Tag Archives: Olympics 2012

Swimming against the tide

Most of learning to swim is confidence in the water.

I struggled to learn to swim without that confidence: once I had it – the surety that I could – I went from struggling with a buoyancy ring to underwater somersaults in what, looking back, feels like months, not years.

A group of scientific researchers in Australia have shown that participation in swimming lessons is benefiting the over all health and well-being of children. Early results of a study at Griffith University in Queensland has revealed that children who learn how to swim at a young age have physical, social, intellectual and language development advantages compared to the non-swimmers. Professor Jorgensen said this study was the largest of its kind in 30 years and stated: “We’ve only just done the first year of the study but already the indicators are suggesting that the children who have been in longer periods of time in early swimming do appear to be hitting those intellectual milestones, those physical milestones, earlier than children who aren’t doing swimming”. – Blue Wave Swim School

Leith Victoria is a nice swimming pool: I like it and I swim there regularly. But it’s a pool designed for people who already can swim. Two lanes are standard for people who want to swim regular lengths without interruption from adults and children splashing about, and so a child who can’t swim yet is confined to a quarter of the pool at most during regular public swimming hours. That’s normal for most pools.

Leith Waterworld was a treasure: a pool designed for all children, for disabled adults, for family use. Closing it down means fewer children will be swimming regularly, learning to have confidence in the water, discovering they love to swim. It’s ironic that this should be Edinburgh’s Olympic & Paralympic memorial: closing a pool that fostered the love of swimming.
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Filed under Children, Disability, of Edinburgh, Olympics, Scottish Politics

Stamps and gold pillar boxes

Royal Mail offered to do a commemorative stamp for every TeamGB gold medallist, and to paint a pillar box in their home town gold.

So far – there are five days of the Olympics left to run – TeamGB has 22 gold medals. According to BBC Sport:

Great Britain have also bettered their overall Beijing medal haul of 47 following high jumper Robbie Grabarz’s bronze – Team GB’s 48th of the Games. They also look certain to add to that tally in the coming days – UK Sport had set a target of a minimum 48 medals at London 2012.

That is gold, silver, and bronze medals (as of today, TeamGB had already won that many) – not a target for gold medals alone.

Royal Mail will paint a red pillar box gold in every Paralympic gold medallist’s home town. But it will not issue a next day stamp in honour of every Paralympian.
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Filed under Disability, Olympics

Imagine this

From the Skydancing blog: Little Girls Do Not Cause Men to Rape Them:

I have news for James McKinley. Little girls do not cause men to rape them. I don’t care what articles of clothing those little girls are wearing or how much make-up they have on their faces. They are not responsible for the actions of rapists. These young men weren’t “drawn in.” They made their own choices to commit a horrible crime. I frankly don’t give a shit that they “have to live with this for the rest of their lives.” What exactly does McKinley imagine it will be like for an 11-year-old who was raped by 20-plus men? Does McKinley even have the ability to imagine what that will be like? Or does he simply think of the victim as some kind of throwaway? A girl who deserved to be punished for her “dressing older than her age” and talking to teenage boys on a playground?

A little girl enters an empty lift. As the door starts to close, a few seconds later, a man runs down the corridor towards the lift, re-opens the doors, and enters the lift. They’re alone in the lift together.

Girl takes standard safety precaution of standing in front of the control panel, close to the door. She glances over her shoulder at the man standing behind her and to her left, just once. The lift’s security camera can hardly see the man – he’s standing in the corner where he’s out of its direct view. The girl shifts her head, moves her hands, but never looks around again.

About 30 seconds later, the lift reaches her floor and the door opens.

The man makes his move: he hits the button to close the door and grabs for the girl, blocking her exit with his arm.
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Filed under Olympics, Scottish Culture, Women

The Nine Flagbearers

I would not want to imply that I think silliness is a necessary part of going right-wing. But you cannot read the serenely egotistical incoherence of Rush Limbaugh without wondering:

“Of all the things that you want to honour. I mean, the people of Great Britain don’t even like the National Health Service! And then it hit me, and then it hit me. It was actually done on behalf of President Kardashian. They did it for Obama. Nobody will convince me otherwise.”

(Limbaugh, by the way, has long been described as “the Number One voice for conservatism in the US“, God help them.)

