Two consortiums have been left in the bidding to provide security systems for the 2004 Athens Olympics after Titan Team, a group led by US company Titan and which included, among others, Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia, withdrew on Thursday. The remaining consortiums are a group led by US-French joint defense company TRS (Thales Raytheon Systems) and a group led by the USA’s Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Also taking part in the first group are Motorola and three Greek information technology firms, Delta Singular, Space Hellas and Info-Quest. The second group includes European defense group EADS, Siemens, Greek IT firms Altec and Pouliadis & Associates, plus Greek construction company Diekat. EADS, like Motorola in the first group, is offering a high-security wireless communications network. Although TRS was set up only last year, the two partners have over three decades of experience in developing complex administration systems. The constituent companies can also point to their experience in organizing control systems for the Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) Summer Olympics and the Calgary (1988) and Salt Lake City (2002) Winter Games, as well as the fast completion of the Peace Shield air defense system used by Saudi Arabia’s armed forces. SAIC, founded in 1969, was recently involved in the restoration of US government communications following the September 11 attacks and had a role in providing security for athletes and visitors at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. The increased security needs for the Olympics, especially after the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11 last year, have caused the security budget to balloon to over $650 million and have made security the Greek government’s top priority. The importance of this project has attracted the top companies in the field. They not only look forward to the lucrative contract but expect many more projects to follow from that. Hence the intense competition among them. This competition has satisfied both Athens 2004, the Games organizers, and the Defense Ministry’s General Armaments Directorate, which is responsible for the tender. They have cooperated in setting very high standards, higher than those applied in previous Olympics. The two consortiums are expected to submit their bids by the end of October; according to Defense Ministry sources, the choice of the appropriate system is expected to take place before the end of the year.