an
ongoing dialogue with the mothers of Olympic athletes in an effort to help
shape future corporate acts.
Panasonic Panasonic will be providing the
Olympics with digital technology, including state-of-the-art audio and visual
Panasonic aims to improve
cultural life as part of the Cultural Olympiad project, a UK-wide celebration
of culture. Panasonic will provide opportunities for expression through its
Film Nation: Short initiative, where young people are encouraged to make films
that celebrate and support the Games.
Populus Populous is the official architectural and overlay design
services provider for the Games.
The overlay facilities are
designed to have a lasting impression while not damaging the charm of
London’s historical sites and buildings.
Samsung Samsung will provide wireless
equipment technology for the Olympic Games and will be the Presenting Partner
for the Olympic Torch Relay.
Company unable to provide details
Technogym Technogym is the fitness equipment supplier for the Olympics. technogym aim to promote a
fitness lifestyle that will endure beyond the 2012 Olympic Games.
Boston Consulting Group
BCG is the strategic consulting
provider for the Games and will advice on ticketing, merchandising,
sponsorship and revenue strategies.
Company unable to provide details
The Nielsen Company The Nielsen Company is the official market research services
provider for the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Thomas Cook Thomas Cook is the official
provider of ticket and accommodation short breaks for the Olympics
Company unable to provide details
Ticketmaster Ticketmaster is the official ticketing services provider for
the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Trident Trident is the official provider of chewing gum for the
Olympic Games.
Company unable to provide details
UPS UPS will operate as the lead logistics and express delivery
supporter of the Olympics.
UPS will deploy 14 purpose-built
electric vehicles as part of its green fleet project, with the aim to promote
and develop sustainable travel and delivery.
Visa Presenting partner of Team 2012,
a group of 1,200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are all striving to
compete at the London 2012 Games.
Visa’s contribution to the
Olympic Legacy involves a focus on youth. It says its commitment to youth is
demonstrated through its ongoing support of UNICEF, the Child Exploitation
and Online Protection Centre and local volunteering programmes which are devoted
to supporting young people through mentoring and coaching.