Yugoslavia spiffs up for '84 Winter Olympics Games -- and beyond
| Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia is beating publicity drums for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, and the organizing committee for the Games is already proclaiming ''a big market success.''
A publicity campaign featuring ''Vucko'' - the pointy-nosed wolf that is the official mascot of the games - is planned in the Yugoslav press, and Olympics posters are sprouting all over the country.
The Games are expected to cost $145 million. Mirko Mladic, director of the Olympic committee's marketing division, said $100 million is already covered by outside investments. The rest is to come from the city of Sarajevo, the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina of which it is the capital, and the Yugoslav federation.
The American Broadcasting Company is paying some $90 million for exclusive televison rights to the Games.
Facilities for the Games are 90 percent complete and the sports terrains were tested this past winter. Still under construction are the Olympic village to house the 2,300 competitors, a housing complex for journalists, and a new Olympic hotel.
''We are going to spend only $20 million for imported equipment,'' said Pavle Lukac, the public relations chief for the Games. ''On the other hand, we have imported $100 million in cash - hard-currency cash.''
Firms such as Coca-Cola Company Inc. and Nikon are supporting the Games, Lukac said. The money from marketing has been used not only for the Games, but also ''to improve our economy as a whole,'' he said. At present, Yugoslavia has the highest per capita debt in Europe.
Some 30,000 foreign tourists are expected to attend the Games, which Yugoslavia hopes will be the springboard for developing a major winter sports area as an earlier Winter Olympics did for Innsbruck, Austria.
Up to now Sarajevo, a city of 450,000 in central Yugoslavia, has been best known as the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which touched off World War I.
A young woman in Sarajevo grumbled that the Games would bring inflation, which is headed toward 40 percent for the fourth year in a row.
But most Yugoslavs are proud that Sarajevo is to play host to the Games. ''I only hope we can be good enough,'' a young man said.