Watch those slippery French! Their organisation, the Préparation Olympique et Paralympique, is trying to boost wins via surveillance, under the direction of a man they called the Frog James Bond.The US is also seeking an Olympic edge through stealth; someone from their BMX team surreptitiously rode the competition course in London with a three-dimensional mapping device, so the team could build and train on a replica of the Olympic track.
And according to the New York Times, USA Sailing ‘opportunistically snatched up property near the Olympic competition site in Weymouth, England, to build a training base in enemy territory to study weather and current conditions before the Games.’ Although I hardly see that this is a crime.
But spy techniques are becoming more universal. Secretive Beijing is widely believed to have actively cheated through tactics used in its host Olympics, and it’s now common practice for competitors to closely watch their rivals’ preparations and copy them because of the amount of money involved. Meanwhile, that fountain of fearfulness the Daily Mail warned its already-terrified housewifely readers that gangs of Romanian thieves are heading for London to take advantage of the rising tides of loose dosh.
And it is big money. I tried for tickets and got none, but you can still buy them for the opening ceremony. Except that £900 buys you a 3rd class standing room/obstructed view ticket only. I guess all the best seats have gone to local councillors, bankers and sponsors’ WAGs.
In the austerity-wracked days of the 1948 Olympics, the British athletes had to take sandwiches to their training sessions. But of course then it was about a competition of physical prowess, not about junk-food chains being ‘proud to be part of 2012′ (I assume they mean the heart-attack-and-ambulance part).
But hey, let’s be generous. The sun’s finally out – to quote the traditional Londoners’ welcome; Come on then if you think you’re hard enough.
On Thursday I expect to be reporting on the passing of the Olympic Torch. I should be able to manage that, seeing as it’s due to happen outside my window. It arrives by boat and is to be danced into the street by Sadler’s Wells artistes.
My top photo today shows acrobats dangling from the struts of the London Eye. I suppose it makes a change from David Blaine in a glass box. I’ll be watching the opening from my apartment on TV, and although I’ll be providing my guests with 3D specs, it won’t be the same as being there.