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IOC arranges Athens insurance deal

Greek special forces during a security exercise: the Athens Games will be the most heavily guarded in history.
Athens (Greece)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The International Olympic Committee has taken out insurance cover in case this year's Athens Games are cancelled.

The $170 million policy covers terrorism, earthquakes, flooding and landslides, IOC president Jacques Rogge told The Associated Press.

It is the first time the IOC has insured the Games against cancellation, but Rogge said the move represented "standard prudent judgment."

Rogge denied concerns about the state of Athens' preparations -- many Olympic venues, including the main stadium, are not yet completed -- and worries about security were behind the move.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with Athens," said Rogge.

"We started discussing this already in August 2001, and we are going to work toward the other Games in the future."

Rogge said the IOC also planned to negotiate policies for forthcoming Winter Games in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010 and the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008.

Heavily guarded

The first Summer Olympics since the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 are set to be the most heavily guarded Games in history.

Organizers have a security budget of almost one billion dollars and Greece has asked NATO for assistance.

Rogge has described security as the IOC's "number one priority."

"This is an unprecedented effort," he said.

"More cannot be done. Nobody can guarantee 100 percent security, but we can guarantee that we've done everything that was available and possible."

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