IOC to review Games progress


ATHENS -- The International Olympic Committee this week is set to review progress of upcoming Olympics including the London 2012 Games amid reports in British media their cost was spiraling.

The IOC's chief inspector for the London Games Denis Oswald will brief the IOC during its Executive Board on Feb. 7-8 in Lausanne the city's progress.

The IOC threw its weight behind London Games organizers some two months ago during a similar barrage of media reports on the potential increase in costs.

Only days ago, Britain's National Audit Office's issued a report criticizing ministers for failing to decide how to split funding between the Treasury, the national lottery and local taxpayers in London.

The report came a week after parliament's Culture, Media and Sport committee also criticized the government's management of Games finances, saying budget figures were "seriously outdated."

The euphoria of winning the right to stage the Olympics in 2005 was quickly replaced by high-profile resignations and rows over finances in 2006, culminating in Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell admitting the budget for building the infrastructure had risen by 900 million pounds ($1.77 billion) to 3.3 billion pounds.

The IOC in late November said progress for London was satisfactory and saw no reason for alarm.

Executive Board members will also review the progress of Beijing's 2008 Olympics, with pollution still a major concern for Chinese organizers despite pledges the Games will be environmentally sound.

Even Beijing mayor Wang Qishan said late last month the city had its work cut out as far as pollution was concerned, fanned by a rapid population and economic growth.

The IOC will also discuss a new document drafted by its medical commission to raise awareness on athletes' sexual harassment and abuse.

The document called "a consensus paper" is aimed at protecting athletes from abuse, mainly from their close environment within the sporting community, an IOC official said.

The Executive Board, though, is not expected to rule on last year's Turin Olympics doping case involving Austrian cross-country skiing and biathlon athletes, following an Italian authorities' report last month, the official said.

An IOC disciplinary commission will meet after the end of the Executive Board meeting.