IOC PLEASED WITH ATHENS' PROGRESS
Athens, 4 May 2001 - ATHOC and Greek Government Ready to Enter the Next Stages of Their Preparations -
Halfway into their seven-year organizational period, organizers of the 2004 Olympic Games are where they need to be in order to produce a high-quality edition of the Olympic Games, the IOC Coordination Commission (CoComm) reported today in Athens. Holding its fourth set of meetings in Greece since airing concerns over the state of preparations almost a year ago, the CoComm found that focused activity by both ATHOC and the Greek Government and the transfer of knowledge from Sydney to Athens have produced most of the results the IOC desired.
“We are generally pleased, but the pressure does not come off. When you are organizing an event as complex and large as the Olympic Games, there are never moments to relax,” said Dr. Jacques Rogge, chairman of the Coordinating Committee. “But if the Greek people rally around the cause – one founded in their heritage and culture – I am confident they will be able to take pride in not only their preparations but also their success come August 2004.”
The greatest challenge, in the short term, lies in the number of construction projects that must be simultaneously managed in order to build or renovate sports venues and to augment the infrastructure, such as access roads, serving those venues. Additional construction projects are needed to erect new hotels or expand existing ones, adding much needed rooms that will alleviate the demand for accommodation at Games-time and serve the Greek tourism industry thereafter.
For the most part, the ministries of the Greek Government that are responsible for the construction responded to the urgency of the situation by enhancing their resources and speeding up their pace of activity. For all venues, the Government has completed the administrative phase and is ready to enter the building stage. As a result, the rest of the year is full of critical construction start dates that cannot be missed. For the hotels, it is important that projects for as many of the proposed new sites and expansions start as soon as possible so the rooms can be available on time.
ATHOC, for its part, has progressed well in its planning stage, putting the foundations in place to move into the operational phase. The Committee has hired quality personnel and developed well-conceived strategic plans. Significant recent accomplishments include: the establishment of excellent relations with the International Olympic Summer Sports Federations, which will manage the sports competitions during the Games; the formation of the Athens Olympic Broadcasting Organization, which will produce the host Olympic broadcast coverage; progress in determining sites for the Media Village, which will house a significant portion of the expected 20,000-plus media representatives; the continued strength of the marketing program, which is already close to reaching its revenue target; and the finalization of the host city contract for the Paralympics, which is the basis for the organization of those games.
One of the significant challenges facing ATHOC in the months ahead is ticketing. The Committee will have to concentrate on developing its program for the sale and distribution of tickets, one of the most complicated Games-related functions.