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IOC Chief Backs Salt Lake Security

October 27, 2001

SINGAPORE (AP) _ The International Olympic Committee insists ``everything that is humanly possible″ has been done concerning security for the Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said Saturday his group has reviewed arrangements with U.S. officials and with the organizing committee for the Feb. 8-24 Olympics.

``We are satisfied and confident that security arrangements are really ones that are of the highest quality, and that everything that is humanly possible has been done,″ Rogge said. ``That has led us to decide that the games could go on.″

Rogge repeatedly has said the games should be held despite fears arising from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led military strikes in Afghanistan.

``Sports in general and the Olympics in particular are in fact an answer to violence and should not be a victim of violence,″ Rogge said. ``We see no reason to cancel that very strong message of harmony and peace in the world.″

Norway’s Gerhard Heiberg, a prominent IOC member, apologized for remarks that cast doubt over the staging of the Salt Lake City Games. Heiberg later said his comments were taken out of context and he thinks the games should proceed as planned.

Rogge was in Singapore with the heads of 95 international sports groups for a meeting of the General Association of International Sports Federations.

Delegates also discussed international sports law and anti-drug measures.

Rogge called drugs ``the No. 1 problem″ facing sports today. He urged governments and international sports federations to coordinate efforts.

He also wants to ``stop the inflation″ of sports at the Olympics. The IOC plans a new study to review the program for the 2008 Olympics, Rogge said.

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