By Duncan Mackay

Michael Phelps. Photo: APJune 5 - A figure of more than $4 billion (£2.4 billion) could be tabled by one of the major United States television networks when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) begin meetings in Lausanne tomorrow to decide which channel should broadcast the Olympics after London 2012.

Richard Carrion, the Puerto Rican who is the chairman and chief executive of financial services conglomerate Popular, Inc as well as being a senior member of the IOC, will lead the negotiations, which have been pushed back because of the worldwide economic crisis.

Representatives from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Fox Sports, Walt Disney Co. comapny ESPN with ABC, and Comcast's NBC Universal will all be making presentations to the IOC at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne about their proposed Olympic coverage.

CBS, the other major US network, has abandoned plans to bid in conjunction Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting cable unit as originally planned due to a change in strategy.

NBC currently hold the rights, having paid $2.2 billion ($1.3 billion) for Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, bidding $700 million (£426 million) more than ESPN and Fox when they were awarded in 2003.

They have broadcast every Summer Olympics since Seoul in 1988 and every Winter Games since Salt Lake City in 2002 and will broadcast London 2012.

But their planning has been thrown into confusion by surprise announcement last month Dick Ebersol had resigned as chairman after 22 years.

Robert_Iger_with_Micky_MouseNBC's team is now being led by chief executive Steve Burke and Comcast chief executive Brian Robertson, ESPN by chief executive George Bodenheimer and Disney head Robert Iger (pictured) while Fox Sports will be represented by chairman David Hill, the man who helped launch BSkyB in Britain and was involved in the early negotiations for broadcsting England's Premier League.

Each bidder is expected to make two-hour presentations behind closed doors to senior IOC members, starting with Fox tomorrow afternoon.

They will be followed by ESPN on Tuesday (June 7) morning and NBC Tuesday afternoon.

A decision is expected late Tuesday.

The winning bidder is expected to pay more than $2 billion (£1.2 billion) for the Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and over $4 billion (£2.4 billion) if the deal is extended to also include the Games in 2018 and 2020, which have yet to be awarded by the IOC.

The Unites States Olympic Committee (USOC), with chairman Larry Probst, chief executive Scott Blackmun, general counsel and chief of legal and Government affairs Rana Dershowitz and chief communications officer Patrick Sandusky, have all travelled to Lausanne to be on hand for the negotiations.·

The USOC currently receives a 12.75 percent share of US television rights deals.

The IOC are confident that the deal will be financially massive.

"We've got a full house and I'm hoping for the best," Carrion told The Associated Press today.

Carrion claimed that the departure of Ebersol did not lessen NBC's determination to retain the rights, even though they lost $220 million (£134 million) on their broadcast from Vancouver last year.

"They reiterated that they are extremely interested, and judging from the team they've brought here, I take them at their word," Carrion told AP.

"It's just way too important for them.

"I expect them to play to win.

"We obviously expect a higher figure [than last year], and that's it."

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More than half of the 650 ticket sale British Olympic swimmers More than half of the 650 ticket sale "sessions" were oversubscribed, London 2012 has revealed

London 2012's director responsible for tickets has rejected complaints that the ballot was unfair and led to unbalanced distribution.

Chris Townsend said that oversubscribed events were balloted for each price category.

In a Daily Telegraph webchat with disappointed sports fans, he also revealed second round tickets would be available for several sports.

Some 1.8 million people applied for the 6.6 million public tickets available.

Mr Townsend said: "The ballot was run on a session basis, a separate ballot was run for each price point that was oversubscribed in the session.

"For example, for the 100m final, five separate ballots were run, one for each price point."

Prices for 100m final tickets ranged between £50 and £725.

Mr Townsend said tickets left over from the ballot stage would be available in the second round of sales starting later this month, including for athletics, boxing, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey and beach volleyball.

They will initially offer unsuccessful first-round ticket applicants the first chance to buy those tickets still available.

It will take place on a first-come, first-served basis with the money paid up front.

The general public will later be able to apply for remaining tickets.

