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Features Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 11:37 GMT
Guarding the Games
The Utah Olympic Public Safety Command centre in Salt Lake City - the nerve centre of the security effort
The UOPSC - the nerve centre of the security effort
By BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay in Salt Lake City

Security chiefs in Salt Lake City believe the biggest potential threat to the Winter Olympics comes from lone mavericks.

David Tubbs, executive director of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, said on Wednesday that he hoped a massive intelligence operation had minimised the risk from organised terrorists.

"At this point, we have not yet received a credible threat," he insisted.

"I don't think any country would want to shelter a terrorist intent on attacking the Games and then face the fate the Taleban suffered in Afghanistan.


If a plane doesn't follow the rules, shooting it down will be an option

David Tubbs

"However, if someone operating alone is that determined to do something, they will stop at nothing, so we really have to watch out."

He confirmed one person had already tried to get into the Olympic Village by climbing the fence, but was apprehended soon after.

There have been several alerts for suspicious packages, which have turned out to be anything from cookies to onions.

The former FBI man also reaffirmed a stark message about any potential threat from the skies, and the no-fly zone around Salt Lake which will be patrolled by F-16 fighter jets.

"If there is a plane that doesn't follow the rules and won't be pulled down, shooting it down will be an option."

Among the many acronyms for organisations and institutions connected with the Games, the one for the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command (UOPSC) is one of the more important to remember.

Alongside the FBI, the Secret Service and SLOC (Salt Lake Organising Committee), UOPSC will endeavour to ensure security in Salt Lake City is A-OK.

Securing the skies
No-fly zone for 45 miles around Salt Lake City - only cleared international flights permitted
All other planes must land at 'portal' airports outside zone
Salt Lake airport shut during opening and closing ceremonies
Businesses affected: Balloon rides, heli skiing, flight schools
11 incursions so far - all small aircraft
Of the estimated US$300m spent on making venues, athletes, spectators and media as safe as possible, USOPC's operations for the 2002 Olympics will cost about US$40m.

More than 11,000 law enforcement and emergency management staff from over 80 federal, state and local agencies will work together during the Games.

And the overriding aim is simply to "keep bad things out".

All guns and knives will be instantly confiscated, though penknives may be allowed through, the premise being they cannot cause widespread harm.

Aerosols, and all food and drink, will also be banned.

"Things like that will either be destroyed, or folks will have to leave and not come back until they have left it somewhere else."

So is there a chance this could change if spectators are continually left in the cold while queuing for this thorough vetting?

"Six months ago, I would perhaps have said yes," said Tubbs.

"But after 911 (the way the tragic events of 11 September are referred to here), not now.

"I just hope the queues don't form at events where the action is all over in 90 seconds."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Daniela Relph
"The National Guard have taken over Salt Lake City"
IOC president Jacque Rogge
"Salt Lake City was ready two weeks ago"
SLOC chief operating officer Fraisier Bulloch
"After September 11th, we reassessed everything"
 OUR MAN IN UTAH
BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay

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17 Jan 02 | BBC Coverage
BBC Sport Online at the Olympics
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