The shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has turned her experienced political hand to helping Labour's Ken Livingstone in his bid to oust Conservative Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. That will make for some interesting Olympic board meetings as the Games nears and as the electioneering ratchets up. Both Jowell and Johnson are on the board. Interesting too that one of Livingstone's key men at City Hall when he was in power was Neale Coleman, who was retained by Johnson as his Olympics advisor when he took office.
More than 2,100 supporters of next year's Games will attend the British Olympic Association's Olympic ball at Olympia tonight. Will Prince Harry turn up like he did last year? The Princess Royal will be there. Tickets are sold out with Tom Jones, Stephen Fry and Miranda Hart topping the bill. Te red carpet will be awash with star athletes in their most sparkling outfits. Ex Spice Girl Mel C, model Nell McAndrew, musician Katie Melua and world superbike champion James Toseland are also attending.
Ticket holders for the London 2012 Games have been assured by Locog chairman Sebastian Coe that they will be able to give tickets to friends and family. Strict security requirements state that ticket holders have to attend the venue even if they have given their ticket to a family member. However, Lord Coe said the rule won't be policed. "We will only ask for identification and trace back the owners of the tickets if we have a very serious security issue or there are particular suspicions about certain seats or tickets," he said.
"Common sense will apply and perhaps if the ticket holders can't be there for some reason, the others in the party should bring some id with them." Locog have confirmed the next tranche of 1.5 million Games tickets for sports apart from football will be released in April. There are still around one million football tickets available, which will go on sale in December.
Sir Steve Redgrave recalled yesterday how one family member missed his moment of glory at Sydney 2000. Son Zak, then aged two, was waving at him from the stands just before the race. But apparently the excitement got the better of him and he fell asleep in the arms of Redgrave's mother Sheila, despite her screaming at the top of her lungs and jumping up and down throughout. "He missed the whole race," said Redgrave.
Olympic hospitality agents Prestige Ticketing this week unveiled a £7.5 million three-storey glass atrium structure alongside the Olympic stadium for the wining and dining of 3,000 people at a time who have paid up to £4,500 for each ticket. But that pales against the £10 million London Olympic extravaganza unveiled by the Russians at Marble Arch – nicknamed the "Archski". Plans are for an ice skating rink next to a special purpose festival hall for ballet, opera and soirees with Vladimir Putin, all to promote the Sochi Winter Olympics. Westminster Council has received objections that the five-month closure of the island site will cause significant disruption. Locals are also upset that resident parking around the Langham Hotel will be suspended in favour of coach parking for the VIP guests of Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola. Sponsors generally are shying away from using London's public transport, including the acclaimed javelin train from St Pancras to Stratford (which takes just seven minutes) and have booked air conditioned coaches to transport their guests to Olympic competition using the special Olympic lanes.