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September 03, 2004

The future of the Olympics

"What will be the future of the Olympics? Will the doping and other scandals continue _ especially the doping, as medicine moves ahead faster and faster? And will commercialism and personal aggrandizement keep growing?

It's not as if these were unknown in ancient times, when an athlete who won an Olympic crown was honored in his native town. Statues were sculpted in his tribute _ paid for by fines on cheaters _ and the winner enjoyed such privileges as free food, tax exemptions and lots of other gifts. Imagine how many people would try to get into the Olympics now if that situation had never changed!

But then, the Olympic Games have never stopped evolving _ especially since 1896, when Baron Pierre de Coubertin led the campaign to revive them after 1,503 years.

What will happen in this century?"

Read more at The Future of the Olympics

Posted by Darren at 12:23 PM

September 01, 2004

Rogge hails Athens success

"Olympics chief Jacques Rogge heaped praise on Greek organisers and declared the Athens Games an all-round success.

Television ratings are 15% up from the 2000 Games in Sydney, while ticket sales have topped figures from the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics.

"The organisation was outstanding and we had competitions in state-of-the-art venues," said Rogge, who described the security precautions as "flawless".

"They really did a fantastic job. I am very, very happy about the Games.

"We have discovered a new Greece. Greece was great for the Games."

Read more at Rogge hails Athens success

Posted by Darren at 10:42 AM

ABC, CBS and Fox Happy Olympics Is Over

"No one was happier to see the Olympics flame flicker out than executives at ABC, CBS and Fox.

The games so thoroughly dominated the network landscape for 17 days that NBC won each and every half-hour in prime time against its broadcast rivals, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday.

An average of 24.6 million people watched the games in each evening. That was a 14 percent increase over the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Viewers showed a few signs of boredom last week, as the final five Olympic telecasts failed to beat that average. Sunday's closing ceremony was seen by 19.6 million people.

The opening of the fall season is in sight. NBC even scheduled the debut of "Father of the Pride" Tuesday."

Read more at ABC, CBS and Fox Happy Olympics Is Over

Posted by Darren at 10:41 AM

After the Olympics bash, the big hangover

"Greece wrapped up the homecoming Olympics with an extravagant songfest at the main stadium for more than 100,000 people, including athletes and volunteers.

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The audience cheered wildly when Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, delivered an anxiously awaited judgment on Athens' performance over the past 17 days.

"They were unforgettable, dream games," he said.

But after the party comes the hangover and the bill. According to initial finance ministry estimates, the cost of staging the Olympics is likely to exceed $8 billion, compared with a budgeted $4.6 billion.

The cost overruns, equivalent to about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, would push the budget deficit above the 3 percent of GDP ceiling permitted under the eurozone stability and growth pact for a second successive year."

Read more at MSNBC - After the Olympics bash, the big hangover

Posted by Darren at 10:41 AM

China to delay work on some Olympic venues

"Days after the euphoria of its record gold medal haul in Athens, China announced a sobering plan to delay construction of some venues for the 2008 Olympics and confirmed plans to cut down the extravagant features of two main stadiums here.

In comments said to be the first official Chinese response to weeks of media reporting on plans to downsize grandiose plans and designs for the 2008 Olympics, Beijing officials yesterday insisted that the new emphasis on thriftiness did not mean lowering standards.

'Maintaining the principle of thriftiness does not conflict with the goal of top-notch Olympics construction,' Beijing party secretary and president of the Olympics organising committee Liu Qi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency."

Read more at China to delay work on some Olympic venues

Posted by Darren at 10:40 AM

August 31, 2004

Games' over, now for the debts

"The 2004 Olympics will leave Greeks with wonderful memories, a greatly improved infrastructure - and a mountain of public debt.

The Games ended yesterday morning (Singapore time) in a blaze of light and sound at the closing ceremony. But today's hangover may include economic difficulties and increased unemployment.

So far, Greece has spent as much as US$9.6 billion (S$16.5 billion) on the Games, said Stefanos Anagnostou, a journalist and an adviser to the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance.

But the full cost will not be known until October, after the Paralympics are over.

Outside observers say the cost could rise to US$12 billion."

Read more at Games' over, now for the debts

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

Athens marathon attacker sentenced

"A former Catholic priest has been given a one-year suspended sentence in Greece after pushing the leader of the men's marathon into the crowd during the Athens Olympics.

Vanderlei De Lima, from Brazil, was at the head of the race Sunday, just three miles from the finish, when he was attacked by Cornelius Horan, who was wearing a kilt and beret.

After a scuffle, De Lima managed to get away, but he was clearly upset and finished third.

Horan, 57, originally from Kerry, Ireland, had a note pinned to his back, reading: "The Grand Prix Priest. Israel Fulfillment of Prophecy Says The Bible.""

Read more at Athens marathon attacker sentenced

Posted by Darren at 12:22 PM

And the Unexpected Olympics Winner Is...Athens

"The greatest race of the Olympics produced the most unlikely winner.

In the organizational marathon preceding the Games, Athens spent seven long years chasing time, an implacable and shadowy opponent glimpsed, more often than not, disappearing over the horizon.

But, with the countdown ticking fast as the Games approached, Athens came from nowhere to reach the finish line first, earning itself the right to celebrate the staging of an improbably successful Olympics.

Olympic chiefs at their Swiss base in Lausanne had fretted. The world's media had doubted.

But, as if by magic, it really was all right on the night."

Read more at And the Unexpected Olympics Winner Is...Athens

Posted by Darren at 12:21 PM

Idle Olympic venues couldgive Athens big problems

"The athletes have packed up. Olympic banners are coming down.

The challenge is just beginning.

It's a realization that's just starting to hit the Olympic hosts: The venues and facilities they struggled so hard to build could create even greater problems after the games.

The chief fear -- especially after Athens' budget-busting Olympics -- is expensive idleness. World-class sports centers ring up serious maintenance bills. Finding relevant and revenue-producing roles for the arenas is the long-term quest of any former Olympic city.

In Athens, however, there's an added complication. Olympic planners dedicated so much effort to overcome delays, there was no time to think about the future. There's now more than $3 billion in new or refurbished venues begging for attention.

"There are ideas. Some plans are being studied. But there is no definite solution," said Christos Hadjiemmanuel, head of Olympic Properties, a state company created as a temporary caretaker for the venues and other sites.

Time is truly money in the post-Olympic landscape."

Read more at Idle Olympic venues couldgive Athens big problems

Posted by Darren at 12:21 PM

Greece bids Games farewell

"The 2004 Olympic Games officially came to an end in Athens with a spectacular closing ceremony on Sunday.

Greek music and dance kicked off an evening of celebration before the flame was extinguished and the flag lowered.

A firework display welcomed the athletes into the Olympic Stadium, with double gold-medallist Kelly Holmes carrying Great Britain's flag.

The torch has now been passed to China as Beijing prepares to host the Games in 2008."

Read more at Greece bids Games farewell

Posted by Darren at 12:21 PM

August 30, 2004

'Great escape' begins from Athens airport

"Hundreds of thousands of Olympic athletes and visitors began what Greek media termed the Great Escape from Athens on Monday in an exodus expected to tax airport staff to the limit.

Officials estimate up to 200,000 people will leave for overseas destinations over the next 48 hours while thousands of Athenians who delayed summer holidays until the end of the Games will head for Aegean islands and family reunions across Greece.

Until August 31 we expect a huge wave of departures, said Athens airport spokeswoman Marina Papageorgiou.

The day after (Sundays) closing ceremony is the toughest one, she said."

Read more at 'Great escape' begins from Athens airport

Posted by Darren at 01:20 PM

Triumphant Olympics end with pride and relief

"A nervous world learned the Greek word for thank you and repeated it endlessly at an astonishingly successful Athens Olympics that quelled fears, surprised skeptics and greatly honored the birthplace of the games.

Efharisto, Athens, for architectural masterpieces of stadiums and arenas that showcased record performances. The fountain sprays, reflecting pools and soaring arches. The undulating, giant white Wall of Nations that caught the whispering wind, bringing music to our ears and smiles to our faces.

Efharisto for the thousands of security forces who stood guard day and night, keeping terrorism away. An undercurrent of danger, a sense of tranquility. We saw guns everywhere, walked in peace.

Fireworks and spectacular lighting kicked off the closing ceremony Sunday night, a two-hour extravaganza of folk dancing and music in the Olympic tradition that summed up the glee and relief the games brought to Greece. Afterward, thousands of athletes marched into Olympic stadium, waving their arms and flags, snapping photos of each other, hugging, and basking in the cheers of 70,000 fans."

Read more at Triumphant Olympics end with pride and relief

Posted by Darren at 01:10 PM

Arabs strike gold at Olympics

"Arab countries will walk away from the Olympics with a higher number of gold medals than ever before and squads are now looking to build on this success in future tournaments.

Morocco was the Arab country highest on the medals table at the end of the Olympics, winning two gold medals and a silver in running events.

Egyptian athletes did well in wrestling and boxing events, winning one gold and three bronze medals, the first medals for the country since the 1984 Olympics."

Read more at Arabs strike gold at Olympics

Posted by Darren at 01:24 AM

Olympics' return to roots compelling

"History should be kind to the 2004 Summer Olympics and this lusty, energetic city.

Olympic officials awarded Greece the Games for sentimental reasons in 1997, a risky recognition of the Greeks having invented the event in 776 B.C. and then staging their 1896 A.D. rebirth.

Nothing better, one could assume, than a homecoming to reacquaint the human race with the 100-meter dash and a simpler, more virtuous time.

But the Games were a massive, expensive - more than $8 billion and rising - undertaking for a small nation with limited financial resources and a placid persona. Greece soon seemed ill-equipped to organize, manage and actually present such an event.

The talk at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, was that the Olympics might have to go back there in 2004. The joke leading up to the 2004 Games here was that Beijing, China, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, was more prepared than Greece was for its imminent Games."

Read more at Olympics' return to roots compelling

Posted by Darren at 12:48 AM

Athens awaits grand finale

"The biggest sporting extravaganza, the Olympics 2004, will come to an end today.

For the 10,500 athletes from a record 202 countries, tonight's closing ceremony will be the perfect opportunity to let their hair down at last.

All those disastrous pre-games headlines about construction chaos and security concerns will finally be forgotten as Greece gets set to bid farewell in style.

The stadium is being turned into a giant wheatfield. About 250,000 balloons will cascade down from a night sky exploding with fireworks."

Read more at NDTV.com - Athens awaits grand finale

Posted by Darren at 12:47 AM

August 29, 2004

Golds All Round for Athens from IOC Chief

"Olympic supremo Jacques Rogge Sunday offered gold medals all round to Athens for organizing a superb Olympics after years of doom and gloom leading up to the opening.

"I am an extremely happy President of the IOC," he told reporters on the day the Games wrap up. They really did a fantastic job. I am very, very happy about the Games."

From security to ticket sales, he was glowing in praise of the organizers, who faced a barrage of criticism in the run-up to the Games over construction chaos, security concerns and budget overruns."

Read more at Golds All Round for Athens from IOC Chief

Posted by Darren at 10:12 PM

Is Olympics glass half-empty or half-full?

"What you remember about an Olympics probably says a lot about who you are. Is it Paul Hamm and the ugly gymnastics controversy that continues to fester like an unwashed wound? Or is it the golden performances of Michael Phelps, the American sprinters, and the American womens soccer and softball teams?

Do you think of the failure of the outfit formerly known as the Dream Team as an embarrassment and a blot on the glorious history of U.S. basketball, or as the dawn of a new era of intense international competition that will ensure that future Olympics are packed with excitement and emotion?

Is the record for Olympic drug busts a stain on sports or a positive sign that the I.O.C. and strict anti-doping testing are finally catching up on the cheaters and cleaning up the competition?"

Read more at MSNBC - Is Olympics glass half-empty or half-full?

Posted by Darren at 10:11 PM

August 28, 2004

Olympics Wrap: U.S. Eclipsed as Olympic Superpower

"With the United States suffering its worst day at the Athens Olympics, China took center stage as sporting superpowers on a night to remember on the athletics track.

The Chinese national anthem exhorts the masses to "Arise! Arise! Arise!" and their athletes did just that Friday with two stunning track golds.

Liu Xiang, who won the men's 110 meters hurdles in a world record-equaling time of 12.91 seconds, said: "My victory has proved that athletes with yellow skin can run as fast as those with black and white skin."

With Beijing hosting the next Olympics in 2008 and China eager to show its global clout, he said of his win: "This is a miracle but I believe a lot more miracles will take place in China.""

Read more at - U.S. Eclipsed as Olympic Superpower

Posted by Darren at 05:14 PM

Powell Cancels Plans to Visit Athens

"Secretary of State Colin Powell canceled plans to attend the Olympics closing ceremonies in Greece because of the "press of business" including crises in Iraq and Sudan, U.S. officials said on Saturday.

The decision was unrelated to anti-U.S. protests by about 1,000 people in Athens Friday that were broken up when police hurled tear gas at demonstrators headed toward the U.S. Embassy, said State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper.

Greek activists hoisted a massive banner saying "Powell Killer Go Home" on the Acropolis hillside towering over Athens Saturday protesting against his planned 24-hour visit to attend Sunday's closing ceremonies."

Read more at Powell Cancels Plans to Visit Athens

Posted by Darren at 05:10 PM

NBC's Hot Olympics Cool Down Thursday

"Viewership of the summer Olympics cooled off for NBC on Thursday as the competition in Athens winds down.

NBC averaged 21.5 million viewers and 7.3 rating/21 share in the adults 18-49 demographic with its primetime coverage of various track and field, men's triathlon and women's volleyball events. Viewership peaked in the 10-11 p.m. hour with an average of 23.6 million viewers and 8.5/24 in the key demo, but Thursday looks to be the lowest-rated night of the games -- which wrap Sunday -- for NBC so far, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research."

Read more at NBC's Hot Olympics Cool Down Thursday

Posted by Darren at 04:59 PM

Athens Police Break Up Powell Protest

"Police used tear gas Friday night to disperse more than 2,000 demonstrators who lit fires, smashed windows and beat up journalists while marching through downtown Athens to protest the weekend visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell. The demonstrators, who scuffled with police in front of the Parliament, fought running battles with riot squads trying to prevent them from reaching the U.S. Embassy. The embassy is not near any Olympic venues, but it is near the hotel being used by the International Olympic Committee and located on a major Olympic traffic lane."

Read more at AP Wire | 08/27/2004 | Athens Police Break Up Powell Protest

Posted by Darren at 06:35 AM

Fashion highs and lows from the Olympics

"Seeing all those taut and tanned bodies jumping hurdles in Athens and sculling in Schinias reminds us why we like the summer Olympics so much. We also enjoy looking at what the athletes are wearing and wonder if we would dare get near a track or pool in similar get-ups.

With just a few days to go until the Summer Games are over for another four years, here's the medals ceremony we've all been waiting for: the fashion Olympics. Boatloads of style: We give Nike's racer-back tank top suit a gold even though the women took only a silver in the eights rowing contest. We could see Nike's offering this with a separate top and shorts as an outfit for any number of active sports or workouts. Let's also hear it for the ladies' visors and mirrored shades. 50-meter swagger: Swimmer Gary Hall Jr. took the gold in the 50-meter freestyle contest and gets another for the "Rocky"-style boxing robe he wore into the aquatic center. Sure he's cocky, but he delivered the goods, didn't he?"

Read more at Fashion highs and lows from the Olympics (August 27, 2004)

Posted by Darren at 04:29 AM

Olympics "Real" U.S. Dominance

Eric over at Blogcritics.org has written an interesting piece on how the medal table isn't a true reflection of the US dominance of the Olympics. Interestingly it seems that Eric thinks the medal table under estimates the dominance of the US - something which surprised me a little as I've seen many articles arguing the exact opposite. He writes: (my opinion follows)

"By any reasonable measure the American medal count is impressive as hell, leading its closest rival Russia by 23 medals as of Friday morning. The lead at the moment in golds is only 28 to 25 over China, but the total medal lead over China is about 30, and recall that China has well over a billion people AND a sports system now similar to that of the former Soviet bloc, where promising athletes are farmed off to (hopefully benign) athletic concentration camps and their entire waking life is devoted to training for their sport....

But what stuck out last night in particular is the number of athletes representing other nations who live and train in the U.S., many going to college here. In fact, based on the divers -- the "Russian Texans" Vera Ilyina and bronze medalist in the women's 3m springboard Yulia Pakhalina, for example -- and track athletes -- 400m hurdles gold medalist Felix Sanchez was born in the U.S., has always lived in the U.S., but competes for the Dominican Republic, ALL of the Caribbean runners seem to train in the U.S. -- in action on NBC last night last night (and in the swimming events, basketball, baseball, etc. etc), it seems easier to name the top competitors who DON"T have a strong U.S. connection....

When you combine the actual American medalists with the "virtual" American medalists in the Games, you get a much truer picture of American dominance in the world of (summer, anyway) sport."

Read more at Blogcritics.org: Olympics: "Real" U.S. Dominance

I find myself seeing things a little differently - here is what I wrote in their comments section.

'Nice post - but I suspect you'll find this is an argument no one will ever win. I tend to agree with those who 'disagree' above. Once we start unravelling things like population we find the US could perhaps more accurately be placed as 35th according to the ABS Population based Medal Table (as of day 13).

Another interesting way of thinking about it is taking into consideration the Economy of the countries concerned. Of course the Aussies won't be as excited about this one cause it ranks them down at 21 (the US is 51st and Canada 52nd) according to thisMedal Table that takes into consideration Country's GDP. I tend to like this medal table because it reminds us that so many countries that are competing just don't have the resources that many of us take for granted.

I was reminded of this when I saw the Afghani runner the other day who barely seemed to even own a 'proper' running kit. To be honest I'm a bit over the beating of chests that many of us in the west have been doing over the Olympics - I wonder if we've lost something of what the true spirit of the Olympics could have been.

Just my humble opinion.'

Posted by Darren at 04:07 AM

Greek police may block U.S. embassy march

"Police may block demonstrators marching to the U.S. embassy in Athens on Friday to protest against a weekend visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell to attend the Olympics. Government officials said there would be a heavy police presence to ensure Friday night's demonstration goes smoothly, but one organiser said protesters would ignore authorities' pleas to stay away from the embassy compound. "We must respect the democratic right to protest but we will not allow any demonstrators to get out of hand and cause any damage," a senior government source told Reuters."

