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Questions over the decision to accept the sponsorship of the Olympic Stadium ‘wrap around’ from Dow Chemical were brought back into the spotlight yesterday as Meredith Alexander head of policy at ‘ActionAid’ resigned from her role as board member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 live on Newsnight.

Her resignation came in protest at the involvement of Dow chemical as an Olympic sponsor despite the companies links to the Bhopal Disaster of 1984. It should be said that Dow Chemical itself played no part in the disaster, however having purchased Union Carbide the company responsible for the Bhopal plant in 1984 Alexander felt that ;

“they got the good stuff, they got the assets they got the shares, they also got any debts and any liabilities”

Alexander feels  “liabilities” includes compensation for the many thousands of victims and family members of thise who have died in the years following the disaster. An out of court settlement of $470 million was reached in 1989 and Dow Chemical stands by the assertion that this settlement was full and final; many argue this fund has been inadequate however and that victims were not fully consulted over the agreement.

I cannot hope to have a full understanding of the disaster and am in no place to point fingers. However it seems clear that awarding the deal to Dow was a pretty poor decision by LOCOG; it was only ever going to generate negative publicity. Perhaps this could have been avoided had another sponsor been chosen, however the prospect of a Nike or Mcdonalds wrap seems pretty horrible too.

Lets not forget, Dow certainly did manufacture Agent Orange and Napalm, two of the most destructive and morally questionable chemical weapons to have been used in the wars of the recent past. Giving Dow a chance to rebrand itself in the form of an environmentally sustainable wrap (open to interpretation I’m sure) is not something I want to see associated with the Olympic Games, and I wonder how any Vietnamese or Indian fans and athletes are likely to feel about entering a stadium that to them may serve as a distasteful reminder of the past.


The Tate modern art gallery has announced it’s chosen artist for the turbine hall during the Olympics will be Tino Sehgal. Whilst the exhibition will be running from April to October of 2012 the fact that the Olympics take place during that time is key as the work heads up the Tate’s offering to the ‘London 2012 festival’ which will run from June of 2012.

Alongside this will be the first major UK retrospective of British artist Damien Hirst’s work. Perhaps it would’ve been nicer if the Tate had really gone out on a limb for it’s 2012 programming, I’d of loved it if they had decided to fill the spaces with up and coming British artists rather than the works of a multimillionaire artist who has arguably passed the high point of his celebrity and popularity.

I know it may not necessarily be the Tate’s style to put on anything other than shows of well established artists and styles, often leaving out the more controversial pieces even within those collections. But is a retrospective really the sort of art which embodies the Olympic spirit? I’m not so sure.

About Me

As a part of a project with youth charity 'A New Direction' a group of young Londoners and I blog about the London Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012. Check out my twitter feed bellow and return here for updates on what ever Olympic or Paralympic issues have got me going each week!

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