Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ejaycat

Beijing Trumps Athens... And Then Some

Recommended Posts

^ Because it is meant to be a lesson. If Greece wants to pay big bills for empty facilities, go ahead. You have your wish. But if the IOC is going to push the sustainability card, they need to live by it and award future Olympics to cities that include legacy planning in their bids. Montreal. Seoul. Sydney. Athens. All of them have left over Olympic facilities that are under utilized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The IOC is constantly looking for host sites that will leave some legacy on the city. I can't speak to how well utilized the venues are in Athens, but I find it hard to believe that the organizers there didn't have at least some sense of what they were getting into. So far as I know, Greece needed a major upgrade to move ahead into the 21st Century and they got that because of the Olympics. Are there buildings and structures that are less than useful now that the games are over.. I'm sure. And will Greece ever seen the Olympics in their homeland again?.. maybe not. The IOC is mindful of not allowing a city and a country to get in over their heads (think Montreal) and as long as they are not poorly managed and operated and they're not about to accept any bid without some sort of plan for the future. Did the Chinese really NEED to spend $40 billion on the Olympics? Probably not, but it will leave a lasting legacy there no matter how much the venues are used in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a little info: The Olympic Games in México were in 1968 and the government IS STILL charging taxes for those games!!! 40 YEARS AFTER!! I was born in 1992 and in a couple of years, will have to pay for what happened in 1968...That's surely not needed money...But the Mexican government still asks for it...Anyway, México did owe a lot of money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a little info: The Olympic Games in México were in 1968 and the government IS STILL charging taxes for those games!!! 40 YEARS AFTER!! I was born in 1992 and in a couple of years, will have to pay for what happened in 1968...That's surely not needed money...But the Mexican government still asks for it...Anyway, México did owe a lot of money.

We rest our case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a little info: The Olympic Games in México were in 1968 and the government IS STILL charging taxes for those games!!! 40 YEARS AFTER!! I was born in 1992 and in a couple of years, will have to pay for what happened in 1968...That's surely not needed money...But the Mexican government still asks for it...Anyway, México did owe a lot of money.

That's disgusting. Mexico has lots of oil and other natural resources, and prefers to allow its people to live in the third world and have anchor babies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well... The problem with legacy, as was adequately noted, is that after the Games, it costs a WHOLE lot to maintain. A report from the Guardian estimates that the Birds Nest alone will cost $10 million (yes, in US money, not RMB) to maintain. Even looking at Sydney, yes the Olympic Park is still a grand monument to the Olympics but it is a mighty line item in the Sydney budget while sadly, none of us praise Torino for the money it spent on things that give back to the community like its Metro system.

I think Beijing set a terrible example. Architectural pornography at an enormous cost... And the world awed. And what did Beijing get for $40 billion? Its 15 minutes of fame and a city that is as poorly planned, unsustainable, as Houston. Its population was manhandled out to put in that green which, for debate, no modern, democratic state is willing to do as aggressively. Beyond the argument of the Games being too big, I would add the IOC is too egotistical, wanting an Olympic green with its name on it.

Now, to be fair, Beijing has new subway lines, a new airport and yet, no one recognized those accomplishments that will have much more legacy than crazy stadia.

Kriton Capps does a good job continuing the argument: Olympic architecture is a burden after the games end (Guardian)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, but this article is a blatant misrepresentation of the situation in Athens. Yet so many people here seem to be taking it as the gospel, without any sort of second word from anywhere else. I personally take a lot of what is written by the American and British press about Greece with a grain of salt...they have a history of lambasting Greece unfairly, not just over the Olympics, but politically as well.

It's absurd of the writer to assert that the Beijing games were a model of economic management when $40 billion was spent on the games. The opening ceremony alone cost 10x what was spent for the Athens ceremony.

Not to mention that most of the facilities are in use. Even if some were not in use immediately after the games (which is where the footage shown on TV is likely from)...today, just about all of the facilities are in use, and the Greek government has formed a corporation to oversee the redevelopment of all of the Olympic facilities and in many cases, their sale or lease to private contractors.

I took the liberty of writing to Martin Rogers, the author of this article, with some comments...I've pasted it below:

Your recent article, "Beijing Trumps Athens, and then some," is a shining example of misinformed, hack journalism at its ultimate worst. There is honestly not one part of your article that even remotely reflects the true reality of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, games which were amongst the most successful of our time, and which have brought numerous improvements to the City of Athens and to the image of Greece internationally.

The main assertion of your article is that 21 out of 22 sporting facilities used during the Athens Olympic Games now lie unused and abandoned, in "various states of ruin," as you so completely inaccurately described it. This is so absurdly far from the truth that I have to wonder how you could have possibly garnered this impression. Let's go through some of the facilities, shall we?

Athens Olympic Stadium: Is in continuous use to this day. It is the home field for two of Greece's major football clubs, AEK and Panathinaikos. It hosts annual track and field meets. Most significantly, it hosted the 2007 UEFA Champions League final, Europe's largest annual football event.

Athens Olympic Complex: The indoor basketball arena is in continuous use for both domestic and international matches. It is the home court of Panathinaikos and AEK's basketball clubs, and Greece's national basketball team plays its home games here. It was most recently used just before the Beijing Olympics for the Olympic Qualifying matches in basketball, through which Greece, Germany and Croatia qualified for the Beijing Olympic games. The aquatic center is also in continuous use, for water polo and swim meets, and the tennis center and velodrome are also in continuous use as well.