Read more at Greek police may block U.S. embassy march

Posted by Darren at 12:30 AM

Researchers to develop 'designer athletes'

"Scientists have begun using DNA samples from Australia's top sportsmen and women in an attempt to develop "designer athletes" who can protect the nation's sporting reputation, The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

The technology will allow experts to tell parents which sports their children could excel in and whether they have the genes that are most likely to produce sporting superstars, the Sydney newspaper quoted scientists as saying. Australia, a nation of only 20 million, has long punched well above its weight in the world of sport. "

Read more at Researchers to develop 'designer athletes'

Posted by Darren at 12:28 AM

August 27, 2004

I-O-C says no duplicate medals

"Greece International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge (ROH'-geh) says the I-O-C rejects South Korea's request to have a duplicate gold medal awarded in men's all-around gymnastics. A scoring mistake gave the title to American Paul Hamm. The I-O-C also is turning down an official German request for duplicate gold medals following a judging error in the three-day equestrian competition."

Read more at I-O-C says no duplicate medals

Posted by Darren at 11:12 PM

Greece to deal with Olympic cost of Olympic proportions after Games

"Greek taxpayers could use some advice from the country's celebrated weightlifting champions to shoulder the sizeable cost of the Athens Olympics after the Games. AFP/DDP/File Photo Seven billion euros (8.7 billion dollars) reads the latest price tag Greek officials have attached to the Games, up from an initial budget of 4.6 billion euros. But the final tally will not be known until after the Games, Greek Economy and Finance Minister Yiorgos Alogoskoufis said. Greece has financed the Games entirely out of state funds."

Read more at Yahoo! News - Greece to deal with Olympic cost of Olympic proportions after Games

Posted by Darren at 10:18 PM

Mascots are a mystery, but they sell well

"Atlanta had a blob named Izzy. Nagano had the creepy, bug-eyed foursome: Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki. Not to be outdone in the curious mascot department, Athens 2004 has Phevos and Athena, two androgynous Bart Simpson-esque dolls separable only by the two bull's-eyes on the girl's chest to mark her femaleness. "I took them out of the box, and thought, 'What the heck is this?' " said Adonis Diplarides, whose family shop at the foot of the Acropolis is selling everything from baby bibs to shot glasses with Athena and Phevos cartoons on them. On a day a breath away from 100 degrees, he was also trying to sell umbrellas decorated with the mascots."

Read more at Mascots are a mystery, but they sell well

Posted by Darren at 09:06 PM

Athlete rushed to hospital

"BERTRAND Gbongou Liango of the Central African Republic was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious in the Olympic taekwondo tournament today.

The 22-year-old was caught by a sickening reverse round-house kick to the head in his first round match against Austria's Tuncay Caliskan. He was knocked out cold and medical staff rushed on to the mat to free his air-passage and revive him before he was taken away on a stretcher.

Team doctor Jacques Ndemanga confirmed he was in a stable condition."

Read more at The Australian: Athlete rushed to hospital [August 27, 2004]

Posted by Darren at 08:55 PM

Tickets remain for Games closing ceremony

Several hundred tickets to the Olympic closing ceremony remained unsold Friday, two days before the end of the Athens Games. Local organizers said about 500 of the highest priced tickets, which cost $900, remain available for Sunday's ceremony.

The celebrations of the Olympics' opening and closing usually sell out. The Olympic Stadium has about 72,000 seats, but not all are put on sale. Some tickets are given to dignitaries, Olympic officials and media.

Read more at Tickets remain for Games closing ceremony

Posted by Darren at 08:46 PM

Egyptian boxer DQ'ed after failing medical test

Egyptian heavyweight Mohamed Elsayed failed a medical test Friday and was disqualified from the semifinals of the Olympic boxing tournament, organizers said. The decision wasn't drug-related.

Elsayed beat American Devin Vargas on Sunday to clinch a medal. Egypt had three boxers in the semifinals after winning just one medal in its Olympic boxing history.

Elsayed's injury, which wasn't specified, allowed Belarus' Viktar Zuyev to advance to the finals on a walkover. Zuyev will face Cuba's Odlanier Solis or Syria's Naser Al Shami.

Read more at Egyptian boxer DQ'ed after failing medical test

Posted by Darren at 08:44 PM

The Athens Look: Sweatshop Chic Valley Advocate: The Athens Look: Sweatshop Chic

Non-union, underpaid labor is sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic in Athens.

A t the Olympic Games in Athens this year, the logos of McDonalds, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and other multinational advertisers are saturating the festivities to the tune of $1.339 million. But the corporate self-promotion and commercial branding wont end when the games come to a close. Sportswear companies have negotiated $81 million worth of licenses from the International Olympic Committee, allowing them to adorn their products with Olympic emblems. Behind the five intertwined rings and the Athens 2004 kotinos laurel wreath insignia, hidden from the eyes of the world, non-union, underpaid labor will be sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic in working conditions that would make even the most highly trained athlete sweat.
Read more at The Athens Look: Sweatshop Chic

Posted by Darren at 08:38 PM

Let the Web Games Begin

Among the unplanned international sporting events at the 2004 Summer Olympics could be the dodging of regional Internet broadcast restrictions and the unsanctioned relay of live online Olympic broadcasts to Americans. The Summer Olympics, which began Friday in Athens, is the first Olympic Games to be broadcast from a collection of websites. The BBC and other European networks are offering live, on-demand Internet video streaming of Olympic events to broadband viewers. But the BBC and fellow members of the European Broadcasting Union are required by their Olympic broadcast contracts to block U.S. Internet users and others from outside their home counties.
Read more at Wired News: Let the Web Games Begin

Posted by Darren at 07:55 PM

Olympic party picks up after a slow start

"Everything in Athens is late. Even the party.

At the start of the Olympics, thousands of stadium seats stood empty and the capital's neighborhoods were quiet. Many people feared the games were destined to be an organizational success and an entertainment failure.

But as Sunday's closing ceremony approaches, the buzz is definitely back.

It's 3 a.m., and traffic is moving at a crawl on central Athens' Ermou Street.

Taxis barely have time to unload their passengers before being flagged down by others. Flag-waving sports fans rub shoulders with athletes, media and volunteers still dressed in their distinctive orange and blue uniforms, stopping to watch street jugglers and drummers performing in Monastiraki Square.

"Where did all these people come from?" said taxi driver Spyros Kefis. "All the foreigners are gathered in Monastiraki and Plaka. This is where it's all happening.""

Read more at Olympic party picks up after a slow start

Posted by Darren at 05:13 PM

Media watchdog launches website calling for Beijing Olympics boycott

" Reporters Without Borders launched a website calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2008 Olympics over the human rights record of "one of the world's bloodiest dictatorships".

The Paris-based media watchdog said Thursday China had failed to improve its rights record since being controversially awarded the Games in 2001.

"History has shown that totalitarian regimes are more sensitive to a balance of power than to 'constructive dialogue'," the group said on the website, www.boycottbeijing2008.net.

"A boycott therefore seems the only strategy to force Chinese authorities to respect human rights before 2008.""

Read more at Media watchdog launches website calling for Beijing Olympics boycott

Posted by Darren at 05:09 PM

August 26, 2004

Greek labor union urges to block Powell's visit

"Greece's largest labor union the GSEE and the leftist party backed Social Forum had called for demonstrations on Friday evening against US Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit for the Olympics Games closing ceremony, local media reported Thursday.

According to the reports, protesters will march from downtown Athens to the US Embassy a few hours ahead of Powell's arrival.

The demonstrations will also be designed to remind people of the negative consequences of the Games, such as hundreds of labor accidents, damage to the environment, and repressive security measures, the leftist party Synaspismos backed daily "Avgi" reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said people have the constitutional right to demonstrate, but called on the organizers to protect the image of Greece in this "critical" period in the middle of the Olympic Games."

Read more at Greek labor union urges to block Powell's visit

Posted by Darren at 11:17 PM

Cabbie returns Olympic medal

"In a display of honesty that goes some way toward improving the reputation of his colleagues, an Athens cabbie has returned an Olympic medal left behind in his taxi by a Dutch athlete.

A spokesman for the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee said taxi-driver Ioannis Zavos found Diederik Simons lost silver medal which he won on Sunday with the Netherlands eight rowing team on Monday night, and handed it over to the cabbies union.

Simon, who had contacted Athens 2004 officials in despair, was to get the medal back later yesterday."

Read more at Cabbie returns Olympic medal

Posted by Darren at 09:05 PM

As Olympics near end, organizers meet ticket goal

"Olympic organizers said Thursday that more than 3.5 million tickets have been sold for the Summer Games, surpassing the initial goal.

Organizers had said they hoped to sell 3.4 million of the 5.3 million available tickets for the Aug. 13-29 games.

Though ticket prices for some popular events have been as high as $300, most tickets have sold for between $12 and $36. Organizers have said there are no plans to discount tickets to sell more.

On Wednesday, organizers sold 38,000 tickets and said venues were about 92 percent full."

Read more at As Olympics near end, organizers meet ticket goal

Posted by Darren at 09:04 PM

NBC isn't covering all the Olympic News

"Fearing viewers might be turned off by news of doping and judging scandals, NBC Universal has discovered a plan to calm them: Don't cover it.

In newspapers nationwide yesterday, the buzz was how the Athens Olympics surpassed the Los Angeles Games with 13 athletes ejected for drug offenses through 11 days. Also making talk around water coolers are judging mistakes in gymnastics, fencing, rowing and equestrian, making the Games fitting for one of NBC's "Law and Order" episodes as placing is decided in court.

Only NBC has decided this isn't must-see TV.

Late-night host Dan Hicks mentioned Hungarian Robert Fazekas being stripped of his gold medal in the discus, but it was nearly 2 a.m. local time when he went into a spiel about Fazekas having some religious problem with providing enough of a urine sample. And Hicks left it at that.

