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Sydney Olympics chief resigns

March 26, 1997

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Mal Hemmerling, chief executive of the Sydney Organizing Committee for the 2000 Olympic Games, has resigned.

``Mal Hemmerling has tendered his resignation to pursue other career interests,″ Olympics minister Michael Knight’s office said today.

SOCOG media information manager Tracey Holmes said she was aware of the statement released by Knight’s office, but was unable to confirm or deny Hemmerling’s resignation.

``There will be no statement from SOCOG on this matter until the board meets tomorrow,″ Holmes said. Hemmerling was not available for comment.

The 15-member SOCOG board is scheduled to meet Thursday in Sydney.

International Olympic Committee director general Francois Carrard told The Associated Press from Lausanne, Switzerland, that he was aware of Hemmerling’s resignation and was ``not caught totally by surprise.″

``We understand the board of SOCOG will discuss the matter at a meeting tomorrow. It’s up to the board of SOCOG to deal with it, not us at the IOC,″ Carrard said. ``On a personal basis, we all like Mal Hammerling very much and wish him every success in whatever his new career will be.″

Hemmerling’s departure came just hours after he addressed a Foreign Correspondents Association briefing and reported plans for the 2000 Games were advancing on schedule.

The move means SOCOG will have to appoint its third chief executive in less than 3 1/2 years. The organization’s first chief executive, Gary Pemberton, left in August 1995 while retaining the presidency of SOCOG.

Knight, a minister in the Labor Party-run government of New South Wales state, became president last September _ the third president of the organization _ and took control of several aspects of games management.

Sandy Hollway, a former Australian government bureaucrat, is believed to be favored by Knight to replace Hemmerling. Hollway was appointed in December as one of Hemmerling’s two deputies.

Just hours before Knight’s announcement, Hemmerling told foreign journalists that SOCOG is on track.

``We are in fantastic shape and the games, I can assure you, will be a fantastic success,″ Hemmerling told the correspondents.

``We are further ahead with money raising than anyone has ever been ... we are further ahead with our planning than any other Olympic Games has been in history and further ahead with our venues.″

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