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Beijing Trumps Athens... And Then Some


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From Yahoo! sports news:

Beijing trumps Athens … and then some

By Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports

Aug 24, 11:29 am EDT

BEIJING – It is the biggest buzz word in Olympic circles, and the promise of it can dramatically sway the bidding process for future Games.


These days, any hopeful city with Olympic aspirations must not only show its ability to provide venues and infrastructure of the highest standard, but also prove there will be a lasting positive effect on the local community.

The 2004 Olympics in Athens showed how to get it embarrassingly and disgracefully wrong. Over the past 16 days, Beijing has shown the world how to get it magnificently right.

Four years since the Athens Games, a Greek tragedy is taking place. Incredibly, 21 out of the 22 Olympic venues now lie abandoned and in various states of ruin.

Gypsy camps have sprung up in the shadow of stadiums where the world’s finest athletes once battled for gold. Graffiti is scrawled over the outer walls of many sites, and it has been reported in Greece that upward of $1 billion has been spent simply to maintain these ugly wrecks.

That is Athens’ legacy.

Sixteen days of glory, but at what price? The Olympics are now almost a dirty word in Athens, most regularly used by politicians who use the issue of decay as a powerful campaigning point.

There was an element of tokenism in awarding the Olympics to Athens in the first place, a symbolic gesture intended as a nod to Ancient Olympia.

The Games will never return there. They will not be allowed to, if for no other reason than that the level of public outrage at the grotesque waste of money on oversized venues with no future is extreme.

Beijing is not going to let that happen. For a start, the Chinese capital has several huge advantages over Athens.

“The reason why some countries have been challenged with economic downturns after hosting an Olympics is that hosting cities are often very small,” said Chen Jian, executive president of the Beijing Economy Research Association. “Their investments in infrastructure construction were excessive. Fluctuations arose in the economic growth when no new hotspot for investment occurred after the Olympics.”

Beijing is a city that deeply loves its sports, even more so now given the host nation’s extraordinary success over the past fortnight.

The Bird’s Nest will be used for major international events, concerts and domestic soccer matches.

The Water Cube aquatic center was built to a sensible size, and will mainly be used for international diving competitions and exhibitions. Diving’s popularity in China should ensure that it is often filled to near capacity.

The luminescent light show on the glowing exterior of the stadium will be turned off soon after the Games, but will be put back on whenever there is a major event taking place in Beijing.

Other sites such as Workers’ Stadium and Workers’ Gymnasium were already in place. The Olympic Park Tennis Center has been tabbed to host an ATP event next year.

Whereas the list of Athens’ failures goes on, so too does the depth of Beijing’s successes.

The Games have sparked economic growth, and experts predict a continued surge in tourism as many fans who traveled to the Olympics are expected to return for a second look.

Here, there is a legacy of pride, and a spectacular standard of responsible spending for future hosts to uphold.

Whether you agree with China’s foreign policies or political ideals, no one can deny this has been a truly superb Olympic Games.

Congratulations, Beijing.

Beijing trumps Athens... and then some

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I agree with the article.....and never before have the Olympic Games impacted a host nation so much, and in such positivity. I had quite a few doubts about these Games, but they have proved me wrong. It will be an incredible legacy for China, home to 1/5th of the world's population.....a legacy not just by physical and infrastructural means but the spirit of China and its people as a whole.

Well done China!


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Poor Athens. The Greek forumers won't like this, but it does prove a point...that the IOC needs to be more pragmatic in its selection of future Olympiads. That is good news for the likes of Paris, Madrid, Toronto, and even Istanbul...all of which either have the facilities in place or had good legacy planning as part of their recent bids. But sketchy for places that are looking to build from scratch and for pure patriotic glory.

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Do you all have lost your minds? Poor Athens? Why? Because this ridiculous idiot writes incoherence and untrue nonsenses without any research, without any journalistic sincerity? Were are his proofs?

Journalism isnt to write every flatulence your little brain produces. :angry:

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Do you all have lost your minds? Poor Athens? Why? Because this ridiculous idiot writes incoherence and untrue nonsenses without any research, without any journalistic sincerity? Were are his proofs?

