Huge U.S. Security Force On Hand to Protect Olympic Games

AUGUST 13, 2004 - Posted at 6:55 a.m. CDT

ATHENS, Greece - The head of the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee promises that Friday's opening ceremony will "delight and captivate a global audience."

And she says it will surprise them, too.

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki says the ceremony will tell the history of early Greece and the birth of the Olympics through music, dance and pageantry.

Officials say they'll try to link elements of ancient Greece with the 21st century games.  The opening ceremony will include a centaur, the half-human, half-horse creature from Greek mythology, toting a bow and arrow.

Meanwhile, the United States is sending more military and security personnel than athletes to the Summer Games.

The extraordinary precautions come even though there is no specific intelligence pointing to a terrorist attack.

More than 600 military, intelligence and security-related U.S. personnel are assigned to help with the Athens games, surpassing the 538 competitors representing the U.S.

There are 400 special forces soldiers stationed nearby in Europe, ready to respond to any incidents.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)