BusinessCompany NewsOlympic bid needs another star

Olympic bid needs another star

Those who like a bet might have a more local bookmaker than Alice Springs-based Centrebet.com. But you will be hearing more about the Australian bookmaker soon, as the race to host the 2012 Olympics hots up - a lot more.

You see, Centrebet has a certain reputation when it comes to the Olympics.

Having seen its profile soar during the Sydney games, it correctly picked Vancouver as the winner of the 2010 Winter Olympic bid. And, significantly, it is currently backing London as the host of the Olympics in 2012.

A surprise? You could be forgiven for thinking so. A UK public, jaded by the Wembley wobble and unwilling to rest on the laurels offered by last year’s hugely successful Commonwealth Games in Manchester, seems to believe that a London Olympics is about as likely as Iain Duncan Smith becoming PM any time soon.

But even if London doesn’t bag the gold medal, a credible bid has been put together quickly. And, in sport as in business, it’s the players – and the manager who melds them into a team – that matter most.

And over at the London Olympic bid office the team is coming along nicely.

Manager Barbara Cassani (you will know her from her previous club, budget airline Go) paraded two star signings last week.

‘Defender’ Mike Lee (a corporate communications specialist whose job it will be to fend off a cynical media) and ‘playmaker’ Keith Mills (the inventor of the Air Miles reward scheme) have both joined a side that already includes double Olympic 1500m gold medallist Sebastian Coe, Granada television chief Charles Allen and former hurdler Alan Pascoe.

There is, of course, one key appointment still to be made – the team needs someone who can act as an anchor, a player in every sense of the word who can keep the rest of the team focused and not be seduced by the bright lights of the PR game. A finance director – or goal-keeper – to stretch the analogy to breaking point.

That of course is a key appointment. But let’s be optimistic and assume the right decision is made. The London bid team might then provide many businesses with an object lesson in how to build a team. All it then needs to do is win.

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