A Ski Town Catches Olympic Fever...But The Greens Are Grumpy

About 100 kilometers south of Krakow, along a two-lane road that winds through the Tatra Mountains, the Polish ski haven of Zakopane is bedecked with white flags proclaiming its bid to host the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. No one really expects this city of 30,000 to win out over Sion, Switzerland, or Turin, Italy, when the International Olympic Committee announces its decision on June 19. Instead, Zakopane is employing a strategy similar to Poland's reach for NATO and European Union membership: It may not reach its destination today, but eventually it will stand on the winner's platform. And the plan entails much more than a desire to hoist the Olympic torch. "It's a big chance for the entire region to be reconstructed," says Aleksander Ronikier, vice-president of the Polish Olympic Committee.

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