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from The Great Debate UK:

It is clear Britain got a ‘bounce’ from the Olympics, but much more is needed to secure long-term economic legacy

--Andrew Hammond is an Associate Partner at ReputationInc.  He was formerly a UK Government Special Adviser, and a Senior Consultant at Oxford Analytica. The opinions expressed are his own.--

Six months since the London 2012 games began, a flurry of research has indicated that the UK’s international image has received a boost from hosting the Olympics and Paralympics.  Most recently, the latest Anholt GfK Roper Nation Brands Index, released on January 17, showed that the United Kingdom edged up from fifth to fourth place since July 2012 in the survey’s overall country reputation rankings; only the United States, Germany and France currently have a more favourable nation brand.

Key research findings from this study, which follows similar IPSOS Mori research in December, include that international perceptions of the United Kingdom as a ‘welcoming’ nation have significantly improved.  This is reflected, for instance, in the fact that 63% of international respondents to the Anholt GfK survey said that London 2012 had increased their own interest in visiting the United Kingdom.

This positive news follows an ICM opinion poll released in December which revealed that the UK public remains very strongly supportive of hosting the games last year.  Over three quarters of UK respondents agreed that London 2012 was “well worth the [multi-billion pounds] cost”, and a similar percentage believed the games “did a valuable job in cheering up a country in hard times”.

from The Great Debate UK:

We need an ‘Economics Team GB’ to secure London 2012 legacy

--Andrew Hammond is an Associate Partner at ReputationInc, and was formerly a UK Government Special Adviser, and Senior Consultant at Oxford Analytica. The opinions expressed are his own.--

With the Paralympics now concluded, the curtain has come down on a remarkable London 2012 and Diamond Jubilee Summer that has more than delivered on the “like no other” tagline given to it. Now, significant, urgent effort is required so that the once-in-a-generation opportunity for meaningful economic and reputational legacy is not lost - we need an 'Economics Team GB'.

from MediaFile:

Data shows thousands circumvented NBC Olympics coverage

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At least one company benefited from Olympics fans in the United States who tried to circumvent NBC's television coverage during the London Games. AnchorFree, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup released data to Reuters on Monday showing a major bump in users who installed a product that gives U.S. users an anonymous IP address in the United Kingdom. Presumably the people who signed up for the product, called ExpatShield, used it to watch BBC's online streams of the Olympics.

According to the data, the number of installs of the free software surged 1,153 percent in the United States during the games. The company, which recorded an average of 220 installs a day before the Olympics, saw the number of installs increase to 2,753 installs during the 17-day event.

from Photographers' Blog:

Click, edit, crop or drop

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By Russell Boyce

Being a picture editor for a wire agency at the London 2012 Olympics is like being a referee at a title-deciding football match. If everything goes well no one really notices you; but one big mistake and you are the most hated person in the stadium. If you call it wrong and miss the picture that captures the vivid moment of sporting agony or ecstasy you risk the jeers and frustrations of the whole team. The reward? A good picture editor has the chance to select that defining picture, the shot that the photographer doesn’t even know he or she has taken, or to crop a frame that changes a good picture into a great one.

At the London Games, Reuters has more than 55 photographers, 17 picture editors and 25 processors. My role is to edit the Gymnastics and Athletics. Below is a picture of my screen for the men’s 200m final.

from Photographers' Blog:

Shooting through the Olympic flame

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By Max Rossi

In one word: a nightmare!

From my top position above the flame I have to fight with it every day and the results are both frustrating and exciting. Frustrating when a nice celebration or action are completely blurred by the heat, exciting when the heat and the composition of the picture work well together.

The best results are produced on sunny mornings as the light difference between the track and the flame is minimal so you can have the correct exposure. During the night the difference is larger so you have an overexposed flame as the track is still dark. But the funny thing about this kind of picture is that you can have a sort of tilt lens effect without even using one.

from Photographers' Blog:

Gold, silver and bronze

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By Eddie Keogh

My colleagues now call me the medal man. No, I’ve never won one or even got close but during the 9 days of athletics at the Olympic Stadium in London one of my jobs is to photograph every athlete that wins a medal. The unbridled joy is evident in most cases. Years of blood, sweat and tears have come to fruition and occasionally the emotion of the moment and the playing of their national anthem will bring a tear to the toughest of men and women.

For one man the emotion of the moment was just too much.

The Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez was here to receive a gold medal for winning the 400m hurdles. Four years earlier he received the news of the death of his grandmother on the morning of his heat. Having cried all day he ran badly and failed to get past the first round. He promised that day that he would win a medal for her and now he was fulfilling his promise. Felix cried the moment he arrived to the end of his country’s anthem.

from The Observatory:

The science of performance

Does sex diminish athletic vigor? Does athletic tape enhance it? These are just a few of the questions that one Reuters correspondent has sought to answer amidst the toil, tears, and sweat at the Summer Olympics in London.

Kate Kelland, who covers health and science news in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for the wire service, has been on the performance beat since the opening ceremony, digging into the latest research on what might pump up or deflate an athlete’s game. Doping is the first thing that comes to mind, of course, and Kelland has had a number of posts on the matter.

from The Great Debate UK:

Why enhanced reputation could be the real legacy for Britain of London 2012

Andrew Hammond is an Associate Partner at Reputation Inc, and formerly a UK Government Special Adviser and Senior Consultant at Oxford Analytica. The opinions expressed are his own.

With London 2012 proving a once-in-a-generation global showcase for Britain, a key uncertainty nonetheless remains over whether a substantial, meaningful legacy can be secured in future years from hosting the games. Given that the official public cost of the Olympics is some 9.3 billion pounds (a figure Parliament believes is nearer 11 billion pounds, and Sky News estimates to be a staggering 24 billion pounds) this is a key question, especially as Britain languishes in a double dip recession.

from Photographers' Blog:

Attempting to shoot the moon

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By Luke MacGregor

With very little understanding of astronomy but with the aid of a phone app, I began a three evening attempt to capture the moon with the Olympic Rings. The rings have been hanging iconically on Tower Bridge for the London 2012 Olympic Games and it was suggested to me that a full moon should - at the right angle - cross through them.

Day One - Having planned to be in the "perfect" spot on London Bridge with a good view of the Olympic Rings further up river and using the app information, I waited for the moon to rise. However the horizon itself was a little cloudy. When the moon eventually showed itself about 10 minutes after the app's moonrise time it was off to the right hand side of the bridge. I hadn't taken into account that the moon wouldn't rise in a vertical line but would travel across the sky. So, by a combination of it appearing late through cloud and miscalculation, I was totally in the wrong place. I rushed carrying the tripod with a heavy 400mm lens attached and the rest of my camera gear hanging off my shoulders - running off the bridge, down several flights of steps, and to the path alongside the River Thames to try re-align the moon with the rings. However, the moon moves surprising quickly. I couldn't manage to run far or fast enough in time to get the image before the moon rose high, over and above the bridge.

from Photographers' Blog:

18 hour days at the Olympics

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By Dominic Ebenbichler

The alarm clock was set for 7.15am. After a short breakfast with my colleague Damir Sagolj I took the bus to Wimbledon, a journey of about 1.5 hours.

After arriving I met with our tennis specialist Stefan Wermuth who is covering the whole tennis tournament during the London Olympics. He showed me the venue and we figured out who was going to be covering which matches. I got to shoot Andy Murray, which also included capturing some pictures of Prince William and his wife Catherine, who were cheering for Murray throughout the game.

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