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Analysis and Comment (86)

Three cheers for economic impact. Three cheers for economic impact. Paul Gilham/PA

Olymponomics: politics and the measurement of impact

Since the financial disaster of the Montreal 1976 Olympics, “economic impact assessment” has become an increasingly popular tool for host governments and organisers to justify the vast expense of major…
It’s time for athletes of all abilities to compete in one event. It’s time for athletes of all abilities to compete in one event. EPA/Andy Rain

Come together: the Olympics and Paralympics should unite

It was painful to see the Olympic rings taken down from London Bridge after the Olympics only to be replaced by the Paralympics emblem (the three agitos). Aside from the fact this emblem was not chosen…
It might be time for the Paralympics movement to strike out on its own. It might be time for the Paralympics movement to strike out on its own. EPA/Andy Rain

The Paralympics and Olympics are better linked than ever … but why?

In the 64 years since the Paralympics was born, the relationship between this event and the Olympics has grown and evolved. And now, with both events returning to London in 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics…
It will be time to say hello to Sochi 2014 before we know it. It will be time to say hello to Sochi 2014 before we know it. Russian Post

Games over: it’s time to focus on Rio (but don’t forget Sochi)

It’s only been a week since the London Olympics drew to a close and already athletes are starting to focus on Rio 2016. Of course, for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it’s not four years until…
Australia’s kayakers paddled their way to gold but don’t expect a huge increase in kayak sales in the next few months. Australia’s kayakers paddled their way to gold but don’t expect a huge increase in kayak sales in the next few months. EPA/Robert Ghement

Will the Olympics really inspire more people to play sport?

Did watching the Olympics inspire you to get out and play sport? Perhaps the gold-medal-winning effort of our men’s K4 kayaking team inspired you to take to the water. Or maybe Anna Meares' gold in the…
Australia’s 4x100 metre medley swimming team with their gold medals. Australia’s 4x100 metre medley swimming team with their gold medals. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Dollars and sense: funding and Olympic success

It is now more than 30 years since the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) opened in Canberra, so it was predictable that a modest, rather than overwhelmingly successful campaign at the London Olympics…
Team Australia will be aiming to reach higher in 2016. Team Australia will be aiming to reach higher in 2016. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Rio-bound: can Australia bounce back for the next Summer Olympics?

With the London Games fading into memory it’s time now for us to focus on Rio 2016. One of the questions on many people’s lips is one of whether Australia will do better on the medal tally in Rio than…
Kirani James’s gold medal in the men’s 400m saw Grenada lead the tally for medals won per head of population. Kirani James’s gold medal in the men’s 400m saw Grenada lead the tally for medals won per head of population. EPA/Diego Azubel

Olympics medal count: predictions versus reality

Just before the London Olympic started, I wrote an article for The Conversation about predicting medal success. Now, with the Games behind us, it’s worth considering how well these predictions turned out…
The Olympics won’t have an effect on sport participation after the fact unless time and money are properly invested. The Olympics won’t have an effect on sport participation after the fact unless time and money are properly invested. EPA/Christian Charisius

The legacy fallacy: the Olympics doesn’t increase sport participation

This is an edited version of a letter sent to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and a number of other officials with connections to the London Olympics. Dear Prime Minister, I have spent the past two weeks…
If we want to keep producing great Olympians, we need to keep sport in schools. If we want to keep producing great Olympians, we need to keep sport in schools. AAP Image/Julian Smith

From grassroots to gold: the role of school sport in Olympic success

The post-mortem of Australia’s performance at the Olympics is in full swing. Indeed the knives were being sharpened as early as day two of compeition when the men bombed out of the men’s 4x100m swimming…
Sprinter Brendan Cole (left) and swimmer Tomasso D'Orsogna enjoy the recovery facilities at the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Recovery Centre in Canberra. Sprinter Brendan Cole (left) and swimmer Tomasso D'Orsogna enjoy the recovery facilities at the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Recovery Centre in Canberra. Australian Sports Commission

Australian Olympic athletes – underperforming or underdeveloped?

It’s no secret – Australia underperformed at the 2012 London Olympics. But was the criticism directed at our Olympians unfair on the athletes, coaches, and support staff who worked so hard, and gave up…
The Olympics are at their best they bring people together. The Olympics are at their best they bring people together. EPA/Denis Sabangan

London 2012: an Olympics without controversy … almost

And so the London Olympics are over and we can all sit back and reflect on the past few weeks with some kind of clarity. Compared with the events of previous Games – such as the Munich Massacre of 1972…
Team GB’s medal haul helped derail Australia’s chances of achieving a predicted 15 gold. Team GB’s medal haul helped derail Australia’s chances of achieving a predicted 15 gold. EPA/Robert Ghement

Why are we so bad at predicting Olympic medal success?

There have been a lot of questions following Australia’s below-expectation performance at the London Olympics. But the question I keep asking myself is, how did so many “experts” get their medal tally…
Initial suspicions about Nadzeya Ostapchuk’s performance appear to have been well-founded. Initial suspicions about Nadzeya Ostapchuk’s performance appear to have been well-founded. EPA/Diego Azubel

Shot put gold medallist disqualified for doping: so what is metenolone?

The International Olympic Committee yesterday announced that Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the women’s shot-put champion at the London Olympics, had tested positive to metenolone on August 5 and August…
Offering rewards for medal-winning performances didn’t help Australia’s swimming team. Offering rewards for medal-winning performances didn’t help Australia’s swimming team. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Swimming Australia’s incentive model was a failure: fact

Three weeks before the Olympics, Swimming Australia imposed a new “high-performance” funding model on its swimmers, reportedly to “see medallists rewarded”. The timing made it difficult, even unpatriotic…
Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates has started a debate about the role of sport in the school curriculum. Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates has started a debate about the role of sport in the school curriculum. School sport image from www.shutterstock.com

Coates' Olympic school push: do we need more sport in curriculum?

Australia’s recent medal performance at the Olympic Games has caused Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates some concern. Last week, he blamed at least part of the result on a lack of sport in the school…
The flags of 204 nations were on display in London, but do “nations” even exist? The flags of 204 nations were on display in London, but do “nations” even exist? Christophe Karaba/EPA

The Olympic closing ceremony celebrates the myth of nations

As I sat there this morning watching the London 2012 closing ceremony, I was impressed by the artistry, choreography, stage-setting (an artistry unto itself), music and the sense of celebration in the…
Seven Cameroonians disappeared this week … but why? Seven Cameroonians disappeared this week … but why? EPA/Dennis M. Sabangan

The case of the lost athletes – when Olympians seek asylum

Every four years, the Olympics brings us plenty of drama on and off the sports field. This year has been no different with seven athletes from Cameroon absconding from the Olympic village and more anticipated…
Coming first is worth celebrating … but not winning gold shouldn’t be commiserated. Coming first is worth celebrating … but not winning gold shouldn’t be commiserated. EPA/Robert Ghement

Gold standard: are we obsessed with Olympic victory?

The decorated Australian swimmer, Emily Seebohm, climbed out of the pool in tears last week … because she won silver. Through a tear-streaked interview, Seebohm apologised to her parents, her coach, and…
Will the London Olympics lead to increased participation in grassroots sport? Will the London Olympics lead to increased participation in grassroots sport? BELAMBRA CLUBS

The sports legacy of the Olympic Games

While competition at the London Olympics only runs for 19 days, the Games are likely to have an impact far beyond this brief period of time. Or so we’re told. In this video Stephen Frawley discusses the…
Feats of athletic brilliance have the power to lift and inspire. Feats of athletic brilliance have the power to lift and inspire. Glacier Tim

Better than gold: the real value of the Olympic Games

The London Olympics and Paralympics have arrived at the perfect time. It’s almost like we need a good dose of sporting inspiration, courage and positivity to help get us back on track. Despite being a…
The value of Olympic medals should be weighted against factors such as national GDP and population. The value of Olympic medals should be weighted against factors such as national GDP and population. Welsh Government

How much does the medal tally really say about Olympic success?

The recriminations started early this time around. The Olympic flame was barely fired up before administrators, politicians and pundits alike were weighing in on Australia’s poor performance. John Coates…
No matter how sophisticated testing is, it can’t catch everyone. No matter how sophisticated testing is, it can’t catch everyone. EPA/Justin Setterfield

How many Olympic athletes are taking drugs?

