SEARCH 2000 Games

Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Kissinger set for honorary IOC post

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped guide the International Olympic Committee's reform process after the Salt Lake City scandal, is in line for special recognition by the IOC.

 IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said Wednesday that Kissinger was among those who would be considered by the executive board this week for nomination as "honor members" of the organization.

 Kissinger was the highest-profile outside member of IOC 2000, the reform commission set up in the wake of the vote-buying scandal surrounding Salt Lake's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games. Six IOC members were expelled and four resigned for receiving cash, gifts and other favors from Salt Lake bidders.

 The reform panel drew up a package of 50 reforms which were enacted by the full IOC in a bid to modernize the organization and prevent further corruption scandals. The measures include a ban on visits to bid cities by IOC members.

 The category of "honor member" was adopted as part of the reforms. Such members have no power, decision-making role or right to vote. They are entitled only to attend the Olympic Games and Olympic Congresses, special meetings which take place about every 10 years.

 The Olympic Charter describes honor members as "eminent personalities from outside the IOC who have rendered particularly outstanding services to it."

 NUMBERS CRUNCH: The number of athletes expected at the Sydney Games has swelled to 10,600, 400 more than projected, raising the prospect of overcrowding in the Olympic village.

 Pere Miro, the IOC official supervising the athletes' village, said it was possible that some athletes and team officials would have to live three to a room, instead of two.

 "We had some concern when the numbers were higher than expected," Miro said. "But we expect the numbers to be under control. We believe there will be no major problem."

 Including athletes and officials, the total number of people who will stay in the village during the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 games is expected to be 15,600. However, with competitions spread over 17 days, the figure is not expected to be that high at any one time.

 "It's not a village -- it's a city," IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said.

 IOC vice president Anita DeFrantz said increased quotas in track and field and swimming were largely responsible for the higher numbers.

 COLES COMEBACK: Phil Coles, the Australian IOC member who was stripped of most of his duties for his role in the Olympic bid scandals, will have a minor role at the Sydney Games.

 IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said Wednesday that Coles, who competed in three Olympics as a canoe-kayaker, will be allowed to present medals during the games.

 "Phil Coles is a member of the IOC," Samaranch said. "He will present some medals ... maybe in his sport, canoeing."

 Coles was vilified in Australia and forced to quit the Sydney organizing committee last year during the IOC corruption scandal.

 He received a "most severe" warning from the IOC in March 1999 for accepting lavish hospitality from Salt Lake bidders, and was virtually suspended by the IOC in June 1999 for "serious negligence" in writing private memos about his colleagues.

 Coles was barred from serving on any IOC commissions for two years.

 WHAT PROBLEMS?: IOC leaders are playing down the transport and weather problems which have dogged the leadup to the Sydney Games.

 "We have teething problems at all Olympic Games," said Jacques Rogge, the IOC executive who oversees the Sydney preparations. "At Lillehammer (in 1994), the best-ever winter games, even up to the second day we had problems. But everything was solved. There are still 10 days to go" before the opening ceremony in Sydney.

 Hundreds of train passengers were stranded for up to several hours Tuesday at the Olympic Park station when strong winds knocked down power lines and knocked out service.

 "We have always had problems with transport in the days before the opening of the games," IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said. "It's much better it happened before the games than during the games."

 There have also been complaints about the Olympic bus services. Some buses have failed to show up to collect athletes, reporters and sponsors because drivers were unfamiliar with the routes.

 "It's not a problem of capacity," Rogge said. "There are enough buses and enough drivers. It's a problem of scheduling. We expect this to be solved very soon."

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