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OLYMPIC SECURITY CONFERENCE - Athens, 26 May 2004 - Statement

submitted by George Poulos on 27.05.2004


After the three day International Conference for Olympic Games Security that ended today with a guided tour of the competition venues, the US, Australian, New Zealand and Spanish Security Chiefs issued the following statements: Larry M. Buendorf, Chief Security Officer , United States Olympic Committee “Here in Greece the appropriate things are being done, everybody is working hard, they are going to make the safest Games that can possibly be done. There is obviously no way of knowing what the world holds tomorrow, but you do the very best you can, prepare and that’s all you can do. I would hope that they start talking about the athletes and their competition.

That’s what the Games are all about and we need indeed to concentrate on that. The security parts of it and the preparations that are being done, that’s over with very soon, and we need now to bring the athletes in and to let them compete in a safe and secure environment and enjoy the time of their lives that they have worked so hard to do. That’s where we need to go. The message that I have been talking to our athletes and our staff is lets get out, lets get the Games started, lets go in, lets have some fun and enjoy what Greece has to offer”. Bob Myers, Director of Security for the Australian team “The meetings I’ve had with the security people here have given me the information I need to know. I’ve had meetings with them and briefings, apart from the security conference, they’ve been very helpful and I’m satisfied they are doing everything they can to make sure the Athens Games are secure.

They are doing everything they can. I worked in Sydney, I was the Olympic Village Commander in Sydney and I know the pressure they are under, because we went through the same thing. You are doing your job and people are trying to tell you how to do it, that you are not doing it properly and actually, they have not even seen the operation. All they do is try to second guess what might happen. They don’t leave the people who’ve got the work to do, they don’t allow them to do it, they tend to ask questions. A lot of people coming into your country and telling you how to do things, nobody appreciates that”. Victor Sanchez, Secretary General of the Spanish NOC “ For me everything is on the way to give the maximum protection to the participants and to the spectators.

I personally think that Greece is doing everything and has the cooperation of the International Olympic Committee and all the nations involved in the preparations for the security of the Games. I think Greece is doing its best”. Marty Grenfell, Security Officer, New Zealand NOC “The times I’ve been moving around the city of Athens I’ve felt very safe. Statistically, Greece, the city of Athens compares very favorably in terms of crime. It appears they have a very low crime rate. The investment of manpower and resources that has gone into making Athens a safe city during the period of the Games - the undertaking is immense and we should congratulate Greece for her cooperation with a multinational team to ensure the Games are safe for the Olympic Family and its citizens”.

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