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LONDON (AP) — Apart from a wrong turn by a bus driver, a snarky tweet by a U.S. athlete, a few waterlogged venues and a scramble to find enough security guards, everything is fine at the London Olympics less than two weeks before opening ceremony, organizers insist.
Still, they had to scramble Tuesday to put the best face on an unfolding security debacle — as well as other concerns — afflicting the games, which start in 10 days.
“Let’s put this in proportion,” games chairman Sebastian Coe told reporters. “This has not, nor will it, impact on the safety and security of these games, that of course is our No. 1 priority.”
Yet his efforts were undercut in Parliament, where the chief executive of the G4S security group acknowledged that his company’s failure to recruit enough Olympic staff had embarrassed the entire nation. Some 3,500 more British troops — including some just back from Afghanistan — had to be called in on short notice to fill the gap.
The head of G4S, Nick Buckles, gave a groveling mea culpa as he was being quizzed by angry British lawmakers in testimony that was broadcast live.
“It’s a humiliating shambles for the country, isn’t it?” asked Labour lawmaker David Winnick.
“I cannot disagree with you,” Buckles said.
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