March 2, 2000

Television broadcasters not holding international rights to cover the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia may be banned from televising the Games. David Richmond, head of New South Wales state’s Olympic Coordination Authority, said some local television stations will be allowed onto the Homebush Bay site where most major stadiums are housed, but international networks would be denied access. The plan doesn’t affect rights holders such as NBC, which has exclusive rights to cover the Games in the United States. Richmond said the plan, which he expects should spark controversy among international networks that want to cover news stories generated by the Games, was aimed at ensuring Sydney residents were well informed of what was going on.

Its called “Operation Gold”, a mission code in which Australian troops have been trained in combating chemical and biological weapons as well as boarding hijacked ocean liners to rescue hostages. For months the troops have been training to counter terrorism ranging from chemical weapon attacks to cruise liner hijackings at the 2000 Olympic Games. According to Attorney-General Daryl Williams there was no indication of any threat to the Games, but soldiers will be on 24-hour readiness at four bases around the Olympic city from mid-August until late October. The Games begin September 15.

Meanwhile Sydney Olympic organizers are spending about $650,000 to increase recognition of its sponsors. Many sponsors had complained they weren’t getting full value for their investment in the 2000 Games. The leading sponsors will be identified on large obelisks, stands and flags at relevant Olympic sites around Sydney. Sandy Hollway, chief executive for the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games said “they will be appealing to the eye, they will be very bold”.

Attention all bridge enthusiasts. There’s a possibility an international bridge tournament will be coming to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Marc Hodler has already talked the IOC into recognizing bridge as a sport, but the card game has yet to achieve the status of a medal event. The tournament would serve only as a demonstration of the card game to the Salt Lake Olympic audience. Hodler had been president of the Swiss Bridge Federation for thirty years.

And finally, thousands of documents detailing the planning and organization of the 1996 Olympics are soon to be destroyed. U.S. Olympic officials are inspecting records contained in about 5,400 legal-sized cardboard boxes. Olympic officials will take what they think is absolutely essential and will destroy the rest July 2. The collection of 7,000 boxes contains correspondence, memoranda, minutes of public and private meetings, as well as handwritten notes from strategy sessions and private conversations among members of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and its predecessor, the Georgia Amateur Athletics Foundation.

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