Peace and Friendship Stadium: in continuous use as the home court for one of Greece's largest basketball teams, Olympiakos. It is also used for volleyball matches, conventions and concerts.

Hellinikon Olympic Complex: The basketball stadium is still in use, hosting home games of Greek Women's National basketball team, as well as the Panionios basketball team. The baseball and softball stadium has been converted to a football pitch, used by Ethnikos FC, in Greece's second category.

Faliron Indoor Arena and Olympic Coastal Zone: The indoor arena is used as a concert and exhibition space, and the coastal zone has continued to be used as part of Athens' revitalized coastline. The Agios Kosmas Olympic Center is used for sailing meets and yachting, amongst other activities.

Markopoulo Equestrian Complex: Remains in use today for horse racing.

Goudi Olympic Complex: The former badminton facility has been converted to a theater and concert hall.

Nikaia Olympic Complex: The former weightlifting facility has been converted to a convention and meeting center.

Galatsi Indoor Arena: Is in use as a basketball arena.

Olympic Press Center: Has been converted to a convention center.

International Broadcast Center: Has been converted to retail and office space.

Olympic Village: apartments were sold to low-income individuals (unlike Beijing, where the Olympic Village apartments will be sold to middle and upper-class residents).

Karaiskaki Stadium, Kaftanzoglio Stadium, Panthessaliko Stadium, Pankritio Stadium, Panpeloponisiako Stadium: all of these football facilities are still in use today for football matches and track and field meets. Karaiskaki Stadium is the home pitch for Greek football champions Olympiakos FC as well as for the Greek National team, the Kaftanzoglio Stadium is the home pitch for Iraklis FC, the Panthessaliko Stadium is home to Olympiakos Volou of Greece's second division and hosted the final of the Greek football cup two years ago. The Pankritio Stadium is home to OFI FC and Ergotelis FC and also recently hosted a Greek Cup final. Panpeloponisiako Stadium is home to Panahaiki FC of Greece's third division, and three years ago also hosted a Greek Cup final.

Schinias Rowing Center: still in use today as a recreational facility, as part of the Schinias National Park.

In addition, your article conveniently neglected to mention any of the other drastic infrastructure improvements which were made in Athens in the years leading up to the 2004 Summer Olympics; improvements which have greatly benefited the quality of life of the 4+ million residents of the greater Athens region and the millions of tourists who visit the city annually. A partial list of these major infrastructure improvements includes the brand-new Athens Metro, the suburban railway, the Athens tram (light rail) system, the Attiki Odos (Athens ring road or beltway), the Aigaleo Periferiaki Odos (a major highway on the western edge of Athens), the new Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport), improved facilities at the port of Piraeus (Greece's largest port and one of the world's largest), and much, much more.

It should be noted that works on many of these projects have continued even after the conclusion of the 2004 Olympic Games, as the Athens Metro and tram systems, as well as the Attiki Odos and suburban railway, are under continuous expansion. Expansions are also in the works at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, which has seen its passenger volume increase drastically since the Athens Olympic Games. Clearly, the hosting of the Olympic Games by Athens helped spur a number of much-needed projects and infrastructure improvements which are continuing to this day and which were not merely a fleeting oasis in the history of this city.

Your article also points out the expected boon to tourism that the Olympic Games will provide to Beijing, conveniently neglecting to mention that Greece has seen record amounts of tourists visit in 2005, 2006, and 2007, the three years immediately following the Olympic Games. It is reasonable to say that Greece's success in hosting the Olympic Games, and the positive image it portrayed to the world during those two weeks in August of 2004, have significantly contributed to this growth. In the past two years alone, two U.S. air carriers, Continental Airlines and U.S. Airways, have launched non-stop service to Greece, and numerous international air carriers, from Aer Lingus to Air China, have also launched routes to Greece. That is a clear indication of the successful growth in tourism to Greece in the past four years and is, in part, another positive legacy of the Athens Olympics.

It is tremendously irresponsible and reprehensible of you to portray such lies and inaccuracies under the guise of fair and objective reporting. One has to wonder what your sources (if any) were. Curiously, your article provides no citations of any kind to support your assertions on how the Athens Games were, and continue to be, a dismal failure for Athens and Greece. And maliciously, you took the opportunity to editorialize, and in turn, slander an entire country, by claiming that the Olympic Games will never return to Athens, or by claiming that the Olympic Games were awarded to Athens merely as a form of "tokenism." Do you have any evidence to support this contention? None is offered in your article.

In the weeks, months, and years leading up to the Athens Olympics, Athens was lambasted in the international press. Sometimes the criticism was justified, but in many cases, the criticism served no other purpose than to defame an entire country, to belittle Greece's ability to host the games, and to spread blatant, malicious falsehoods and misinformation to an international audience. Athens proved the naysayers and doubters wrong by successfully hosting the Olympic Games, by having all of its facilities ready on time for the games, by having trains, buses, airplanes and other public transport run reliably and on time, by hosting the games without any threat to the games' security, by outselling cities like Barcelona and Seoul (widely regarded to have hosted extremely successful Olympic Games), by providing spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Many in the international press were forced to apologize for their unfair and unjust criticism of Athens and Greece, and the games, in their aftermath, were widely lauded as a success.

You were right about one thing, however. A Greek Tragedy has taken place. However, the tragedy has nothing to do with the state of the Olympic facilities in Athens in the aftermath of the games. No, the true tragedy is that four years after the games, there still remain some irresponsible, yellow journalists like yourself who continue to perpetuate blatant myths and falsehoods against Athens, defaming an entire nation and providing a false impression to millions of readers in the process. A true Greek tragedy, if there ever was one.

