Armed guards on ’04 buses

For the first time in nearly three decades, armed guards will accompany Olympic athletes in their coaches during the August Games in Athens due to security concerns, reports said yesterday. The Australian Olympic Committee said Games organizers would lay on armed guards for all coaches to be used by athletes during the August 13-29 Games. «After what has happened in the world since the Sydney Games, we have made the safety of our athletes our No. 1 priority,» AOC President John Coates said, adding that the last time armed guards were used in athletes’ coaches was in the 1976 Montreal Games – following the bloodshed at the 1972 Olympics. And The Associated Press reported from Athens that Greece’s Public Order Ministry confirmed that Greek guards would accompany all athletes in their coaches and would be carrying arms «when dealing with higher-risk countries.» AOC officials also said athletes would have to face magnetic gates, X-ray machines, hand-held metal detectors, armed patrols and sniffer dogs.