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kevzz

Athens 2004 - 10 Years Anniversary

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Great opening ceremony, dull closing, OK venues, chaotic preparation, abysmal ticket sales but with all that said they contained some thrilling sporting moments and that is what matters.

Regarding ticket sales, I accept that they were low, but as far as my personal experience goes, I attended 16 sessions in Athens and every single one was full (OC, swimming, diving, gymnastics, judo, archery, canoeing, fencing, badminton, cycling).

Keep in mind that it was the first Summer Games after 9/11. The media was constantly reporting that the Greeks would never finish the venues (they did, just barely) and that the Games were a terrorist attack waiting to happen. Is it any wonder that people stayed away from those Olympics? The press was TERRIBLE during the lead up to them. That was really the only reason I could get tickets as late as I did.

I think the IOC realized after the fact that by publicly shaming the Greeks in an attempt to motivate them, they shot themselves in the foot where ticket sales were concerned. I think that may partly explain the double-speak we're hearing about Rio. They don't want to make a bad situation worse by publicly advertising Rio's problems. At the same time, they need the organizers and the government to shape up and take the situation seriously.

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The lack of local attendance was more of what I was referring to. Outside the absolute marquee events there was very little interest.

Well, I don't consider badminton, archery, judo, fencing or canoeing marquee events and the sessions I attended seemed full.

I know many Greeks stayed away during the Games to avoid the craziness (that happens with every Olympics, though). I didn't talk to any Greeks who were unexcited about the Games. There were lots of Greek fans chanting "Hellas" everywhere I went.

I'm sure the bad press discouraged Greeks as well as international visitors from attending.

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The opening is still my favourite of all time- the polish and class, the universal themes, all with a Greek flavour. Stirring stuff. They were a fitting grand statement to start the world's biggest event.

Athens was in a tricky situation- between the triumph and scale of Sydney, and the Chinese Games to come. They did a good job.

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Interesting.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/more-sports/athens-olympic-site-in-ruins-10-years-on-from-2004-games/story-fndukor0-1227024073167

“We didn’t take advantage of this dynamic that we got in 2004,” said former Olympic weightlifting champion Pyrros Dimas, a Greek sporting hero-turned-Socialist member of Parliament.

“We simply made the biggest mistake in our history: We switched off, locked up the stadiums, let them fall to pieces, and everything finished there.”

“We spent a lot of money for some projects (that) are shut and rotting,” said Dimas, who won his last Olympic medal in an Athens arena now reinvented as a lecture and conference venue. “There were projects that should have cost 2 and 3 million (euros) and suddenly became so big that they cost 13 and 14 million. There was no control.”

The latest government estimate sets the final cost of the Games at 8.5 billion euros ($12.2 billion), double the original budget but a drop in the ocean of the country’s subsequent 320 billion-euro ($460 billion) debt, which spun out of control after 2008.

Former organising committee chief Gianna Angelopoulos has commissioned the first independent survey of the Olympics’ overall economic effect. It will aim to weigh Olympic overspending and waste against a possible boost to the crucial tourism industry — arrivals have almost doubled since 2004, from 11.7 million to 20.1 million — foreign investment and employment.

The cost of hosting the Olympics and ensuring a city is not left with white elephants is a key issue facing the International Olympic Committee and new president Thomas Bach.

Scared off by the record $51 billion price tag associated with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, several Western European cities declining to bid or dropped out of the race for the 2022 Winter Games.

Reducing the cost and focusing on long-term sustainability is part of Bach’s “Olympic Agenda 2020,” a package of reforms that will be voted on at a special meeting in Monaco in December.

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Some more pictures of the abandoned venues have beed posted on NewstalkZB. So sad.

One of the better opening ceremonies out there and a good games.

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So when using the anniversary to also point out some less favourable things, that's immediately trashing Greece?

Well, whatever you call it, the press are mamking a habit of it:

2012

2011

2009

2008

Maybe what we should call it is "an excuse for a nice Greek holiday, all expenses paid".

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Those are some great images there Sava, thanks for that. I really have faith in the Greeks to pick themselves up and moving towards a brighter, more positive days to come. And I totally agree it's such tenuous argument that the Games caused the Greek economy to collapse. It's just a lazy and lame excuse for everyone to blame the Games for it. I'm glad Greece put on such a great show before the impending crisis, and we get to see what they are capable of, which i'm sure we will see again in the near future.

