The International Olympic Committee gravy train stopped this month in
Singapore for its latest meeting and some fairly substantive decisions
were made – London was given the green light to host the summer Games
in seven year’s time and both baseball and softball were dropped from
the sports roster for 2012.

But there were plenty of Aussies in the thick of the action as well.
Channel Seven presenter and reporter Chris Reason was keen to highlight
his latest athletic achievement as part of a media pack pursuing a
celebrity, while conceding victory to his cameraman David Childs.
British football superstar David Beckham – an ambassador of the London
2012 bid – was trying to duck out a few minutes early from the city’s
victory media conference.

But Reason must have caught a whiff of the Dencorub as Becks left the
auditorium and was among a handful of journos who followed him at a
brisk pace until he reached the safety of the hotel’s private suites.
He came out of it without any usable grabs but Reason clearly
considered the mobile scrum experience an achievement.

“I’m extremely happy about that actually – I was able to match David
Beckham for pace over that entire 30 metres,” he told Olympics news
outlet Around The Rings. “But the gold medal must go to my cameraman
David Childs who managed the same speed backwards!”

Meanwhile, Fairfax’s Olympics specialist Jacqueline Magnay is likely to
toast her latest career development with a drink or two this weekend,
as well as special thanks to rival publisher News Limited. News sent a
total of zero journos to cover the IOC event, handing open slather to
Magnay – who has been dividing her duties between the Sydney Morning Herald and a sports gossip column in the Sun-Herald, with the rest of the Aussie presence coming from TV’s Seven and Nine and the internet’s Around The Rings.

Magnay managed to get Olympics news from Singapore elevated from the sport pages to the front of the Herald several times and was this week rewarded with a new role at the Herald
as the journo covering the general news angles of sport. But how long
will Magnay hang around for? It’s understood at least one Brit paper is
looking to poach her in the lead-up to the London Games in 2012.

Meanwhile, among the big losers in Singapore was Australian IOC member
Kevan Gosper, who was tipped but failed to win one of two vice
president positions being sought by four contenders. Greek IOC member
Lambis Nikolaou – who raised a few eyebrows during the vote for the
2012 host city when he failed to cast his electronic vote in the
allocated time – surprisingly managed to survive an elimination vote
to take the first spot.

The second elimination saw a Japanese IOC member pip Gosper, who would
be scratching his head at the way things unfolded. For a moment there,
it seemed likely there would be a reunion of Gosper and Nikolaou in the
upper echelons of IOC politics.

Their last high profile rendezvous was in May 2000 in the lead-up to
the Sydney Games when the pair conspired to elbow out the first
Australian to carry the fame in the Torch Relay, Greek-Australian
schoolgirl Yianna Souleles. Crikey readers may remember the memorable
May 13, 2000 Daily Telegraph first edition headline in its
coverage of the furore, in which Gosper’s name became an acronym for:
“Greedy”, “Obnoxious”, “Selfish”, “Pompous”, “Egotistic”, “Reptile.”

“I was shocked like I couldn’t articulate to you. To be called a
reptile on the front of a newspaper after you’d put nearly 20 years of
your life into bringing the Games to the country and organising the
Games,” was his reaction in an interview with Nine’s Sunday program.

* Anthony Stavrinos covered the 117th IOC Session in Singapore for www.aroundtherings.com

Peter Fray

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