Atlanta companies seeking business at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games may still find opportunities available, according to Katie Lahey, chief executive of the State Chamber of Commerce of New South Wales. Ms. Lahey heads the Sydney-based chamber in the most populous of Australia’s six states.
Although the bribery scandal surrounding the International Olympic Committee has hurt Sydney’s organizing committee’s ability to find sponsors, she said that the city, nevertheless, would benefit from a strong economic boost.
During an interview in Atlanta last week with GlobalFax, she also said that “trickle down” opportunities for Olympic contracts are available although the ones for the larger projects such as the construction of the venues were decided upon years ago.
For instance, she cited opportunities for suppliers of the Games’ caterers and the suppliers for goods and services to the venues and the Olympic village.
Ms. Lahey was here to study the long-term impact of the 1996 Games on Atlanta. “We want to make sure our new economic advantages don’t fizzle afterwards so we’re learning lessons from Atlanta.”
She also said that she was “very impressed” with the legacy of the Games despite some of the negative publicity that the city suffered and the allegations currently surrounding the IOC.
She pointed to the success of Georgia’s Operation Legacy economic development program that used the Games to attract foreign companies to invest here, and said Sydney officials seek to replicate that success with its Sydney 2000 counterpart.
She also hoped that representatives of Atlanta companies would consider Australia as a “gateway to Asia,” which she said was making an economic comeback. “Those markets are starting to come back again. They will comeback with a vengeance and now is the time to be showing friendship in Asia. You shouldn’t be a fair weather friend.”
Ms. Lahey may be reached by calling in Sydney 02 9350 8102 or send a fax to 02 9350 8198.