John Fahey, the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), promised before the London Olympics that anti-doping testing at Games would employ the latest advancements and would be as rigorous as…
Is it breaking the law to bypass criminally poor broadcasting? Is it breaking the law to bypass criminally poor broadcasting? sp3ccylad

So what’s wrong with watching the Olympic Games over the internet?

Reports of people the world over watching coverage of the Olympics via BBC’s online streaming portal abound. The reasons for this behaviour vary in the detail, but the common feature is: local coverage…
It’s hard to stay at the top forever … especially when everyone else is rapidly improving. It’s hard to stay at the top forever … especially when everyone else is rapidly improving. Patrick B Kraemer/EPA

Muddy waters: do we need an Australian swimming review?

The knives are well and truly out. With no gold medals coming from champion Australian swimmers James Magnussen, Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper and a handful of relay teams at the London…
When aiming for Olympic success, it’s important to get many factors right, not just funding. When aiming for Olympic success, it’s important to get many factors right, not just funding. Gwydion M. Williams

Spend big to win big? Funding and success at the Olympics

When Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen stepped into the ring to represent Australia in the women’s middleweight boxing category last Sunday afternoon (GMT), she became the first Australian woman to compete in boxing…
Margins may get smaller, but will they ever disappear? Margins may get smaller, but will they ever disappear? josterpi

VIDEO: pushing at the limits of athletic ability

Will records keep tumbling as athletes get fitter and technology develops? Or is there a limit to human performance? Kate Murphy investigates. Further viewing: VIDEO: doping, drug testing and the Olympics…
South African athlete Caster Semenya was subject to gender testing following the 2009 athletics world championships. South African athlete Caster Semenya was subject to gender testing following the 2009 athletics world championships. EPA/Kim Ludbrook

Beyond ‘men’ and ‘women’: the fraught issue of Olympic gender testing

In June, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that some athletes at the London Olympics, though legally female, may be subject to testing to see if their bodies produce an above-average quantity…
Pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods can boost muscle glycogen stores. Pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods can boost muscle glycogen stores. chrismar

Carbo loading for sport is simple … when you know how

During the London Olympics, and beyond, many endurance athletes will attempt to increase their muscle glycogen stores by carbohydrate loading. This is because, despite its importance, glycogen is a fuel…
The tough cross-country course at the London Olympics was the undoing of some of the world’s best event horses and riders last week. The tough cross-country course at the London Olympics was the undoing of some of the world’s best event horses and riders last week. AAP/LOCOG Bob Martin

Horses for courses: what makes the perfect equine Olympian?

A horse is a horse is a horse, right? Not so at the Olympics, where the equestrian events are unique among sports. Equestrian is the only discipline in which the human athlete relies on another living…
Running forward is so backward. Running forward is so backward. Alessandro Pautasso

Running backward into the Olympic Games?

Backward running is the latest craze to hit the health and fitness world. After the seven-minute mile was recently cracked, advocates are campaigning for its inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. So what…
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands takes gold in the London 2012 women’s road race. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands takes gold in the London 2012 women’s road race. Ian Langsdon/EPA

Olympic cycling – why do men’s and women’s events differ?

You’ll have noticed the distances ridden by female and male elite cyclists differ in some Olympic events and are identical in others, which raises the obvious question: why? If we really wanted to simplify…
A zero-tolerance approach to doping? “That is pure fantasy …” A zero-tolerance approach to doping? “That is pure fantasy …”

VIDEO: doping, drug testing and the Olympics

Bob Stewart of Victoria University discusses doping, cheating and suggestions that drug testing at London 2012 is the most comprehensive we’ve ever seen at an Olympic Games. Further viewing: VIDEO: why…
Do you remember your first Olympics? Do you remember your first Olympics? Jerine Lay

Looking through the rings: a life lived through the Olympics

I admit it, I love the Olympic Games. The sport, the over-hyped commentary, the fancy-dress national costumes - it’s two weeks of every four years that I anticipate with excitement. In many ways, the Games…
Usain Bolt has arrived, with typical panache, in London. Usain Bolt has arrived, with typical panache, in London. Kerim Okten/EPA

