NEWS

Test events to check readiness

How many test events can be held in August 2003? We will be able to hold 10 events. I can tell you that the dates for delivery of most installations have been locked in. We still have problems with the installations at Hellenikon, the basketball courts, the canoe and kayak installations and Calatrava’s work, which is involved in the opening ceremony. The fact is that there are delays connected to business complications and claims for profits. But there are projects that are progressing faster, such as the Olympic Village, which will be ready months earlier. At the moment we are looking at how it can be kept up till the Games so there are no operational weaknesses. Aren’t you worried about the problem of managing and coordinating all the activities for the duration of the Games? We have all the details in mind. We know what a difficult task it is to coordinate everything. That’s why we want to hold as many test events as possible to find out the problems and our weak points. As you can understand, everything has to run like clockwork. From the cleaning, food and health services, to transport for the athletes, broadcasting the Games and timing events. Everything has to happen at the right time and in the right way, and to be coordinated, because in Athens we have an additional problem that not all the venues are together but scattered around Attica, so we really need to be covered against any risk of being uncoordinated. That is why test events are necessary, and they will go on from August 2003 to May 2004. Does the likelihood of elections in May 2004, a few months before the Games, present additional problems? The less upheaval we have before the Games, the better. Listening to you, I am tempted to ask if you have political ambitions and what you plan to do after the Games. That moment shouldn’t interest me and I haven’t thought about it. It’s a great responsibility right now, and I admit I don’t sleep well at night. But I haven’t thought about what will happen afterward.