Olympic Turning Points: Events That Made a Difference in 2007

(ATR) The naming of Sochi as the host of the 2014 Olympics tops the list of turning points for the Olympics in the past year ... This final Op Ed for 2007 takes a look at some of the major events that will shape the future of the Games.

The naming of Sochi as the host of the 2014 Olympics tops the list of turning points for the Olympics in the past year.

This final Op Ed for 2007 takes a look at some of the major events that will shape the future of the Games.

Election of Sochi as host of the 2014 Olympics was a bold move by the IOC. It awarded the Winter Games to Russia for the first time, despite the long list of infrastructure projects (everything) that needs to be built for the Games.

Stripping Marion Jones from the Sydney record books shows the IOC does not shy away from acting against drug cheats. Also of note in 2007 was the $1 million fine levied against the Austrian Olympic Committee over the Turin blood doping fiasco. The move served notice to NOCs of their responsibility to supervise their teams at the Games. The election of John Fahey as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency means new leadership for the first time since the agency was formed in 1999 with Richard Pound as its leader.

The creation of the Youth Olympic Games , the first new multi-sport Olympic event since the Winter Games 80 years ago, will be watched closely to see whether it helps invigorate youth interest in the Games.

One year to the Beijing Olympics

was noted on August 8 with the grandest celebration ever for such a milestone by a host city. Despite the praise for the preparations under way, 2007 also brought a flood of worries from sport about air pollution and a never-ending series of complaints from critics about human rights issues in China.

The new London logo shattered conventional design ideas for such an important symbol for the Games. Organizers say it’s part of their efforts to reach out to younger fans. Turmoil over the rising budget for infrastructure needed for the London Games marked the end of the honeymoon as Londoners and politicians took stock of the serious investment the Olympics will require.

An interesting field of cities emerged for the 2016 Summer Games . Doha is the first Mideast bid, Rio De Janeiro is a favorite for oddsmakers, while Chicago is seen as the contender New York City never was for 2012. Madrid is well-experienced and well-connected in sport, qualities that Tokyo carries as well. Prague is a bid heading towards an early expiration date for lack of government support, while government support may be all Baku offers.

Sponsors come and go . Olympic sponsorship legend Kodak ends a near 100-year association with the Games. Its famous films and photo processing fade as an essential for coverage of the Games in favor of digital photos. Computer maker Lenovo is gone after only one round of the Games, replaced by Acer just two days after Lenovo dropped out.

Better coverage and a great staff have helped Around the Rings become the standard for coverage of the business of the Olympics in 2007. With European editor Mark Bisson , correspondents Bob Mackin in Vancouver, Anthony Stavrinos in Australia, Peter Kreuzer in Germany, progeny Ed Hula III and other occasional writers, ATR is close to the action wherever news breaks out in the world. Maggie Lee has bolstered the workings of this great team with her work as assignments coordinator in Atlanta.

Under publisher Sheila Hula , the staff of ATR has grown to include the addition of chief operating officer Peter Lewman , and chief financial officer Ines Kinigi . They keep the business side of ATR on the firm footing needed to deliver high-quality news coverage. Assistant to the publisher Laura Grundy plays a vital role in day-to-day operations and circulation director Kathy Kuczka makes sure readers have each edition of Around the Rings.

We bid farewell to Bryant Armstrong , editorial assistant and federations editor during the past three years, as he heads to a new position with telecom giant AT&T. Moving on to one of the BigFour firms is finance staffer Alejandro Toro .

Thanks to the readers and the advertisers who support Around the Rings. Both are indispensable parts of the equation that make this publication strong.

Best wishes for the Olympic Year ahead for 2008.

Op Ed is a weekly column of opinion and ideas from Around the Rings founder and editor-in-chief Ed Hula. Comments, as well as guest columns are welcomed: comment@aroundtherings.com