IOC weighs Olympia as a venue

International Olympic Committee officials are to discuss today Greece’s proposal that the 2004 shot put contest be held at the birthplace of the ancient Games. The idea won the International Association of Athletics Federations’ approval on November 22, and was also sanctioned yesterday by the IOC’s Radio and Television Commission in its annual congress. The IOC Executive Committee is therefore not expected to raise objections. The proposal was first officially aired at the end of October, with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos – the government’s second-in-command on Olympic preparations – enthusing that the event could be held at the stadium of Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese «under conditions almost identical to those of the ancient event.» He billed the anticipated result as «catalytic, sensational.» The shot put event was not part of the ancient Games. Provided the IOC agrees, the only impediment could be raised by the Culture Ministry’s notoriously conservative Central Archaeological Council, which, however, tends to toe the government line on Olympic projects.