Rogge warns stray athletes

LAUSANNE (AP) – Olympic teams and athletes choosing to stay at hotels or other sites outside the athletes’ village must take responsibility for their own security during the Athens Games, IOC President Jacques Rogge said yesterday. Rogge, speaking at the end of two-and-a-half-day executive board meeting, said national Olympic committees are free to bring their own security personnel as at previous Games. He said athletes making their own housing arrangements won’t have the same level of protection as those staying at the Olympic Village, which falls under the Greek security umbrella. The USA is sending 550 athletes and a support staff of 300, along with over 100 federal agents, USOC chief security officer Larry Buendorf said last week. While the vast majority of the athletes will stay in the Olympic Village, the Dream Team of NBA stars may stay aboard the Queen Mary II in Piraeus harbor, he said. The US team has also rented out the American College of Greece, where athletes will use its sports facilities. Many athletes will spend nights in dorms on the campus before competition. Whether foreign security personnel can carry arms is up to the Greek government, Rogge said. «The IOC is totally neutral on that,» he said. «If the Greek government says yes, fine. If the Greek government says no, then it has to be applied. This is a matter of sovereignty.» Greek Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis has repeatedly said no foreign security personnel will be allowed to carry weapons. There is widespread speculation, however, of a tacit understanding that athletes from high-risk nations will have armed protection.

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