Weekend rehearsals for the Olympic Games in Montreal, have shown there are some serious operational defects in equipment and buildings.
Weekend rehearsals for the Olympic Games in Montreal, have shown there are some serious operational defects in equipment and buildings. Athletes from the United States, Kenya and the Caribbean joined Canadians in helping to test the facilities.
SYNOPSIS: The major problems are with the electronic equipment for the scoreboards and public address systems. There are also difficulties with the Velodrome, and the first visitors said they were easily lost in the vast complex. However, the Olympic Village has attracted no complaints - and is ready for the first Olympic athletes.
The Velodrome was declared a fire hazard last month, and now leaks during heavy rains. But Olympic officials have rebuffed critical press reports about the state of facilities, and declared they are pleased with the trail run. The organisers have also dismissed local press criticism of the standard of competition during the rehearsal events.
They told Reuters News Agency that most athletes taking part were of school age, and others below international standard. They have never tried to give the impression the meeting was of a high calibre. The rehearsal was simply to test facilities. According to Reuters, most minor snags were explained by the fact that several thousand Olympic officials were doing their jobs for the first time.
The biggest operation involves security. Police and army units have been crafted in for the Games, and the rehearsals gave them a chance to test their duties. However, difficulties still exist between the various security units. Reuters say that communications are their biggest problem with some critical gaps remaining.
The public address system is inaudible in many parts of the Olympic Stadium. Officials agree broadcasts from loudspeakers near large numbers of seats were indistinct because of echoes. They said the situation would improve when the stadium is full and the acoustics change. Meanwhile, the athletes taking part in the rehearsals had no complaints about the track.
However, problems remain with the scoreboards. Visitors noticed the names of the athletes were not screened by the time races began, or were removed the instant a race ended, making it impossible to check the name of a winner. The scoreboards can also give an action replay of an event.