12 May, 2004
The security of the Athens Olympic Games has and continues to be a top priority, Athens 2004 President, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki stressed during her opening speech at the Plenary Session of the 12th IOC Coordination Commission Meeting which was held in Athens on Tuesday.
''From the very beginning, we have put the safety and security of athletes and spectators first. The scope, budget, and international cooperation of our security effort are simply without precedent in the history of the Olympic Games.'' she said.
As for the progress Athens has made in terms of Olympic preparations, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted, ''Since our first meeting together in 2000, Athens has moved forward more rapidly than many thought possible. We are truly completing seven years of work in four years' time.''
''There have been tough times; and there may still be tough times before us. However, you have helped us focus on our goal and you continue to do so. With just 94 days remaining before the opening ceremony, Athens has overcome a three-year deficit,'' she added.
''Challenges do lie ahead, but they do not awe me. What awes me is the look and the energy of a city in the midst of a great transformation, and the opportunity for Games that will captivate the whole world. Every day we see a nation eager to show the world their most celebrated tradition and their legendary hospitality. I am a realist. I know that Athens will not be ready unless we continue to work with focus, enthusiasm and relentless energy for every hour that remains before us. We will do that; we are doing it already. The roof of the main Olympic Stadium is moving into place,'' she said.
However, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted that, ''the true test of Athens' performance will come on the field, once the Olympic Games begin. We know what the Olympic standard is: Athletes having the facilities and the support they need for truly Olympian performances. Global media coverage that is able to capture not just the results but also the history and spirit that will make the Athens Games an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Most important, Games with a security shield that keeps athletes and spectators safe. These are high standards, but they are good and proper standards that the people of Greece, ATHOC, and I are all determined to meet.''
ATHOC's president closed with the following statement: ''We look forward to welcoming you back to Greece in three months, to witness and to be a part of unique Games on a human scale - and the kind of celebration, for which Greece has always been known.''
Source: Athens News Agency