Daily Archives: July 26, 2012

At a final dress rehearsal on Wednesday night for London’s opening ceremony – the vision of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting director Danny Boyle – some 50,000 ticket holders, which included myself in the nose-bleed seats, were presented with a uniquely British affair.

Without wishing to divulge the plot more than has already been revealed publicly, the spectacle traces the Britain’s history through a pastiche of dance, song, film, literature and audience interaction. Read more >>

Martin Stabe

Over the next two weeks, the Olympic “medal table”, ranking nations according to the number of gold, silver and bronze medals their athletes have collected in London will be widely reported.

But there will be few surprises: The United States, China and Russia will almost certainly top the table, followed by the smaller wealthy countries. Great Britain will most likely fare better than usual, because the host nation usually does.

Population, GDP per capita, past performance and “home advantage” appear to have a strong relationship to nations’ Olympic success, a common-sense observation that has long been demonstrated by social science.

Substantial academic literature, stretching back to the 1950s, has been produced by economists, sociologists and political scientists using statistical techniques to relate nations’ macroeconomic conditions to their Olympic performance, and forecasting upcoming games.

Typically, these take the form of regression analyses that use historical macroeconomic data as independent variables to account for participating countries’ medal share at the Olympics.

During the London games, the FT will use three such models as a benchmark to rank our medal table according to teams’ ability to outperform models that account for their size, wealth and other socioeconomic factors:

 Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

FT staff have been sending in pictures from around London today. Here are a few of our favourites…

Mark Wembridge took this beautiful panorama photo of the Olympic stadium last night:

This was snapped by Madison Marriage, as an Olympics torchbearer passed by on Great Guildford Street at about 10am on Thursday: Read more >>

James Blitz

The Olympics offer a chance for a deeper debate in the UK over how the Army can be used in homeland resilience, says James Blitz Read more >>

Heathrow Airport (Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Thursday July 26 has been billed as Heathrow airport’s busiest day ever, but it may not turn out that way.

For months, BAA, Heathrow’s operator, had forecast that a record 244,000 passengers would pass through the airport, with numbers swelled by those converging on London for the Olympic games.

But on Thursday BAA cut its forecast to 227,000 arriving and departing passengers, which means July 26 would not beat the previous record of 234,000 set in July last year. Read more >>

Helen Warrell

Following the furore last night over the North Korean football team being mistakenly listed alongside a South Korean flag, reports of a new Olympic diplomatic incident emerged on Thursday.

A middle distance runner, believed to be of African origin, apparently handed himself in to a police station in Leeds yesterday to claim political asylum. While the UK Border Agency is remaining tight-lipped about the affair – and points out that it never comments on individual cases – government officials confirmed that the sportsman had claimed he was being persecuted in his home country. Read more >>

The editor of FT Weekend, Caroline Daniel, came across this handmade sign in a London cab earlier this week. It serves as a nice illustration of Hannah Kuchler’s story from today’s newspaper, from which: Read more >>

Hannah Kuchler

Paralympic medalist Ade Adepitan, (L), lights the torch of the next bearer, a South London school girl

The Olympic torch whizzed across London’s once-wobbly Millenium bridge on Thurdsay morning, carried by Paralympic medallist Ade Adepitan who moved so fast, he had to reverse to give the photographers their shot.

Office workers – who had been worrying about being late to work – joined with school kids on their summer holidays to screech and squeal as the flame made the journey between two of the capital’s most famous landmarks: St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern.

The torch has traveled through more than a thousand villages and towns across the four nations of the United Kingdom and will have journeyed for 70 days when it reaches the Olympic stadium on Friday. Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

'Wenlock' , chilling out by the Thames. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/GettyImages

Every day on the blog we’ll be aiming to get you limbered up for the day ahead with a series of links to some of the best Olympics coverage from the FT and elsewhere. We’ll also give you a heads up on the main fixtures on the schedule. On your marks…

1) It’s not exactly the ideal start to your Olympics: a team walking off the pitch in disgust. But that’s what happened last night, writes Matthew Engel, as the North Korean women’s football team were welcomed to the Glasgow pitch with their names on an electronic screen … next to the South Korean flag. Oops. “It is staggering that on Day One there should be a faux pas at the expense of the most prickly, paranoid nation on earth”, Matthew notes. Read the news story hereRead more >>