Olympic village opens to athletes as Athens declares infrastructure of Games complete

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The Independent Online

Americans, Australians and Finns were among the first to check into the Olympic Village Friday as the venue opened its doors to athletes.

Organizers said the village, 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of central Athens, was to receive about 500 of the expected 16,000 athletes and team officials.

On Monday another 2,000 are to arrive.

"Today the Olympic Games begin because the Olympic village opened its doors," Spyros Capralos, the government's general secretary for sport, told The Associated Press.

Athens organizers gave no details on the arrivals.

The area, protected by double walls with sensors and guarded by hundreds of police, has 2,292 apartments as well as swimming pools, theaters, restaurants, bars and places of worship.During the Aug.

13-29 Games, the village will also house International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

Capralos also said Athens organizers are now in control of all Olympic facilities.

Also Friday, a suburban rail line and an extended subway line to Athens international airport were opened to the public.

"Today all facilities have been delivered.

They are all ready," Capralos said.

"Of course inside, there are still some small works going on, but all facilities are ready.

" Ioannis Manos, a 60-year-old Greek banker, was appointed "mayor" of the Olympic village.

His duties include fixing any logistics problems.