Here is a letter that I wrote to

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sorry, but this article is a blatant misrepresentation of the situation in Athens. Yet so many people here seem to be taking it as the gospel, without any sort of second word from anywhere else. I personally take a lot of what is written by the American and British press about Greece with a grain of salt...they have a history of lambasting Greece unfairly, not just over the Olympics, but politically as well.

It's absurd of the writer to assert that the Beijing games were a model of economic management when $40 billion was spent on the games. The opening ceremony alone cost 10x what was spent for the Athens ceremony.

Not to mention that most of the facilities are in use. Even if some were not in use immediately after the games (which is where the footage shown on TV is likely from)...today, just about all of the facilities are in use, and the Greek government has formed a corporation to oversee the redevelopment of all of the Olympic facilities and in many cases, their sale or lease to private contractors.

I took the liberty of writing to Martin Rogers, the author of this article, with some comments...I've pasted it below:

Allow me to also say that there's nothing to feel bad about regarding Greece. The facilities are just about all in use or are in the process of being converted. Aside from the facilities, Athens has benefited tremendously from all of the infrastructure improvements that were made (and which continue to be made to this day, as the metro, Attiki ring road, suburban railway, tram, etc. are all still being expanded). Tourism in Greece went up tremendously after the 2004 games, and as it is Greece's most vital industry, it has been a major boon to the economy. Greece is going to host the 2013 Mediterranean games, will be submitting candidacy for the 2013 Eurobasket, the 2014 World Championship of Basketball, and is considering a run at the Euro 2016.

Someone pointed out that this is "too many" stadiums for a country the size of Greece, but it isn't, when one considers how many of the stadiums have been converted to non-athletic uses that were much needed in Athens...from museums to concert venues to shopping malls to university facilities. If anything, *more* stadiums are being built in Athens and in Greece today, quite simply because there is a demand for them. Panathinaikos is set to build a 50,000 seat stadium in an underdeveloped area of Athens. The new stadium will highlight the area's urban renewal. AEK Athens is also slated to build a new stadium in the coming years. Teams in other Greek cities, like Larissa and Tripoli, are building their own stadiums as well.

When reading such articles as the one Martin Rogers wrote, I can't help but think back to the blatantly negative articles that were written about Athens leading up to the games. Seeing quotes in the press such as "the only worse place to hold the Olympics would be Baghdad" really spoke volumes. While Greece was falling behind in preparations for the games, a lot of that had to do with the additional burden it took on after the 9/11 attacks, and the additional spending that had to be made for these new security concerns. The fact of the matter is that the facilities were finished on time, and were top-notch. Let's not point out the Montreal fiasco in 1976, or even Atlanta in 1996, when the Olympic Stadium was barely finished on time for the games. Let's not even talk about the hypocrisy of criticizing Greece over the very same problems which faced cities like Atlanta and which were completely ignored by the American, British and Australian media (who led the charge against Athens). Or the laughable assertions about empty seats at the Athens games, when Athens sold more tickets than Barcelona and Seoul (two larger cities, two larger countries, and two Olympiads that are considered to have been extremely successful), and this after the scare-mongering that took place in the weeks, months and years leading up to the Athens games, which kept a lot of people away, as did post-9/11 security concerns. Look at how many empty seats were at the Beijing games this year, in a city that has a larger population than all of Greece and in the largest country in the world. There were even plenty of empty seats at non-marquee events in Sydney as far as I can recall, and this was before 9/11.

So yes, I do feel that Greece has been lambasted quite unfairly, and continues to be lambasted unfairly to this day, as this most recent article proves. But unfortunately, old stereotypes die hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you think about it, I no longer doubt what Savas said. I recall during the last minute preparations of Athens when questions arose if facilities would be completed, that even the Greeks on here admitted that they aren't the fastest when it comes to preparing for grand projects. So it doesn't surprise me four years later that some facilities may just now be in the process of being converted. If the Greeks are comfortable with that then what does it really matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Look at how many empty seats were at the Beijing games this year, in a city that has a larger population than all of Greece and in the largest country in the world. There were even plenty of empty seats at non-marquee events in Sydney as far as I can recall, and this was before 9/11.

While I agree with most of your post I do need to comment on this.

In Sydney the only events to really struggle attendence wise were the wrestling events and the non-Sydney based football. Nearly everything else the full public allocation of tickets were sold out. This was also the case in Beijing. You could not buy any tickets at any venues or on the official ticket site. Cosport had a few tickets here and there but apart from scalpers there were no tickets available for general sale. Of course this means many tickets were bought by the Chinese to ensure they sold out - and not to attend. A weird phenomena.

In Athens there were empty seats because people did not buy tickets. Opening Ceremony tickets were available up until a few weeks prior to the Games opening. Numerous blue ribbon events were half empty - swimming, athletics, football, gymnastics - entire upper decks were empty. That is a fact. I was there. I could get tickets to just about everything I wanted. It was great for me, bad for ATHOC. Otherwise they were a very well run Games and the naysayers be damned - a fact is a fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few comments:

#1 - What is considered 'in use'? 2, 3 concerts a year in hall? Yes, that would be in use -- but at a negative 93% per cent, rather than a positive 51% +.

