The head of the International Olympic Committee has expressed confidence that organizers of the 2004 Games in Athens will be able to do a good job of hosting sport's most prestigious event.
Despite a slow start and numerous delays, IOC president Jacques Rogge said Monday that preparations in the Greek capital are back on track, and that he is pleased with the current pace of progress. However, Rogge also cautioned that organizers still have a lot to do. He says they must keep their sense of urgency and continue to work hard all the way up to the opening ceremonies on August 13 of next year.
While not playing down the problems uncovered at venues during the first round of tests earlier this month, Rogge pointed out that the trials are designed to point out flaws. He said generally, operations and infrastructure at the rowing and archery venues stood up very well.
Meanwhile, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates advised Athens organizers to pay less attention to criticism in the lead up to the Games. Calling such criticism "part and parcel of the Olympic Games," Coates said critics hounded the organizers prior to the 2000 Games in Sydney. Those Games were eventually labeled the best ever.