USOC officials are satisfied with 2004 preparations so far

The United States Olympic Committee is «very pleased» with progress made in the preparations for the Athens 2004 Games, an official said yesterday. «We are very comfortable with what the Greeks have planned for these Games,» Doug Ingram told The Associated Press. «We have been very pleased (with) our meetings.» Ingram, monitoring Athens’s preparations for the USOC, is leading a seven-member delegation in the Greek capital for a nine-day inspection visit to end Friday. For years, 2004 preparations were mired in delays caused by bureaucracy and infighting. Ingram said things have changed. «Before we came over, just because we were only reading the reports, we had the same concerns, but. .. each time I come I see how much progress has been made,» Ingram said. He said the US will be bringing and funding its own security enforcement for its national team in 2004. The 600-strong team will be protected by some 150 special agents. The State Department is asking the US government for $4.486 million (4.2 million euros) to provide the American team with an «unprecedented level of security protection and assistance.» Ingram said, «We are such a large delegation that it just helps everyone if we can assist from our own resources.» (AP, AFP)