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13 Aug 2003
Olympic News

IOC invites record number of National Olympic Committees (NOCs)

Exactly one year before the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece, 201 NOCs - a record number in Olympic history - have been invited to take part.

Out of the 201 invitations, the IOC President Jacques Rogge signed, in front of attending guests during a ceremony held in Lausanne, those to the NOCs of the countries hosting the upcoming Games - namely Greece, Italy, China, Canada - followed by the NOCs of the 9 cities bidding for 2012 - namely Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, Turkey, United States of America -, then the newly recognised NOCs - Timor-Leste and Kiribati - and recently reinstated Afghanistan, and last, but not least, Switzerland.

The invitation for Greece was accepted by Lambis V. Nikolaou, President of the Greek Olympic Committee and Switzerland's invitation by Walter Kägi, President of the Swiss Olympic Association.

The highest number of participating NOCs was 199 at the Sydney Games in 2000. As underlined by President Rogge during today's event, should all NOCs accept the IOC's invitation, this record will also be broken. 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in Athens between 13 and 29 August 2004.

Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Kiribati
The rise in NOC participation is due to the reinstatement of Afghanistan, which rejoined the Olympic family after its suspension during the Taliban regime, and to the addition of two new NOCs: Timor-Leste and Kiribati which were recently recognised.

IOC Helps Iraq
The IOC President expressed his hope that a delegation from Iraq might also participate in Athens. All efforts are currently underway by the IOC to re-build the Iraqi National Olympic Committee before next summer, and to enable the participation of its athletes. "Athens 2004 may stage the most universal Games ever", Rogge said.

Games Preparations and a Legacy for Generations to Come
The President of the Organising Committee for Athens 2004 (ATHOC), Mrs Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki assured the numerous guests and media representatives in Lausanne, that Athens will be definitively ready for the Games. "We are also extremely pleased that the sport events which have started last week are going well", she said. During the month of August seven sport events are organised in Athens in order to test the venues, the teams and the technical infrastructure.

The IOC awarded the Games to Athens in 1997, since then the Greek capital has taken an "Olympic shape". The IOC as well as ATHOC are convinced that the Athens Games will be a sporting, social and economic legacy that will last for future generations. The countdown for the final preparations have started now: 366 more days till the Olympic Games will return to the country of their birth.

Press release

Official site of Athens 2004
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