Will the Games go on?

That's up to the International Olympic Committee, and so far, the Switzerland-based organization won't say yet how Tuesday's terrorist acts will affect the 2002 Winter Games.

"No one person can definitively make that call today," Salt Lake Organizing Committee President Mitt Romney said in a telephone interview from Virginia, where he is staying until the nation's airports are reopened and he can return to Salt Lake City.

"I am very confident the Games will go forward," Romney said. "I also believe our public safety plans will change. How the Games will change is something that will have to be decided at the highest levels of our federal, state and local government as well as the IOC, the USOC and SLOC."

IOC members contacted by the Deseret News did not sound as sure as Romney about the 2002 Winter Games' future.

"I don't think we should make any decision. We don't have the information," said Marc Hodler, the senior IOC member from Switzerland in charge of the coordination commission that oversees the 2002 Games.

"The governments of all of the democratic countries must come to conclusions and find out, if possible, where the terrorism originated and who's behind the attacks," Hodler said in a telephone interview from his home in Berne.

"We have to know . . . what's behind the smoke before we take any decision," he said. "I don't think we should rush to any conclusions. We have always been aware that the Olympic Games are a very important stage."

Jean-Claude Killy, the legendary French skier who serves as deputy chairman of the IOC coordination commission over the 2002 Games, said he personally believes the Games should be held in Salt Lake City.

"It's too soon to say, but the Games must go on," Killy said in a telephone interview from his Swiss home. "I don't think the Games should be affected. It's an event for the youth of the world."

Killy said that when he was the head of the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, the Games went on despite the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War between the United States and Iraq in the Middle East.

Anita DeFrantz, the senior IOC member from the United States, said, "First we have to mourn our losses, and we cannot and will not let the terrorists win. I believe that the Games should go on,"

A statement issued by the IOC about three hours after the attack described a reaction of "profound sense of shock and disbelief" and expressed "the deepest sympathy of the entire Olympic movement to the families all the victims."

A spokeswoman reached at the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne early Tuesday evening Swiss time said there would be no further comment from new IOC President Jacques Rogge. Romney said he spoke to Rogge and IOC Director General Francois Carrard.

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"We are obviously discussing this enormous tragedy," Romney said. He said SLOC's vice president of federal relations, Cindy Gillespie, has spoken with the U.S. Secret Service about the incident.

Romney and Gillespie were on Capitol Hill when they heard about the jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City. They left for Gillespie's home in Alexandria, Va., and passed the Pentagon shortly after it was attacked.

"Our car was filled with smoke," Romney said. "It was quite an experience to be in the nation's capital and see flames and smoke."

E-MAIL: lisa@desnews.com

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