Vox Pop: Should Athens be the permanent home of the Olympic Games?

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The Independent Online
BRENDAN FOSTER

5,000M BRONZE MEDALLIST

It is great that the Games will be returning to Athens in 2004 - in fact they should have held the centenary games in 1996 - but the Olympic Games belong to the world now. A permanent home might help eradicate bribery scandals, but what we really need are clear and categorical rules so that there is never again even a hint of corruption. For example, there should be a cap on the amount of money that can be spent on a bid: Go over that limit by a penny, and you would simply lose the Games.

JAMES CRACKNELL

OLYMPIC OARSMAN

It has its positives and negatives. Having been to Athens, it will be interesting to see how organised they get for the 2004 Games: they have terrible traffic problems and it's a smoggy place. That aside, though, I guess it would take away all the stuff that is going on with Salt Lake City. Moving the Games around also means different countries can benefit - 1992 had a huge impact on Spanish sport. On a personal level, I don't much care where Games are held, it is the racing itself which is interesting.

DICK FOSBURY

HIGH JUMP GOLD MEDALLIST

I've been lucky enough to speak to athletes from all over to get a better idea of how they feel. And their unanimous view, and mine, is that the Olympic Games should move around the world. There are cultural benefits that we, as athletes, and the public as a whole, can gain. We might learn how other people live; what their society and culture are like. It is an education for the world. From a historical perspective, though, and in terms of stability, Athens would be a tremendous choice.

ALLAN WELLS

100M GOLD MEDALLIST

It is basically a difficult question to answer. There are arguments for and against. Holding the Olympics can actually be financially crippling for a city; just look at Montreal. In some cases, though, the event can be really beneficial and rewarding. The main argument for Athens would be that it might avoid the current problems, which we all know about. If Greece could be a neutral venue, like Switzerland is in the world, it might work, but rotating the Games must be the better option.

TONY JARRETT

110M HURDLES MEDALLIST

No. It's really nice to have Olympics in different countries. I enjoy going to a new place to see what kind of show they put on. Hopefully one year, maybe before I retire, we might have them here in England. I think there will always be corruption anyway (even if Athens were the permanent home). Just because they are in one place, doesn't mean you will have no scandals. I can't wait for Sydney now. It will be so different from Atlanta; a whole new experience. That variety is interesting.

TESSA SANDERSON

JAVELIN GOLD MEDALLIST

No. That would be too complacent. The Olympics are all about different gatherings, different feelings, giving people the opportunity to participate and feel involved. Competing in different countries is motivating; it gives you that extra little bit of flair just to know that you are in a new site. I went to Greece last year, and I think their Olympics will be sensational in 2004. But making Athens the permanent home won't stop corruption. The only way to ensure that is to change the system itself.

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