Shelley Osterloh ReportingFriday the 2004 Olympic Games will officially be underway and the world's eyes will be on Athens, just as they were focused on Salt Lake City two years ago. Many Utahns are helping make this year's games successful and safe.
Greek officials say they are ready and it appears so. The athletes with whom I have spoken say they are pleased with the village and venues and the experts say the security system is in place. And they should know; we spoke to the man who was in charge of the 2002 games who is now sharing Utah expertise with the Greeks.
The Greeks have spent more than a billion dollars on Olympic security, twice as much as they expected and three times more than was spent for the Sydney games. While much of the Olympic security systems for the Salt Lake games were temporary, Athens' security system will remain. Much of it was designed and created by an American company, headed up by the Salt Lake man who was in charge of UOPSIC--the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command.
David Tubbs, Project Dir. Science Applications International Corp: "It's probably the most complex system and the most advanced system I've ever seen."
Former FBI agent David Tubbs is project director for SAIC, the company that built Athens' communication and surveillance system as well as its command center to help coordinate the 70 thousand police and soldiers on duty. It includes cameras overhead in an airship, on the streets, and in venues, plus surveillance and sonar monitoring in Greece' s ports. And every step of the way for the last two years, Utah expertise has been key.
David Tubbs: "That experience has greatly helped the company in terms of being able to do this project and work with the authorities because they are dealing with people from Utah who have done this before."
TJ Kennedy lives in Midway, but for the last year has worked with Greek authorities, passing on lessons learned.
T.J. Kennedy, Deputy Program Mgr., SAIC: “You don't have to start over when you have games because there’s so many things from the Salt Lake games and the Sydney games and from others that can be applied in all sorts of details.
World events have forced security officials to prepare for the worst so the world can enjoy the best of the Olympics.
T.J. Kennedy: "The games are still about the sporting events and the games are still about bringing people together from different countries; and security is there to allow those things to happen and happen safely."
David Tubbs even in the rush to finish the venues security measures were not slighted or cut back. What was planned is in place and working well. Opening ceremonies will be the first test.