BAGHDAD, Iraq – Torture equipment used by Saddam Hussein's (search) slain son, Odai, to punish underperforming Iraqi athletes was displayed Saturday at a Baghdad sports stadium in advance of the opening of the Olympics next month in Athens.
Journalists were shown medieval-style torture equipment, including an "iron maiden-like" casket with metal spikes fixed to the inside that athletes had been forced into and chain whips with steel barbs the size of tennis balls attached to the end.
"During the old regime, Odai was looking for results and he wanted winners. He didn't like second place," Talib Mutan, an Iraqi Olympics Committee (search) official, told Associated Press Television News.
"If the athletes didn't come in first, they were punished. And he would punish the people around the athletes, their managers and coaches included," Mutan said.
Odai, who ran the Olympic committee while his father ruled Iraq, and his younger brother Qusai were killed in a fierce gunbattle with U.S. forces a year ago in the northern city of Mosul.
Mutan said athletes who earned Odai's wrath were tortured in various ways, through beatings, sleep deprivation and being forced to walk barefoot over hot asphalt during Iraq's searing summer.
The official said suggestions had been made to display the torture equipment in a museum, but there had been no final decision.
The International Olympic Committee (search) reinstated Iraq's national Olympic committee in February after it was suspended following the fall of Saddam's regime in 2003, enabling Iraqi athletes to compete at this year's Summer Games.