If Greece has 'suffered an 'unfair'' rap from the Anglo-Saxon (there's that word again) press, I think it's because of Greek 'arrogance' exhibited as far back as 1990 in Tokyo when, in the run for the 1996 bid, none other than the Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, kicked a photographer out of spite after Athens lost. This 'arrogance' continues today in the form of the sheer xenophobic (continually posting ONLY ABOUT the Greek athletes, as if theywere the only ones who showed up in Beijing), and the unabashedly 'sour grapes' stance displayed by some of our Greek forumers. He doesn't realize that it COULD NOT be perceived as nothing less, and maybe by gracefully allowing Beijing to have its moment in the sun, WITHOUT taking away any of the brilliance of Athens' 2004 efforts, would've made all the difference. The issue of perception works both ways.

#2 - Tickets to Beijing and Athens. So, to conflate Puppy's and Maryjane's (WHERE is that firebrand, BTW?) comments...

ATHENS - so events did NOT sell out since tickets were easily available before many events.

BEIJING - On record, sold out -- but still many empty seats. EXPLANATION: The Chinese (1.3 billion) did indeed buy up most of the tix. As MJ said, many wished to keep them as souvenirs REGARDLESS of which event was indicated on their tix. So probably, these were from the provinces, who forsook a trip to Beijing, but decided to keep their tickets WHOLE (i.e., unused), rather than actually going to Beijing. Since many tickets were also made inexpensive and affordable, these probably accounted for the great presence of scalpers, as Puppy had pointed out. So, regardless of the state of the 2nd-owner tikcet market, the events were indeed officially SOLD OUT.

So, maybe each new Organizing Committee hereafter and the IOC should now create a new PHANTOM ticket category -- creating and selling tickets NOT TO BE USED, hence with non-existent seating assignmets -- just so the holograms are there, and the ticket-keeping public can have their little piece of the action, untorn.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A few comments:

#1 - What is considered 'in use'? 2, 3 concerts a year in hall? Yes, that would be in use -- but at a negative 93% per cent, rather than a positive 51% +.

All of those sporting facilities are in use on a frequent basis. For instance, any of the sporting facilities that are now used for football or basketball matches (Olympic Stadium, Karaiskaki, Kaftanzoglio, etc., the converted baseball stadium, the Hellinikon arena, the Olympic indoor arena, the Peace and Friendship Stadium, etc.) are in continuous use for league matches, as well as matchups with European squads. The Olympic Indoor stadium also held the Olympic qualifying tournament for basketball just a couple of weeks before the games. The OAKA held the Champions League final in 2007, holds domestic and international track meets (Tsiklitiria) each year, is used for concerts (Bjork in July, Madonna next month are examples), etc.

A lot of the other facilities are also under continuous use for non-sports functions, e.g. the Nikaia Weightlifting Hall is now a part of the University of Piraeus campus, the IBF is now the headquarters for the Greek Ministry of Health, the Faliron indoor arena has become Athens' international convention center, etc. The Olympic village has been converted to low-income apartments. The Markopoulo shooting range has become part of the Hellenic Police training academy. The Rowing center has been turned over to recreational use and for international rowing meets (it is an official FINA facility).

And there are some which are still in the process of being converted, e.g., the canoe-kayak facility which is being coverted to a waterpark, as part of the larger redevelopment of the former airport into a metropolitan park, or the Press Center, which is being converted now to Athens' Olympic Museum and to retail and office space.

Not to mention all of the other infrastructure improvements...metro, tram, suburban rail, highways, and so many others, that are in use 24-7-365 and have significantly improved the city's infrastructure and quality of life.

How this "reporter" somehow came up with 21 out of the 22 facilities laying empty and abandoned is beyond me, when it was never the case, even in the immediate aftermath of the games, when a lot of the facilities had not yet been converted. It is a blatant lie and one has to wonder what his real intentions were.

If Greece has 'suffered an 'unfair'' rap from the Anglo-Saxon (there's that word again) press, I think it's because of Greek 'arrogance' exhibited as far back as 1990 in Tokyo when, in the run for the 1996 bid, none other than the Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, kicked a photographer out of spite after Athens lost. This 'arrogance' continues today in the form of the sheer xenophobic (continually posting ONLY ABOUT the Greek athletes, as if theywere the only ones who showed up in Beijing), and the unabashedly 'sour grapes' stance displayed by some of our Greek forumers. He doesn't realize that it COULD NOT be perceived as nothing less, and maybe by gracefully allowing Beijing to have its moment in the sun, WITHOUT taking away any of the brilliance of Athens' 2004 efforts, would've made all the difference. The issue of perception works both ways.

Any "arrogance" displayed by Greece in 1990 should not have any bearing on what should be a fair and objective press. However, international press coverage of Greece throughout the 80's, 90's and the early part of this decade was usually biased and one-sided. I'll never forget when the American press speculated, in the immediate aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 crash in 1996, that a security breach in Athens was responsible for the crash, even though the plane had flown from Athens to New York safely and took off from JFK before crashing. That is one of many examples of biased, irresponsible pseudo-journalism made at Greece's expense, but there's many more, and without even including the ridiculously harsh coverage of Athens' preparation to host the Olympic games. Of course, any "arrogance" displayed in 1990 also has absolutely NOTHING to do with the city's preparation for the games, its hosting of the games, or the aftermath of the games in Athens.

Continuously posting about Greek athletes? Have you seen NBC coverage of the Olympics in the USA? It was as if no other countries existed, just the USA and perhaps China. I lost count of how many separate interviews NBC held with Michael Phelps alone during the Olympics, but it was surely in the double digits. That's not arrogance? And again, what does ANY of this have to do with the Olympic facilities in Athens? You seem to be grasping for straws, which is not surprising, based on your previous posts which all seem to have a very evident negativity towards Greece.

