Armed U.S. agents will watch over American athletes during a pre-Olympic training camp that will include most of the nation's team, the Associated Press has learned.
Allowing the armed escorts on the southern Greek island of Crete could indicate an easing of Greece's Olympic security policies, which allow only domestic forces to carry weapons.
Greek police spokesman Col. Lefteris Ikonomou repeated the government's position that no foreign agents can carry guns during the Aug. 13-29 Olympics. Ikonomou would neither confirm nor deny U.S. security plans for Crete, but he added that Olympic policing measures began taking effect in Athens last week.
A senior Greek security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP that at least 45 U.S. agents will accompany the American athletes and support staff to Crete beginning in early August, and "about 24 of them will have a permit by Greek authorities to carry weapons."
The U.S. athletics team has about 200 members in addition to trainers and others.
The security force also will have dogs trained to detect explosives, said the source, who is familiar with the training camp. The official said FBI agents visited Crete recently to work out details of the security plan.
Plans for armed escorts were confirmed by another Greek security official. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The track and field team and U.S. women's soccer team are among those expected to train on Crete.
Women's Volleyball Tuneup
The United States opened the World Grand Prix women's volleyball tournament in Bangkok with a straight-sets win over South Korea. The U.S. women today will face Olympic champion Cuba, which beat Thailand in three sets. The 12-team tournament is the final pre-Olympic competition for squads that have qualified for the Athens Games.
Also yesterday, USA Volleyball named its men's and women's indoor teams, which include seven past Olympians, led by four-time selection Tara Cross-Battle and three-time choice Lloy Ball.
Joining Cross-Battle on the women's team are Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, Lindsey Berg, Wiz Bachman, Heather Bown, Danielle Scott, Ogonna Nnamani, Keba Phipps, Logan Tom, Tayyiba Haneef, Nancy Metcalf and Stacy Sykora.
Also on the men's team: Donald Suxho, Phil Eatherton, Tom Hoff, Ryan Millar, Kevin Barnett, Gabe Gardner, Reid Priddy, Riley Salmon, Brook Billings, Clay Stanley and Erik Sullivan.