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/\/\ U're in denial, kevzz. That's precisely the same argument the Roman kaisers used to manipulate and placate the Romans citizens -- bread and circuses - and it hid the underlying root causes of the eventual fall of the Roman empire. Yes, it will not cause the downfall of present day Greece but it certainly hid all the fiscal ills that followed, caused by the books that were cooked.

Don't like that design of Renzo Piano. Was never a great fan of Renzo Piano work.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Nice images Savas. It's a shame they left it this long to sort things out though.

Kev isn't wrong. The Olympics didn't cause Greece's problems, but spending money on several venues which were never used again was symptomatic of the kind of wastefulness/carelessness that on a national scale led to Greece's economic collapse.

Edited by Rob.
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So, in effect, the loss in 1996 merely delayed the inevitable financial mess anyway, Had it been staged in 1996, then the bill probably would not have been as big; and since the financial fall would not happen until 2009-2010, then a party in 1996 would definitely be less to blame directly than one staged in 2004. The fact that a number of venues are in decay today merely understates the fact that a tiny country bit off more than it could chew. And yes, Greece will eventually recover (I hope) but not before stumbling over a few hurdles of its own making.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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:( Gee wizz, they just showed some of the abandoned facilities on the news (TVNZ) in a ten years later segment over the Athens games. It even mentioned the 'legacy' element and for countries to be able to manage them. Sydney was used as a shining example of this, once again showing the ready to go 3rd incarnation of the 2000 Olympics Park as it's redeveloped into a city centre.

Can't really blame the GFC on this. Just Greece themselves.

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OK venues now or back then? :P:P

f9959864-e295-45f0-8553-58ee4b44ee22-620

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Seriously though, these photos are amazing. It's like looking at the areas around Chernobyl. Abandoned.

I was at all of those venues in person during the Games. Seeing the deterioration is tragic.

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So, in effect, the loss in 1996 merely delayed the inevitable financial mess anyway, Had it been staged in 1996, then the bill probably would not have been as big; and since the financial fall would not happen until 2009-2010, then a party in 1996 would definitely be less to blame directly than one staged in 2004. The fact that a number of venues are in decay today merely understates the fact that a tiny country bit off more than it could chew. And yes, Greece will eventually recover (I hope) but not before stumbling over a few hurdles of its own making.

Atlanta didn't "delay" anything. The timing of Greece's financial collapse occurred independently of the Olympics. Whether Athens hosted in 1996 or 2004 wasn't going to make any meaningful difference to the state of the Greek economy or when it fell. I believe that had Athens won the right to stage Olympics in 1996, the Games would have had far more deficiencies. Their Games in 2004 were staged exceptionally well.

As Rob wrote, the Olympics were symptomatic of the devil-may-care attitude the Greeks took towards finances. The Olympics were not a ruse to conceal the state of the Greek economy. They certainly were not a trigger to bring about economic collapse. They were simply the most visible manifestation of fiscal irresponsibility.

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Over-rated Games.

And this is why nobody even bothers writing anything about Athens 2004 here anymore.

Because baron always has to pop up and reminds us why the games (or the opening ceremony) were so horrible and we shouldn't ever see it by the penalty of death.

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ROTFLMFAO!! Leave it up to Darcy, as usual, to deflate the balloons! :-D

Seems that several others also thought that the abandoned venues were a shame, but yeah sure it was just me....

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It's a pity though that those pics ARE the legacy of the games that a fair chunk of the world media are running this week in their 10 year commemoration pieces.

It's certainly not helping boost popular public perceptions of the benefits of hosting the games.

Edited by Sir Rols
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And this is why nobody even bothers writing anything about Athens 2004 here anymore.

Because baron always has to pop up and reminds us why the games (or the opening ceremony) were so horrible and we shouldn't ever see it by the penalty of death.

Y don't u buzz off, Jose? I am sick & Tired of you correcting me & getting on my tail. GET YOUR OWN LIFE, willya??

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Seems that several others also thought that the abandoned venues were a shame, but yeah sure it was just me....

Look on the bright side- it probably means you're the only one who isn't on FYI's Ignore list.

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