And I highly doubt that the author of this article, Martin Rogers, reads these forums and was influenced by the "arrogance" of Greek forumers that you are citing. While you may disagree with that "arrogance," remember that it works both ways, and that your comments can be construed as arrogant as well (I feel that they are), and that again, they have NOTHING to do with the topic of this discussion.

#2 - Tickets to Beijing and Athens. So, to conflate Puppy's and Maryjane's (WHERE is that firebrand, BTW?) comments...

ATHENS - so events did NOT sell out since tickets were easily available before many events.

BEIJING - On record, sold out -- but still many empty seats. EXPLANATION: The Chinese (1.3 billion) did indeed buy up most of the tix. As MJ said, many wished to keep them as souvenirs REGARDLESS of which event was indicated on their tix. So probably, these were from the provinces, who forsook a trip to Beijing, but decided to keep their tickets WHOLE (i.e., unused), rather than actually going to Beijing. Since many tickets were also made inexpensive and affordable, these probably accounted for the great presence of scalpers, as Puppy had pointed out. So, regardless of the state of the 2nd-owner tikcet market, the events were indeed officially SOLD OUT.

What good does it do if the Olympic games were "sold out" if the facilities were half-empty? I was shocked to see the Bronze metal match in basketball played in front of a half-empty arena. That certainly wasn't the case in Athens. If the Chinese government purchased many of those tickets, as has widely been reported, that certainly does skew the final tally, doesn't it? The fact remains that there were many empty seats at Olympic facilities in a country of 1.3 billion, in games with a budget of $40 billion, in a city that is almost twice the size of the entire country of Greece.

If anyone has an excuse for empty seats, it's Athens. A country of 11 million people, in the first games after 9/11 and the Madrid bombings, held during the month of August when many Athenians traditionally flee the city for their vacation homes and hometowns. And despite that, Athens outsold Barcelona and Seoul, two larger markets and two Olympic Games that are considered to have been very successful. Just because the Greek government didn't "cheat" by purchasing the rest of the tickets in order to claim that the games were "sold out" doesn't mean anything. In fact, I will personally take that honesty instead of the Chinese government's efforts to paint a pretty picture of Beijing at all costs.

Plus, from what I have read, organizers in Beijing were disappointed at the lower-than-expected turnout of foreign visitors to the games, and the tickets were actually too expensive for the average Chinese person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While I agree with most of your post I do need to comment on this.

In Sydney the only events to really struggle attendence wise were the wrestling events and the non-Sydney based football. Nearly everything else the full public allocation of tickets were sold out. This was also the case in Beijing. You could not buy any tickets at any venues or on the official ticket site. Cosport had a few tickets here and there but apart from scalpers there were no tickets available for general sale. Of course this means many tickets were bought by the Chinese to ensure they sold out - and not to attend. A weird phenomena.

In Athens there were empty seats because people did not buy tickets. Opening Ceremony tickets were available up until a few weeks prior to the Games opening. Numerous blue ribbon events were half empty - swimming, athletics, football, gymnastics - entire upper decks were empty. That is a fact. I was there. I could get tickets to just about everything I wanted. It was great for me, bad for ATHOC. Otherwise they were a very well run Games and the naysayers be damned - a fact is a fact.

Sydney did do better than Athens in terms of attendance, that is true. No one denies that, though I do still recall seeing empty seats even at some track and field events (I can find photos if necessary). That shouldn't be held against Sydney any more than empty seats should be held against Athens or Beijing for that matter. Except that it seems that Athens was assailed quite unfairly over it when it would have been more responsible to look at the final ticket count to see that Athens did outsell some other very successful Olympics of the recent past, like Barcelona and Seoul (both of which were held in larger markets than Athens and Greece is).

Beijing being sold out tells me nothing because the reality was that there were many empty seats at a lot of events, even pretty marquee ones like basketball, and it's pretty much known that the Chinese government itself "purchased" a lot of those tickets.

Yes there were some events in Athens that did indeed have a lot of empty seats, but even in the sports you mentioned, the medal rounds were all packed. I personally had the opportunity that year to go to water polo, tennis, volleyball, football and numerous basketball matchups, most of the time not even involving the host country. In all of those cases except very early basketball games (we're talking the 9 AM and sometimes the 11 AM matchups if the teams were not medal contenders) the stadiums were packed, 100% or close to it. And a lot of these were preliminary round matchups to boot. Granted, this is anecdotal evidence, but I think the point is that turnout in Athens was not nearly as bad as was portrayed, and indeed, it is those portrayals by the international media that made a world of difference in the public's perception of the games, above and beyond the true reality of what actually happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Continuously posting about Greek athletes? Have you seen NBC coverage of the Olympics in the USA? It was as if no other countries existed, just the USA and perhaps China. I lost count of how many separate interviews NBC held with Michael Phelps alone during the Olympics, but it was surely in the double digits. That's not arrogance? And again, what does ANY of this have to do with the Olympic facilities in Athens? You seem to be grasping for straws, which is not surprising, based on your previous posts which all seem to have a very evident negativity towards Greece.

Well, of course, duh!! THey only paid what? some $850 million for the right to broadcast those Games. They have every right to feature, or over-feature whom they want. It is a purely a business decision more than anything else. And NBC is for the US market, so why are you taking them to task for that? I am sure the Greek broadcaster might have run a story or 2 about Phelps -- but I wouldn't have expected them or any non-US broadcaster to carry many stories about US athletes. Don't you think I realize how the per-market breakdown works?

