February 7, 2006

IOC’s Rogge makes himself at home in athletes’ village

By Karolos Grohmann

TURIN (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee president
Jacques Rogge has praised the athletes' village in Turin where
he will be staying for the Winter Olympics which start on

Rogge, who prefers to stay at athletes' village instead of
far more luxurious official IOC hotels during Olympic Games,
said the village met all requirements for top athletes.

"I think that it is very top quality," he told reporters on
Tuesday after visiting most areas including the medical center,
the gym and the internet cafe.

Rogge also played a game of table football with his
predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch in a games lounge before
unveiling a memorial wall for the Olympic truce, a U.N.-backed
global truce plan during the Summer and Winter Games.

"I would compare (the village) with that of (the 1994)
Lillehammer Games," he said.

"I tested my mattress this morning," he said when asked
whether he had liked his room. "The acoustic quality of the
room is very good. You can't hear anything and you know for
athletes, acoustic is very important."

Rogge said the fact that the village, which cost 145
million euros ($174 million) and was completed three months
ago, was located very near to many of the Turin Games sports
venues was an advantage.

"This is really in the city itself. It is in the center of
the city," Rogge said.

He rejected claims that Turin, a former industrial
powerhouse of Italy, was too grey to host the Games.

"There was this legend, and I say legend because it is not
true, that Turin was a bit too serious, industrial and this
village gives a lot of color.

"It leaves a great legacy to Torino," he said.

Separate athletes' villages operate in the mountains for
the other sporting events.