Olympic security a huge investment

Aug. 14, 2004, midnight | By Adith Sekaran | 16 years, 5 months ago

Olympics have always required extreme security measures, however this year's Olympics in Athens will have more security than ever. Since the Greece Olympics are the first event since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the Olympic committee and the Greece government has worked hard to make Athens 2004 as safe as possible.

Athens has incurred $1.5 billion of expenses to try to keep the Olympics as secure as possible. Of the $1.5 billion spent, the Associated Press reports that $312 million has gone to Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) to produce state of the art, high-resolution cameras. These 1000 cameras are everywhere in Athens, nine area ports, the main airport and other Olympic cities in Greece. The cameras also have features that order the images and sounds in order of security. For example, the sound of fireworks would register lower on the scale of alertness than that of a bomb.

While Athens has spent a lot of money on technology, most of the other expenses go into paying the security personnel. According to Business Report, half of Greek's entire security forces have gone into securing this event, with 50,000 troops protecting Athens. These troops are composed of policemen, soldiers, Special Forces, coast guards and even frogmen. Another 20,000 troops are located in the four other Olympic cities in Greece. All landline and cell phone calls will be monitored during the Olympics using special technology.

Each troop will carry a personal digital assistant (PDA) connected to one of the three geo-stationary satellites hovering 37,000 kilometers above ground, according to BBC News. The satellite will give troops an efficient way to communicate. If one troop signals for help, all the PDAs will receive the warning and the exact location of the problem so the other officers can move in to offer reinforcements.

Three police helicopters and a Zeppelin airship will hover over the city during the Olympics. Moreover, the United States is helping out with the safety. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has placed 400 US Special Forces in undisclosed locations close to Greece.

Despite all of the security measures taken, some athletes and fans seem to be choosing not to attend the Olympics. A Washington Post article claims that as of August 11, 2004, of the 5.4 million tickets only 2.5 million have been sold, slightly over 46 percent.

When the US Men's Basketball team invited National Basketball Association (NBA) players to join the Olympic team, many players rejected citing the reason of security. Reuters reports that there are 10,500 athletes coming to Athens, meaning there will be nearly seven troops per athlete. Regardless, big time athletes such as Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Elton Brand, among others have dropped out claiming a variety of reasons, including security.

The Athens Olympics will be heavily scrutinized for their security efforts, but the International Olympic Committee and the Greek government is putting forth its best effort to ensure that the games will run smoothly.

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Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »

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