Then shortly afterwards I read Douglas Murray in the Spectator. He was quite anxious to point out that not liking the opening ceremony didn’t make him a Nazi. He had perfectly logical reasons for not liking to see the Director of Liberty honoured as a flagbearer:

Among the people honoured with the task of carrying the Olympic flag was the left-wing campaigner Shami Chakrabarti. The stadium voiceover announced that this was because of her ‘integrity.’ The conservative philosopher Roger Scruton is some years Chakrabarti’s senior and I would say rather demonstrably her superior in achievement and ‘integrity’. Yet I do not believe Professor Scruton was asked to be one of the Olympic flag-bearers. Nor was Ayaan Hirsi Ali invited to be honoured for her integrity. Or Margaret Thatcher. Why not? To ask the question is to answer it: all are recognised, like Chakrabarti, to be highly political figures.

Shami Chakrabarti said of her involvement with the Olympics, which Liberty has criticised:

When the emails and texts came in from friends across the political spectrum over the weekend, one in particular noticed the poignant contrast between the Beijing and London approach. In China, human rights campaigners get locked up; in Britain, even the most irritating gets to carry the Olympic flag.

The Olympic Flag has always previously been carried by Olympic athletes only. The nine flagbearers were from the US, Ethiopia, Argentine and Israel, Liberia, South Korea, Brazil, and three from Britain.
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Filed under Equality, Human Rights, Olympics

Constable Savage

On Thursday 4th August 2011, the Metropolitan Police shot Mark Duggan in the chest and killed him. The police story at the time was that Duggan had fired on them: a story later confirmed to be false. Having killed Mark Duggan, the police do not appear to have made any attempt to contact his parents to let them know he was dead until Friday: his mother discovered the shooting from a newspaper headline.

Mark Duggan

Since 1990, 1433 people have died in police custody or after police “contact” – such as Simon Harwood’s baton knocking Ian Tomlinson to the ground – and not one police officer has been convicted of a criminal offense. Continue reading

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Filed under Olympics, Riots

Wednesday Sports with Chips

What says Olympic sports to you?

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Cadbury, obviously.
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Filed under About Food, Olympics

Flaming Baguettes and Woolly Thinking

Hugh Robertson MP wrote in the February Olympic Quarterly Report:

“One of the greatest adverts for the UK from the London 2012 Games is the Olympic Park itself, which showcases the best of British architecture, engineering and construction”.

Lord Haskel noted this remark in the House of Lords on 21st May 2012, and added:

It is indeed a wonderful showcase for our companies, which supplied not only the innovative products about which the Minister spoke but also the recyclable materials-products that make this a green Olympics. The floor coverings, waste bins and much of the pipework are all recyclable. The new road surfaces use waste material. The energy centre burns waste material. New materials were developed for the roofing membranes, for the 80,000 seats in the main stadium and for the 6,000 seats in the velodrome. The water and sewerage services are most ingenious. As the Minister said, it is a showcase for the best of British industry. What a good story we have to tell-a story that British companies should tell out loud. They can supply these materials and their products to construction companies in all parts of the world.

However, they cannot tell it. Why? In order to get the business, companies had to sign an agreement that they would not publicise their products without permission from LOCOG. Despite many applications, none of the companies that supplied the products and materials that I have mentioned was given permission. Continue reading

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Filed under Disability, Olympics, Public Transport

Olympics entrepreneurs

The Woolsack project (Do not meddle in the affairs of knitters) are still trying to reach all and each of the Olympic athletes to let them choose their hand-knitted cushion.

Team GB - Innsbruck - Woolsack Cushions - Winter Olympics

From the official site:

8,000 inspirational people will carry the Olympic Flame as it journeys across the UK. Nominated by someone they know, it will be their moment to shine, inspiring millions of people watching in their community, in the UK and worldwide.

We knew that the Olympic Torchbearers were another resource for LOCOG fundraising Continue reading

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Filed under Olympics, Tax Avoidance

Olympic mockery

This Eldritch Abomination, this Stygian horror, this creature from the depths of hell itself. How can I truly rate the horrors that this abominable creature has brought upon me and my household? Pretend that my star rating was actually ”” ”””” ””

You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets.

In September 2010 PZ Myers asked So, now mockery is not allowed in the UK?
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Filed under Corruption, Olympics

Do not meddle in the affairs of knitters

“Do not meddle in the affairs of knitters, for they carry pointy things and know how to use them.” Granola Geek Mom

Sebastian Coe announced on 18th April that the official Games motto for Olympics 2012 was to be Inspire a Generation.

According to LOCOG’s own website, “Inspire” is meant to be for millions of people to feel they’re part of the Games:

‘London 2012 will be the most far-reaching sporting and cultural event in the world to date. These Games are for the whole of the UK, for sport and culture, for volunteers and business.’ – Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
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