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14 August 2003, 09:20 am
Official Invitations For Athens 2004 Olympic Games Sent To 201 National Olympic Committees
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International Olympic Committee
Lausanne

Yesterday, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques ROGGE, officially invited a record number of countries to take part in the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens by signing the official invitations to 201 NOC's.
The signing ceremony, which was held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne in the presence of local and sporting guests, marked exactly "One year to go" before the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Games in Athens.

On this occasion, President ROGGE was joined by Mrs ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI, President of the Athens 2004 Organising Committee; the IOC Honorary President for Life, Juan Antonio SAMARANCH, under whose Presidency the Games were awarded to Athens in 1997; Mr Denis OSWALD, Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the 2004 Games; Mr Lambis NIKOLAOU, IOC Executive Board member and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee; and Mr Nikos FILARETOS, IOC member in Greece.

In his opening statement, the IOC President said: "In one year's time, the world will be looking at Athens with great expectations. I have no doubt that the Athens Games will be unique and will bring a special atmosphere that only the Greeks can create, not only because they invented the Games, but because of their true love for sport and the Olympics, and their strong historical and cultural heritage. It is time for the Greeks to unite and support the 2004 Athens organisers to ensure the success of the Games. The final year's countdown has now begun. I wish them good luck."

During the ceremony, the President signed the invitations to the NOCs of the following countries: Greece, Italy, China and Canada, where the next editions of the Games will be held; Cuba, Turkey, Germany, the UK, Spain, Russia, the USA, France and Brazil", who have put forward applicant cities to host the Olympic Games in 2012; Afghanistan, whose NOC's suspension was lifted in Prague last month; Timor Leste and Kiribati, whose NOCs have recently been recognised; and Switzerland, home of the IOC headquarters.

All 201 invitations were dispatched immediately after the ceremony by express mail. The NOCs have until 13 December 2003 to reply to the IOC and confirm the attendance of their athletes.

" Listed by alphabetical order of applicant cities
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