NEWS

Olympic roof had problems from start

The jewel in the crown of Greece’s Olympic Games, the roof of the Olympic Stadium in Athens, had been showing signs of construction problems well before the world’s largest sporting event came to town, it was revealed yesterday. A report prepared by German company Germanischer Lloyd in March last year but just made public said that there were problems in the assembly of the roof that covered the chief stadium at last year’s Games. Gaps between metal poles and poorly welded parts were among the faults, the German company pointed out. The government played down the report yesterday, which was prepared before the roof was fully completed and handed over to state authorities. A joint venture consisting of construction firms Aktor, Athena, and Empedos has undertaken the repair work, which is expected to be finished by the end of November. Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia confirmed the report yesterday and the need for improvements. She added, however, that there was never any safety issue regarding the roof. «The report makes no mention, or even hints, about compromising the safety of visitors to the stadium. Nor does it doubt the roof’s strength,» she said in a radio interview. The roof, designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was among the many projects Greece rushed to complete before the start of the Games in August last year. It cost 244 million euros, some 36 percent more than the original budget and is the city’s most recognizable Olympic Games-related project.