Rogge satisfied with Olympics security solution
3,500 soldiers are drafted to augment Olympic security, as the company with the contract to supply the security guards was unable to meet the required 10,000 guards.
Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Rogge said the IOC had received the assurances that they required about security for the Games (Photo: AFP/Glyn Kirk)
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said July 16 the manner in which the problems surrounding security at the London Games had been dealt with had been handled well.
The 70-year-old Belgian added at a pre-Games telephone conference that in all the 21 Olympic Games he has been involved with either as a competitor or as an administrator there had always been issues that had come up prior to them.
The security problem arose last week when it was revealed that the company with the contract to supply the security guards would not be able to meet the required 10,000 and that 3,500 soldiers would have to be drafted in to make up the shortfall.
However, the unflappable Rogge said the IOC had received the assurances that they required.
"Of course security is of paramount importance for the government and the organizers," said Rogge, who will preside over his final Games as president as he stands down in September next year.
"They have put on a good show of flexibility. Extra soldiers gives extra tranquility."
Rogge, who was elected to the post in 2001 when Juan Antonio Samaranch stepped down, said that the soldiers should not alarm people attending the Games.
"The military have been a part of security at the Games since the 1972 Olympics (when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by Palestinian terror group Black September in Munich)," he said.
"They will not be running around with machine guns.
"They will not be too visible and not too obtrusive.
"It won't spoil the fun."
Rogge, who said the IOC Co-Ordination Committee had been asked to be kept informed by the organizers about the situation, said he was not disappointed by the issue arising so close to the Games which gets underway on July 20.
"I'm not disappointed," he said.
"This will be the 21st Games under my belt. Issues always come up.
"I will give one example. In Sydney in 2000 the bus company that was due to supply the buses for the Games went bankrupt. Therefore suddenly the Games were without any buses.
"However, the organizers worked through the night on the phones to ring schools and other institutions and they came up with 300 buses which resolved the problem.
"There have been other issues with other Games as well. No, this security issue has been handled well. The organisers and the government have been very flexible and very adaptive.
"That's what counts."
Rogge said that he expected that once the Games got under way the issue would be forgotten.
"I think London will be a successful Games.
"There has been good preparation, there are state of the art venues and a very good Olympic village.
"I think its spirit will wipe away all question marks. There will be a very positive atmosphere."
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition