Blog

A whiter shade

August 31, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It was great to work with blind radio presenter Peter White again this week. He has done a lot for disabled people over the years and I admire his work. Peter frequently presents mainstream Radio 4 programmes such as “You and Yours” but my most recent contact with him was in his role as presenter for “In Touch” which he has presented since 1974 with a particular focus on blind and visually impaired people. Just this week I was involved in a debate with a blind Olympic and Paralympic Games Maker called Terry and a visually impaired spectator called Robert who had been to a wide variety of venues. LOCOG has placed a great deal of emphasis on the diversity of the workforce, volunteers and their supply chain. Their aim to have 6-10% of these workforces made up of disabled people was well on track to be achieved when we checked before the Games and I am confident that the final analysis will show this to be a success. It was great to hear Terry’s story, how he was trained and supported by LOCOG and how inspiring he found his role as a Games Maker. He said that he couldn’t …

The end of the beginning

August 10, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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Like Jessica Ennis going into her final event; LOCOG’s Games were the final act in seven years of hard work by a variety of organisations. Early success was already in the bag. Great sustainable infrastructure, venues and a wonderful green park constructed by the ODA. Only venues that have a clear legacy use were designed to be permanent. The use of temporary venues has been unprecedented. Long term investment in public transport infrastructure has made Stratford one of the best connected places in Europe. The world’s first public transport Games was delivered by Transport for London and LOCOG despite all the predictions of doom and gridlock. The cheerful volunteers made the experience a joy. I even saw some people on the tube talking to each other! Why can’t it be like that all the time? LOCOG’s spectacular success in delivering a low carbon Olympic cauldron set the scene. London 2012 has demonstrated that it is possible to deliver a wonderful variety of sustainably sourced, competitively priced food and aim to dispose of the packaging with recycling and composting performance that should put the rest of the event industry to shame. Green spaces were well looked after. This was billed as …

Athletes Village

Village People

May 1, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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It was great to take our Commissioners on a tour of the Olympic Village and many thanks to Nigel Garfitt, Tony Sainsbury and the team from LOCOG for patiently showing us round and giving us their valuable time so close to the Games. The first impression of the experience is high security, we had 3 separate ID checks to get into the Village and for specific buildings. Nigel is the director responsible for the Village and many other aspects of the Games, his pass did not have the correct date so he was refused entry until the error had been corrected. I appreciate that a large amount of additional security is necessary to ensure the Games are safe but our Commissioners have expressed concern that  additional scrutiny may continue in wider society after the Games and infringe the civil liberties of the most watched nation on earth. There has to be a balance after the Games. The Village is the first to be located within walking distance of the main competition venues and the excellent public transport links to central London will provide a great experience for athletes of the 208 nations who will descend on us in less than …

Rubbish Bin - Aquatics Centre

Conversation killer Queen

August 1, 2011   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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A couple of years ago I was invited to speak at a conference organised for university purchasing consortia (I get all the good gigs!) I was asked to give the opening keynote speech but I was told that I would be following a “motivational speaker”. I have done this before and was quite relaxed about it; these people usually get the audience in a good mood before I put them to sleep. I did not realise until the evening before the event that the motivational speaker was Lenny Henry! However, having experienced Lenny as my warm up act did not prepare me for the event in the Aquatic Centre where I had Queen as my backing band. I was doing an interview for BBC Radio London when the speakers started booming out a medley of Queen hits to accompany a synchronised swimming demonstration in the diving pool. That pretty much summed up the first part of the day, organised chaos with a huge scrum of media people all talking at once. The BBC people were great, ushering me from interview to interview. Part of our duty is to communicate and we did lots of that on the day. The early …

Team GB at the Velodrome

Bicycle race

February 22, 2011   |   Posted by Jonathan Turner

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I attended the opening ceremony for the velodrome today. The velodrome is a venue we are particularly pleased with as a commission as it is a real sustainability success story. One of my roles in the Commission is to track all the commitments that the delivery bodies have made to ensure they are progressing against them. This has meant I have been able to see how all the venues have developed throughout their design and build. The velodrome has consistently stood out as its innovative design has helped it meet or exceed all the targets set for it. For example, the ODA required all the venues to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than standard venues. The velodrome is over 30 percent more efficient, doubling the target set. Its rainwater harvesting system means it also nearly doubles the 40 per cent target for reduction in potable water use. I was also pleased to see the sustainably sourced timber track that Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and other members of Team GB were cycling round today. The velodrome is also a great example of carbon efficient design. Using a lightweight structure with a timber clad cable net roof, the …

Wind turbine

Olympic wind turbine cancelled

June 8, 2010   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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Gone when the morning comes… Like a bat out of hell it was gone when the morning comes. On 3 June 2010, the ODA announced the cancellation of their proposed wind turbine for the Olympic Park. With it came a little media storm with headlines such as “what hope now for the Green Games?” and “Olympic chiefs scrap wind power plan”. The first question I was asked by one journalist was “What other environmental targets are the ODA going to ditch?” Words like “scrap”, “ditch” and “abandon” appeared in most headlines. The fact is, the ODA are ditching nothing and we expect them to honour the commitment they made to deliver 50% carbon reduction and 20% energy from renewable sources. In the face of increasing challenges with wind power, they have now chosen to deliver their 20% renewable energy commitment using biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system and other renewables, not a wind turbine. Biomass is the ugly duckling to the wind turbine’s beautiful swan. Whether you like them or not, wind turbines take a great picture against a background of a crisp blue sky, a spectacular sunset, or even a thunderstorm. They look good in PowerPoint presentations, on …

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