Originally created 06/02/04

Architect confident Olympic roof will be ready



ATHENS, Greece -- The architect who designed the glass-and-steel roof for the main Olympic stadium is certain it will be ready on time.

The roof, being assembled in two parts next to the stadium, will be rolled slowly into place over the 75,000-seat facility. Its two arches hold synthetic glass panels.

The stadium roof has been mired in delays and there were fears it would not be completed for the Aug. 13-29 Olympics.

"I continue to work on the project I have taken over, sure that we will deliver it to Greece for the games," Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was quoted Tuesday in the Athens daily Ethnos. "I am absolutely sure we will deliver something unique that has not been done before technically."

Calatrava blamed many of the delays on bad weather. Construction crews often could not work because of strong wind.

"You can control lots of things but not the weather," Calatrava said.

The International Olympic Committee had told organizers they should consider canceling the project if they could not guarantee it would be done on time.

In May, the west arch of the steel-and-glass canopy was pulled into place after sliding on giant roller skates over 230 feet. The east arch was supposed to be put in place by the end of May. Workers are expected to start moving it this week.

AIDS FIGHT: The IOC is teaming with the United Nations to raise AIDS awareness in the global sports community.

The Olympic organization and UNAIDS, the world body's agency leading the battle against the disease, said Tuesday they have signed an agreement.

The IOC will launch its campaign at the Athens Olympics, distributing information to the 11,000 athletes at the Aug. 13-29 games.

"The world of sport is not separate from the rest of the world," IOC president Jacques Rogge said. "Sport breaks down barriers, promotes self-esteem and can teach life skills and healthy behavior."

The IOC, UNAIDS and the international Red Cross are to meet June 17-18 in South Africa to discuss using sports to boost the fight against AIDS and the HIV virus.

ON CALL: Renowned British heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub will run the health clinic in Ancient Olympia when athletes compete in the birthplace of the Olympics for the first time in 1,600 years.

Yacoub, an Olympic volunteer, will lead the medical team when the shot put takes place Aug. 18, organizers said Tuesday.

Athletes will arrive in Olympia two days before the competition. They will stay and train at the modern Olympic Academy near the ancient stadium. Spectators will watch the shot put from grassy slopes around the field.