March 29, 2000

Bomb squad dogs will search every car entering every venue at the Sydney Olympics, and suspicious packages will be exploded. Joint task force commander Brigadier Gary Byles said half of the 4,000 member Australian army, air force and navy personnel taking part in Olympic security, code named Operation Gold, would be from Army Reserve. Also Australian Defence Force divers will search under vessels and in waterways. A total of 35,000 people will be involved in Olympic security.

The Sydney Olympics’ official Web site, Olympics.com, signed its first Internet sponsorship deal, contracting San Francisco-based LookSmart as its search engine and directory provider. It’s the first time such a partnership has been formed for the official Web site of any Olympic Games. The Australian company will maintain a custom-built directory for the Web site. Olympics.com is a collaboration between the Sydney organizers and IBM, the official provider of Internet technology for the Sydney Olympics. International Olympic Committee marketing director Michael Payne said “the site that has been developed for Sydney is likely to break all records in terms of the number of hits and the content on there”.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Olympic flame will be carried by scuba diver Wendy Craig Duncan, a marine biologist, on a three-to-four minute underwater journey at Agincourt Reef on June 27. Sydney’s Olympic organizers said it would create Olympic history. The torch will burn at 2,000 degrees and is expected to remain alight three metres (10 feet) underwater because of pyrotechnic technology which creates a “fierce flame” too powerful to be drowned out by water. According to Charles Tegner, managing director of torch creator Pains Wessex Australian, the flame, encased in a metal tube fitted into the torch, would burn like a flare from environmentally-friendly oxygen-producing chemicals. He said “we have created a chemical formula which will create enough oxygen to keep the flame fierce enough to prevent water coming in”.

Following on the footsteps of Sydney, the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee wants to make sure the 2002 Winter Games are secure. The committee has signed up Sensormatic Electronics Corp. of Boca Raton, Florida to provide electronic surveillance in a $20 million sponsorship for the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee. The company was a sponsor for the 1996 Atlanta Games where cameras were trained on Centennial Park during the bombing that killed one woman and injured others. It will install more than 1,000 digital cameras and work with the Utah Public Safety Command, the state-federal team charged with guarding the Olympics from terrorism. Sensormatic will link swiveling zoom cameras at venues and the Olympic Village to digital recorders that can store and quickly retrieve images. The company will also provide Olympic committees with electronic tags for inventory control. It invented the anti-shoplifting tags used at retail stores.

And finally, there will be $275,000 worth of improvements at two Olympic venues sold by the Utah Sports Authority to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC). The money will be used for the Utah Winter Sports Park near Park City and the speedskating oval at the Oquirrh Park Fitness Center in Kearns. SLOC took over both sites in 1999, agreeing to repay $59 million that taxpayers spent on those and other facilities for the 2002 Winter Olympics.