One of the reasons why I was keen to partner with UPS for the London 2012 Olympic Games was their commitment to helping deliver the greenest Games in history. As the Official Logistics Provider for London 2012, UPS is responsible for offsetting the emissions of all logistics operations supporting the Games.
Let's face it; the convergence of thirty million items could leave a dreadful carbon footprint. Luckily it won't. The first step in solving any problem is to quantify it, so UPS will measure the carbon footprint from all its logistical operations for London 2012.
UPS has been certified by The CarbonNeutral Company and their process follows the CarbonNeutral Protocol, the global standard for ensuring the integrity of carbon neutral certification programmes.
It's much less complicated than it sounds. In a nice clean nutshell - CarbonNeutral will help work out a credible, comprehensive and certifiable number and then UPS will take concrete steps to manage and mitigate it. Environmental Karma, if you will.
Now for the interesting par... To help offset their Games Time footprint, UPS has developed a few key environmental tricks. They'll be using a fleet of electric vehicles as well as state-of-the-art biomethane tractor-trailers. But how these vehicles are powered is only part of the story. They've also developed fancy vehicle telematics, a wireless technology that helps plan the most efficient routes, reducing idle time and fuel emissions.
But it's about the smaller, simpler things too. To avoid adding to London 2012
traffic woes, UPS will be trialling bicycle deliveries in London during the
Games. With initiatives like this, we're well on our way to the greenest Games
Over the years I've learned that preparation for big events is crucial and that "failing to plan is planning to fail".
To ensure that every sporting events goes off without a hitch during Games Time, my friends at UPS helped deliver a series of test events in and around London in the lead up to the Games. The series was an ideal opportunity for UPS to test operational time frames as well as bespoke logistic strategies developed for each event.
From Road Cycling, Equestrian and Sailing to BMX and Basketball and Gymnastics, the team has delivered more than 8 sets of test events to date, using what we call the 3 T's - teamwork, timing and tailor-made solutions.
With BMX and Basketball, the team had to stage two complex events at once. During the Road Cycling event, they had to lay and clear the roads before London even woke up. In Greenwich Park, the team turned an equestrian area into a complete modern pentathlon setting - in 48 hours!
In January, the team delivered the Gymnastics test event at the North Greenwich Arena. Not only did they manage to set up the arena in time but the whole Team went on to qualify for London 2012 for the first time since Barcelona 1992! And if that wasn't enough, my fellow UPS ambassador, Louis Smith won Individual Gold at the event too.
Speak to you soon,
Until recently I've never given a thought to how the temporary studios that I've strolled into over the years have been built or equipped. But teaming up with UPS and discovering what they'll be doing to deliver the Games in London has given me great insight.
If anything, I had only remotely considered the equipment that affected my personal broadcast responsibilities, but UPS is responsible for moving a whopping 400 tonnes of broadcast equipment to the Games. Everything from TV cameras, lenses and tri-pods to camcorders and cables for thousands of photographers, sound engineers, technicians and presenters from all over the world.
Over the years there has been the odd moment that prompted my admiration. I remember in 1992, our state-of-the-art broadcast scanner was at Silverstone, in the heart of the television compound, amidst about thirty miles of cable. Once the broadcast was over, I said farewell to the director, left the scanner and drove north to Muirfield for the Open Championship. Admittedly I stopped on the way overnight
and had a leisurely breakfast the next morning, but when I arrived at Muirfield
the giant scanner was in the compound, rigged and ready to go - well before I
At the end of the Open I was on a tight schedule. I raced home, packed a new suitcase, made a few calls, did half a days work at television centre then flew to Barcelona for our Olympic coverage. I beat the scanner into the Barcelona compound by less than ninety minutes.
I'm looking forward to watching similar logistical miracles with UPS - especially because they will be achieved with a sense of routine and no drama whatsoever. I have a feeling that watching UPS deliver the Games may overtake my impressive Silverstone scanner memory!
- Steve Rider
I've been fortunate enough to enjoy an Olympic Broadcasting experience that has spanned thirty odd years. Between each Games, I've been heavily involved in presenting, notably golf, international rugby, football at the highest level. But every four years, your attendance at the Summer Olympics was a kind of endorsement that you were still operating at the highest level.
My first Games time broadcast experience was over 35 years ago. Although broadcasting is a term I would only use loosely in connection with my work at Montreal in 1976. I was the only correspondent for Independent Radio News, had no credentials and could only report on the action by ringing my mate in the UK who was watching the whole thing on the BBC! Four years later I was presenting for ITV in Moscow and for the first time with Coe v Ovett in particular, I felt I was presenting from the sidelines of one of the great events in sporting history. From 1988 onwards I was with the BBC and the greatest experiences of all were to be lakeside in Sydney and Athens when Redgrave and Pinsent won their fifth and fourth gold medals respectively.
Where I was especially lucky was to experience at the first hand how the Olympics, and Olympic broadcasting, have moved into the modern technological era. In Montreal in '76, blagging a telephone was the challenge; four years later we covered a lot of the Moscow Games on film. There was video, but the tapes weighed about forty pounds each and you edited them with a razor blade. Now 2012 will come at you via a whole range of baffling platforms and every second of every event will be available live. Astonishing.
Similarly, UPS has fostered their own relationship with the Games over the years. From sponsoring the Games in Atlanta in 1996, to handling more than 19 million individual items at Beijing in 2008. In 2012, UPS will be responsible for the movement of every piece of sports and broadcast equipment to and from London, and we'll have the opportunity to celebrate our personal journeys with the Games, together.
- Steve Rider
When we first learnt that London had won the 2012 bid I was with a group of BBC producers and executives heading up to Scotland for the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. We were watching the monitors at Heathrow and when the announcement read 'London' there was a collective....'oh no...' There was a pre-emptive anticipation of the extra pressures to come, the workload, the scrutiny and the responsibility. Quite a few of us had been looking forward to a summer in Paris!
But that was soon replaced with a feeling of pride and a real appetite for the challenge to come, and that feeling only grows as the Games creep closer. In theory there is no difference in televising the Games from London compared to Seoul or Beijing or Sydney; indeed it should be simpler in terms of logistics and the time difference. But in reality for the first time, these are 'our' games and all eyes will be on us.
The Olympic Games are an opportunity for the rest of the world to judge a host nation. That is what the Games bring to London and it is our responsibility to make sure the world is given a warm glow and a positive experience. I have attended 12 Olympic Games and reached an opinion on all of them. Even today, I look for any excuse to get back to Barcelona or Sydney. The hope is the same for London.
At last, the Olympic Games are coming to our corner of the world, but even more exciting than that, they're coming to my corner of London! I grew up in Greenwich and did my sport there as a youngster. I studied journalism there too. So it feels like everything has come full circle in a way.
Broadcast journalism has afforded me a close-up view of the Games over the years, but teaming up with UPS and discovering the logistics behind each event will provide a rare "backstage" view of them. There's a lot of planning and preparation to be done in the next few months but I'm thoroughly enjoying watching it all unfold - the 27th of July can't come soon enough.
And to think I wanted to spend the summer in Paris!
- Steve Rider