Hello? Some more information is needed here, such as what religion doesn't allow a person to urinate in a cup."

Read more at Plenty of news going on, but NBC isn't covering it

Posted by Darren at 08:45 PM

Olympic Blog Traffic Boom

Thanks to our wonderful readers for the last few weeks amazing traffic to this site. You can see the rise of visitors to the site on the adjoining graph which shows us now to be ranked as around the 7000th most visited domains on the web.

These figures also include traffic from our Digital Photography Blog and LivingRoom blogs.

Posted by Darren at 04:05 PM

No qualifying round for frantic Olympics sex scene

""Four years ago the winning medal went to Cuba, thanks to a remark from Australian basketball player Michelle Trims: "The Cubans are using up condoms as if they're about to go out of fashion."

This time around the talk of sex is slightly more discreet, but matters are still exciting when it comes to the unofficial "sport" going on in the suffocating summer heat at the Athens Games.

The debate about whether athletes should have sex or refrain on the night before a big competition was yet again broached by the Greek newspaper Ta Nea.

The newspaper found some surprising opinions: German physicians and Russian psychologists are in favor of sexual relations prior to a big sports event, but Israeli experts only approve of sex in the case of women athletes.

"If the athlete is conditioned by social or religious factors, the influence of sex is negative. But it has not been proved scientifically that sex before competing has a negative effect," said Tassos Stalikas, a Greek sports psychologist.

Durex gave 130,000 condoms and 30,000 portions of lubricating creams to Olympic village administrators for use by athletes. That was 40,000 more than the 90,000 distributed in Sydney, but considerably lower than the 250,000 condoms given away at the Salt Lake City 2002 winter games.

"It's hard to hold back and be modest when faced with so many good-looking people here," Canadian rower Marni McBin was quoted as saying by German newspaper Bild, which gave a detailed account of the sex lives of athletes."

Read more at No qualifying round for frantic Olympics sex scene

Posted by Darren at 03:52 PM

NBC basks in Olympic glory

"As the Summer Olympics sprint to the finish line Sunday, NBC Universal will have reason to do a victory lap over its winning performance with viewers and advertisers.

The company will clear an estimated $60 million-$70 million in profit from the 2004 Athens Games, well above the $50 million predicted before the Olympics began, NBC executives said Wednesday.

NBC Universal stands poised to break the aggregate 200 million-viewer mark by week's end, surpassing not only the 2000 Sydney Olympics but also viewership in 1992, when the broadcast networks didn't face nearly as much competition from cable/satellite channels as they do today. It will fall slightly behind the 209 million viewers who tuned in eight years ago when the Olympics were in Atlanta."

NBC Uni basks in Olympic glory

Posted by Darren at 03:46 PM

Athens business leader expects big post-Olympic investment boom

"Self-confident Greeks, encouraged by worldwide praises for its successfully-hosting of the Olympic Games, are expecting a big boom in foreign investments in the post-Olympic era.

A country, capable of organizing such a big event as the Olympic Games in the "impeccable and smooth" manner it has done, is also capable of attracting major foreign investments, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) President Drakoulis Fountoukakos said Wednesday at a press conference in downtown Athens.

He said major sports venues constructed for the Games are expected to provide very important opportunities for investment after the Games.

The Olympic Estate S.A., a company set up for the post-Games management of the facilities, has been working on a strategic planfor this purpose, Fountoukakos added.

The ACCI leader said the Greek economy can offer great investment opportunities in the coming years, depending on the extent of the structural changes the government has pledged to proceed with."

Read more at Athens business leader expects big post-Olympic investment boom

Posted by Darren at 03:44 PM

Greece hopes to attract tourists with Olympic success

"Greek Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos predicted Wednesday that worldwide praise for Greece's successful staging of the Olympic Games will attract more visitors to Greece in the future and help develop the post-Olympic economy.

Greece has set up a strategic plan to increase the ratio of tourism to the gross domestic products (GDP) from 18 percent to 40percent by the end of 2010, while creating 150,000 more jobs in the tourism industry which employs 800,000 people at present.

Avramopoulos believed that the dream will come true by promoting Greek cultural treasures and portraying the southern Balkan country as an ideal place to hold conventions as well, now that it has proven its ability to organize big international events like the Olympics.

Greece received 12 million visitors last year, more than its population of 11 million. However, since its adoption of the euro in 2001, Greece has struggled to compete with cheaper Mediterranean destinations like Turkey, and the number of visitorshas declined."

Read more at Greece hopes to attract tourists with Olympic success

Posted by Darren at 03:42 PM

McDonald's salads break Olympic record

"US fastfood giant McDonald's says that sales at its three restaurants around Olympic venues in Greece have so far exceeded its expectations, according to CRIENGLISH.com.

As the second week of the games began, McDonald's said that its outlets at the Olympic Village, Main Press Centre and Athens Olympic Sports Complex have seen a steady day by day increase in sales.

The company, which is an official sponsor of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, noted that its salads and fruit and yoghurt products had sold particularly well."

Read more at McDonald's salads break Olympic record

Posted by Darren at 03:41 PM

Greeks to Take to Streets Over Powell Visit

"Greeks opposed to U.S. policy in Iraq (news - web sites) will march to the U.S. embassy on Friday in protest at a weekend visit to the Olympics by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites).

Organizers said on Wednesday they expected thousands to turn out although the government has urged them to bear in mind tight security and any impact on Greece's image during the Games.

"He is a warmonger and we don't want him here. He is coming to watch the Olympics while American occupation forces are slaughtering hundreds of Iraqis daily," said Yannis Sfakakis, a representative of the Stop the War Coalition."

Read more at Greeks to Take to Streets Over Powell Visit

Posted by Darren at 06:21 AM

Athens Shoots Past Sydney in Olympic Ratings

"Midway through the race between Olympics past and present, this year's edition is outrunning its predecessor from four years ago.

NBC has drawn to its Athens-based primetime broadcast an average of 26.6 million total viewers through Friday, up 15% from the audience that tuned in to the first eight days of the Olympics in Sydney. NBC's 16 rating/28 share in households is up 9% from the 2000 Summer Games.

NBC's eight-day ratings are also 67% higher than the combined primetime rating of ABC, CBS and Fox over the same period.

Among viewers 18-49, NBC is averaging 9.3 million and a 5.8 rating -- up 60% over the combined rating of its competitors in that demographic."

Read more at Yahoo! News - Athens Shoots Past Sydney in Olympic Ratings

Posted by Darren at 06:18 AM

Judged sports don't belong in Olympics

"With apologies to those unmoved by the nightly exercise in unabashed patriotism that are the Olympics on NBC, The Blog feels compelled to offer a modest proposal meant not to savage, but to save.

To preface, The Blog has been a big Olympics fan since 1984, when the Games visited The Blog's home city of Los Angeles, and the hometown folks -- spooked by thoughts of gridlock and mayhem and financial ruin -- made for the hills in record numbers. My parents were among the fleeing, and so The Blog (and siblings) were packed up in the dead of night and cattle-driven seven hours north to the grandparents' home in Orinda, Calif., where the Armageddon could be watched from a safe distance. Instead, of course, the smog cleared, the San Gabriels glistened, the freeways flowed, the city made a freaking fortune and U.S. athletes dominated the Soviet-boycotted Games like never before (or since). It was those Games that gave the Olympics back its mojo."

Read more at Judged sports don't belong in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 06:06 AM

Olympics-And the Winner Is ... World Metal Prices

"Greece waited 108 years to host another Olympic Games. Unfortunately it came just as a boom in world metal prices has sent the cost of winners' medals through the stadium roof.

At approximately $400,000 for the metal content of the 3,000 Athens medals alone, it may be just a drop in the Aegean Sea compared to an estimated $8.6 billion total Games cost.

But cost-conscious organizers can hardly have expected that the price of gold would increase approximately 45 percent since the summer Games in Sydney four years ago, or that silver would go up 35 percent and copper -- the key metal in bronze -- would cost 42 percent higher than in 2000. Considering that the medals struck for the Athens Games used 13 kilos (417 ounces) of gold and approximately one ton each of silver and bronze -- an alloy of 90 percent copper and 10 percent zinc -- that's a hefty increase in four years. By unofficial reckoning, it means the Athens Games needed over $166,000 worth of gold and $234,000 of silver for its medals.

The price of gold has risen dramatically since August 2000, when it was approximately $275 an ounce. It was hovering around $400 an ounce on Tuesday. Similarly, silver has risen from $4.90 an ounce when the Sydney Games were held, to $6.65 currently. Copper, which is around $2,700 a ton, was selling for $1,900 four years ago."

Read more at Olympics-And the Winner Is ... World Metal Prices

Posted by Darren at 05:13 AM

How to win more medals at the Olympics

"The secret to winning more medals is actually very simple. The rise of China up the medal tally is enough to know that such a strategy is indeed possible. Consider this for a second, if you want to emerge as a serious contender for the medals at the Olympics, you better be good in either swimming or gymnastics. It would take nothing short of a miracle to keep you off the top ten if you are good at both.

Eastern Europe and the erstwhile Soviet Union literally ruled the gymnastics arena until the Chinese and the Americans realized the vitality of the sport for dominating the Olympics. Theoretically, building a gymnastics program doesnt take much, if the government decides to. Investment in a foreign coaching team and provision of a state-of-the-art training complex is really all you may need. You will definitely find willing students, if you promise them an Olympic medal, provided they put in adequate training, determination, and perseverance to make sacrifices."

