James talks to the Manchester Evening News about security at the first Olympics since 9/11

 

Athens bombs should not deter anybody from the Olympics. I'm certainly planning on going to the Olympics and these bombs don't and won't worry me. I believe the reason the bombs on a police station have been done now is because security when the actual games are on will be too tight.

I went to the last two Olympics in Atlanta and Sydney and I'm very proud to be going to my third Olympics in Athens. Swimming my best time ever in the 100m butterfly at the qualification trails in Sheffield has given me boost I needed to improve even further at the Olympics. I'm really looking forward to going.

At the last two Olympics the security was so tight it was unbelievable. Getting in to the athletes village was like getting on to an aeroplane, x-ray machines, metal detectors and even bomb sniffer dogs. There are the aircraft patrolled no fly zones over all Olympic venues and in Atlanta in 1996 there were armed soldiers in the village! Trust the Americans to go the extra step. Still we felt secure.

The security in Athens will be increasing month by month but I doubt it's already at Olympic games standard yet. The swimming pool isn't even at Olympic games standard yet but come the games it will be.

Whilst the athletes' security is obviously going to be great, the spectator security friends and family that have been to the games have described to me is also very tight. Tighter than a football match where every weekend there are massive gatherings of people that could be targeted by terrorists as we saw at the threatened Manchester United Liverpool match just a couple of weeks ago.

There were eight bomb threats at the Manchester Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, using recognised passwords, but they felt completely satisfied that the security in place could not have been breached that they did not evacuate the stadium.

Add into the equation the fact that the suspects of the Athens bombings are home grown and not al-Qaeda. Greece was not a supporter of the war and didn't send any troops to Iraq and more than 45,000 security staff will guard the Games and escort teams to and from sports venues - three times as many as in Sydney.

Guards will travel on athletes' buses, which could also be protected by armoured vehicles and police helicopters. Agents from the FBI and Britain's Scotland Yard will also help police the Games

Of course this is the whole point of terrorism, to make you terrified but I'm not going to let that happen, otherwise they have won and what's the point of walking out of your door in the morning.

James was talking with MEN sports editor Pete Spencer