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|September 7, 2000||
Road rage for Sydney Olympic chief
Australia's Olympic chief on Thursday criticised transport at the Sydney Games as unacceptable after buses failed to pick up athletes and the city's rail system collapsed.
John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee, told a news conference he had raised his concerns with Sydney's Olympic organisers SOCOG.
Athletes, officials and journalists have been left waiting for buses that failed to show up or made late by buses that got lost. Sydney's creaking rail system has collapsed twice in the past three days.
"That's unacceptable," Coates said. "They've just got to be fixed."
"We always experience teething problems but we have to make sure these are just teething problems."
Transport is critical to the success of any Olympics and was largely responsible for the problems that plagued the 1996 Atlanta games.
But local politicians have been warning residents and visitors alike that Sydney's system will probably not cope and they can expect long delays.
One minister, in a statement that upset environmentalists, even suggested people consider driving their cars rather that risk catching trains.
Coates said the transport system was showing worrying signs of being unable to cope after a series of embarrassing bungles.
The single line rail system to the main Olympic site at Homebush Bay collapsed on Tuesday when overhead wires were blown down by strong winds. A day later, a train ran off the tracks, causing more delays to Olympic Park.
Of greater concern was the problem with athletes.
A bus arrived two hours late to pick up Australia's shooting team from the athletes' village on Tuesday.
Another bus, which was supposed to take the water polo team to practice, failed to show up at all.
"Athletes have to be placed first," Coates said.
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