Journalism isnt to write every flatulence your little brain produces. :angry:

I guess I'm curious how this reporter is incorrect. I just googled it and there are pictures all over the place of the facilities in Athens today and his description seems accurate (although I couldn't find any gypsys outside the stadium.

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my favourite:

the water cube was built to a sensible size!?!?!?!?! the actual aquatic centre only takes up about half the space.

But isn't that because the rest will be house shops, restaurants, tennis courts, and an indoor water park?

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It's simple. The Olympic Games have become too big and too expensive. It's just a matter of time before another host city bankrupts itself to stage the Games.

The bubble will burst at some point, and when it does it will be a huge wake up call to the IOC. Paris 2012 had the right idea, and prepared a bid utilising existing venue structures. Instead the IOC turned their backs on their own ideals and opted for brand new, impressive, start-from-scratch, cost a fortune Olympic Parks. Hey presto....London 2012.

The IOC need a boot up their backside and need to change their mindset.

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Faliron Olympic Complex:

The Faliron Marina

Has become the National Nautical Centre. Belongs to the Hellenic National Sailing Federation

The Faliron Gymnasium

Has become the International Convention Centre of Athens

The Beach-Volleyball Stadium

Has become an Open-Air Theater for music concerts, art performances and theatralical plays

Faliron Delta and Esplenada

The walking area will be connected with the Faliron Delta where the New National Opera, New National Library and Cultural Centre of Stavros Niarchos will be built by famous architect Piano Renzo

The IBC (International Broadcastin Centre)

Belongs to private Investor Lamda Development and will open this year with the name "Golden Hall" as a Mall. Part of the IBC will be the Athens Olympic Museum

The Olympic Press Centre

Has become the new Office Centre of the Hellenic Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity

The Goudi Equastrian Centre

Has become a multipurpose area for cultural and athletic events and a place for young artist to create culture

The Olympic Badminton Hall

Has become the ultra modern Badminton Theater

The Markopoulo Shooting Centre

Belongs today to the Hellenic Police as the National Training Centre

The Olympic Equastrian Centre of Markopoulo

Belongs today to the Hellenic Equastrian Federation and serves the needs of training and staging equastrian sport events

Schinias Rowing Centre

Is used by the Hellenic Rowing and Canoe-Kayak Federations for training and competition. It is also one of the official training centres of the International Rowing Federation FISA

The Ano Liosion Arena

Has to become the National Digital Archive and Centre of Cultural Academies

Nikea Arena

Is today the Academic Centre of the Pireus University

Pancretian Stadium

Is today the national Stadium of Crete and serves the training needs all proffesional and amatuer athletic clubs

but also for the training and competition of schools.

Patras Stadium (the Panpeloponnisian)

Belongs today to the National Ministry of Athletism. A cooparation between the Ministry and the Municipality of Patras has been signed. The University of Patras is also involved in this cooperation.

Volos Stadium (the Panthessalian)

Is the National Stadium of Magnisia, Volos and Nea Ionia and serves training and competition. It will be the main venue of the Volos 2013 Mediterranean Games for the Opening and Closing Ceremony and athletics.

Galatsi Olympic Centre

Sierra Charagionis S.A. has earned the usage rights for the next 40 years as a Mall.

Agios Kosmas Sailing Centre

Has become a touristic and leisure site. It serves the need of hosting 1000 luxurious yachts. A new romantic walking area at the sea-front has been created with restaurants, plams and benches.

Hellenikon Olympic Complex

The complete site will become the Athens Metropolitan Park until 2012. The park of 783.000 square meters will be europes biggest Metropolitan Park.

The venue of Canoe Kayak Slalom will become the Athens Hydropark. At this moment the venue of Baseball is the home of the Hellenic National Football Team


The Athens Olympic Sport Complex existed before the Games. It was renovated by the fantastic Santiago Calatrava. Today it is one the masterpieces of architecture in Olympic history. All venues are in use ni the same frequence as before the Games.

