The threat of a possible terrorist attack on the 2004 Athens Olympics has forced the organisers to allocate more than one billion dollars to a security force.

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The money is to be spent on paying for a special police force and on security advisors from seven countries, including Australia and the United States.

Four unarmed Australian Olympic Committee officials will be appointed to protect the 520 Australian athletes at the games.

But at this stage, A-O-C President John Coates, says Australia’s athletes will not be restricted to the games village.

“If there was ever an incident and we thought our athletes would be at risk then we might review that decision. But at this stage there’d be no restriction on the athletes going down town.”

Mr Coates says the increased spending on security for the Athens Olympics is a sign of how dangerous the world has become.

“Certainly more attention was paid in Salt Lake City and there was massive security provided there, being in America and post September 11. And the same applies in Greece and I think when you are conducting the world’s biggest peace time event these days it comes with the territory, I’m afraid.”

Meanwhile, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge has given a vote of confidence to the organisers of the Athens Games.

Mr Rogge says after a slow start, preparations are on schedule but he admits that there is still a lot of work to do.

“Well no organising city is ready a year before the games. It’s always a matter of being ready a month or two months before the games actually start. So it’s going to be a work until the last minute. Today I think the fundamentals are sound, but they have to work a lot on their workforce. But I’m confident that that will be okay if they continue at the same pace as they have today.”

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