It's 1996 or never, evidently, for Athens.

"If we don't get the Olympics in 1996 we will never bid again to host them," said Spyros Metaxas, heading up Greece's effort to land the Games.

Athens will be competing with five cities, including Atlanta, when the International Olympic Committee meets in Tokyo Sept. 17 to select the Games site.

Metaxas, as have many other Greek sports officials, recalled that the Olympics were born at Olympia in 776 B.C. and reborn in Athens in 1896.

"Morally the Games belong to us," he said. . . .

The Asian Games are expected to test Iraq's ability to get other nations to recognize the government it has installed in Kuwait.

Kuwait's foreign minister ruled out sending a joint Kuwait-Iraq team to the competition, which opens in Beijing on Sept. 22. That left open the possibility the Kuwaiti government-in-exile will send one team and the Iraqi-installed administration will send another.

The Kuwait embassy in Beijing, which represents the government-in-exile, said at least Kuwait's soccer team was training outside the country when Iraq invaded on Aug. 2 and could attend the Games.

If two teams claiming to represent Kuwait show up, the Olympic Council of Asia would have to decide which to take.

International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said in Colorado Springs that he is "100 percent for" an independent team from Kuwait in the Asian Games, but "I don't know what will happen."