Right from the start, Austria promised the world a change for 1976: the show would be better, but not bigger—a return to the "simple games" concept of Squaw Valley in 1960. And now, $148 million later, everything is in place in and around Innsbruck, with all those familiar Tyrolean venues just touched up a bit. Most of the money has gone into facilities that will benefit the country when the Games are over, proof that when the Austrians said simple they weren't being dumb. There are accommodations for the anticipated 2,050 athletes and officials, and if space runs out for the expected 150,000 out-of-town spectators, they can book a hayloft or two. Beneath all the bunting, a security force of 5,000 is assembled; and if there isn't enough snow, the Army will peel it off the Brenner Pass, just as was done for the 1964 Games. The Olympic flame is already hidden away in a room downtown, ready for Wednesday's ceremonies.
The Olympic preview continues with William Oscar Johnson's profile of our spirited, if most hapless, team, followed by scouting reports and a handicapper's guide to each event. Anita Verschoth's selections are listed in gold, silver and bronze order, plus an extra wild-card candidate.