'I walked through Olympic complex without challenge'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At Athens' nascent Olympic Stadium the wire fences may be in place but, as I discovered, there is one small security lapse - the front door is wide open.

At Athens' nascent Olympic Stadium the wire fences may be in place but, as I discovered, there is one small security lapse - the front door is wide open.

The central Olympic complex in northern Athens is one of the largest and most high-profile construction sites in the world. It is by no means among the best guarded. At the main entrance, the arrival of an unmarked white transit van registered no reaction from the bored-looking guards sitting in their plastic booth.

I drove straight in with a television crew, unquestioned. No one signalled for us to slow down let alone show any identification. Once inside, the signposts read like a menu of potential targets for terrorists to attack during the Games. Turn left for the aquatic complex that will house more than 30,000 swimming and diving fans, turn right for the centre-piece stadium which will be packed throughout the fortnight.

Adding to the unreal feel of wandering freely around is the omnipresence of signs with the capital letters BUNG - the unfortunate acronym of the Olympic Technical Consultancy.

Evidence of the frantic pace of construction was everywhere, as dust clouds swirled around mountains of steel components bound for the stadium roof. What was less obvious was any indication of the hundreds of millions of pounds being spent on security.Roaming into the outdoor pool area, workers welding on seats high up in the tribune clearly felt it was not their responsibility to check who was walking in and out.

In search of a security guard to introduce myself to, I walked within touching distance of the steel arches that will form the skeleton of the stadium's glass dome.

Heading back to the main entrance along the Spyros Louis highway - named after the Greek shepherd who won the marathon in the 1896 Games - a worker finally noticed me.

Wearing a broad grin and no hard hat, he ironically pleaded: "If you're not doing anything, lend us a hand."

Comments