Read more atNerve Endings Firing Away: How to win more medals at the Olympics

Posted by Darren at 03:53 AM

Closing ceremony under a full moon

IOC Press Release
Closing ceremony under a full moon

"The Closing Ceremony will take place on Sunday 29 August at 9.15 p.m. under a full moon. It will be a totally different style of ceremony, announced Dimitris Papaioannou, Concept Creator and Artistic Director of Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Eat, drink, sing and dance
The Opening Ceremony was a celebration of humanity while the Closing Ceremony will be a warm and human celebration. It will be like an invitation to eat, drink and dance and sing with us, the Greek way. It will feature a colourful mosaic, compiled of pieces of Greek celebrations gathered from all regions of Greece featuring a fast edit of a constant flow, like rivers of energy, of 2,100 volunteers, Papaioannou told journalists in a press briefing.

Sixty pontos dancers in a field of wheat
Among other things, the Closing Ceremony will feature 100 koudounatoi - a Greek custom with direct origins in the Bacchic rituals of ancient times, as well as a line of 60 Pontos dancers, one of the most powerful Greek dances. This will be staged on a field of play that will be transformed into a field of golden wheat made of 45,000 stalks of wheat.

Marathon Medal Ceremony
The medal ceremony for the men's marathon, as the last discipline of the Games, follows. Then enter the flags of all delegations and all the athletes without any distinction of nationality. The Presidents of ATHOC and the IOC are invited to deliver their speeches, and then the mayors of Athens and Beijing are introduced and the national anthems of Greece and China played. For eight minutes, a cultural show staged by Chinese artists will provide a taste of what can be expected in Beijing in 2008.

Goodbye to the flame
Eight volunteers will contribute to lowering the Olympic flag. Finally, the crowd and the world say goodbye to the flame, symbolically keeping the flame in their hearts. And all this to the sounds of great composer Manos Xatzidakis. Afterwards, seven major Greek singers invite the world to dance."

Posted by Darren at 03:52 AM

The Washington Times: AP

"Greek protest groups urged the government Wednesday to call off a planned visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying he would try to exploit the Olympics for President Bush's re-election campaign.

Powell plans to arrive in Athens on Saturday for talks with Premier Costas Caramanlis and to attend the games' closing ceremony the following night.

"He is a hawk, a war criminal and an arch murderer. .. We do not want him here," said Yiannis Sifakakis, who is organizing a march to the U.S. Embassy on Friday. "Colin Powell is coming here while the Americans are killing people in Iraq."

Sifakakis said Greek protesters have coordinated their actions with anti-globalization groups in the United States, who are planning a weekend march in New York in advance of the Republican National Convention.

Public protests are not banned during the Olympics but the government has warned demonstrators that they cannot close roads and lanes reserved for Olympic use.

The U.S. Embassy in central Athens is not close to any of the current Olympic venues but it is near the hotel being used by the International Olympic Committee."

Read more atThe Washington Times: AP

Posted by Darren at 02:28 AM

August 25, 2004

Olympic victors may be left wreathless

"Greece's revival of an ancient Olympic tradition is coming into conflict with the tight bio-security regulations of the modern age.

Britain's Kelly Holmes should get her wreath back to Britain
The medal-winners' olive wreaths that are a defining image of the Athens Games have also caught the eye of customs officials around the world.

When Australia's victorious athletes step off the plane they will have to hand over their laurels so the plants can be blasted by gamma radiation.

Many other countries also have strict rules on imports to prevent pests contaminating flora and fauna."

Read more at Olympic victors may be left wreathless

Posted by Darren at 11:45 PM

Blogger ranks Games losers

" For those who believe the adage "all Olympic athletes are winners," a Canadian man has dedicated the past 11 days to proving you wrong.

At his blog site, Jonathan Crowe has been chronicling those Olympic athletes who finished dead last in their respective events.

"I never mention the gold medallist's name here -- they get enough press," Crowe, 32, writes on his Web log -- or "blog".

In the past two days, the site has attracted thousands of Web surfers to Crowe's humorous takes on who may be the lovable losers at the Athens Olympics, reminiscent of past notables such as Eddie "the Eagle" or the Jamaican bobsled squad.

One candidate is Fumilay Fonseca of Sao Tome and Principe.

Monday, Fonseca finished 52nd in the women's 20-km walk 35 minutes and 42 seconds behind the winner and about 15 minutes behind next-to-last finisher, he reported."

Read more at Blogger ranks Games losers

Posted by Darren at 10:48 PM

Athens Olympic Games Blog - 1,000,000 visitors

Wow we feel like we've just been given a Gold medal here at 'Athens Olympic Games Blog' - we just checked out page statistics and we've just passed the 1,000,000 visitor mark. All but 40,000 of them have come so far in the month of August.

Thanks to all our wonderful readers for helping to make this site the success it is.

Posted by Darren at 07:01 AM

Athens Traffic To Worsen

"The communications experts express three fears concerning the second week of hosting the Olympic Games. The mass return of the Athens residents, the expected disappointment of using public transport means, and the drop in the initial enthusiasm about the Games constitute problems that are a priority for the communications experts and the traffic police.

"The residents of the Greater Athens area are returning, and with them thousands of cars are returning to the streets," as was pointed out at the Traffic Control Operations Center. This week, the number of cars to be circulating on Kifisou, Poseidhonos, Varis-Koropiou, Kifisias, Vasilissis Sofias, Vasileos Konstandinou, Ardhittou, Kallirois, Vourvakhi, Singrou, and Marathonos [major road arteries in Attica] is expected to increase gradually by 10 to 30 percent (as compared to last week) by next Sunday. The traffic police has already added 100 men to its manpower."

Read more at Athens Traffic Problems Seen Growing in 2nd Olympic Week; Anti-War Rally Planned

Posted by Darren at 04:05 AM

Earthquake Rattles Olympic Venues

"A small earthquake rattled some Olympic venues Tuesday. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5 and occurred at 3:38 p.m. local time. It was centered about 42 miles northeast of Athens, 12 miles beneath the Aegean Sea.


``There is no reason to panic. It was a very small quake,'' said Giorgos Stavrakakis, a seismologist with the Geodynamic Institute.

The press table shook at the baseball venue at the Helliniko Complex near the coastline.

``Like somebody was pounding the keyboard too hard,'' one reporter said. Other said they didn't notice anything.

Venues including the Olympic Village and the 9,000-seat Ano Liossia Olympic Hall for wrestling and judo were built near the fault line and designed to withstand a potentially massive quake. "

Read more at Earthquake Rattles Olympic Venues

Posted by Darren at 03:57 AM

Athens Olympics Closing Ceremony

' Leading Greek singer Marinella will open the Athens Olympic Games closing ceremony, according to information.

Music composer and singer Dionisis Savvopoulos will allegedly be responsible for the coordination of the Athens Olympic Games closing ceremony. Among the singers to appear on the stage will be Alkistis Protopsalti, Anna Vissi and Eleftheria Arvanitaki, while Sakis Rouvas will be a guest star.

Dimitris Papaioannou will be the production manager and the goal is to make the Olympic Games' closing ceremony a great celebration.'
Source - THE OLYMPIC GAMES CLOSING CEREMONY

'The closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics will include traditional Greek dances and a wedding, along with light-carrying performers dressed in black to symbolize the galaxy, The Associated Press has learned.

Organizers always refuse to give details of opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics. But a source close to the Aug. 29 closing ceremony, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity, provided details.

Participants will begin the ceremony at the main Olympic stadium with clapping and then perform traditional Greek dances before holding at least one symbolic wedding, when they will lay tablecloths and bring out wine, the source said.

At various points throughout the ceremony, performers will walk into the stadium dressed in black, carrying lights to reflect the galaxy, the source said.'
Read more at Athens' closting ceremony: traditional dances and the galaxy

' US Secretary of State Colin Powell intends to visit Athens, according to the Athens newspaper TO VIMA, to attend the Olympic Games closing ceremony.'
Source -

Also read Olympic Closing Ceremony Protocol and Athens' Closing Ceremony to Be Traditional.

Posted by Darren at 03:07 AM

NBC has sucked fun out of the Olympics

"If Roone Arledge invented the modern TV Olympics, Dick Ebersol has imploded it. Everyone wants to watch the Olympics, but they're just too unwatchable too much, too fragmented, too staged, too jingoistic, too hyped, too commercialized, too long, too everything.

The Olympics no longer feel Olympian. They feel like a sweeps-week sports reality show.

(Excuse me, but how am I supposed to watch all these hours of Olympics anyway? I never realized NBC had so many networks with so much programming to fill no wonder they put John McEnroe in prime time. Heck, if NBC buys any more networks, Patrick McEnroe will have his own show.)

(Still, doing due diligence as Couch Slouch, I tried to record it all. But by Day 3 of the Games, my TiVo filed a workman's comp complaint, and a local court, siding with TiVo, barred me from tuning in to MSNBC or Bravo again until Sept. 1.)

Here's all I'll say about the announcers, and then we'll move on to more important matters:

The studio hosts Bob Costas, Jim Lampley, et al. are very, very competent. On the other hand, if Rowdy Gaines ever leaves swimming behind, I think his voice could help induce labor among expectant mothers.

Ebersol, the NBC Sports chairman, uses a simple, cynical formula to broadcast the Olympics:

1. It's all about America.
2. It's all about overcoming adversity.
3. It's all about keeping us waiting to watch what we want to watch."

