03 September, 2003
The head of the Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) on Tuesday reiterated that her organization retains the wholehearted support of Greek political parties and the country’s citizens, speaking to reporters a week after the last of seven Olympic “test events” concluded in and around the Greek capital.
During a scheduled press conference at ATHOC’s Nea Ionia headquarters, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki also referred to one of the “blights” that tarnished the test events’ image early on, namely, a mass food poisoning outbreak that prevented the German junior rowing team for participating in the rowing championship.
Hotel food contaminated with salmonella was blamed for the incident, just days before the new Schinias Rowing and Canoeing Centre, in the northwest Attica prefecture and very near the ancient battlefield of Marathon, was inaugurated. High winds also battered the first two days of the rowing “test event”.
Conversely, while saying that although any criticism -- such as the ones for the test events -- is welcome, it should also be based on facts.
On Tuesday, the high-profile ATHOC chief referred to “incompatible attitudes” and “ineffective prevention” on the part of responsible agencies as leading to the embarrassing incident, which marred what turned out to be the mostly flawless hosting of “test events” in another six sports – equestrian, archery, canoe/kayak, sailing, cycling and beach volleyball.
“Athens has the ability to host magical Olympic Games, and it is working in the best way possible to achieve that goal,” she said, before noting her satisfaction with the holding of the “test events”.
She also reiterated, as did the IOC’s leadership on several occasions, that such sports events are held to bring problems to the forefront before the actual Olympics are held.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said a comprehensive assessment of how the events were hosted will take place this month, while simply noting that "no one is irreplaceable ... everyone will be evaluated. Whoever is not properly doing their job will be removed. If changes are necessary, I will make them." she said.
Source: Athens News Agency