International Broadcasting Center ready

The International Broadcasting Center, from where Olympic events will be telecast around the world next year, was inaugurated yesterday. In a ceremony marking a major milestone in preparations, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the center, in which nearly 10,000 people would work, had been completed on schedule. «Fifteen months ahead of the Games, more and more people, particularly the suspicious ones, I hope will recognize the volume and the achievements of our work,» Simitis said. His comments were aimed at critics, including some in the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who believe Greece is behind in preparing some competition arenas and other sites. Television and radio broadcasters have paid nearly 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion), including 700 million euros alone by US network NBC, for the right to broadcast the Games, which will run from August 11 to 29, 2004. «This will be a small city which will never sleep during the Games,» Athens Games organizing chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said. Asked if she was confident other Olympic projects would be delivered on time, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said: «We are always anxious, but we are prepared. We always have solutions and have alternatives, too.» NBC and its affiliated networks will telecast 806 hours, up from 441 hours in Sydney and 171 in Atlanta. (Reuters)

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