Smoking will not be a sport at Athens 2004

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The Independent Online

Athens will host a non-smoking Olympics in 2004, but will respect the rights of smokers, the organisers said yesterday. Smoking will be banned in all competition and non-competition venues, including the main press centre, and in the stands at all outdoor sports arenas even including beach volleyball.

Athens will host a non-smoking Olympics in 2004, but will respect the rights of smokers, the organisers said yesterday. Smoking will be banned in all competition and non-competition venues, including the main press centre, and in the stands at all outdoor sports arenas even including beach volleyball.

In a concession to smokers, organisers said they would set up special smoking areas "that will be in shady places, have chairs and tables, and be located close to areas providing drinks and coffee."

Greece has among the highest proportions of smokers in the world and is generally lax in restrictions in public places. By law, smoking is banned in health offices, public transport and indoor public areas.

"The aim of Athens 2004 is to organise a non-smoking Games but without disturbing the delicate balance between the rights of smokers and non-smokers," the organisers said.

In Salt Lake City, where this year's winter Olympics were held, Federal prosecutors in the Olympic bribery case have laid out for the first time the evidence and witnesses they would use if their case goes to trial.

The US Justice Department's disclosure came in a 42-page memorandum asking the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to reinstate the felony case thrown out by a federal judge in Utah last year. There was little new in the papers, filed last month, and no clear-cut evidence of bribery. Defence lawyers for Salt Lake City Olympic bid executives, Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, said it appeared to be an effort to humiliate them.

Welch, 57, and Johnson, 43, were indicted almost two years ago on 15 felony counts of bribery, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy for committing $1m (£700,00) in payments, perks and favours to International Olympic Committee delegates and family members. In court papers, prosecutors identified five witnesses who would apparently testify that Welch and Johnson hid or disguised payments to IOC members.

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