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How the London Olympics will affect the British mediaby Mihir Bose, BBC Sports Editor

London 2012 offers great opportunities to many in British sports. But in many ways the opportunities it provides for the media are quite the most interesting and the most challenging.

The Olympics are not only the greatest sporting event in the world, they are the greatest gathering of people at any one time in a particular city. There is nothing quite like it, not even the finals of a football World Cup.

Yet for all the power and even the majesty of an Olympics, it has often seemed a passing show of not much significance for many in the British media.

One of the intriguing aspects of London 2012 is that before Britain won the Games on that historic evening in Singapore two years ago, Britain was if not disengaged from the Olympics, then more than a bit semi-detached. Birmingham had bid for the Games, Manchester had bid twice, and both cities had lost badly. The feeling was that the Olympics did not want us and we could do without them. When London bid, the feeling was: why bother? Paris seemed such a certainty.

This feeling of detachment had a media impact. Over the years leading to the Singapore magic moment, the British media had given the impression that it had grown tired of the Olympics. The Olympics were beset with all sorts of problems, including alleged corruption amongst members, and when the coverage of Olympics news in the media was not dismissive it was generally very hostile.

I remember going to Lausanne in 1999 where a conference had been called to discuss how sports and governments could tackle the menace of drugs in sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was keen to get a drug-busting agency going - the conference led to the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency - but the governments were not keen. Tony Banks, the British sports minister, was particularly opposed. The IOC was then struggling to cope with the fallout of the Salt Lake City bidding corruption crisis and Banks made it clear that, until the IOC sorted itself out and put its house in order, there was no chance of the British government working in collaboration with the IOC.

Much has changed since then and Singapore was the culmination. Tony Blair wooed IOC members, and Seb Coe pledged that in giving London the Games they would be honouring not just the capital of a country but the world itself. For London was the world in microcosm, the most diverse society in the world, rich in the quality of its people and their commitment to sports.

Cities change when they stage the Olympics. I have seen the transformations that took place in Sydney, Athens and Salt Lake City. But the media in those cities also changes. Suddenly it has to cope with the demands of the Olympics movements, monitor what they are doing and also reflect and report on any Olympics-related events.

London will go through many changes as we get nearer to 2012. Coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics will become more prominent. If other Olympic cites are any guide, the media will be seized with Olympic fever. How it copes with this fever will tell us a lot about the British media.

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โˆ™ 2011-03-03 18:58:00
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Q: What effects will the 2012 Olympics have to London's environment?
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