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Voice of Russia, London

In just over a fortnight, the greatest multi-sport spectacle of them all comes to London. The 2012 Olympics have been welcomed by the UK government not just as a celebration of sporting excellence but also as a way of regenerating East London, boosting the national economy, and rekindling the nation’s enthusiasm for sport. But even as the games draw closer, there has been a barrage of criticism.

They’re too commercial, critics say, with companies like MacDonald’s and Coca-Cola demanding preferential treatment for sponsoring London 2012.It will also be heavily militarized games, with 13 500 soldiers deployed, along with 40 000 private security guards.

And for many Londoners it will be games that disrupt their daily lives, with transport networks overloads and Olympic officials zooming past in special car lanes, like party officials in a banana republic.

Hywel Davies discusses the issues surrounding London 2012 with his guests: Mihir Bose, one of Britain’s most eminent sports writers and the author of “The Spirit of the Game — how sport made the modern world“; Professor Iain MacRury of the University of East London, the co-editor of the “Olympic Cities: 2012 and the Remaking of London“; John Goodbody, who will be covering London 2012 for the Sunday Times, the 12 successive games he’s reported on; Dr Jim Parry, chair of the British philosophy of Sport association and Professor of Philosohpy at Charles Univsersity in Prague.

      

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