The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday concluded two days of productive meetings in the capital city of Greece.
The highlight of this first gathering of the year was the meeting yesterday with the National Olympic Committees, which had convened for their General Assembly earlier in the week. Later in the day, the EB decided to lift the suspension imposed on the Iraqi National Olympic Committee (NOC) on 17 May 2003, therefore allowing Iraqi athletes to enter the Olympic Stadium in Athens under their national flag on 13 August 2004, and bringing the number of NOCs to 202, the highest number ever recorded in the Olympic Movement.
On Games preparations, the EB heard the report by the President of the Athens Organising Committee (ATHOC), Mrs. ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI, and her team on the latest developments. The transport plan for the Games was presented and approved by the board. EB members were given the opportunity to see for themselves the state of the preparations with a venue tour that took in the newly opened Canoe-Kayak slalom course.
Commenting on the preparations during the final press conference, the IOC President, Jacques ROGGE, said. "We have sent a very knowledgeable team of experts [to Athens]. The result of their expertise as communicated to me this week is that we still have enough time to have very successful Games. But of course, one has to work very fast. The feasibility study is reassuring. For the implementation, we will see in the future. As I speak today, there is still time to have successful Games providing our Greek friends work at the same pace. I remain confident and I have expressed my confidence: it's going to be challenging, but it is feasible."
A delegation from the Turin Organising Committee (TOROC), led by its President Valentino CASTELLANI, gave a general update on the preparations indicating that construction work is going well, that the recent deal signed with national broadcaster RAI will help take the Olympic message to all of Italy, and that the torch will be designed by world famous automotive design practice Pininfarina.
Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert FELLI gave a positive report on the preparations of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Regarding the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, René FASEL, Chairman of the Coordination Commission congratulated the newly appointed CEO of the Organising Committee John FURLONG. He also acknowledged that improvements in the IOC's bid process together with the Transfer of Knowledge programme whereby experience from one host city is shared with the next, have led to a speedy and effective transition from candidate city to host city.
The EB also took a series of decisions including:
- The disqualification of Johann MUEHLEGG and Olga DANILOVA from the Olympic Winter Games of Salt Lake City 2002. The decision was made pursuant to the arbitral awards delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on 18 December 2003. Details of the decision can be found on the IOC website at the address below. Both athletes have been asked to return their medals to the IOC so that they can be re-awarded accordingly;
- The inclusion of the Speed Skating Team Pursuit event in the programme of the Olympic Winter Games, starting in Turin in 2006 - see news story on the IOC website.