Lightning round: why the Men’s 100 metres is the greatest show on Earth

Over the last 100 years there have been countless outstanding athletic performances, such as Ed Moses, Daley Thompson, Michael Johnson, Emil Zatopek, Roger Bannister, Fanny Blankers-Koen and Cathy Freeman…
Speedo’s LZR Racer ‘fast suit’ made a splash when it was launched in 2008, and with good reason. Speedo’s LZR Racer ‘fast suit’ made a splash when it was launched in 2008, and with good reason. AAP Image/Sportshoot, Delly Carr

‘Fast suits’ and Olympic swimming: a tale of reduced drag and broken records

To win Olympic gold is a lifelong dream for most swimmers. It is the culmination of years of training and dedication. In Australia, to win Olympic gold is to become a celebrity, a superstar, an Australian…
Machine learning techniques can help riders stand out from the rest of the field. Machine learning techniques can help riders stand out from the rest of the field. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Riding smart: how AI gives Olympic track cyclists an edge

With track cycling events now underway at the London Olympics, athletes from around the world are pushing themselves to the limit to outperform their rivals and, hopefully, claim gold. Back here in Melbourne…
What percentage of Londoners said they wanted the Olympics? No one knows. What percentage of Londoners said they wanted the Olympics? No one knows. Christopher Bevacqua

The Olympics are illegitimate: a call for democracy in sport

As the giant bureaucratic beast that is the IOC lumbers through London, locals can be heard saying, “I don’t remember voting for this”. The Olympics is a strangely undemocratic affair: locals of host cities…
Despite offering prime viewing positions, many allocated tickets have not been used. Despite offering prime viewing positions, many allocated tickets have not been used. Peter Klaunzer/EPA

Bums not on seats? Blame the Olympic Family

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at organisers of the London Olympics so far has been the obvious large number of empty seats at Games venues. So why are so many seats empty? What’s being done about…
When Melbourne hosted the Olympics in 1956 they demonstrated - what else? - Australian Rules Football. When Melbourne hosted the Olympics in 1956 they demonstrated - what else? - Australian Rules Football. George Yi

Sideshow alley? Demonstration sports at the Olympic Games

The focus of the Olympic Games is quite rightly on athletes who compete in contests where medals are awarded. However, many obscure events, for which medals were not awarded, have been a feature of the…
They’ve got no official country, but they don’t seem to mind. They’ve got no official country, but they don’t seem to mind. EPA/Kerim Okten

Doing it for themselves: being an Independent Olympic Athlete

One of the delights of watching the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games was the spontaneous dance routine and joyful celebration of the Independent Olympic Athletes. Images and videos of…
Time (of the month) stands still for no woman, but how does it affect elite performance? Time (of the month) stands still for no woman, but how does it affect elite performance? Hannibal/EPA

Blood, sweat and tears: the menstrual cycle and the Olympics

For some female athletes, “counting the days” to their Olympic event may have a double meaning. These Olympians may be worried about “what time of the month” it is going to be when they are expected to…
A focus on money rather than sport is tarnishing the Olympic brand. A focus on money rather than sport is tarnishing the Olympic brand. Shawn Carpenter

Faster, higher, stronger and more expensive: the Olympic Games are losing their shine

Nothing is sacred and nothing can’t be bought, sold or sponsored in the modern era of the Olympics. If you can’t afford it, then you won’t win it. Sport in 2012 has become a massive global industry. The…
WADA is determined to wipe out doping at the Olympics, and to bring public opinion along with it. WADA is determined to wipe out doping at the Olympics, and to bring public opinion along with it. Department for Culture, Media & Sport

More Olympic drug testing than ever, but why do we bother?

From a drug-use control perspective, the 2012 London Olympic Games (LOG) will be the “biggest ever”. Since the Ben Johnson affair at the 1988 Seoul Olympics there has been a concerted effort to secure…
Pastoral nostalgia: people fretted about opening-ceremony animals but not the huge out-of-sight slaughter that’s feeding athletes and spectators. Pastoral nostalgia: people fretted about opening-ceremony animals but not the huge out-of-sight slaughter that’s feeding athletes and spectators. AAP/Dean Lewins

Animals — the meat in the Olympic sandwich

The role of animals in the Olympics — both during the opening ceremony and throughout the wider competition — is rightly generating controversy. When it was first announced that non-human animals would…
The difficulty of dives in competition increases every Olympics. The difficulty of dives in competition increases every Olympics. EPA/Dennis M Sabangan

