Leaders of the Austrian Olympic Committee said they aren't worried about finding what they need in Salt Lake City to make the 2002 Winter Games a success for their country.
"It's America . . . with money, you can get everything," joked Heinz Jungwirth, secretary general of the Austrian Olympic Committee. So far, though, he said he hasn't encountered any problems with preparations for 2002. Jungwirth and the committee's deputy secretary general, Manuela Velvoda, are in Salt Lake City through Wednesday to look over everything from hotel rooms to ski courses. They spoke to reporters on Tuesday.Their visit is just one of an anticipated 200 by officials from national Olympic committees world-wide between now and the Olympics. As many as 80 countries are expected to send teams to the 2002 Winter Games.
Five more national Olympic committees are already scheduled to visit: Great Britain and Slovakia in October, and Finland, Sweden and France in November and December.
Jungwirth has visited Salt Lake City before as a member of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission for the 2002 Winter Games. This time, though, his focus was on his own nation's needs.
More than 300 Austrians are expected to travel to Salt Lake City for the Olympics, including at least 100 athletes, 100 Austrian Olympic Committee and other officials, and 100 journalists.
Of particular interest to the committee is the accommodations for biathlon and cross-country competitors planned near the competition site at Wasatch Mountain State Park near Midway.
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee has been told by the IOC to find alternative housing for the skiers and shooters who don't want to stay an hour away at the Olympic Village at the University of Utah.
Frank Zang, a spokesman for SLOC, said two properties have been identified for athletes - the Homestead Resort in Heber City and the planned Zermatt hotel nearby.
The hotel option is being offered in exchange for beds assigned to the athletes at the U. housing. Zang said SLOC has agreed to pick up part of the cost, but the rest will be paid by the national Olympic com-mit-tees.
While the terms of that arrangement were not disclosed, Jung-wirth said Tuesday he was impressed with the proposal. Austrian athletes are looking at staying at the upscale Homestead Resort.
"When you get such a good offer, you're always a little bit suspicious," Jungwirth said. After touring the area, he called housing athletes at the resort "an excellent idea."
Britt Mathwich, general manager of the Homestead, said he hasn't been told yet by SLOC who will stay there during the Olympics. But he said he'd be thrilled to host the teams.
"It sounds like the athletes are a great piece of business," Mathwich said. "They're not going to tear up their rooms . . . they're focused" on their competitions.
The Homestead agreed to set aside all of its rooms even before Salt Lake City was awarded the Olympics in 1995. Back then, there were no events planned beyond Park City.
"I was very happy to put our rooms in," Mathwich said. Winter is a slow season in the area because there are no ski resorts. Typically, only about half the resort's rooms are occupied.
The Homestead may be expanded to as many as 175 rooms during the Olympics. Right now, the price to stay there averages about $139 but is as high as $249 a night for one of the 18 suites equipped with features like an indoor jacuzzi.
The rate that the resort will get for its rooms during the Olympics factors in an undisclosed annual percentage increase on top of existing rates. Mathwich labeled the amount he'll receive as "fair without gouging."