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Hotel problem settled between skating, Nagano officials

March 30, 1997

NAGANO, Japan (AP) _ After a yearlong dispute with Nagano Olympic officials, the International Skating Union will stay at the luxury hotels they are accustomed to, rather than the smaller accommodations initially offered.

``What was originally offered was most definitely not acceptable,″ International Skating Union first vice president Lawrence Demmy said Sunday.

Nagano officials planning for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games had at first offered what Japanese call ``business hotels,″ the plain and small but cheaper hotels commonly used by businessmen on out-of-town trips.

Under an agreement reached Saturday, the ISU officials will be staying at nicer hotels with bigger rooms. Demmy looked at the hotels now being offered for the officials and found them acceptable, he said.

Takashi Yamada, the Nagano Olympic official in charge of hotel accommodations, said he was relieved ISU officials showed understanding toward the city’s difficult hotel situation.

Nagano, a city of 360,000 people, has only two luxury hotels. Another hotel is being built.

``The talks were constructive, and we were able to reach an agreement,″ Yamada said.

Yamada said organizers have been working on the problem for months. He denied that any specific groups were being moved to make room for the more than 100 skating officials arriving for the games.

Some 17,000 hotel rooms will be needed for all the officials, VIP guests, media and sponsors. Organizers have managed to reserve rooms for most, but some will have to travel 90 minutes to get to Nagano City.

ISU officials had previously threatened to stay elsewhere, outside Nagano, rather than get stuck in business hotels. The newly built Olympic skating rinks are all in Nagano City.

But hotel problems were typical of the games, Demmy said.

``They weren’t being difficult,″ he said. ``The response has been very positive.″

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