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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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Organising chairman Coe stays mum on London riots

Although no Olympic venues have been touched by the violence, London and its organizing committee have taken a big publicity hit.

The arena during the FIVB Beach Volleyball International at Horse Guards Parade.
The arena during the FIVB Beach Volleyball International at Horse Guards Parade.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE OLYMPICS-SEIZED black eye given to the city of London during four days of rioting and looting is finally starting to heal.

The face of the 2012 Games, however, remains unseen.

Although no Olympic venues have been touched by the violence, London and its organizing committee have taken a big publicity hit.

And organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and former member of parliament, has so far been silent, declining to speak publicly about how the rioting, which began Saturday in north London but soon spread to other parts of the capital and to other British cities, could affect the games.

“We feel that comment should come from the Met Police,” the London organizing committee said today.

“The issue is about public disorder. It makes sense for the government and the Met to lead on it.”

Coe, again, was unavailable for comment about the riots, but he was quoted in a press release about Olympic torchbearer nominations.

Although several football matches, including England’s friendly with the Netherlands, have been canceled or postponed because of the unrest, Olympic test events have gone ahead with very little problems.

The world badminton championships, being played at Wembley Arena in northwest London, have been unaffected, but the first day of the beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London on Tuesday was stopped a few hours early to allow everyone to get home before dark.

Other scheduled test events this week include a cycling road race that will go through the streets of London on Sunday and a marathon swimming competition at Hyde Park on Saturday.

The closest the violence came to the Olympic Park was on Monday when rioting spread to Hackney, about four miles from the site that includes the main Olympic Stadium and other key venues.

With Coe keeping quiet, the International Olympic Committee has weighed in on the issue, saying “we’re happy with how local organizers are dealing with the issue and we are confident they will do a good job.”

Today, media were updated on the London Olympic torchbearer nominations.

“With the selection panels set to review an average of 14 nominations for every one available LOCOG Torchbearer place, difficult decisions will need to be taken,” Coe said of the process. “However, we should be proud so many inspiring people have been put forward to carry the Olympic Flame next summer and receive recognition for their achievements.”

The Olympics. Flames.

The elements were there, but still the riots went unmentioned.

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Associated Press

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