Andre Lange of Germany has won four Olympic Gold Medals. He retired in 2010 after winning a gold medal in the 2-man Bobsled competition. Lange also won a silver medal in the 2010 4-man Bobsled competition with just a one second edge over bronze medalist Lyndon Rush of Canada. Lange had a strong motivation to push for that extra second. He felt very strongly that too many Canadians had favored cheering for their own team and booing foreigners over honoring the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect.
Lange was not the only prominent Olympic community leader to speak out about the need for more courtesy by host countries. Photography editor Steve Fine of Sports Illustrated reported that he found too many Canadian volunteers at the 2010 Olympics thought the Olympics was about them and not the athletes. The closing ceremony paid a colorful tribute to these “men in blue” but athletes who wasted hours trying to find a post office or get back to the Olympic Village because volunteers from Ontario did not know directions in Vancouver did not cheer.
Both Lange and Fine expressed the same opinion that Italy set a high standard for hospitality in 2006. Good preparations for a multi-lingual international event helped. Early indications that disdain for learning foreign languages in Britain are mounting challenges are surfacing. After the UK Guardian published a feature about planning meetings in which the possibility of adding up to 1,000 Americans to London 2012 security, several British trade union spokespersons rushed to dispute reports that Americans will not be issued any more temporary work permits for security assignments in the European Union at the 2012 Olympics. Their claims were contradicted by Olympic security advisor Andreas Brunner, who previously published a brief statement on November 9 that “we are not allowed to employ applicants from outside the EU/EEA area for our security team.” The reason that British trade union spokespersons do not know this is not a good one — they cannot speak French well enough to communicate with many employees of the International Olympic Committee In Lausanne.
London 2012 stinks, according to Robbert Wijtman, a veteran photographer of Olympic trials and finals. He was only talking about the smell. The site of the Olympic Village includes a large area that was previously a waste dump for by-products of heavy industry. Advanced technology has been applied to reduce the stench, but was not effective in mid-summer heat according to Rebecca Shead, a design expert working to make the site more beautiful.