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Boat Race protest heightens concerns for Olympics

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POSTED April 8, 2012 9:32 p.m.

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Olympic chief fears the London Games could be marred by a protest like the one that disrupted the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge on the River Thames.

Trenton Oldfield jumped into the water and appeared to deliberately cross the path of the rowers halfway through the competition Saturday in a protest against elitism and privilege. He was arrested and later charged with a public order offense.

With less than four months until the Olympics, the Boat Race highlighted concerns about athlete safety at events where the public will line the route, including the rowing, open water swimming, marathon and road cycling.

"It just takes, and is likely to be, one idiot," British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan said Sunday. "It's not likely to be a well-orchestrated campaign through Twitter or websites. It is likely to be someone similar to the idiot yesterday who causes major disruption.

"That is why all the security measures need to be put in place to minimize the chance of that happening. You can never completely remove it, but you can do everything possible to protect the interests of the athletes by minimizing it."

The British government reiterated that message to the public and athletes.

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