Anyway, my point with -- and yes, let's name him, Pyrros with regards to this forum, was that he was soooo sorely focused on the Greek athletes to the almost total exclusion of atheltes from the other nations. Not that that was wrong in itself, but whereas most everyone else was discussing this or that achievement of faux pas, REGARDLESS of where the athlete or poster was form -- in other words, there was a great cross-fertilization of ideas and exchange, this one Greek poster ONLY posted about his Greek athletes. The overall effect was, like, 'hello? feeling insular again, today' ?

Yeah, that may have nothing to do with the preps and/or outcome of the Games, but to me, it seems indicative also of part of the Greek mindset...and I think the Greeks here take the Olympic thing far too seriously. There is, if you have been a lurker for some time, if you have noticed, a great amount of irreverence about the subject here -- and it doesn't mean that we cherish them any less. If anything, it is indicative of how the non-Greeks here cherish the subject...ONLY with a lot more humor. But having said that...

BTW, do you mind my asking if you are Greek or Greek-American and where did you watch these Beijing Games? If you do, fine. It just may help me better understand where you're coming from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, of course, duh!! THey only paid what? some $850 million for the right to broadcast those Games. They have every right to feature, or over-feature whom they want. It is a purely a business decision more than anything else. And NBC is for the US market, so why are you taking them to task for that? I am sure the Greek broadcaster might have run a story or 2 about Phelps -- but I wouldn't have expected them or any non-US broadcaster to carry many stories about US athletes. Don't you think I realize how the per-market breakdown works?

Of course they have every right to feature or over-feature whomever they want. However, after a certain point, it gets in the way of what they originally paid to do, which is to cover the Olympic Games. In many other countries, coverage of the Olympics doesn't rest merely with what the home country is doing, but focuses on events that feature other countries competing as well. NBC did not even show the men's 100 meter dash, they were too busy showing beach volleyball (with Team USA, of course). I mean, that's just absurd. And I am not alone in my disapproval of NBC's coverage of the game...their subpar coverage has not gone unnoticed by many.

Anyway, my point with -- and yes, let's name him, Pyrros with regards to this forum, was that he was soooo sorely focused on the Greek athletes to the almost total exclusion of atheltes from the other nations. Not that that was wrong in itself, but whereas most everyone else was discussing this or that achievement of faux pas, REGARDLESS of where the athlete or poster was form -- in other words, there was a great cross-fertilization of ideas and exchange, this one Greek poster ONLY posted about his Greek athletes. The overall effect was, like, 'hello? feeling insular again, today' ?

Yeah, that may have nothing to do with the preps and/or outcome of the Games, but to me, it seems indicative also of part of the Greek mindset...and I think the Greeks here take the Olympic thing far too seriously. There is, if you have been a lurker for some time, if you have noticed, a great amount of irreverence about the subject here -- and it doesn't mean that we cherish them any less. If anything, it is indicative of how the non-Greeks here cherish the subject...ONLY with a lot more humor. But having said that...

I don't want to get into any personal matches with users on this site. However, I will say this: the article in question here from Yahoo Sports is surely not a result of the actions of some Greek posters on some Greek message boards. It is the result of ignorance, possibly bias as well, and deals a serious blow to Greece with the misinformation contained within. Thousands, perhaps millions will read that article, and take everything that is said within it as a fact, when it absolutely isn't. And to be perfectly honest, I don't blame other Greeks if they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder regarding the Olympics. With all the negative coverage that Greece received leading up to the games, I think it is more or less to be expected that many Greek people will be trying to do whatever they can to point out their country's positives and Athens' successful hosting of the games, and will take offense to articles or posts that belittle the country or its hosting of the games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Of course they have every right to feature or over-feature whomever they want. However, after a certain point, it gets in the way of what they originally paid to do, which is to cover the Olympic Games. In many other countries, coverage of the Olympics doesn't rest merely with what the home country is doing, but focuses on events that feature other countries competing as well. NBC did not even show the men's 100 meter dash, they were too busy showing beach volleyball (with Team USA, of course). I mean, that's just absurd. And I am not alone in my disapproval of NBC's coverage of the game...their subpar coverage has not gone unnoticed by many.

I know this will be a shock, but I am not interested, as an example in that Greek woman who staged a motorcycle wreck in 2004 that your fellow countryman started a thread for (Thaneau is her name, right?) NBC reports on what it's core audience, North America is interested in. NBC does market research to see what the American audience is interested in and quite frankly, I would have been pissed if they had cut away from Misty and Keri. It wasn't live anyhow and we saw the 100m shortly after so whatever.

Geez I get annoyed with people saying what NBC should and should not be showing when they don't even live here! <_<

CBC focused on their medal hopefuls - BBC was almost orgasmic in covering theirs. That is just the way it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Of course they have every right to feature or over-feature whomever they want. However, after a certain point, it gets in the way of what they originally paid to do, which is to cover the Olympic Games. In many other countries, coverage of the Olympics doesn't rest merely with what the home country is doing, but focuses on events that feature other countries competing as well. NBC did not even show the men's 100 meter dash, they were too busy showing beach volleyball (with Team USA, of course). I mean, that's just absurd. And I am not alone in my disapproval of NBC's coverage of the game...their subpar coverage has not gone unnoticed by many.

