To response to some of the posts I read without being an expert and from a subjective point of view:
Building great venues was a matter of pride for the greeks. Temporary stadiums seemed to be disrespectful for the athletes and the sport. Gianna Aggelopoulos Daskalaki who was the force behind Athens 2004 had this vision of «state of the art» venues and the responsibility to make those Games a reality. Temporary venues didn't seemed to fit into that concept. Also I would like to remind you that back then economic crisis seemed no to exist and the most of us believed that the Olympic Games will be the beginning of a new epoch. At least some of us. I also have to add to that that the government of Karamanlis that took over, one of the worst ever, absolutely disliked Gianna and her success and did absolutely nothing to utilize the potential of the Games. On the contrary the Government of Kostas Karamanlis almost provocative dismissed plans by the former government (a matter of principle) and rested on the success of the Games. The Minister of Culture Adrianos served from 2004 to 2009 today says «Our highest priority back then was to make the Games a success but there was no plan for the day after». Strange because until the Games he was in the opposition and criticized the effort. Then he saw the success tried to earn it and then as the responsible for the day after didn’t do anything. Unfortunately this Government was one the most corrupted ever.
But to be fair mistakes have been done before. After Athens awarded the Games, many of the plans changed. The Simitis Government didn’t like Gianna. She was an outsider and most of them I presume were afraid of her potential power. New persons were placed and they changed the Organizing Committee. After losing precious time and the inability of the new team the pressure of getting ready didn’t allow experiments. Gianna were placed back although no one really liked her. The costs exploded because of the pressure to get ready and international pressure. As the criticism rises greeks get stubborn to prove the opposite. Also the IOC and the International sports federations and every each of them wanted great venues. So many different interests increased the pressure. The costs for security was exploding by the pressure of the US. The costs for engineering and facilities were exploding too as international enterprises took advantage of the lack of time. Big scandals like the Siemens Corruption Scandal was the result. Also there was unbelievable antagonism between the Minister of Economy back then and Gianna. He once called her «this rich bitch» behind closed doors. «She thinks she can command my ministry.» Gianna wanted to get the money she needed to get ready in time. The Government criticized her strongly for being unsparing with public money. But the truth is a different in my opinion. The government was to be blamed as they are responsible for the lost of extremely precious time, time that was needed to organize the Games.
My opinion is that no one of those man was man enough to recognize her skills and her power as a strategic coordinator and great manager. The big success of the Games is the proof. After that and the big success, normality came back and political dispute and envy lead to the situation that we can see today. I believe that this didn't happen accidentally. A new mentality would have changed the whole political system. Citizens with more responsibility, with a stronger opinion, that work and achieve work more precise , that volunteer that have visions would destroy or at least disturb the used political system based on what we call in Greece «clientelistic state».
Although I have to say that some things are exaggerated. The legacy isn’t a nightmare. Thats way to negative. The legacy isn’t satisfying in many cases. In some it is bad and in some others the legacy is very good and in some of great importance. Because beyond of the economic legacy there is another one. There is a cultural and emotional legacy. A legacy that we carry within our soul. Those games redefined Athens and Greece. No matter what happens today.
This Opening Ceremony itself is a cultural and emotional legacy of unsurpassed meaning. Those days everything is about economy. Everything. Extremely weird times if you ask me. Everyone seems to be brainwashed. What the market will say? How will the economy react? Capitalism is starting to show its true character after he totally defeated politic power. But this another discussion. The legacy of something maybe economic short-lived but through ages it is an emotional, a cultural, a philosophical, a social.
I am so grateful for those Games and this Opening Ceremony and for Gianna backing everything Dimitris Papaioannou did:
«I am so charmed by her personality, a personality from a cosmos totally strange to me. It is absolutely given that without her the Ceremonies would not have been possible. I am truly charmed. I those three years of working together the quality of our contact increased geometrically. Her support was beyond of any other previous olympics. The personality of Gianna is this dance of her on the bleachers of the stadium at the closing ceremony. And the dastardly side of the greek reality blamed her for dancing at the closing ceremony. Not to imagine blaming someone for celebrating the biggest success of a country in the last decades. Who blames someone for dancing? This dancing needs the sweetness of anarchy of a soul that has still something alive within»
It is sad to see that following governments and people responsible for the economic and athletic legacy were incapable and unworthy of this task but I am absolutely confident that many of the venues are facing better days to come.
But as I said before and once again: the emotional legacy of those games is bigger and most important then the economic. And if today this emotion is bittersweet by watching those pictures then this proves how great those games were.