The record so far: one death and a heart attack during the Olympics' over-lengthy opening parade; power cuts at sporting venues; a computer system that doesn't work; and transportation arrangements in a state of virtual collapse, forcing frustrated athletes to hijack buses to get to their events. There is precious little sign of the Olympic spirit of goodwill in Atlanta at present. Even the medal count risks being overshadowed by an ever-growing list of administrative inadequacies. The situation has got so bad that foreign broadcasters are threatening to demand a multi-million dollar refund on the fees they paid for television rights. It may be that these problems are caused by US officials caring more about money than athletes' welfare, as the Chinese Olympic Committee has alleged. Another possibility is Atlanta simply underestimated the scale of the arrangements required. Hiring a bus driver who broke down in tears at the prospect of driving on a freeway is powerful evidence of incompetence. Whatever their cause, the inadequacies that have marred these opening days of the Centennial Games show the dangers of allowing the event's profit-making potential to obscure the reason the Olympics were originally re-established 100 years ago: as a forum for bringing together athletes from around the world in a spirit of healthy competition. That the Olympics have become a zillion dollar business has brought many benefits, not least more funds for national sports associations. But such profits must never be seen as more than a by-product of the Games, rather than the reason they are held. The situation should improve in the coming days. Taken aback by the torrent of criticism, Atlanta officials are belatedly working to improve the situation. But hopefully the mistakes already will serve as a warning to Sydney, host of the 2000 Games, as well as other cities hoping to hold future Olympics. They should remember what initially seemed to be forgotten in Atlanta: that the interests of the athletes must always come first.