Read more at NBC has sucked fun out of the Olympics

Posted by Darren at 12:45 AM

August 24, 2004

Population and GDP Adjusted Athens Olympic Medal Table

Athens 2004 olympic medal tally by population is as the name suggests an alternative way of looking at the medal table in athens - this time taking into consideration population. They have tables listed by:
- Gold medals per million population
- Total medals per million population
- Weighted medal score per million population

Population Adjusted Olympic Medal Table is a similar tool.

The ABS has another medal table by population based on similar figures as at 23/8/04.

Athens 2004 olympic medal tally by gross domestic product (GDP) is another interesting way to view the medal results based on nation's economies. They have medal tables arranged by:
- Gold medals per GDP
- Total medals per GDP
- Weighted medal score per GDP

Also of interest is this 2000 Sydney Games Medal Table by Population that sees the Bahamas, Barbados, Iceland, Australia and Cuba at the top of the tally.

Lastly on an Aussie TV show (The Dream) tonight they made the observation that if Australia had a population of 294million people (as do the US) instead of their current 20million that it would currently have 168 Gold Medals, 112 Silvers and 182 Bronze. Quite an amusing thought.

Posted by Darren at 06:15 AM

Why the Olympics are making us cry

"Why are the Olympics prompting so many tears?

Crying is cathartic. When tears are shed by the lacrimal gland alongside the eyeball, it is a release for the emotions which have built up inside us.

Letting those feelings out when they get too much is good for us, allowing us to deal with them....

Paula Radcliffe's tears stemmed from her disappointment at having to pull out of such an important race, feeling the nation's hopes were resting on her.

Professor Dryden said: "It was partly her interpretation of the nation's expectations on here. She probably feels she has let herself down and the nation....

And why do we cry when we're watching the athletes? It's because we can relate to the highs and lows the athletes are experiencing.

"We can see how the extremes of pride or disappointment are affecting them - and we feel it too," says Professor Dryden.

"Watching at home, we get emotional because of empathy - it's something that is built into the human system."

With another week of the Olympics to go, it may be worth keeping a box of tissues next to the television."

Why the Olympics are making us cry

Posted by Darren at 06:10 AM

New devices help track winners, losers at Games

"From microchips on marathon runners' shoes to ultrasensitive touch pads in the pool, there's a 007 trove of gadgetry behind the Games to help separate the Olympic medal-winners from the also-rans.

"Most people have no idea how we get the times," said Peter Huerzeler, who has been timing the Olympics for the past 36 years. He's working in Athens for Swatch, the watchmaker, keeping score at every venue.

He's the nondescript guy with the Swiss accent who once dreamed of being an Olympic hockey player, but now moves through Athens, on a first-name basis with the megastars, in a bright blue polo shirt that says Team Timing on the back.

As vice president of Swiss Timing, he swallowed hard when he had to disqualify the Swiss swimming team a week ago after his equipment proved one of their freestyle relay swimmers jumped off the starting block a tenth of a second before his teammate touched the wall."

Read more at New devices help track winners, losers at Games

Posted by Darren at 05:59 AM

Instant news cycle undermines Olympic coverage

"Thanks to NBC's mostly tape-delayed coverage of the Olympics, viewers across the nation are lunging for their television remote controls in order to avoid hearing the results of Olympic competitions before NBC gets around to televising them. Svetlana Khorkinacouldn't bend over backwards any farther than American viewers have in order to avoid news of events that haven't yet been televised. I'm pretty sure I did a reverse two-and-a-half somersault as I jumped over the sofa and grabbed the clicker in time to change the channel before ESPN could tell me who won the men's 4 x 200 swimming relay the other day, because I didn't want to know the result before I could watch it that night.

This isn't the first time that NBC has dealt with the difference in time zones by saving the most popular events for prime time, but if you want to pretend the events are live by avoiding news of the results ahead of time, you're probably finding it more difficult than ever, thanks to the constant flow of information that surrounds us. A few news shows, especially the ones on NBC cable affiliates, are thoughtful enough to give viewers fair warning before they report Olympic news, allowing us to switch the channel, turn off the TV or stick our fingers in our ears and hum Le Marseillaise in order to avoid unwanted information. But even if you dodge that bullet, you're likely to stumble into Olympic scores and results on those ubiquitous tickers at the bottom of your TV screen or by doing something innocent, like checking your e-mail. This very Web site, crack news organization that it is, spoiled the men's 100-meter dash for me by trumpeting the news of Justin Gatlin's win before I could avert my eyes."

Read more at SI.com - Instant news cycle undermines Olympic coverage

Posted by Darren at 05:56 AM

'Russian roulette' Olympics death

"There is a huge security operation at the Olympics
A Greek policeman is being questioned after a soldier providing Olympic security was shot dead, apparently after playing Russian roulette.

The shooting took place before dawn on Monday, at the gates of an Olympic village at Mount Parnitha in Athens.

A 25-year-old soldier was shot in the forehead by a revolver that had held a single bullet, security sources said.

A 20-year-old policeman, described as a new recruit, was being questioned over the incident.

The policeman's partner on foot patrol at the time was also being questioned."

Read more at 'Russian roulette' Olympics death.

Posted by Darren at 04:37 AM

August 23, 2004

BBC's Sharron Davies' nipples distracting viewers

"BBC Olympics presenter Sharron Davies says she's bemused by a row centring on her nipples.

It's reported that the BBC has ordered cameramen to shoot Davies her from the shoulders up during broadcasts from the Olympic pool.

The Daily Mirror says the BBC received a handful of complaints from viewers who said the 41-year-old's prominent nipples had diverted attention from the action in the pool.

But the former swimmer said: "If it means more people are watching the Olympics, then it's a positive thing.They might learn a lot about swimming, get drawn into the sport and actually find they enjoy it!

"If it's detracting from the swimmers - who are most the real stars - then it's a different matter.""

Read more at Ananova - Sharron's nipples distracting viewers

Posted by Darren at 10:10 PM

Bush in strife over Olympic mention

"US President George W. Bush's re-election campaign will continue to run a television advertisement that mentions the Olympics, despite questions about whether that violates the by-laws for the Games.

US Olympic Committee officials had contacted the campaign about the ad and were awaiting a reply, USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said in Athens today.

But campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said there were no plans to pull the ad.

"We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics and make a factual point in a political advertisement," he said.

The ad shows a swimmer and the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today, 120," an announcer says. "Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations. And two fewer terrorist regimes."

Some of the players on the Iraqi Olympic soccer team have complained about the ad appearing as part of a political campaign.

Anything relating to the Olympics belongs to the International Olympic Committee in general and to the USOC in the United States."

Read more at Bush in strife over Olympic mention

Posted by Darren at 05:32 PM

Anger as George W Bush bids to exploit Olympic games

"United States President George Bush stood accused of appropriating the Olympic movement for political means on Sunday night, amid reports he was planning to visit Athens later this week to watch some sporting events, including a potential gold-medal winning bid by the Iraqi football team.

According to unconfirmed reports in the US, the White House is examining the logistical and security implications of Bush travelling to the Greek capital in time for Saturday's football final. Iraq, whose progress to the semi-finals of the tournament has been one of the games' most captivating stories, will meet Paraguay on Tuesday night for a possible place in the finals.

The Greek foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday night that the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, will be in Athens for the closing ceremony.

But it is the potential presidential visit to the games that will fuel a dispute between the election campaign of Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, and the US Olympic Committee over an advert which links Iraq's and Afghanistan's participation in the games with the US administration's "war on terror"."

Read more at Anger as Bush bids to exploit Olympic games

Interestingly if Bush decides to visit to watch the Iraq team play for Gold the team itself is not likely to welcome him as they have made it clear that they do not think highly of him - branding Bush a criminal.

'Members of the Iraqi Olympic soccer team branded US President George Bush a 'criminal' and called for American troops to pull out of the war-torn country.

Speaking after winning their group stage at the Games in Greece, one player said he would take up arms against US troops in his country.

And the team attacked Mr Bush for running re-election campaign adverts featuring the Iraqi team.

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," said midfielder Salih Sadir. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Sadir was angered at Mr Bush's adverts, which show pictures of the Afghan and Iraqi flags with the words: "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations and two fewer terrorist regimes."

"We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away," said Sadir, aged 21, whose home town of Najaf has been battered by the war.

Another star player, Ahmed Manajid, aged 22, said of Mr Bush: "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."'

In Related news - Powell to Attend Athens Closing Ceremony

update - Bush squelched rumor of Games Attendance:

'Mr. Bush also squelched a rumor that he would swoop into Athens on a secret flight to catch an Olympic event. Last Thanksgiving, Mr. Bush secretly flew overnight to Baghdad to visit the U.S. troops stationed there.
���
�"You're not going to Athens this week, are you?" a reporter asked the president. "Athens, Texas?" Mr. Bush quipped. "The Olympics, Greece," the reporter clarified. "Oh, the Olympics. No, I'm not," Mr. Bush said.

����He did, however, say that he has been watching the games, noting that he liked the Iraqi soccer team and "seeing the Afghan woman carrying the flag, coming in." '

Posted by Darren at 05:03 PM

Olympians Pursue Marketing Gold

"For millions of Americans, gymnast Paul Hamm's fame began only when the broad-shouldered Olympian shrugged off a fall in the vaulting competition last week and made an inspired comeback to win gold. So was credit card giant Visa U.S.A. just lucky that it's been featuring his face for months inside its customers' billing statements?

Hardly. A new generation of Olympic athletes is just starting to enjoy its moment in the spotlight. But for the competitors -- and agents and marketers -- trying to capitalize on the short-lived glory achieved in Athens, it is increasingly about signing contracts months or even years before the games began.

