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THE BIG STORY: TRANSPORT, TECHNO PROBLEMS PLAGUE GAMES
Published July 23, 1996
Media coverage of the transportation and technological problems that have confounded Games organizers and angered IOC officials continued to gain intensity, with even broadcast partner NBC getting into the act. Last night's "NBC Nightly News" reported the IOC's concerns over transportation problems and the "unreliable" athlete shuttle bus service. NBC's Tom Brokaw noted athletes are "disgusted" with the shuttles and that authorities were "herding" spectators into "human traffic jams" around the venues. Also, many street vendors and restaurants near the sites are missing out on potential customers and dropping prices. Some vendors are so upset by the lack of business, in fact, that a meeting was forced Monday with the Atlanta City Council to discuss the problem. Brokaw, however, led into a more positive story with this spin: "But even with all these inconveniences, everyday there are so many moments which make it all so worthwhile" (NBC, 7/22). THE RESPONSE: ACOG officials "are throwing more buses, guides to out-of-town drivers, and new routes at their taxed transportation system in an effort to solve their woes on the roads." In other news, major broadcasters (the EBU and Japan's NHK) are threatening suit over the "dismal performance" of ACOG's IBM-produced computer results system. IOC member Alex Gilady: "I'm trying to calm the broadcasters down." ACOG spokesperson Bob Brennan "insisted the bugs are being worked out in the complicated computer system, but he could not be specific". While Brennan refused to blame IBM, ACOG COO A.D. Frazier said they were told by IBM that the problems were "fixable." Frazier: "I don't know why it wasn't fixable before now" (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23). The L.A. TIMES' Randy Harvey reports that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has appointed U.S. IOC member Anita DeFrantz to oversee ACOG's trouble-shooting efforts (L.A. TIMES, 7/22). PRINT MEDIA LETS LOOSE: The N.Y. DAILY NEWS: "The world's greatest sports extravaganza has been plagued by snags, delays and other logistical problems" (Luke Cyphers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/23). USA TODAY notes organizers "scrambled Monday to quiet the chaos" (Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 7/23). The L.A. TIMES' Mike Downey: "It isn't funny anymore. Atlanta's Olympic organization, an oxymoron if I've ever heard one, is being called 'the worst ever' by members of the international committee" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23). The lead from the top story in the WASHINGTON POST: "A brewing rebellion by Olympic athletes against transport troubles and other glitches is dramatizing a logistical nightmare that threatens to overwhelm the global camaraderie and goodwill [of the Games' opening]" (William Drozdiak, WASHINGTON POST, 7/23). The WASHINGTON TIMES' Tom Knott: "Gone With the Witless" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/23). Columnist Rich Hoffman: "This is just too big" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 7/23). The N.Y. TIMES: "An overloaded transit system and neophyte bus drivers are making transportation the great unknown" (Peter Applebome, N.Y. TIMES, 7/23). The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Phil Rosenthal: "Folk aren't asking 'How y'all doing?' down here so much anymore. They know, and they're tired of hearing it" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/23).