Saturday, July 17, 2004

A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

The likelihood that disaster might occur during next months Olympics in Athens seems to rise daily as it becomes more and more obvious that the Greeks lack any preparation.

The New York Times reports today that a $325 million security system not only not been delivered and tested, but in some cases, yet to be created.

"The Greeks contracted for a Cadillac but are getting a Chevrolet, said an American security expert involved in the project. But even this Chevrolet has not been fully tested, and because of the limited time, cannot be before the Games."

Huge swaths of Athens are still draped with construction netting and covered in dust. Venues yet to be landscaped and stadia still under construction. These first post-9/11 games simply could not be organized at the last minute.

I don't know if something catastrophic will happen in Greece. I doubt al-Qaeda attempts anything, but some sort of domestic terrorist organization, such as November 17, making themselves known seems possible.

Right now, I really can't blame high-profile athletes like Serena Williams and nearly the entire men's basketball team for skipping out on the Olympics for fear of their safety.

Let's hope the legacy of these Games is Michael Phelps 7 gold medals or the marathon being staged on its ancient path and not some Australian long-distance runner being held hostage.