Not making a splash: the anatomy of a perfect Olympic dive

Diving is one of the most graceful and spectacular sports in the world, and every four years, at the Olympics, it captures the attention of audiences worldwide. So what goes into the perfect dive? Diving…
There’s a lot of prestige to volunteering at the Olympics – working Tuesday mornings at the Salvo shop may not offer the same rewards. There’s a lot of prestige to volunteering at the Olympics – working Tuesday mornings at the Salvo shop may not offer the same rewards. London 2012

Volunteering at the Olympics is a thrill, but will it last?

Without volunteers, the Olympics would be a disaster. But will the “Games Makers” - the army of 70,000 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers - stimulate a spirit of volunteerism in and beyond London? Volunteering…
Welcome to the #socialOlympics. Welcome to the #socialOlympics.

Social media winners and losers in the Olympics opening ceremony

Danny Boyle and his army of volunteers are to be commended on a stunning television production for the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. But if you only watched one screen, you missed a significant…
Presumptice Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney managed to offend his British hosts on his recent visit. Presumptice Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney managed to offend his British hosts on his recent visit. EPA/Neil Munns

Romneyshambles: how not to win foreign friends and influence important people

On its trip abroad, the Mitt Romney campaign would have done well to heed the advice US presidential candidates are given in a selecting a VP: “First, do no harm.” Upon arrival in the United Kingdom, however…
Goodnight, sleep tight? Not if these critters have anything to do with it. Goodnight, sleep tight? Not if these critters have anything to do with it. Lynn Friedman

VIDEO: bed bugs at London 2012

In a co-production between SBS World News Australia and The Conversation, University of Sydney’s Cameron Webb explains why bed bugs will almost certainly bite at the London Olympics. It’s creepy. Enjoy…
Even the most avid TV Olympian can avoid ending up like this. Even the most avid TV Olympian can avoid ending up like this. Henti Smith

Olympics sleep survival guide

It’s half-time in the gold medal women’s basketball game, and the Opals lead the USA by a point. Lauren Jackson, the best female basketballer in the world, has dominated the first half in the same way…
With £50m likely to be bet on the Olympics, there are plenty of opportunities for trouble. With £50m likely to be bet on the Olympics, there are plenty of opportunities for trouble. fictures/Flickr

Illegal betting: the next big Olympics security issue?

London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games with very public betting opportunities for all events. One estimate for bets to be wagered in the United Kingdom during the Games is £50m. Work has been underway…
Since 1936, host nations have been using the Olympics to toot their own horn. Since 1936, host nations have been using the Olympics to toot their own horn. M. Eschle

Politics in the Olympics: learning from Nazi Germany

The 1936 Olympics, hosted by Nazi Germany, took a sporting event designed to promote goodwill among nations, and turned it into a global propaganda platform. Host nations haven’t looked back since. At…
Do the economic costs outweigh the benefits of hosting an Olympic Games? Do the economic costs outweigh the benefits of hosting an Olympic Games? AAP

Hosting the Olympics: cash cow or money pit?

The London Olympic Games are about to begin. There will be much fierce competition as contestants “go for gold”. That London is the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympics involved another sort of competition…
The Olympic Games operate as a very complex franchise business, with each city taking a different approach to the management of the event. The Olympic Games operate as a very complex franchise business, with each city taking a different approach to the management of the event. AAP

Managing the Games franchise is an Olympian feat

Tell me something I don’t know about the Olympics! This statement, levelled at me at a dinner party last week, is the most recent incarnation of enquiries about my research into the Olympic Games. Always…
Physics puts a limit on how far you can throw a javelin. Physics puts a limit on how far you can throw a javelin. Airman Magazine

Yes, there is a limit to athletic ability – physics

In a recent thought-provoking article in The Conversation, Kate Murphy posed the question: “Is there a limit to athletic performance?”. The answer, mathematically speaking, is yes. Kate considered the…
Women now compete in every sport at the Summer Olympics, and every country is sending a female athlete. Women now compete in every sport at the Summer Olympics, and every country is sending a female athlete. EPA/Diego Azubel