Visa signed swimmer Michael Phelps -- who won eight medals in this Olympics -- to a marketing and sponsorship contract 2 1/2 years ago, when he was just 16 and virtually unknown. Well before any medals were awarded, U.S. softball pitcher Jennie Finch had signed deals with Bank of America and Bolle sunglasses and gymnast Carly Patterson had agreed to endorsements for ATT Wireless and McDonald's. "

Read more at Olympians Pursue Marketing Gold, Too

Posted by Darren at 04:56 PM

Traffic Troubles In Greece Turn Deadly

"When Greek authorities officially switched on an elaborate security system this month for the 2004 Olympic Games, local crime went into freefall almost immediately.

Overall crime is down 42%, including a 65% drop in major thefts, according to the Greek Ministry of Public Order.

But there has been no antidote for what Greek officials are describing as an inexplicable surge in fatal traffic accidents.

Since Aug. 1, at least 27 people have been killed in vehicle-related accidents throughout Athens, several of them near major Olympic venues.

Three of the dead have been Greek police officers. And an Olympian, a Danish sailor, has been under investigation related to one incident involving the death of a British pedestrian.

Although there are 290 surveillance cameras and microphones at venues and virtually every major choke point in the city, the network so far has been unable to deter the losses on the street."

Read more at Traffic Troubles In Greece Turn Deadly

Posted by Darren at 04:42 PM

August 22, 2004

Olympic sportswomen reprimanded for promoting contraceptive patch

"Norwegian Olympic Beach Volleyball Players Paid by Contraceptive Patch Maker Chastised for Promoting Product During Competition

International Olympic Committee board member Gerhard Heiberg reprimanded two Norwegian beach volleyball players after learning that the women are sponsored by the maker of a contraceptive patch, TV2.no reports.

Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide, participants in the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece, have been visibly wearing contraceptive patches on their upper backs during competition.

According to IOC rules, Olympians are not allowed to advertise for products during the Olympic Games. "

Read more at Olympic sportswomen reprimanded for promoting contraceptive patch

Posted by Darren at 11:29 PM

A taste of the Paralympic Games

"Today, 16 of the best athletes for the Paralympic Games will compete in two impressive events at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Shortly before the mens 100m semi-finals, the athletes will demonstrate their extraordinary skills in the mens 1,500m wheelchair and the womens 800m wheelchair. The competition gives a taste of the Paralympic Games, which will take place in Athens from 17 to 28 September 2004.

Fifteen sports shared with Olympic programme
Fifteen sports on the Paralympic programme are shared with the Olympic Games: archery, athletics, wheelchair basketball, cycling, equestrian, wheelchair fencing, 5-a-side football, 7-a-side football, judo, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair tennis and volleyball."

Read more at A taste of the Paralympic Games

Posted by Darren at 09:43 PM

August 21, 2004

Appeals weighed in swimming, gymnastics

"Paul Hamm's historic victory on Wednesday night in the men's gymnastics all-around competition came under scrutiny Friday because of an apparent judging error, although it does not appear he will lose his gold medal.

That cannot be said for U.S. swimmer Aaron Peirsol, whose disqualification from the 200-meter backstroke Thursday night was overturned but might still be disputed.

Neither case has reached the level of the scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, when a French judge was determined by the international federation for the sport to have helped fix the pairs skating competition.

But the incidents, along with another this week in the equestrian competition, re-emphasize the difficulty of remaining controversy-free in the Summer Olympics, which feature competition in 28 sports contested over a 17-day period and raise questions about the method of settling disputes."

Read more at Appeals weighed in swimming, gymnastics

Posted by Darren at 06:40 PM

Athens Olympic Games Blog - best of a disappointing lot

It looks like our humble little site here is one of the best Athens Olympic sites - well its one of the best of a pretty disappointing lot according to this journalist...

"I could have used a one-stop page with the day's developments at a glance, no matter how obscure the sport. The closest I got was an independent Web journal, at livingroom.org.au/olympics. I also like USA Today's Athens Watch, even if it is U.S.-centric."

We'll take it as a compliment seeing as we're just a couple of guys with no resources except our free-to-air TV's and internet access, seeing what we could achieve from our lounge rooms on the other side of the world from where all the action is happening.

Read more at Olympics Online Coverage Extensive but Disappointing

Posted by Darren at 04:29 PM

Playboy celebrates Olympic sex-ploits

"The organisers of the Athens Olympics have vainly tried to remove the Greek edition of Playboy from the newspaper stands for offending the Games with a section on the Olympian traditions of sex, the magazine said on Friday.

"The court turned down ATHOC's (the Athens organisers') request for a restraining order against the circulation of the issue," Greek Playboy's legal counsellor Stelios Michalopoulos told AFP.

"Harder, deeper, longer," was how the magazine paraphrased the Olympic motto "faster, higher, stronger," in an Olympics special featuring photos of naked models throwing the discus, distance running or holding up Games' symbols such as the five rings and the Olympic torch.

"(Playboy) humiliates and ridicules Olympic symbols, signs, mottos, terms and mascots... causing enormous economic damage to our sponsors, license holders and Olympic product manufacturers," ATHOC said in the text of their written request.

The request from the organisers was submitted, and immediately turned down on Thursday, 20 days after the issue was on sale at the newspaper stands. "

Read more at Playboy celebrates Olympic sex-ploits

Posted by Darren at 03:13 PM

Athens Olympic Merchandise Available

The array of Athens Olympic merchandise available to Olympic fans can be quite overwhelming so we've decided to put together a page with a selection of some of the better options of Athens Olympic Games Pins and Merchandise. All are supplied by Amazon, a reliable and reputable dealer of virtually everything and anything you could think to buy.

Also check out these links for:
Athens Olympics Books
Athens Olympics Apparel
Athens Olympics CDs
Olympic Games Pins
Signed Olympic Memorabilia

Posted by Darren at 11:45 AM

August 20, 2004

Guide to watching The Olympics

If you're as avid Olympic Watchers as we are you might want to head over to Engadget's guide to watching The Olympicsfor some good tips on using Tivo, mobile phones and the internet for following all the action.

Posted by Darren at 03:30 AM

Summer Website OlympicsThe Speed Competition

Blakems.com is holding a 'Summer Website Olympics.

Their first event is 'Web page Speed'. It seems that the official site of the Olympics gets Gold - although we were not invited to qualify for the race. We might not have won this race - but we're pretty confident that we'd be in medal contention for speed of updating results on our Medal Table which we've noticed is quite often faster than all of the sites mentioned in the Website Olympics competition.

Great idea though Blakems.com.

Posted by Darren at 01:17 AM

August 19, 2004

Life inside the Olympic Village

"The Olympic Village is a place of mythical legend where lifetime bonds are forged and the backstage drama of the games is played out. The experience of living there is different for every athlete and it's as much a part of training and strategy as any component of race preparation.

The Olympic Village is where the athletes and coaching staff live before and during the games. It's a wholly self-contained city with its own mayor, a post office, music store, bank, souvenir shop, transportation network, cafes, and Internet cafe with over a hundred computers where athletes can get online and check e-mail."

Read more at Life inside the Olympic Village

Posted by Darren at 11:15 PM

No-Show Games lack buzz

"Shhhh: Olympic Games in progress.

So where's the buzz? Where's the hoopla? And where are all the people?

In the brilliantly white Olympic agora yesterday ostensibly the central ventricle of the XXVIII Summer Games you could lob a bomb (a poor suggestion, that, under Fortress Athens circumstances) and probably not hit anybody.

Young volunteers perched high above in lifeguard-style chairs bellowed venue directions via megaphone to the meandering throngs of... well, hundreds. But the traffic ushers might just as easily have clambered down and taken every spectator by the hand to his or her destination, such was the scarcity of people.

Much has been made about sluggish ticket sales at these Games, foreigners staying away in droves and locals profoundly uninterested, it would seem, in the multi-billion-dollar spectacle for which they will be paying into the next generation."

Read more at No-Show Games lack buzz

Thanks to Bene for the tip.

Posted by Darren at 09:55 PM

'Cricket must fight for place in Olympics'

"CRICKET must fight for its place at the Olympics. No game with international aspirations can afford to miss this party. All sorts of strange recreations have been accepted within the movement. Anyone turning on the television over the next fortnight is as likely to encounter beach volleyball, synchronised swimming, basketball, softbal and other horrors as one of the more traditional activities. Of course these sports appeal to the American market with its vast television audience and important sponsors. Cricket has no such hold. Nor does Kabaddi. Accordingly these worthy endeavours have been neglected."

Read more at Khaleej Times Online: Cricket must fight for place in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 03:43 PM

Olympic Clothing Supplier Apologizes For Sizing Mistake (Satire)

"Athletic Uniforms R Us, the sports apparel outfitter for many teams in the Olympics, has been forced to publicly apologize for some of the teams' uniforms. It appears that most of the bikini-wearing athletes were mistakenly given swimsuits originally manufactured to fit ten-year-olds.

It's an outrage, I tell you, said an Olympic Committee chairman who wished not to be identified. They look totally ridiculous out there. And you would think it would boost our low attendance, but it hasn't. That makes it even worse.

The athletes have been complaining as well. Holly McPeak, the U.S. beach volleyball star, lamented, I'm a thirty-five-year-old woman with my sweaty body rolling around in the sand trying to keep the ball from hitting the ground. The last thing I need is an undersized gritty crotch wedging up my nether regions and distracting me. I have, however, received quite a few marriage proposals from teenage Athenians. That can sure boost an older woman's ego."

