ROAD AND VENUE CONSTRUCTION REMAIN TOP ISSUES IN ATHENS - Need for Solutions to Accommodation Requirements Also Highlighted
Athens, 28 September 2001 - The timely construction of transportation infrastructure and sports venues again emerged as the top concern of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad following its three-day review of preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
As for the operational functions, the Commission noted progress in almost all areas, especially in sport programming, IF and NOC relations, broadcasting, and marketing, which has already reached its international and domestic revenue target. Issues of growing concern, however, were noted in accommodation. More rooms must be secured to house all visitors, including participants and spectators at Games time.
“The IOC is focused on the fundamental needs of the athletes, so we cannot stress enough the importance of providing them with proper facilities and reasonable access to them,” said Mr. Denis Oswald, who took over as chairman following the election of Dr. Jacque Rogge as IOC President. “Experience has shown us: Great Olympic Games start with great fundamentals.”
Delays in the early stages of construction have led to concerns whether the dozens of construction projects can be delivered by the promised final deadlines. Each delay – or worse the cancellation of another road project – comes with a potential impact on the overall system, such as increased costs and inconvenience to the public. Delays also place at risk the organization of the sporting events that are designed to simulate Games-time situations in order to train the organizers how to manage each venue. Finally, delays will shorten the period necessary to put in place the Olympic overlay, all the elements needed to equip the bare venues for Olympic events. There are only 22 months left before the majority of these test events take place, and only ten months left before the first one takes place in sailing.
“The IOC’s priority is to ensure the Athens organizers and Greek Government provide the venues and services required to allow the athletes to compete at the level they expect. This is the bare minimum, but we should expect more from these Games on their return to their birthplace,” added Mr. Oswald. “Each and every delay has the potential to diminish the legacy these Games could provide for Greece and Olympic tradition.
“With even greater collaboration between the Greek Government and ATHOC, we believe the Greek People can deliver as promised. We are here to help you succeed, but the national spirit must deliver.”