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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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July 16, 2008 11:01 AM

A new dope lab -- and a backup power plan -- for Vancouver

Posted by Ron Judd


Don't be surprised if doping once again becomes a news thread running through the Beijing Games, with record numbers of tests being administered, and new tests for at least some previously undetected substances, such as EPO.

Doping is already making news, meanwhile, in Vancouver, where the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is about to announce that its new drug lab will be located in space at the new Richmond Oval (see post below on that building).

The doping lab -- 15,000 square feet of it -- will be built into the street level of the building, the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee reports today. Vanoc has yet to confirm the deal, but Lee reports that the Richmond lab, which will be in space that will become a sports-medicine clinic after the Games, solves a major problem for Games organizers. They had initially planned to send doping samples to Canada's only World Anti-Doping Agency-certified lab, in Montreal. But the International Olympic Committee said no that that idea.

Meanwhile, a massive power outage in downtown Vancouver on Monday, caused by a fire in underground cables, has some people worried about a similar catastrophe during the Games. Especially since the blackout left in the dark the massive waterfront Convention & Exhibition Centre, which will be the working space for the world's assembled media.

Officials with B.C. Hydro said they're reviewing plans, and will have a backup source of power identified before the Games begin. Monday's power outage left a large portion of downtown Vancouver in the dark for a day and a half.

Ironically, as the Sun notes here, B.C. Hydro is an "official supporter" of the Olympics, having signed a deal to provide primary and secondary sources of power to most venues. That guarantee allowed Vanoc to save about $20 million in backup generators it would have needed to ensure power at all venues.

It's a safe bet that the details of that plan are getting a fresh look from Vanoc officials this week. Monday's failure almost shut down the city, without the pressure of an Olympics.


Comments | Category: Doping , IOC , Olympic venues , Vancouver 2010 Games |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 22, 2008 11:06 PM

A golden moment for Molson

Posted by Ron Judd

This might have been inevitable, but it still leaves a bit of a ... well, funky taste in our mouth.

WIth only 660 days until the cauldron lighting in/on/at/near (how are they going to do that, exactly, with a dome?) B.C. Place Stadium, Molson has been named the official beer of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Province reports tonight.

Seems a shame, given some of the notable B.C. breweries. But Vancouver Games CEO John Furlong points out that Molson has a Vancouver brewery that's been bottling the stuff for 50 of the 222 years Molson has been making beer in Maple Leaf Nation.

They likely won't be playing up the fact that the company is half American-owned, after a 2005 merger with Coors. But the money spends just as well either way. The beer deal, estimated at between $3 million and $15 million, gives Vancouver organizers a cool $715 million in total sponsorship cash in the bank -- close to the overall target of $760 million.

Don't look for a special Molson Oly brew soon, though. The brewer must wait until the end of the year to start using the Olympic logo, because of an existing International Olympic Committee contract with Anheuser-Busch, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Speaking of great beer contracts in Olympic history: True Oly trivia buffs will note that Labatt's was the official beer for the '88 Calgary Games, Canada's most recent Olympics. Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser spent big bucks to win the Salt Lake City and Turin contract, which runs through 2008.

But no brewery in Games history hitched a ride on the Olympic publicity bandwagon as effectively as Park City's Wasatch Brew Pub, which put out its own, in-your-face "Unofficial" Olympic ale, coupled with the now-famous Polygamy Porter, (motto: "Why have just one!"), both rolled out before the 2002 Salt Lake Games, much to the chagrin of Olympic and Mormon church officials.

An ad campaign for Polygamy Porter was rejected by nervous Salt Lake billboard companies. But it made one heckuva fine collectible Olympic pin, which we are proud to have in our collection.

Comments | Category: IOC , Olympic sponsors , Past Olympics , Vancouver 2010 Games |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 20, 2008 8:00 AM

High times at the USOC

Posted by Ron Judd

Official Olympics Insider Proclamation:

April 20, 2008

Seattle, Wash.

WHEREAS many many of the nation's top athletes, particularly those in track-and-field, are under investigation for using performance-enhancing substances at past Olympic Games, and

WHEREAS the International Olympic Committee and other governing bodies of international sport, in spite of accelerated awareness and best intentions, still admittedly have no means to test for some of the more-prevalent performance-enhancers believed to be in rampant use today, and

WHEREAS any athlete willing to shoot said substances into the buttock region demonstrably could gain the extra speed/height/distance/time advantage to win an Olympic medal and

WHEREAS said Olympic medal could translate into millions of dollars (Canadian; tens of thousands, U.S.) in endorsement deals, and

WHEREAS various U.S. officials, including Peter Ueberroth, the Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, have boldly stood before hundreds of journalists and repeatedly proclaimed the U.S. squad being sent to Beijing to be "a clean team,"

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT, given all of the above, the following serious question really must be asked:

Are these people high?

Comments | Category: Beijing 2008 Games , Doping , IOC , Peter Ueberroth , Summer Games , United States Olympic Committee , Winter Games |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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Blogroll and links

www.olympic.org: The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information.
www.nbcolympics.com: Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog
www.usolympicteam.com: U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site.
www.aroundtherings.com: Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription).
www.wcsn.com: News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions.
www.beijing2008.com: Beijing Organizing Committee Web site.
www.vancouver2010.com: Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site.
www.london2012.com: London 2012 Summer Games site.
www.sochi2014.com: Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site.
www.chicago2016.org: Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.