Statement of ATHENS 2004 President
Press Conference at 8Th Coordination Commission Meeting
The 8th IOC Coordination Commission meetings concluded this morning. I wish to thank President, Denis Oswald, for his leadership and support. During these workgroups we have thoroughly presented the status of our preparations
to the IOC and showed concrete progress. Of course, with just a little more than two years before the opening ceremony, and test events beginning this August in sailing, there is no time to lose.
We were able to underscore our progress with a series of venue tours, allowing Coordination Committee members to witness the progress first hand.
Construction of six key venues is ahead of schedule, which includes the Nikaia weightlifting hall, Schinias Olympic Canoe/Kayak Centre, Galatsi Olympic Hall, the MPC and IBC, the Olympic Village, and the Markopoulo Equestrian Complex, where we have started an innovative environmental
programme by transplanting 600 olive trees to a special nursery until they are replanted after construction is complete. This model is being replicated in other major projects in Greece and we believe it will be an
important contribution in protecting the environment.
Faliron and Agios Kosmas sailing center are now under construction and we are getting ready for our sailing test event this summer. As we all know, test events are critical to the success of the Games.
In April, renovations will start at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, OAKA (the Athens Olympic Sports Complex), as well as the Kaftantzoglio football
stadium in Thessaloniki.
We also highlighted our fundamental shift in focus, from planning to implementation. With planning virtually complete, our driving force is 17 days of Games-time: providing facilities and logistical support needed to
ensure efficient execution of the Games once they begin.
This shift is most visible in the area of venue operations, which is currently the focus of much of our activities. We concluded a model venue exercise using the Peace and Friendship stadium as the model yielding an operational design drawing and operations manual, which will be replicated at every venue.
Along with construction and venue operations, we reported continued progress in the areas of ground transportation, including metro extension, road construction, trams and suburban rail planning. Accommodations is moving ahead, including a ‘call of interest’ for appointing an official Residential Accommodations Agent for private homes, and ATHENS 2004 has secured 16,901 rooms for the Olympic Family.
Security will remain of paramount concern to us, as it must. We hired a specialized advisor for the operation and planning. We are cooperating closely with the Minister of Public Order and we will hire additional advisors for all matters that pertain to technical infrastructure.
The volunteers programme continues, 175,000 official volunteer applications have been distributed since January 30th worldwide. On top of the 35,000 individual expressions of interest, we have already received 10,170 official volunteer applications this month.
And our ticketing plan is progressing; a systems provider has been selected.
Although there remain causes for concern, we are making progress. With the government, we are working together. With the Greek people, we are making good on our promise to deliver unique Games.
I would also like to add some exciting news, last night we unveiled the ATHENS 2004 mascots in human form – ‘Athena’ and ‘Phevos’ two siblings who are based on ancient Greek dolls and represent the Olympic values of participation, fair play, friendship and equality.
For more details contact:
Director General for Marketing & Communication
Tel: +30 1 20 04 000