Uhmm, Purely A, what are you talking about NBC giving a 'subpar' coverage? Man, they carried 3600 hours of broadcast. That is an all-time high!! Now, is it their fault that they serve the mainstream American audience and feature the top American athletes? Hello? Duh!!

If you paid a little more attention, you would have noticed that the NBC coverage spanned 5 or 6 channels (MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Telemundo, Oxygen, and I think one more) and anywhere there, you could go watch the Korea - Venus Women's Field Hockey game en toto; you could've watched a Malaysia-Indonesia badminton match in full. If you were a Spanish-speaker, you might have caught the so-called 100-meter dash on Telemundo; or many a Cuba - China baseball game. There was such a plethora of choices, that I had a hard time finding which channel showed my much-antiicpated volleyball matches. But please don't be absurd.

I have been watching the Olympics for some 40 years now -- and NBC filled my plate this time. It was more than I could ask for. If it didn't satisfy you, then find a way to get to the IBC center in London next time so you can watch 200 versions of the broadcasts.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What good does it do if the Olympic games were "sold out" if the facilities were half-empty? I was shocked to see the Bronze metal match in basketball played in front of a half-empty arena. That certainly wasn't the case in Athens. If the Chinese government purchased many of those tickets, as has widely been reported, that certainly does skew the final tally, doesn't it?

Nah. From what I saw, Beijing's stadia and arenas were a LOT fuller than Athens.' Don't you think they learned from the lessons of Athens? As previously explained, the bad weather or day-pass holders who still HADN't SHOWN up at the particular time the cameras you were watching, accounted for the no-shows. The Beach Volleyball stands were Full. The Rowing stands were full. The Triathlon /marathon swim arenas out by the Ming Tombs were FULL of enthusiastic crowds.. The wrestling matches were full. The Gymnastic and Indoor Volleyball stadia were PACKED!!

We must not have been watching the same events. You were obviously glued to a Greece -Comoros field hockey game which of course would garner only a few onlookers. :lol:

You look for events that are't televised on NBC but which were shown on the affilaite channels. You pick matches that nobody else watches. What is wrong with you? <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know this will be a shock, but I am not interested, as an example in that Greek woman who staged a motorcycle wreck in 2004 that your fellow countryman started a thread for (Thaneau is her name, right?) NBC reports on what it's core audience, North America is interested in. NBC does market research to see what the American audience is interested in and quite frankly, I would have been pissed if they had cut away from Misty and Keri. It wasn't live anyhow and we saw the 100m shortly after so whatever.

Geez I get annoyed with people saying what NBC should and should not be showing when they don't even live here! <_<

CBC focused on their medal hopefuls - BBC was almost orgasmic in covering theirs. That is just the way it is.

Umm, how do you know that I don't live in America? I never said where I lived. Isn't it a bit presumptuous of you to make that assumption? And using the Katerina Thanou example is pretty lame...that's old news, and it seems to be intended to rub salt into old wounds. It has no place in this conversation.

I follow media closely and frequent many TV and media industry message boards and I can tell you, with certainty, that NBC's coverage faced much criticism this year, probably even more so than in past years.

CBC, the BBC, etc. focused on more than just their medal hopefuls. Same in Greece. The fact that NBC did not carry, for instance, the men's 100m, is absurd no matter how much you slice it.

The fact that you would have been pissed off if they cut away from a beach volleyball matchup for one of the most marquee events in the Olympics is really quite telling. NBC could have shown it on its cable channels, but an event like the 100m would most certainly garner top billing on any other network anywhere in the world, regardless of whether or not a country had a medal hopeful in the race.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uhmm, Purely A, what are you talking about NBC giving a 'subpar' coverage? Man, they carried 3600 hours of broadcast. That is an all-time high!! Now, is it their fault that they serve the mainstream American audience and feature the top American athletes? Hello? Duh!!

If you paid a little more attention, you would have noticed that the NBC coverage spanned 5 or 6 channels (MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Telemundo, Oxygen, and I think one more) and anywhere there, you could go watch the Korea - Venus Women's Field Hockey game en toto; you could've watched a Malaysia-Indonesia badminton match in full. If you were a Spanish-speaker, you might have caught the so-called 100-meter dash on Telemundo; or many a Cuba - China baseball game. There was such a plethora of choices, that I had a hard time finding which channel showed my much-antiicpated volleyball matches. But please don't be absurd.

I have been watching the Olympics for some 40 years now -- and NBC filled my plate this time. It was more than I could ask for. If it didn't satisfy you, then find a way to get to the IBC center in London next time so you can watch 200 versions of the broadcasts.

3600 hours? So what. It's quantity over quality. How many of those hours were fluff pieces? How many of those hours were interrupted by continuous and annoying commercial breaks? How many of those hours showed us an event without Team USA in it?

Also, allow me to ask you, are you able to make an argument without belittling someone or being so condescending? Your assumptions of what I would have wanted to watch during the Olympics are juvenile and arrogant, and certainly take away from the old adage that one gets wiser as they get older (which I have to assume as you say you have been watching the Olympics for 40 years). It's not like the choices were Team USA and a bunch of nobodies from other countries, like the Indonesia-Malaysia badminton matchup you so condescendingly used as an example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nah. From what I saw, Beijing's stadia and arenas were a LOT fuller than Athens.' Don't you think they learned from the lessons of Athens? As previously explained, the bad weather or day-pass holders who still HADN't SHOWN up at the particular time the cameras you were watching, accounted for the no-shows. The Beach Volleyball stands were Full. The Rowing stands were full. The Triathlon /marathon swim arenas out by the Ming Tombs were FULL of enthusiastic crowds.. The wrestling matches were full. The Gymnastic and Indoor Volleyball stadia were PACKED!!