A long jump forward: women at the London Olympics

This trend will continue into the 2014 Winter Olympics with women permitted for the first time to compete in ski jumping. Since their inclusion in the modern Olympics in Paris in 1900, female participation…
A crowd can be a lot to handle, even when they’re happy. A crowd can be a lot to handle, even when they’re happy. Dean Lewins/AAP

Computing the chances of Olympic crowd chaos

Handling crowds on major events is a huge challenge for organisers, and the Olympics Organising Committee will be dealing with some of the biggest crowds there are. Simulating such crowds could be one…
Australian sport policy is based on the assumption that success at the Olympics will translate into greater participation rates among children. Australian sport policy is based on the assumption that success at the Olympics will translate into greater participation rates among children. rich115

Olympics success leaves a mixed legacy for Australia’s sporting life

Given the size of our population, Australia’s success at the past three Summer Olympic Games has been quite remarkable. Across the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic Games, the nation’s athletes have won…
The focus on human rights during the Beijing Olympics made little difference. The focus on human rights during the Beijing Olympics made little difference. Akira Liwang/EPA

Human rights and the Olympics: games of freedom or oppression?

When we think of the Olympic Games, we think of an athletic event: well-honed bodies at the peak of physical ability, performing feats most of us can only dream of. But, despite fervent assertions to the…
If an athlete believes sex will harm their performance, there’s a good chance it will. If an athlete believes sex will harm their performance, there’s a good chance it will. Slagheap

Sex before sport: does it affect an athlete’s performance?

From the ancient Greeks to modern soccer World Cups and the Olympics, there has been an enduring belief by some athletes and coaches that engaging in sexual activity before athletic competitions may be…
There’s a lot of glory in being an Olympian; it can be shattering to just miss out. There’s a lot of glory in being an Olympian; it can be shattering to just miss out. Matthew Stewart

Explainer: qualifying for the Olympic Games

Athletes are generally seen as a stoic, tough, uncomplaining lot. But the last few weeks before an Olympics always tend to bring on athletic tantrums. As the last chances for Olympic selection fade away…
The US is expected to dine out on its successes at London 2012. The US is expected to dine out on its successes at London 2012. US Army

And the winner is …? Predicting gold medals at the Olympics

A small number of countries competing at the Olympic Games will win a large proportion of the medals available. There are 80 countries competing in London who have yet to win a single medal in the Olympics…
Olympics are sold on the benefits their infrastructure will bring, but sometimes reality doesn’t match the promise. Olympics are sold on the benefits their infrastructure will bring, but sometimes reality doesn’t match the promise. CmdrCord

London 2012: infrastructure legacy or a costly waste?

When London won the Olympics, it was booming. The GFC changed everything. In 2008, Tessa Jowell, minister for the Olympics, said: “Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost…
Coke has apparently shared the Olympic ideals since 1928. Coke has apparently shared the Olympic ideals since 1928. Michael Francis McCarthy

Olympics sponsorship: supporting sport or funding fat?

What does the Olympics stand for: is it the inspiration for a healthier, sportier community? Or is it just another way to sell junk food and booze to an ever-fatter, ever-drunker population of couch potatoes…
London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. Joe Goldberg

London Olympics transport - not as bad as you might have heard

The London Olympic Games open on July 27, but designating one lane on the M4 motorway between Heathrow Airport and Central London as an “Olympic Lane” for athletes, officials, sponsors and media has already…
Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Dave Campbell

What if doping were legal at the Olympics?

The Olympics is arguably the greatest show of combined physical and mental prowess we’ll ever see. The Games challenge competitors and challenge the watching public to think about the achievements they’re…
Scientists are looking for ever-more-sophisticated ways to find and optimise athletes. Scientists are looking for ever-more-sophisticated ways to find and optimise athletes. Steven Johnson

Athletic ability and genetics: can science spot a sure-fire winner?

For more than 50 years, sport scientists have used a variety of physical tests to try and identify those exceptional athletes who walk among us. Despite most countries having some sort of athlete talent…
Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Andy Rain/EPA

Olympics transport: how did Sydney handle it?

