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BEIJING 2008

2012 London Summer Games

August 25, 2008|Bill Dwyre

Where and when: London, July 27-Aug. 12.

Construction costs: No current estimate.

Current budget: 9.3 billion pounds (approximately $17.2 billion).

Athletes to watch: Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps. Others: Serena Williams, to complete her Golden Slam of tennis; Lopez Lomong, whose story never stops; Ben Askren, American freestyle wrestler who, like Samson, cut his long hair and lost in Beijing; Liu Xiang, so a nation can stop weeping. Senior Division: swimmer Dara Torres, who will be 45; diver Dmitry Sautin, who will be 38.

Obstacles to overcome: The usual, such as potential cost overruns; also, a logo that some said looks like a swastika, and possible protests by Muslim countries, since the Games coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.

Changes in format: Whatever NBC wants changed; also, no softball and baseball, but possibly women's boxing. Cricket is also making a push, but that is seen as unlikely.

Biggest thing to look forward to: Less structure, more fun; the tabloids in full gear; seeing people with incomes of less than 100,000 pounds sitting in the stands at Wimbledon.

Sponsors already signed up: The $40-million level: BT (British Telecom); Lloyd's, EDF Energy, British Airways, Nortel, Adidas, BP. The $20-million level: Deloitte.

Quote: Said former Olympic track star and former Parliament member Sebastian Coe, 51, now the organizing committee chairman, as quoted in the International Herald Tribune, "I never think about the future. This [the Olympics] will be all-consuming for the next four years, and I'll worry about that when I get there." Prime Minister Coe, anyone?

-- Bill Dwyre

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