Lausanne (SUI), March 22, 2004 – FINA learnt with great disappointment that the construction of the temporary roof in the main swimming competition venue for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens has been cancelled.
FINA would like to remind that one of its recommendations in the bidding documents for the Olympic Games stipulates the preference for the competition to take place on an indoor venue. As this solution was not possible, FINA and ATHOC decided to construct a temporary roof, as done for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Already in 2001, and afterwards in several meetings with the Greek authorities (Government and ATHOC), FINA received the guarantee that the temporary roof would be constructed.
In September 2003, the Greek authorities forwarded to FINA detailed plans about the temporary cover of the venue. The design of these plans was published in the magazine ‘FINA Aquatics World’ in October 2003.
Recently, with the occasion of the diving test event in February – the FINA Diving World Cup -, FINA was informed that, for technical reasons, the project could not be completed.
In close coordination and support from the IOC, FINA continued the negotiations with the Greek authorities and, as a result, on March 3, 2004 a confirmation from the Greek Deputy Minister of Culture Mr. Nassos Alevras has been received assuring that the temporary roof would be ready by July 15, 2004.
To FINA’s total surprise, it was now announced that the construction of the roof will not take place.
This structure was essential to protect from the sun and the high temperatures the swimmers, water polo players, officials, media representatives and spectators, and to create the best possible Olympic swimming competition environment. Moreover, it was an important requirement to assure the optimal conditions for the Olympic TV production.
For some years now the swimmers around the world are preparing with all the dedication and responsibility their participation in the Olympic Games. FINA, through successful organisations such as the World Championships (with a great participation level, memorable performances and over one billion TV viewers), is continuously doing all the efforts for the improvement of our Sport worldwide. Furthermore, FINA provided all the support and collaboration and will continue doing so for the preparation of the Games.
For all this, FINA regrets very much this decision, which does not respect any of the previous agreements.
For more details contact:
FINA –Communications Department – Avenue de l’Avant-Poste 4 -1005 Lausanne – SUI – TEL : (41-21) 310 47 10 – FAX : (41-21) 312 66 10