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IOC Pleased with Athens' Progress - 2001-11-23

The International Olympic Committee says it is pleasantly surprised with Athens' progress, as the Greek capital city prepares to host the Olympics in 2004.

IOC delegation head Denis Oswald said Friday he is pleased to see the progress that has been made on construction of the athlete's village.

Athens organizers have said they will have nearly one third of the athlete's village finished by January. However, Oswald told a news conference that much work remains to be done and it is now "a race against the clock.

Oswald said Athens still has serious problems with transportation and accommodations. The IOC has lingering concerns over Athens' readiness to host the Olympics, even going so far as to warn the Greek capital it was in danger of losing the Games if the situation did not improve.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis took personal charge of Athens' preparations and appointed Gianna Angelopoulous-Daskalaki to head the organizing committee. Simitis also recently reshuffled his government and appointed several deputy ministers to take over 2004 Olympic projects.