In one webchat question, he was asked why people were not told in advance how many tickets were available in each price band for each session.

The questioner suggested this would have better managed expectations and probably would have resulted in more applications for the less mainstream sports.

Mr Townsend said: "We have received a fantastic response from the public across all sports, including the less mainstream sports.

"We will be releasing further information once the process is complete after 10 June."

London 2012 expects to have collected all payments for tickets released so far by 10 June, even though most have already been taken.

However, buyers will not find out which tickets they have been allocated until 24 June.

More than half of the 650 ticket sale "sessions" were over-subscribed.

Athletes' families are among those disappointed with their ticket orders. Diver Tom Daley tweeted that his mother only got a quarter of the events she applied for, adding "I hope my family get tickets to watch me!!!!"

Also on Twitter, cyclist Bradley Wiggins revealed: "No olympic tickets for the wife and kids to watch Team Pursuit, oh well sorry kids going to have to watch dad on the telly!"

Competitors do receive two tickets for friends and family for each event they participate in but it has emerged that swimmers will only get one because the sport is so popular.

The chief executive of British Swimming, David Sparkes, said he was "working closely with the BOA and Locog to resolve this disparity".


By David Gold

May 25 - The British Olympic Association (BOA) and GB Taekwondo have confirmed the weight categories in which British athletes will compete at next summer's London Olympic Games.

Team GB had four places available to them as the host nation, and it has opted to select athletes in the men's – 68kg and -80kg divisions, as well as the women's -67kg and -57kg categories.

GB Taekwondo will be announcing the athletes competing at the Games in May 2012, shortly after next year's European Taekwondo Championships, taking place in Manchester.

Gary Hall, performance director of GB Taekwondo said: "We have had to select our weight categories for the Games now so as to allow the World Taekwondo Federation to stage their global and continental qualification events over the coming months.

"We've looked at performances across recent international events as well as the major championships such as the Europeans, and the recent World Championships, and have selected the weight categories that we feel give us the best chance of medal success in London next year."

At the recent World Championships in Gyeongju, South Korea, Britain won four medals, including gold in the 67kg category for Sarah Stevenson.

Hall said: "We also shouldn't lose sight of the fact that our performance programme is also geared at taking a longer term approach to developing talent which we hope will deliver success at future Games, such as Rio 2016."

Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt added: "The confirmation of the weight categories in which Team GB taekwondo players will compete at the London 2012 Olympics brings clarity to the athletes and allows them to focus on a tangible goal.

"This announcement allows GB Taekwondo to build on their fantastic performances at the World Championships this month."

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Story by Duncan Mackay

The selection process for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics was officially opened today with Rome the only city that has so far definitely committed itself to bidding.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have written to 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) inviting them to submit the name of an applicant city by September 1.

The election of the Host City for the 2020 Olympic Games is due to take place on September 7, 2013, during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

For the first time there are number of prerequisite criteria for cities wishing to bid for the Olympic Games that have been put in place.

These include having until July 29, 2011, to inform the IOC if they propose to hold the Games outside the normal Olympic Games window, which is between July 15 and August 31.

This is crucial because three years ago Doha were knocked out in the preliminary stages because their proposed dates did not meet the published criteria, although they claimed that IOC President Jacques Rogge had led them to believe that they could host the Games outside the window, just as Sydney had done in 2000.

This is likely to be even more scrutinised on this occasion following FIFA's controversial decision last year to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and the subsequent proposal to move the tournament from its traditional June/July slot to January to avoid the scorching summer heat in the Middle East.

Doha are among several cities considering challenging Rome to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Dubai, another Middle East country where the conditions could be an issue, are also weighing up whether to bid or not.

The final deadline to confirm the submission of applicant cities is on September 1, which follows the election of the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which is due to be announced at the IOC Session in Durban on July 6.

The IOC plan to hold an information seminar for the cities in Lausanne in November before they have to submit the application file and guarantee letters by February 15, 2012.

The IOC's Executive Board will choose the candidate cities at a meeting in May 2012 and they will attend the London 2012 Olympics as part of the IOC's observer programme.

