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Monday, September 18, 2000
Australian athletes turned back due to pass problem

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- National Olympic hero Ian Thorpe was briefly stopped from entering the Olympic Village because counterfeiters had invalidated his security pass, a games official said Monday.

 A worker at the accreditation center apparently had used a computer to print out a souvenir copy of the swimmer's credential -- an act that automatically invalidated the original, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

 The gold-medal winner was easily recognized, however, and the incident caused him little delay. Officials also insisted that there was no unauthorized access to the tightly controlled village.

 The Australian Associated Press also quoted an unidentified official as confirming that Thorpe's credential had been copied.

 Liz Smylie, a spokeswoman for the Sydney Games organizing committee, said passes of "a handful of athletes" were copied, and she said police were investigating.

 Others stopped briefly included champion Australian swimmer Grant Hackett, a favorite in the 1,500-meter freestyle, according to Michael Wenden, assistant chief of the Australian Olympic Committee.

 "I understand that Grant Hackett was met at the entrance and escorted to a security officer to double-check his pass and then they said, 'Thank you very much for your cooperation,' and made sure that he wasn't inconvenienced in getting to a dining hall," Wenden said.

 The chief spokesman for the Sydney organizing committee, Milton Cockburn, said "there was no unauthorized entry to the village," where security is tightly controlled.

 The copies were made "clearly just for souveniring," he said. "It's not for getting in the village."

 
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