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Rogge - minute silence for Munich victims

2012-07-23 17:52
Jacques Rogge (AP)

London - With four days to go until London 2012 begins, Olympics chief Jacques Rogge on Monday held a minute's silence to mark the 40th anniversary of deadly attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games.

Rogge, who had ruled out holding a minute's silence at Friday's opening ceremony, staged the commemoration for the 11 victims killed by Palestinian extremists as he toured the Athletes' Village.

"I want to pay homage to the 11 Israeli athletes who shared the idea of the Olympic truce, who believed that the Olympic Village was a place which brought people together," said the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"These 11 athletes came to Munich in this spirit. They shared this vision."

Rogge paused in front of the Olympic Truce Wall sculpture which stands at the entrance to the sprawling village complex which will be home to 10 500 competitors and officials.

He said earlier he was "very, very confident" at the security in place for the London Games, despite the government being forced to draft in 3 500 troops just days ago after a private security firm said it could not supply enough guards.

"Clearly LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and the government wanted to communicate when all the corrective measures were in place and were operational," Rogge told BBC radio.

"I think that is a good strategy... They have found a solution. We are happy with it and we are very confident that security will be very, very good.

"I believe, frankly speaking, in this debate we have to move on."

Traffic jams

The London Olympics are guarded by Britain's biggest peacetime security operation and Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting Monday of the government's Cobra committee, held when national security is at threat.

The sombre ceremony at the village came before Rogge gathers the members of the IOC - the decision makers of the Olympic movement - together for their traditional pre-Games meeting.

The officials were to be received by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace later on Monday.

But the transport issues that threaten to dog the Games raised fresh concerns when key rail links to the Olympic Park suffered major disruption.

During the Monday morning rush hour, delays hit the Jubilee and Central lines on the Underground railway network, while a key overground rail link and the elevated Docklands Light Railway system also had problems.

All four lines go to Stratford, the station in east London where the Olympic Park is located and where hundreds of thousands of passengers will be disembarking in the coming days.

Traffic jams also built up on several main roads leading into London amid work to prepare them to be special link routes to the Games.

Britain's Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson was confident however that everything had been done to ensure the system would work.

Gold or nothing

"Can I absolutely guarantee that it will be faultless? No, because this is a huge, huge city and many millions of people go into work every day.

"Can I assure you that we think we have done everything possible to make it work? Yes I can," Robertson told journalists.

Meanwhile, Britain's sporting focus was shifted from the Olympics to the Tour de France after Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the race.

The 32-year-old Londoner surged to a memorable victory in cycling's most prestigious event on Sunday but wasted no time in turning his attention to his challenge at his hometown Olympics.

"If I'm 100% honest, it's gold or nothing in London now," Wiggins declared. "That's the way I'm treating the next nine days.

"I can't sit here and say I'll be happy with a silver or happy with a bronze," said Wiggins, who will compete in the men's road race and the individual time trial.

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