Boris Johnson on the London Underground earlier this year. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages
Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, is not normally lost for words. But for once the most high-profile local British politician has fallen silent. Transport for London has confirmed it has stopped playing a pre-recorded message by Mr Johnson.
The recording was aimed at encouraging Londoners to replan their journeys to allow for a deluge of visitors expected during the Olympics. The message, which warned of “huge pressure on the transport network” was pulled on Tuesday, a move which coincided with reports that overzealous warnings by TfL had scared people off coming to central London and had damaged business. Read more
Photo via @BTLondonLive on twitter
Even before Boris Johnson got stuck in the middle of a zip wire, suspended high above a crowd of Olympic revellers in East London, it was clear that this was not a stunt that any other politician would have attempted.
Wearing a giant red and blue harness over his suit, a hard hat strapped securely under the chin, and waving a Union Jack in each hand, the London mayor’s aerial progress towards spectators was anything but dignified.
The harebrained scheme had been intended to provide a spectacular mayoral entrance to one of the many “live” Olympic events being held around the UK capital, this one sponsored by BT and held in Victoria Park. However, when Boris came to a halt after gradually losing momentum, he was left prone above the assembled masses, unable to do anything except wave his flags in a lacklustre way and call on onlookers to throw up a rope.
The mayor was helped down around five minutes later when officials arrived with a ladder, and his spokesman waved off the incident in typically light-hearted fashion. “Clearly the judges are likely to mark him down for artistic interpretation”, he quipped, adding that Boris wouldn’t be bagging any gold medals but remained “unbowed” by the experience. Read more
Rupert Murdoch at the Sun Valley conference on July 13. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Rupert Murdoch will be making an appearance at the Olympic Games this week, when he attends an evening of swimming finals as the guest of Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.
It will be Mr Murdoch’s first appearance in the public eye since he gave evidence to the Leveson inqury into press standards last May. A person familiar with his movements said that he would be visiting the aquatics centre in Stratford, east London, the main base for the Games, with his wife Wendi Deng.
The person said that Mr Johnson had invited Mr Murdoch because he was “the single biggest investor in British sport in recent years”, a reference to the billions of pounds that British Sky Broadcasting pours into buying the rights of Premier League football, cricket, rugby and other sports.
BSkyB is also the sponsor of the team which was responsible for the first ever British winner of the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, earlier this month. Read more
France's Yannick Agnel (C) competes in the men's 200m freestyle semi-final swimming event on July 29, 2012 (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)
After the pageant and pandemonium of Friday’s opening ceremony, we’re now firmly into the Olympics events schedule, with a jam-packed day ahead.
Swimming – Tonight we’ve got the finals of the Men’s 200m Freestyle, the Women’s 100m Backstroke, the Men’s 100m Backstroke and the Women’s 100m Breaststroke. Michael Phelps will be looking to improve on his sole silver medal from the first two days of competition, Rebecca Adlington will return to the pool for the women’s 800m freestyle, and Gemma Spofforth will be hoping to impress with her 100m backstroke. In the Men’s 200m freestyle final, China’s Sun Yang is the main threat to Ryan Lochte of the US. Heats begin at 10am.
Diving – Great Britain’s Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield compete in the Men’s synchronised 10m platform final at 15.00
Gymnastics – Men’s team final at 16.30 Read more
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Boris Johnson probably put it best when he said this morning that the geiger-counter of Olympo-mania was “creeping towards the red zone”. The UK is abuzz and senior politicians – already relieved that the Olympics are finally distracting from Britain’s economic woes – have entered fully into the manic spirit.
First off, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt provided some unexpected entertainment when he waved a hand bell rather too enthusiastically during the “all the bells” celebration on HMS Belfast to mark the start of the games. The bell flew off its handle, narrowly missing the crowds on deck. “Oh, oh dear! Are you all right? Health and safety!”, Mr Hunt cried, in a very British way. He later recovered enough to laugh off the incident with a humour rare among politicians who have suffered televised mishap. “I was ringing a bell in a very excited way and the bell actually collapsed in my hand and went flying off,” he told the BBC. “It was a clanger, if you’ll forgive the awful pun.” Read more
Jacques Rogge (L) arrives with Princess Anne at the Opening Ceremony of the IOC at the Royal Opera House on July 23. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)
With a goodly number of crown princes, princesses, sheikhs and counts in its ranks, the International Olympic Committee is not a club inclined to cut corners.
The presence in London of the 109 IOC members, led by president Jacques Rogge, is quickly coming under the kind of scrutiny they presumably knew they were in for seven years ago when they decided, narrowly, to stage the 2012 Olympics in London rather than Paris.
The grandeur of their five-star residence in the Park Lane Hilton, complete with security cordon, set the tone for the criticism they can probably expect to encounter on a regular basis during the games. Read more