SPORTS

NBC executive praises 2004

NBC executives yesterday said they were impressed by the progress Athens has made to overcome delays in its preparations for the 2004 Olympics. NBC has the United States broadcast rights for the Athens Olympics and is the biggest contributor to the 2004 budget. The Athens Organizing Committee (ATHOC) said they expect NBC’s contribution for the 2004 Olympic Games will amount to $793.5 million. «The progress that ATHOC has made over the past few months is most impressive,» said NBC Executive Vice President David Neal, who headed a nine-member delegation on a four-day visit. An April review of Athens’s preparations by an International Olympic Committee team found the city had made up much of the time lost. «Much like the Coordination Commission in the last weeks, we at NBC have been very encouraged by the planning and execution of the overall Olympic plan that we’ve seen during this trip. We are extremely optimistic that the Athens Games will be enormously successful,» Neal said. His comments were a far cry from those made one year ago by NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, who had warned during a visit that Athens had to speed up construction to be ready in time for the Olympics. (AP)