Greece Olympics

Greece Olympics The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, also known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, were held in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004. The official motto of the Games was “Welcome Home”. More than 10,000 athletes participated in the Olympic Games and 301 medal events were held in 28 sports. A new medal was used at these Games, replacing the design of the Roman Colosseum with that of the Panathinaiko Stadium. The official mascots of the Games were Athina and Fivos, named after Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, and Phoebus, god of light and music. They were inspired by daidala, ancient dolls exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, which were used both as toys and religious symbols.

Athens was chosen as the host city in 1997, winning the vote over the other candidates, Rome, Cape Town, Stockholm and Buenos Aires. The candidacy was supported by the direction of Gianna Angelopoulos – Daskalaki, basing the campaign on an appeal to history as well as the fact that Greece could rekindle the spirit of Olympism. Although there were fears because of the disorganized candidacy of Athens for the 1996 Olympic Games, the city easily defeated all other candidates in four rounds of voting.

In the period up to 2004, Greece was criticized for having most Olympic projects behind schedule, as well as other vital infrastructure. However, the Greek committee reassured that everything would be delivered in time. Within the last two months before the Olympic Games commenced, everything was ready and delivered.

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games was widely praised. It was created by choereographer Dimitris Papaioannou and project director David Zolkwer. It revolved around Greek culture and history, leading to a float parade showing Greek history from the ancient Minoan civilization to today. The parade of nations later entered the stadium, consisting of a total of 201 nations, arranged according to Greek alphabet. The Ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

Most of the venues for the various sports were located in Athens, but some of the football events were held in Thessaloniki, Patra, Heraklion, and Volos. The Olympic Games transformed Athens into a modern city, with greatly enhanced infrastructure, such as a new international airport, expansions to the metro system, the inauguration of a light rail and suburban railway system, a toll motorway around the city and the conversion of streets in pedestrianized walkways. Many new facilities were also created, which were later going to be sold to the private sector; due to the financial crisis, many conversion schemes have stalled.

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