The London Olympics seems paralysed with problems. The latest is protests from taxi drivers - who say they need access to special “Olympics lanes” - which have brought traffic to a halt. Is London going…
It’s time to take another look at why big corporations - rather than the police or armed forces - are responsible for our security. It’s time to take another look at why big corporations - rather than the police or armed forces - are responsible for our security. Seth Anderson

The G4S debacle in London is a wake-up call on outsourcing security

Stuff happens. When organising something as big as the Olympic Games some things are bound to go wrong. Sometimes the failures are simply funny. Just one day after its public unveiling in Trafalgar Square…
Bed bugs are among the souvenirs you could bring home from a trip to the London Olympics. Bed bugs are among the souvenirs you could bring home from a trip to the London Olympics. Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Will bugs bite at the London Olympics?

Travelling to the London Olympics? What do you expect to bring back? Some amazing sporting memories? A medal? How about some bed bug bites, or, worse still, a few bugs to kick off an infestation at home…
In or out? Technology can help but it might not be as reliable as you think. In or out? Technology can help but it might not be as reliable as you think. Paul Gilham/Pool

A Hawk-Eye for detail: how accurate is electronic judging in sport?

Humans are fallible. Deciding who has won a tennis game or a sprint race can come down to a millimetre-accurate decision. So when an Olympic gold medal is on the line, it’s no wonder we turn to electronics…
Double the normal number of overseas visitors will hit Heathrow this year. Double the normal number of overseas visitors will hit Heathrow this year. Department for Culture, Media & Sport

London 2012: locally green, but what about globally?

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner, and promise to be a great global spectacle. At the same time, the organising committee are promising the most sustainable Olympics…
Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Memes will play an important role – and provide some fun – during the London Olympics. Facebook.com/TheOlympicMemes

Meme team: Olympic fandom meets the internet

London 2012 is already seeing fierce competition for meme supremacy. Memes, especially in the form of captioned images - or image macros - are an increasingly mainstream form by which people comment on…
Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. EPA/Hannibal

Is there a limit to athletic performance?

We once thought no-one could run a mile in less than four minutes – and yet the current world record stands at three minutes, 43 seconds. So will records keep tumbling as people get fitter and technology…
London 2012’s event tickets look lovely, but will they land in the right hands? London 2012’s event tickets look lovely, but will they land in the right hands? London 2012

London Olympics tickets: will the poor get through the door?

One of the most controversial aspects of the Olympic Games is whether regular punters can get tickets to events. So can they? When the ticketing strategy for London’s Olympic Games was launched in 2011…
Green innovation: the upper compression ring of the Olympic Stadium main roof truss is made from 2,600 tonnes of surplus gas pipes. Green innovation: the upper compression ring of the Olympic Stadium main roof truss is made from 2,600 tonnes of surplus gas pipes. London 2012

Has the London Olympics really gone green, and what can the Gold Coast Games gain?

For seven years, the London Olympics Organising Committee has been striving to live up to the sustainability vision it set itself. It’s been a long, honest fight. On the eve of the Games, how well have…
The aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in London. The aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in London. Wikicommons

Any Olympic terror attack will look more like 7/7 than 9/11

What does one billion Pounds Sterling of Olympics security get you? Rapier surface-to-air missiles in Blackheath common, the Royal Navy’s largest battleship moored in the Thames (complete with eight Lynx…
When differences are measured in milliseconds, athletes will look for anything to get the edge. When differences are measured in milliseconds, athletes will look for anything to get the edge. Joe Castro/ AAP

Britain vs Australia in Olympic cycling: is there a hometown advantage?

There is perhaps no greater sporting rivalry than that between Great Britain and Australia – it’s like the little brother trying to knock off his older sibling in any pursuit possible, simply for the glory…
It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. Tim McFarlane

Australian media and the Olympics: prepare for further disappointment

The Olympic Games are a fascinating yardstick for how much things have changed in the preceding four years. As Beijing’s fake fireworks beamed across our TV screens, Kevin Rudd was still Prime Minister…
What gets Aussies like Emma Snowsill over the line at the Olympics? And is it worth it? What gets Aussies like Emma Snowsill over the line at the Olympics? And is it worth it? EPA/Nic Bothma

Money well spent? The Olympic dash for taxpayers’ cash

We are now nearly two months away from the London Olympics opening, with the torch relay already underway. For Australian athletes the journey that began many years ago is nearing the end. Most of us will…

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