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Bush Schedules Meeting on Olympics With Rogge

November 23, 2001|Alan Abrahamson

With the Salt Lake Winter Games approaching, President Bush will meet Tuesday at the White House with recently elected International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, officials said Thursday.

Planning for the meeting had been underway before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Nothing on the agenda requires immediate attention, Francois Carrard, director general of the IOC said Thursday in a telephone interview.

However, security arrangements for the Salt Lake Olympics, which begin Feb. 8, are almost certainly to be among the topics.

Bush intends to be in Salt Lake for the Games' opening ceremony and last week allocated another $10 million in federal funds to help protect the Salt Lake Games from potential attack. A total of $34.5 million in federal aid has been added to the $200-million Olympic security budget since Sept. 11.

IOC officials, however, hope for a "broader discussion" beyond security--one that touches on such topics as "the future of the Olympic movement, the big players like the United States," Carrard said.

Influential U.S. Olympic figures also have been invited to the meeting, among them Mitt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

Gordon Johndroe, deputy White House press secretary, said Thursday, "The president looks forward to meeting with members of the Olympic committee."

Carrard said, "It's always a tradition that the IOC president pays a visit to the United States president, particularly if the Games are in the United States. It's a good opportunity to discuss the major challenges of sports and the Olympic movement."

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