The IOC have recommended that the London 2012 debrief is held in Rio de Janeiro, the host for 2016, in November and the bid cities then have until the beginning of January 2013 to prepare and deliver their Candidate Files.

The visits of the IOC Evaluation Commission are scheduled for March and April 2013 with the report due to be published in June, the same month that there will be a Candidate City briefing for IOC members.

The election of the host city will then take part in the Argentinian capital, which is due to be the last act of IOC President Jacques Rogge before he steps down.

So far only Rome, who hosted the Olympics in 1960, have confirmed that they definitely plan to bid.

But besides Doha and Dubai, among the other cities considering whether to put themselves forward are Tokyo and Madird, both beaten when Rio were awarded the 2016 Olympics, and Delhi, Durban and Istanbul.

Hobart in Tasmania also want to bid but the Australian Olympic Committee are refusing to back it.

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Lawrence OkoyeIt was only in March last year that Lawrence Okoye was charging over the try-line to score at Twickenham, a couple of opponents clinging forlornly to his mountainous frame. At 6ft 5in and 20st, with a No 11 shirt on his back, and a flick of hair at the front of his otherwise shaven head, he was already known as "the schoolboy Lomu".

The teenage double of the giant New Zealand wing, who famously trampled all over Tony Underwood, Mike Catt and Co in the semi-final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, was a member of the academy set-up at London Irish, as well as being a try-scoring hero for the victorious Whitgift School – the Croydon alma mater of Danny Cipriani – in the final of the English Under-18s cup at the national HQ of the oval-ball game. Fourteen months on, however, Okoye is making his mark in a different sporting field. A very big mark.

At the Surrey county track-and-field championships at Kingston upon Thames last Saturday, in his first competition as a senior athlete, the 19-year-old threw the discus 63.25 metres. With one fell swoop, he had achieved the B standard selection mark for the 2012 Olympics, 63m. At the Loughborough International meeting at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium on Sunday, the traditional curtain-raiser to the top-level track-and-field season in Britain, Okoye will be gunning for the Olympic A standard, 65m.

From scoring tries at Twickenham, the Jonah Lomu lookalike has switched his sights to throwing for glory as a member of Team GB at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, next year. It has been quite a turnaround for the multi-talented young man from Waddon, south London. And for British athletics, at the start of this pre-home Olympic season, Okoye has been quite an acquisition.

He was a known quantity in the sport last summer, having shown his raw talent by finishing sixth at the World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada. It was then that the Croydon Harrier decided to make the switch from rugby union – and a winter of full-time training, under the direction of the experienced throws coach John Hillier, has propelled the Croydon Harrier to the cusp of a major breakthrough in his new sporting life.

"It's incredible the way things have worked out," Okoye reflected. "I've gone from strength to strength since I met John. At the start of the winter he said to me: "Lawrence, you're going to throw 65m in the summer." At first I thought: 'Nah, I can't do that.' But as the winter went on I realised that I could. I fully expect to throw 65m now.

"I'm targeting a medal at the European Under-23 Championships [in Ostrava in the Czech Republic in July] and a GB vest at the World Championships [in Deagu, South Korea in August]. That should stand me in good stead for next year, for Olympic time.

"I've changed my lifestyle to do this. I was going to go to university after finishing school last summer, to study law at Oxford. I decided to defer for two years so that I could train for the Olympics and it's paid dividends already."

In the 14 months since he scored his try at Twickenham, the former "schoolboy Lomu" has grown bigger than the 6ft 5in, 19st original was in his All Black prime. Okoye now stands 6ft 6in tall and tips the scales at 20st 6lb. As well as being strong enough to heave the discus 63.25m, he is quick enough to break 11sec for 100m, a combination of power and pace that would make him a potent force in any rugby team.

"I do miss rugby a lot," Okoye confessed. "There are not many better feelings than scoring tries. I don't know if I'll go back to it after 2012. If I do really well at the Olympics it would be foolish of me to stop throwing the discus."