85,420 volunteers for 2004

No serving members of the armed forces will work as volunteers during the 2004 Olympics, officials said yesterday, adding that so far over 85,000 people have offered their services free for the Athens Games. «Nobody doing their national service during the Olympics, and none of our permanent military personnel will be among the volunteers,» Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis told a press conference held jointly with Athens 2004 officials. He said serving conscripts who will have been discharged by next summer and future draftees will be given extra leave if they register as volunteers beforehand. Draft-dodgers living abroad will be let into Greece between July 1 and September 28, 2004 to work as volunteers for the Games. Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said 85,420 people had applied by yesterday to be volunteers, and Olympics organizers have already interviewed 12,400 candidates. By the end of the year, organizers hope to attract at least another 65,000 applications in order to select the 60,000 volunteers needed from as wide a pool as possible.

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