We must not have been watching the same events. You were obviously glued to a Greece -Comoros field hockey game which of course would garner only a few onlookers. :lol:

You look for events that are't televised on NBC but which were shown on the affilaite channels. You pick matches that nobody else watches. What is wrong with you? <_<

First off, what lessons did they have to learn from Athens? Turnout in Athens was not the disaster most people claim it to have been. Outselling successful Olympiads like Barcelona and Seoul is no small feat, especially with the first games held after 9/11 and in a country of 11 million. When comparing the size of the two countries, Greece can be excused for having had some empty seats. What's China's excuse? Oh, I forgot, they "sold out" all of their tickets (purchased by the government). What good does that do? And my observation was that Beijing's stadiums were NOT "a lot" fuller than Athens. Through the coverage that I saw, I witnessed plenty of empty seats at preliminary track and field events, in basketball matchups (including the bronze medal match where half the stadium was empty!), volleyball, football, water polo, and all sorts of other sports. In fact, the empty seats in Beijing made the news pretty often, though it seems that compared to Athens, the media's criticism of the empty seats was muted (gee, I wonder why?). But the point is, the empty seats in Beijing did not go unnoticed, not by viewers internationally and not by the media.

I was watching Team USA versus Russia in volleyball, on NBC. The stadium was not packed...and this was one of the semifinals! Team USA in basketball always played in front of many empty seats, as did other marquee basketball teams like Spain and Greece and Lithuania and Argentina and even the host country, and this in a country that is supposedly crazy about basketball. I'm not calling the Beijing games a failure because of this....they certainly weren't. However, it is blatantly unfair to criticize Athens for empty seats and not to criticize Beijing for the same exact thing, especially when Beijing had many obvious advantages over Athens in its ability to fill those seats.

Finally, I see that you continue to make condescending remarks about what you think I was watching during the Olympics, without knowing who I am, where I am, or anything about me, for that matter. Notice I don't make the same condescending remarks about you, that I am able to discuss this issue without resorting to such pettiness. All I know is that nothing is wrong with me, but something must certainly be wrong with you if you feel the need to belittle someone like that instead of leaving the insults aside and sticking to the discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

/\ /\ It's really tiring hearing that 3600 hours ISN'T enough -- and that bullsh*t line -- ... quality over quantity. You're lucky to even get 300 hours.

What do you think of people who live in Tuvalu or the Maldives? What do you think their choices are?

And you still haven't answered a simple-straightforward question as to where you live -- yet come up with this "I never said where I lived" affronted stance. Obviously, you're not open enough to do so... so that there aren't misconstrued, wrongly assumed discussions.

As for your "...maturity..." statement. Phffft. I'll say what I want; and I really don't care what you think of me...

But honestly, there's no pleasing people.

Whine, whine, whine...

Edited by baron-pierreIV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Finally, I see that you continue to make condescending remarks about what you think I was watching during the Olympics, without knowing who I am, where I am, or anything about me, for that matter. Notice I don't make the same condescending remarks about you, that I am able to discuss this issue without resorting to such pettiness. All I know is that nothing is wrong with me, but something must certainly be wrong with you if you feel the need to belittle someone like that instead of leaving the insults aside and sticking to the discussion.

well then, who are you? Where do you live? Since you have taken the trouble to jump into the discussions here, and we have reciprocated the favor -- but you continue to remain this mystery person -- then past a certain point, if you do not choose to be forthwith, patience and time become very precious.

Oh yeah, self-analysis and analyzing someone over a chat board. Very professional. Please. I've heard that before.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and because NBCs coverage isnt the original issue:

fact is that this Martin Rogers, knowing of the great weight it haves to make public such an article on the front page of yahoo.sports, made an aimed mudslinging against Greeces reputation and our hosting of teh Olympic Games by publicating lies and creating an enotionaly withering negative picture of Athens. PurelyAcademic and myself could revise this ridiculous article. But only in here... Thousands or even million of other people have not the chance to learn the truth and this is the so unfair and annoying thing. It is really outrageous that a "journalist" slates his position and the powr his writing has to promote personal views by intentional telling lies. The "funny" thing and the best proove is that he has changed now his article now and he writes many of the venues... and not 21 of 22 as original written. This is the proof of he didnt researched what he reports. If he had then it would not be necessary to change it.

There is one thing that really hate and this is unfairness and boldness. Those I take very serious and thats the point where humor ends for me.

By the way of beeing too serious, you are also taking this too serious as it seems that you dont want to accept our success and permanent comming up with other "negative" things. It seems almost desperate... We proove that almost every venue is in use, we explain that the view who arent belong to the future Athens Metropolitan Park and on stand-by, we explain all the other great attenmaints. But this isnt enough for you,.. you bring up the refugees issue which has nothing to do with the Olympic Games. Then you come with greek arrogance in the 90s!!! which also has nothing to do with the Olympic Games. Then you come with empty seats in Athens, an issue also already beeing discussed. We answer Athens sold as much as Barcelona and Seoul and that Beijing a city of 15,5 million, the capital of a country with 1/5 of worlds population had to put "fake" audience to cover also the many empty seats. But this still isnt enough...

Now you are trying to create a negative atmosphere on PurelyAcademic.. Talking about talking things to seriously and pleasing people....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×