Olympic Games: IOC aiming to ride out anger

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The Independent Online
THE INTERNATIONAL Olympic Committee has no plans to move from Switzerland, where it has been based since 1915, in spite of local anger over defeat in the 2006 Winter Games selection, its president said yesterday.

"The IOC has historically liked Lausanne," Juan Antonio Samaranch was quoted as saying in a Geneva newspaper. "If Switzerland and Lausanne don't chase us out, we'll stay here with pleasure."

The decision by the IOC to snub the Swiss candidate Sion and award the 2006 Winter Olympics to the Italian city of Turin led to vandalism at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne and to angry reaction from politicians and the media.

The decision against Sion was seen by some Swiss as an act of revenge by IOC members after the Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler revealed corruption in the voting process. In an interview published last week, the IOC director- general, Francois Carrard, said that "harsh and excessive attacks by certain Swiss media have pained us and have troubled a certain number of our members."

Equestrian events at next year's Sydney Olympics will go ahead as planned following a quarantine agreement between organisers SOCOG and the Australian government. Australia's strict quarantine laws prevented equestrian events being held in Melbourne during the 1956 Olympics and they were moved to Stockholm.

The Agriculture Minister, Mark Vaile, said yesterday the agreement between SOCOG and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service set out guidelines for the inspection of the expected 260 international horses. "Advances in disease testing, risk analysis and management will allow the safe importation of horses from competing countries with existing protocols in place," he said. "With the signing of today's historic agreement, modern quarantine procedures mean that we can stage one of the world's most important events while protecting Australia's horse industry from threats such as equine influenza."

The horses will arrive on SOCOG-chartered flights in late August next year and be put in quarantine at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre for a minimum of two weeks.