Olympic works a headache

The head of Greece’s Olympics organizing committee, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, met Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday and, according to sources, expressed considerable concern on the progress of key sports venues. The Athens 2004 president is understood to have focused on the course of construction works at the main Olympic stadium – and, in particular, the new roof project – the swimming center and the cycling track, all part of the Kalogreza sports complex. Sources quoted by the state Athens News Agency said Angelopoulos-Daskalaki also voiced worries regarding the progress of work to upgrade the capital’s power network, and to build a new suburban railway and tram line. She was echoing, in stronger terms, concerns expressed by an International Olympic Committee inspection team which visited Athens last week. Chief inspector Denis Oswald had noted that «it is wonderful to see so many people hard at work all across the city,» and added that «it is vital that current completion dates should be respected.» The steel-and-glass Olympic stadium roof, a soaring structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is a longtime headache for IOC officials, who warned the government that if there is any doubt regarding its timely completion, work should not start. The roof, and a smaller version destined for the cycling track, are the only structures of any architectural merit being built for the Games. Even then, the main stadium has been boxed in on one side by the bulky International Broadcasting Center. The recent cold spell held up work on the roof for five days, according to the ANA, while drilling has shown that the ground on which the huge structure’s supports are to be placed is unstable.

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