Matthew Beard, Olympics Editor Matthew Beard, Olympics Editor
29 Nov 2011
A secret plan to ensure harmony at the 205-nation Olympic village is
under way as Games chiefs allocate rooms.
Among the main concerns for nations will be avoiding being billeted next
to Cuba. Some of their noisy athletes have given them a bad reputation.
Enjoying home advantage, the 550 British athletes can expect to be
situated next to the Scandinavians who are known for being considerate
and have lived next to GB in previous games.
Team GB are likely to be in rooms opposite Australia because it is
thought this will hone competitive instincts.
But some rival nations are to be kept as far apart as possible. These
include Israel and Palestine and South Korea and North Korea.
Internet and TV access will likely be pulled for the North Korean team
as team bosses keep them away from Western "propaganda", and organisers
are braced for the unexpected. In 2006 North Korea arrived at the Torino
winter Olympics without skates, and had to be taken shopping for
essential kit on the eve of competition.
"The North Koreans are outsiders even in Olympic terms," said a source.
"They speak no English and they spend their time in their rooms smoking.
It's not much fun."
The communal ethos of village life means that all athletes are meant to
be treated the same and will be allocated a room, including the big stars.
But Swiss tennis great Roger Federer is expected to prefer the anonymity
of a five-star hotel to Stratford. The same goes for the
multi-millionaires of NBA American basketball who will prefer hotels
even though Games chiefs have given them extra-large beds.
"Roger will come in and have dinner in the village but he is unlikely to
stay overnight because the reality is he will be asked for many
autographs. A lot of the athletes idolise him. His first priority is to
remain focused on winning the Olympics," said a source.
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