Organizers put cheerful spin on Olympic woes as problems persist
LONDON (AP) -
Organizers of the London Olympics say preparations for the games are going fine, despite a lack of security guards, traffic that's already snarled, taxi protests and rain.
Perhaps the most embarrassing snafu has been a shortfall in security guards. Some 3,500 British troops -- including some just back from Afghanistan -- had to be called in on short notice to fill the gap.
The head of the company hired to provide security was called before a parliamentary committee today, where one lawmaker described the situation as "a humiliating shambles for the country." G4S chief executive Nick Buckles responded that he couldn't disagree, then had a hard time explaining why his company had failed to inform officials until only two weeks before the opening ceremony that recruitment efforts had failed.
But games chairman Sebastian Coe says the security situation needs to be kept "in proportion." He told reporters today that the shortfall in private guards will not affect the safety and security of the games.
Coe did concede that soggy weather is creating problems at some venues.
Meanwhile, outside Parliament, hundreds of London cabbies ignited new traffic jams today, as they protested their exclusion from special road lanes set up across London for Olympic athletes and VIPs.