Espionage in the Olympics and the French James Bond

The NYT has produced this fascinating piece:

Long Before London Games, James Bond Tactics

As Olympic training became more detailed, more scientific and more complicated, France created an agency in its sports ministry. Its nondescript name — Préparation Olympique et Paralympique — masked a more ambitious purpose: to boost medal counts through athletic surveillance, as much Spy Games as Olympic Games, under the direction of a man competitors called the French James Bond.

“We realized that international competition was becoming more and more pronounced,” said Fabien Canu, the man known as the French James Bond, who was the French agency’s director from 2006 to 2010.

But France is not the only nation looking for an Olympic edge through stealth. Someone from the United States’ BMX cycling team surreptitiously rode the competition course in London for this summer’s Olympic Games with a three-dimensional mapping device, specifics of which officials declined to reveal, so the Americans could build and train on a replica of the Olympic track.

And USA Sailing opportunistically snatched up property near the Olympic competition site in Weymouth, England, to build a training base in enemy territory to study weather and current conditions before the Games.

Ha. Glad to hear some of the intelligence technologies and methodologies probably developed for the battlefield are being put to a less violent use.

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