With just over two years to run before the Olympic Games return to the country of their origin, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today concluded two productive days of meetings with the Games organisers in Athens.
The IOC delegation, led by Chairman Denis Oswald, was pleased to see good progress achieved in line with IOC proposals made during the Coordination Commission meeting in April. In particular, the IOC confirmed increased co-operation between private and public sectors, heightened level of interest in the Games from the general public and a clear demonstration by the Athens Organising Committee (ATHOC) that they are on schedule to run the first test event, in sailing, in August. The IOC, however, identified delays in projects which will now need special attention to ensure planning runs to schedule.
'The IOC had very productive meetings with ATHOC and Government representatives, and I enjoyed an hour of constructive discussion with the Prime Minister, ' said Oswald. ' We are delighted to see an increased momentum, which we made clear was needed after our Coordination Commission meeting in April. Clear focus is appropriately being put on the critical areas of venue construction, accommodation, transport and security, areas which remain top of the IOC's list of priorities. The work being done is going to leave an impressive legacy to this historical city, and it is clear the people of Athens are becoming increasingly excited about the Games coming to their city. It is vital, however, that the speed and quality of work is maintained, particularly over the summer months, when typically Athens enjoys a quiet period. With only two years to go to the Opening Ceremony, not a day can be lost.'
'Our two days working with the IOC have been very fruitful,' confirmed ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos. 'The level of work in Athens is gathering increasing momentum and beginning to make an exciting impact on our city. Over the next months, the venue and transport constructions will begin to show how holding the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad will give a unique legacy to this already unique city. There are many months of hard work ahead, but the people of Athens relish the challenges which hosting the world's most spectacular sporting event brings.'
A full Coordination Commission meeting will take place in November, but close collaboration between Athens and IOC headquarters in Lausanne will continue in the interim, with visits of IOC working groups to Athens to allow face to face work, being arranged as and when needed.
ISAF is looking forward to sailing being the first test event of the build-up to the 2004 Olympic Games. The sailing event will be held from 12-25 August 2002 and all arrangements are in place. Full details can be found on the ATHOC website.