The Athens Olympic Stadium is home of Superleague Panathiniakos and AEK Athens. It hosted the UEFA Champions League Final, and the superb Acropolis Rally of World Rally Championchips. All venues of the OAKA are in use and the Olympic site can be visited by organized tourists groups. In September Madonna will perform in the Athens Olympic Complex in a sold out concert. Bjork had her concert in the Olympic Indoor Hall in July. The Agora and the Wall of Nations hosted this July the Fly Beeyond Festival and the Fashion Walk of Nike. The Velodrome staged the Panhellenic Cyclin Championchips in Juni and the bacardi-b-live party in July.

Beyond the venues Athens has because of the Olympic Games:

The New Athens International Airport. One of the best Airports in the World in its category with so many international awards.

The New Athens Tram and Metro Systems. Europes newest and most modern subway and s-bahn systems

The Attica Motorway with a total length of 65 Km

The Rio-Antirio "H.Trikoupis" Bridge . Worlds longest cable-stayed bridge awarded the "Engineering achievement of the Year"

I will not talk about the Olympic Games itself staged absolutely successfully, with all venues ready in time, fantastic organisation, unique competition venues such Ancient Olympia and the Panathinaiko Stadio, superb weather, perfect public transportation.............................. etc.

I will not talk about the homecomming of the Games, the first International Torch Relay, the fantastic Look of the Games, the revolutionary Opening Ceremony.

I will talk about how Athens sold as many tickets as Barcelona did althought we are a Nation of only 11.000.000.

I will not talk about the athletic success and the records of the Athens 2004 Games.

I will not talk about the anticipation of 11.000.000 Greeks to welcome the Olympic Games home. The unbelievable joy and proudness that was relate to it while the International Press did its best to manipulate those Games.

About the magical moments we lived in a natural, warmth and free place.

The journalists talks about Beijing Olympic Legacy only one day after the end of the Games!!!! And he discribes it as the big success. One day after the Games!!

People were forced to leave their homes and got jailed for their protests, to built the venues. Some 40 people died during construction. Chinese had to work under unhuman conditions. Even in the Opening Ceremony soldiers were forced to **** in diapers because it was forbidden for them to go to the toilette for 7 hours. What a great success... He talks about great economic success when even Beijing Economists and business men have complaint about the fact that the touristic boom didnt came and the most hotel rooms were empty. He talks about Beijing beeing a city that deeply loves its sports when they had to arrange "fake" audience in some venues to cover the empty seats... He talks about great Games when people that were there report about a cold and a tense atmosphere. If he considers this as a great success.. please, let him.

But to talk about the Athens Games with lies and in such unrespectfull way, about the Birthplace of the Olympic Games! He didnt had the uprightness to research what he is writting. He reports lies such as 21 of 22 venues unused! He has the boldness to discribe the Athens Games as embarrassingly and disgracefully wrong. This unique achievement of a smallest Nation hosting this gigantic sporting event that the Olympics absolutely successfull (by far more successfull hen Atlanta) has become embarrassingly and disgracefully? He has nerves!

And he isnt just an idiot. He is also a rasistic idiot. As it is a disgrace to be gypsy.

And people in here, are so excited about this mudslinging against Athens, getting almost a hard-on by reading this brainless article and posting their "funny" answers.

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Hmmmm - doesn't sound like abandoned to me.

BTW - there is a BBC report on Google I found that essentially said the same thing this report did but they went around with a camera.

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But truthfully, savas, for a city of what? 2-3 million people, and a country of some 11 million people spread out over many islands, that is a few too many stadia and arenas to sustain over time.

:blink: My city has double the population of Greece!

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The pictures of BBC and the reports are reffering to the Hellenikon Complex which is at this stage in a "stand-by" phase. We know those pictures from greek media also. Yes the planing did last too long. Yes we could have done it faster. Yes, we were busy before the Games to get things ready on time. This was a gigantic effort but it was Greeces choise. We knew what it means. We knew that it would be expensive. But we didnt care. It is our mentality. If i go out with some friends and i have only 100 euros for the next 10 days i still will spend it at this evening to have fun. because it feels good to have this great time with good friends. It was our priority to stage the Games and we made it.

