By Barry Newcombe
The British Olympic Association outlined much of its media operation for the Beijing Games at a conference in London today when one of the main topics concerned the availability and cost of wi-fi.
It is expected that wi-fi will be available free of charge in accommodation but accredited media were told that BOCOG is offering rate card access to wi-fi in the Main Press Centre and work stations at at all venues. Media were urged to check what arrangements were in place for their own operation.
The final GB team conference prior to departure is expected to be on July 15 followed by a Beijing conference on August 5. It was also made clear that that many of the British team will not move into Beijing until close to their competition time. Media access will vary from sport to sport and there will be no media access in Beijing in many competitions, cycling and hockey being two of them. Sailing will be open for media access until the day prior to competition. Conference calls will be used for updates where possible.
The BOA intends to offer a 24-hour media service during competition, using Beijing and their London offices, and urges media to
remain in contact via the BOA website teamgb.com. There will also be a BOA news service for the first time which will be team GB specific.
This will be a wide ranging service designed in part to help those who are covering more than one sport. The service will be supplied via email from the Main Press Centre, where Steve Ballinger and his team will act as clearing house for information coming in from all competition sites where there are British athletes involved.
BOA media teams will be operating in mixed zones and media are urged to try to stay in groups so that competitors can be brought to them after television and radio interviews.
The British preparation camp in Macau opens to the main media group on July 28. Accreditation will be required to work the various training sites in Macau. If you are not yet accredited, contact Graham Newsom at the BOA.
The international zone in the Olympic Village has 500 passes available daily and anyone wishing to obtain one should contact the BOA.
Simon Clegg, the BOA chef de mission, forecast that Beijing would stage a “most stunning and amazing Olympic Games”, with 28 sports in seven cities. He said the number of British competitors would be 305, a 10 per cent increase on Athens 2004, and would be competing in 19, perhaps 20, sports.