- Title: GREECE: IOC CHIEF INSPECTOR BACKS ATHENS 2004 "MIRACLE WORKERS"
- Date: 19th August 2003
- Summary: (ATHENS, GREECE) (AUGUST 19 2003) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF ATHENS 2004 ORGANIZING COMMITTEE HEADQUARTERS SIGN ON BUILDING VIEW OF PRESS CONFERENCE VIEW OF PODIUM WHERE DENIS OSWALD IS SITTING (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) OSWALD SAYING, Greeks when it really come to important things they are able to make kind of miracles and work very efficiently. If the pace Greece had in the last six months goes on until the end there is no reason that the timetable which have been made are not fullfilled and then all elements will be present to make magical Games. VIEW OF JOURNALISTS CLOSE VIEW OF ATHOC PRESIDENT GIANNA ANGELOPOULOS DASKALAKI SITTING IN AUDIENCE VIEW OF PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) OSWALD SAYING PROBLEMS THAT RESULTED FROM TEST EVENTS IN ROWING, If everything would run perfectly the first time then you wouldn't need test events you would just go for the games. Obviously there have been issues that have been identified where some adjustments have to be made corrections will have to be made in fields such as transportation, accomodation, catering, security etc., and then you put everything together to see if it fits together with no interference its like a puzzle you have the pieces and they have to fit and there are small adjustments to be made but at the end of the series of test events or close to the end these issues where we have identified, these difficulties are not worrying for us they are very small issues which can easily be corrected in the year up to the games. VIEW OF JOURNALISTS AT PRESS CONFERENCE (SOUDNBITE) (ENGLISH) OSWALD ANSWERING QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER SECURITY WILL BE ADEQUATE SAYING, The security plan is progressing, is going according to schedule and we all pay necessary attention, the government and ATHOC are paying all necessary attention and they will not allow any weaknesses in the system. Its a priority for all of us and you can be assured that all efforts will be made and difficulties overcome and ensure games in Athens are the safest possible games.
- Embargoed: 3rd September 2003 13:00
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: General,Politics,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA77VRHNUH1Z3DG9GK8BSPTBZ6R
- Story Text: IOC chief inspector Denis Oswald backs Athens 2004 "miracle" workers.
International Olympic Committee Inspection Chief Denis Oswald said in Athens on Tuesday that if Olympics organisers kept up the current pace in preparations, Greece would have magical Games, adding that the Greeks could work miracles. Organizers received criticism after a series of mishaps during the first test events, which the inspection chief brushed aside and gave them high marks.
The IOC inspection chief, after a brief tour of some venues and construction works, focused his attention on areas of concern for the Olympic committee such as progress on a new roof for the Olympic stadium, a tram system which will connect the south of the city to the centre.
Oswald, who has also been monitoring test events, gave praise to Athens organisers for the events despite an unfortunate start with the rowing competition.
The Athens Olympic organising committee and government have been receiving flack from the press over preparations for the Olympic Games and the test events, after the first test - the world junior rowing championships - fell into disarray when high winds caused the postponement of some races and caused rowers to capsize. Further to event woes, the German rowing team returned to Germany after suffering salmonella poisoning, prompting an investigation by the government.
Further test events of cycling, show jumping, canoe and kayak and archery competitions have gone off without a hitch in the past few days however.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials have in the past warned Athens that time would be tight until the end, as sports venues and construction projects remain uncompleted.
But hard-pressed organisers (ATHOC) are still tackling the tricky issues such as security.
Several newspapers around the world say organisers have not yet grasped the potential threats to the games and have provided only patchy plans, but Greek officials have rejected those claims Athens as unsubstantiated.
Even Greek opposition parties, usually locked in a bitter war of words with the government over Olympic preparations, rejected a series of articles in the international press challenging the games security plans as an orchestrated effort to attack the Games.
Oswald, answering questions from journalists on security, threw his support behind the organisers' plan and said it was progressing, giving assurances that everything would be done to make the Athens Games safe.
More than 45,000 security officials will be on duty during the Athens Olympics, three times as many as in the Sydney in what is the biggest security operation for any Games.
Sensitive to global security concerns after the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, Greece has drawn up the Games most expensive security plan estimated at $600 million.
But organisers have yet to finalise the make-up of the consortium that will implement the $255 million security contract.
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