Yes, the Olympic legacy was problematic at some stages because we hadnt the time before to think about it and we hadnt the experience. Maybe she isnt as prfect as she could be. But why cannot this be our own business? It is like giving a party. Id rather have too many food and drinks, knowing that some of them may be wasted after the party. It is my choise and it should be ok for my guests. Why do i have to apologize for having too many food? Its was our party.. We had a fantastic time and great joy.. Why isnt this enough?

This Olympic Games was a dream come true for Greece. We waited so long for them to come home. It was the start of a new chapter in greek history. We learnt so many things about our selfs and we noticed our weak points. Maybe this new chapter starts slow and the writer is the same one. But it is a new one.. Maybe our Olympics wasnt perfect but we made them with our deepest heart.

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I feel sorry for the Greeks. I do understand the points being made on legacy but I think it's important to also recognise just what a fabulous games the Greek people put on for us. Your opening ceremony was simply beautiful and elegant. I think that is certainly one thing that Beijing could not stand up to.

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And he isnt just an idiot. He is also a rasistic idiot. As it is a disgrace to be gypsy.

Uhmmm, savas, aren't you being self-contradictory here?

#1 - This article is a rehash of an earlier one, I believe, written by an Int'l Herald reporter.

#2 - He called it as it is. A gypsy is a gypsy or a Romani, however you want to call it.

(In the States, 'gypsy' does not carry any 'racist' connotations, like in 'niggar'. As a matter of fact, there is a 'romantic notion' to being a 'gypsy.' All it means to us is someone who has no roots; forever moving. It could also mean an actor on Broadway who makes a living by doing the rounds of being in the chorus of shows that are currently playing.

But the term also carries 'shady' or shifty connotations in the US. Gypsies tend to 'gyp' or trick people. Of course, my brother, who is a doctor with a large HMO, absolutely dreads dealing with people of 'gypsy' descent. They are troublesome, stubborn, totally disregard and violate hospital rules andr egulations, and he says are more bother than they are worth. But the term does NOT carry 'racist' connotations in North America. )

#3 - You call him a 'racist idiot' but then in your next sentence, you say it is a "...disgrace to be 'gypsy'..." So you are actually confirming what he just said.

SO HOW CAN HE BE RACIST? Doesn't that make you 'racist' as well? <_<

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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I will not play silly kindergarden games of using political correct names Barron. It isnt the use of the word it is the meaning behind is saying:

Gypsy camps have sprung up in the shadow of stadiums where the world’s finest athletes once battled for gold.

If you can not see the chauvinism and the rasism in this sentense then i cant help you either...

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I will not play silly kindergarden games of using political correct names Barron. It isnt the use of the word it is the meaning behind is saying:

Gypsy camps have sprung up in the shadow of stadiums where the world’s finest athletes once battled for gold.

If you can not see the chauvinism and the rasism in this sentense then i cant help you either...

No, I don't.

But haven't they also become encampments for 'illegal immigrants' for those wanting to go farther into Europe?

I saw a documentary on this -- people from Pakistan and the other '--stan' republics who want to eventually get to France or Italy or Switzerland, and use Greece and Turkey as halfway stations. And indeed it makes sense that they temporarily live by these installations that are not being used.

And there is NOTHING shameful about this. I think you are taking the 'sacredness of the Olympic Games' way too seriously. The ORIGINAL REPORTER (the International Herald reporter) merely reported what s/he saw. If it wasn't there, then s/he would NOT have reported it.

As a matter of fact, I felt sorry for those 'illegal immigrants.'

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Why are gysies still allowed?

In terms of Athens venues, why are many of them still locked up when BBC etc. do visits..are they using old footage?

If some of the venues are now in use can we see pics. I know there is a a legacy website but its not exactly updated.

If a journalist claims a venue is a white elephant, the story can easily be rubbished by showing its actually in use


1. An event program e.g. Greeces major mega star Nikolas Kosta Konstantinos Panalopolilipis is performing at this venue

2. A pic...

3. something else.

Reality easily silences sensationalist headlines.

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