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Coalition Provisional Authority

Baghdad, Iraq


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dallas Lawrence

February 5, 2004 Office of Strategic Communications

Tel: 1-914-360-6466

Ambassador Bremer Announces New Olympic Athletic Training Partnership between U.S. & Iraq

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer announced today that the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of State will partner with the International Olympic Committee to host and train Iraqi wrestlers in their pursuit of participating in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The announcement came as Ambassador Bremer welcomed the new democratically elected National Olympic Committee of Iraq (NOCI) to Baghdad. The NOCI, and its new President Ahmed Al-Sammarai, were selected this past week during historic elections supervised by the International Olympic Committee in Sulaymaniyah.

“This is truly a historic time for all the people of Iraq,” said Ambassador Bremer. “Through the democratic elections held for the Olympic Committee, organized by Iraqis and for Iraqis, Iraq has taken a major step forward in returning to the community of nations. Today’s announced partnership is in direct recognition of the historic steps all Iraqis have taken towards a free and democratic society,” concluded Bremer. Ambassador Bremer joined members of the NOCI before the announcement to watch Iraq’s Olympic Wrestling and Tae Kwon Do teams practice before scheduled matches later in the month.

“The United States Olympic Committee is proud to be a part of the collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of State and the International Olympic Committee to further the development of sport in Iraq,” says USOC Chief of Sport Performance Jim Scherr. “We look forward to welcoming the Iraqi wrestlers to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center and seeing them pursue their dream of competing at the Athens Games.”

“With the democratic elections of the National Olympic Committee and the announcement of our partnership here today, we have sent a clear and unmistakable message to the world that a free Iraq has arrived and that we will re-join the Olympic community under our Iraqi flag in Athens this summer,” offered NOCI President Ahmed Al-Sammarai.

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