Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES THINK OF LONDON 2012; the French Are Sulking, the Germans Expect Fun, the Russians Don't Care and the Brazilians Will Look and Learn, Reports Oliver Poole

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES THINK OF LONDON 2012; the French Are Sulking, the Germans Expect Fun, the Russians Don't Care and the Brazilians Will Look and Learn, Reports Oliver Poole

Article excerpt

Byline: Oliver Poole

NEXT year the world descends on London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Two hundred and four countries are sending teams with a total of some 15,000 athletes.

With them will be another 10,000 national officials, comprised of everyone from coaches to nutritionists to sports scientists.

Throw in 20,000 journalists already accredited and the 350,000 tourists predicted and it is clear global attention will be focused on our city as we seek to put on a Games to remember.

But, with 12 months to go, what are those set to come here expecting? NEW YORK THE only subject about the London 2012 Olympics to so far get significant coverage in the Unites States was the ticketing fiasco. "Mass confusion and frustration" was how Jason Stallman, Olympics correspondent of the New York Times, described it. Stallman expects a more "dialled back" Games than Beijing and that present economic austerity further dampens expectations.

But, he insists, it is the "human drama" of the sporting competition that determines an Olympics' success as people are "swept up" by events -- and he is confident there will be no lack of that in London 2012.

PARIS AS PARISP lost to London for the right to host the 2012 Games, interest in France in next year's Olympics is muted. Simon Roger, sports editor of Le Monde, says the reason is a legacy of bitterness from the way Paris lost out to London.

"There was a very big trauma in Paris and the French sports federations as a result," he says. "Although I am sure next summer everyone will watch on TV, we have bad vibes about the organisation of the summer Games."

Only in one part of France is there any sign of Olympic fever. Some [pounds sterling]87 million has been spent around Calais to build sporting and leisure facilities to attract athletes and tourists put off by London's prices.

FRANKFURT AMONG the people most looking forward to London 2012 are the Germans. They expect it to be one long party compared with the statecontrolled celebration witnessed in Beijing. Thomas Sulzer, from Bild, says Germany would welcome the more relaxed atmosphere.

"When I was in Beijing we had two reporters outside before the opening ceremony and they saw people from the government hitting the opposition trying to demonstrate there," he says. "Later in the tournament a tank was parked outside the entrance to the press centre." In contrast London, says Sulzer, will be "free".

MOSCOW RUSSIA is not interested in the A London Olympics. It considers the far more exciting event to be the Winter Games it is staging two years later. Both public and government attention is focused on Sochi 2014, says Ruslavo Dubov, sports editor of Novaya Gazeta. Athlete funding has been directed towards it to such an extent that Russia does not expect to be among the top 10 medal takers in 2012. …

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