Winter Games offer world peace message

SALT LAKE CITY – The big moment, when the lighting of the Olympic flame at tomorrow’s opening ceremony of Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics will – yet again – send out a badly needed message of peace to the entire world, is approaching. To extract something real and concrete from this symbolic message and make the world a better place, now and in the future, the presence of 40,000 fans in the stands for the event’s opening ceremony and billions of television viewers around the world are, naturally, not enough. Political leaders everywhere must begin to understand that money and power are not the only concerns in the universe. This, according to sources, will be the theme of tomorrow’s opening ceremony (3 a.m. local time on Saturday), during which members of Utah’s Native American community will figure prominently. The pop star Sting, sources said, will provide most of the musical entertainment. Greece, a country with no tradition in winter sports and without any realistic hopes for a medal, has sent a seven-member team to the event, one athlete less than the Greek skiing federation had originally intended. Vassilis Dimitriadis, who had been listed for the combined event, failed to accumulate the points needed to qualify and will not attend. Included in the Greek team is a self-financed Greek-American duo, John Andrew Kambanis and John Livaditis, who will compete in the two-man bobsleigh event. But in September 1999 it said it was laying down its arms to seek a peaceful solution to Kurdish grievances following a call from its leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is on death row in a Turkish jail.

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