The Vancouver Sun’s lead reporter on the Olympics, Jeff Lee, has over the years written some stories unlikely to please the International Olympic Committee or local organizers. But the IOC mus not have minded his recent “Feeling the Buzz” piece on preparations for the games in Vancouver and Whistler.They paid for it and published it….
Andrew MacLeod could have added that Sun Reporter Jeff Lee is the only Canadian member of the Olympic Journalists’ Association, which is called by Andrew Jennings at Transparency in Sport, the Olympic Reporters’ Secret Club:
Swiss bagman Jean-Marie Weber who admitted in court last year that he paid $100 million in kickbacks to sports officials in return for lucrative marketing contracts was at it again in Lausanne last week, schmoozing wannabee Olympic 2016 hosts Chicago, Rio, Madrid and Tokyo.
What a great story for Britain’s Olympic reporters. But they haven’t published a word. Why can this be?
Transparency in sport has obtained the membership list of the self-styled Olympic Journalists Association – the OJA. Astonishingly, Bagman Weber is a member – alongside the BBC’s lethargic sports editor Mihir Bose and three of his specialist reporters.
Telegraph sports editor David Bond has also signed up to the OJA with two of his hacks. The Times is there and so are AP’s Steve Wilson and Reuters’ Karolos Grohmann. Between them they dominate international reporting on Olympic politics and money.
Some people in our town (my family, for example) are disappointed that so few Gold Medal hockey tickets were available for purchase in VANOC’s lottery for the unconnected. However, even if you are not an organizing committee insider or friends with a BC Liberal Cabinet Minister, you still have an opportunity for gold. Jet Set Sports (the Official Hospitality Services Provider of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games) offers an alternative, including:
- Exclusive access to an award-winning athlete and a memorable behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic Winter Games
- Tickets to each of most sought-after Olympic events:
– Closing Ceremony,
– Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game,
– Figure Skating Gala Exhibition and
– Three Short-Track Speed Skating gold medal races;
- Three nights’ accommodation at Vancouver’s prestigious Sutton Place Hotel;
- Olympic-certified ground transportation and an onsite personal concierge dining at Vancouver’s most highly acclaimed eateries (perhaps including McDonald’s – the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games).
Bagman Weber isn’t the only OJA member from the Dark Sde of the Olympic business. Step forward tickets and rooms operator Sead Dizdarevic, boss of New Jersey company Jet Set Trave.
Mr. Dizdarevic admitted to the Feds that he handed over bags of cash in hotels and airports that were laundered to IOC members demanding bribes in return for giving the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. That didn’t harm his relationship with the ‘Olympic Movement,’ as they call it. Now he’s got a big chunk of London 2012. Mr Dizdarevic is not known to have worked as a journalist.
The Canadian Journalism Project added their take on the story by The Tyee. I suggest you pay attention to the worthwhile comments section that includes a statement from Tyee’s driving force David Beers.
Admittedly, this is not new or earth shaking. It merely confirms that the Olympic Movement remains a plaything for the wealthy, subsidized by the proletariat and as corrupt as it ever was. Money laundering, bribery, secrecy, self-perpetuation, enrichment of insiders are only a few of the sins.
With their billion dollar budget, will the RCMP and other Official Olympic Harriers be searching for crooks inside the movement as diligently as they deal with social critics outside the circles of influence?
Why should we care? It’s only costing a few billion dollars that might otherwise be dedicated to real economic development or healthcare or making higher education affordable once again. But, the Games and the parties will be so much fun for many of our deprived elites. Aging jock-sniffers are in heat and how do you put a price on that?