Read more at Olympic Clothing Supplier Apologizes For Sizing Mistake (Satire)

Posted by Darren at 03:37 PM

U.S.-Style Entertainment Rocks Olympics

"For all the talk of reaching back to the ancient roots of the games, some venues at these Olympics have all the reverence of a real-life beer commercial.

Tanned, toned dancers in bright orange bikinis gyrate at beach volleyball. Laker Girl wannabes in flashy dresses shimmy at men's basketball. And the familiar guitar riffs of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" blare from the speakers at baseball.

These may be your great-great-grandfather's games in terms of location, but some venues at the Athens games offer all the subtlety of Wrestlemania or the NBA, which helped coordinate entertainment during basketball games.

"From the first to the last detail, they are responsible for that," basketball venue manager Dimitris Karydas said Wednesday. "It looks to you the same because it is the same.""

Read more at U.S.-Style Entertainment Rocks Olympics

Posted by Darren at 03:35 PM

How Olympic Torches Work

How Olympic Torches Work is a feature on... you guess it "How Olympic Torches Work".

We've had a few kids email us asking this very question for projects they're working on so we thought it might be a helpful link for some.

Posted by Darren at 03:21 PM

Olympian women escape the age barrier

"The older the violin, the sweeter the music. And the Athens Olympics is proving the lyrics right as Martina Navratilova, Merlene Ottey and company are demonstrating the endurance of women with middle-aged ladies defying perceptions about age and competition in nearly every sport.

Athletics sprinting great Ottey, a 44-year-old Jamaican now running for her adopted country Slovenia, denies she keeps on coming back for more punishment because she has no life outside the sport.

"I have got my fashion line and the other company," said Ottey, who labels another veteran Gail Devers (news - web sites), 37, as her toughest rival as she 'always beat me in dead heats, she just stuck her chest out better!".

Devers beat Ottey to gold medals in two Olympics.

"However, I have a passion for the sport and can never stop running."

The two-time world 200m champion has won 14 World Championship and eight Olympic medals in six Games."

Read more at Olympian women escape the age barrier

Posted by Darren at 03:11 PM

Olympian women escape the age barrier

"The older the violin, the sweeter the music. And the Athens Olympics is proving the lyrics right as Martina Navratilova, Merlene Ottey and company are demonstrating the endurance of women with middle-aged ladies defying perceptions about age and competition in nearly every sport.

Athletics sprinting great Ottey, a 44-year-old Jamaican now running for her adopted country Slovenia, denies she keeps on coming back for more punishment because she has no life outside the sport.

"I have got my fashion line and the other company," said Ottey, who labels another veteran Gail Devers (news - web sites), 37, as her toughest rival as she 'always beat me in dead heats, she just stuck her chest out better!".

Devers beat Ottey to gold medals in two Olympics.

"However, I have a passion for the sport and can never stop running."

The two-time world 200m champion has won 14 World Championship and eight Olympic medals in six Games."

Read more at Olympian women escape the age barrier

Posted by Darren at 03:11 PM

IT Firms Meet Olympic Challenge

"The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens can be the test of a lifetime for IT companies tapped to provide support for the athletic competition. Among the numerous responsibilities they have include updating results and athlete information on the Athens 2004 Web site; supporting the 21,500 reporters covering the events; and linking up the 61 venues across the ancient city.

French IT services company Atos Origin is the main IT contractor in Athens. It inherited the responsibility from Sema Group, which it acquired earlier this year from Schlumberger.

The company has 400 IT workers monitoring infrastructure and systems around-the-clock from a technology operation center and has augmented its staff with 3,000 volunteers.

Caroline Crouch, an Atos Origin spokeswoman, said the company has spent three-and-a-half years designing, building and testing the systems. On the first day of competition, the company supported 20 sports and 322 events at 24 venues."

Read more at IT Firms Meet Olympic Challenge

Posted by Darren at 03:08 PM

Samsung network aims to keep Olympics on track

"Samsung has distributed about 14,000 cell phones and created a special network at the Olympics this year to demonstrate how phones are often faster than feet.

The Korean electronics giant, one of the corporate partners for the Games, set up what it calls the Wireless Olympic Works, or WOW, a cellular network that gives designated users information about event results, medal counts, event cancellations and the like. WOW-enabled phones were given to officials, some members of the press and some athletes.

The phones and the network are designed to overcome one of the nagging problems in the Olympics: getting from one place to another. Crowds, traffic and rapidly changing schedules periodically cause athletes or spectators to miss events."

Read more at Samsung network aims to keep Olympics on track

Posted by Darren at 02:59 PM

Forty-two seconds that put Afghan women on the map

"Friba Razayee went out in the first round of the women's judo 70kg division yesterday, losing to Spain's Cecilia Blanco in 42 seconds. Perhaps the teenager should have entered for the hurdles. After all, as the first Afghan woman in history to take part in an Olympic event, she has had plenty of practice surmounting them.

"I am proud I was in the Olympic Games, although the world knows we are not as strong as other athletes. I tried my best but I couldn't do any thing," she said afterwards, through floods of tears. "Next time I'll win the competition."

This is probably unrealistic, given that Razayee has only a brown belt in judo. That the 17-year-old wore a black belt was down to the preferences of the International Judo Federation, which does not like to see any fighter on the mat who has not attained the sport's highest ranking. She competed by courtesy of a special invitation from the IOC."

Read more at Forty-two seconds that put Afghan women on the map

Posted by Darren at 02:50 PM

Canadian Tutu Man Gets 5 Months For Olympic Plunge

"A Canadian who jumped into an Olympic swimming pool was convicted Wednesday of interrupting the games.

Ron Bensimhon was sentenced to five months in jail. He is free pending appeal.

A tutu-clad man who jumped into the Olympic diving pool is sentenced to five months in jail. He is released pending an appeal. Do you think he should go to jail?
Yes, he interrupted the games.
No, he was just having fun.

Bensimhon was wearing a blue tutu and white tights with polka dots when he took the plunge following the synchronized diving competition Monday night.

He had what looked like an advertisement for an Internet casino written across his chest but denied staging the stunt for money."

Read more at Canadian Tutu Man Gets 5 Months For Olympic Plunge

Posted by Darren at 03:54 AM

Greece Takes Gold Medal for Baggage-Handling

"Britons still due to fly to the Olympics in Athens can take heart from lost-luggage figures out today.

For Greek baggage handlers have the second-best record in Europe, research from Prudential Travel Insurance found.

According to travel experiences of more than 58,000 people, only Denmark lost fewer bags than Greece last year.

Danish baggage handlers managed to mislay only 0.6% of bags and the Greeks only 1%.

At the bottom of the list, as many as 3.9% of luggage went astray in the Czech Republic and 3.4% got lost in Romania.

Phil Southgate, of Prudential Travel Insurance, said: Losing your luggage is the last thing you need when youre on holiday."

Read more at Greece Takes Gold Medal for Baggage-Handling

Posted by Darren at 12:41 AM

August 18, 2004

CBC cites family vacation to explain decrease in TV audience

"Fewer North Americans are spending their evenings watching the Olympics, but it's too early to declare Athens a ruin.

The CBC's prime-time viewership is down 18 per cent from Sydney in 2000. However, counting morning, afternoon and evening telecasts, the network's audiences are up 17 per cent.

In the United States, NBC's telecasts are showing a slight decrease: 3 per cent. The network has earned a 14.1 prime-time rating (about 15 million households) for the first three days of its telecasts from Athens, compared with a 14.6 at Sydney.

NBC is spinning its marginal decrease by pointing out that the total number of Americans watching the Games has increased because NBC's suite of cable channels is also airing Olympic content."

Read more at CBC cites family vacation to explain decrease in TV audience

Thanks to Bene for the tip about this story.

Posted by Darren at 11:05 PM

Sexiest Olympians

Women.com is running a 12 Sexiest Olympians feature and write:

"Some will tell you the Olympic Games are a chance for all nations to come together in the spirit of peace and goodwill. Others would call them a prime opportunity for checking out babes from across the globe. Guess which side we're on? Take a look at these 12 Athens-bound hotties andthen tell us what Olympian you're carrying a torch for!"

Posted by Darren at 01:22 PM

Empty Olympics stands lead to lack of excitement andlousy television

"The Blog swears it heard one hand clapping as it tuned into the women's Olympic volleyball competition. Breathtaking as the action has been, it was impossible not to notice the backdrop: vast pastures of empty seats and ushers, as idle as Maytag repairmen, with their backs to the court. When play stopped, you could hear the unique sound of a smattering of applause echoing through an empty arena. Say this about the 14,000-seat Peace and Friendship Stadium whichcould not have been more than 10 percent filled for the competition: They sure got the "peace" part down. "It was eerie," a journalist friend on site reported. "There was all this intensity on the floor and absolutely none in the stands."


We're trying to imagine this from the perspective of an Olympic volleyball star. You devote four years of your life and invest huge amounts of psychic energy to competing in the Olympics. For years, you envision reaching the Acropolis of your sport. And when you finally get there, it plays out in front of fewer people than watch John McEnroe's newshow."

Read more at Seats available - Empty Olympics stands lead to lack of excitement andlousy television

Posted by Darren at 04:13 AM

Wearable computer which can remotely monitor the performance of athletes

"As Greece is in full swing with Olympic fever, engineers at the University of Birmingham, England, have teamed up with researchers in Athens to design a wearable computer which can remotely monitor the performance of athletes.

Dr Chris Baber from the University's department of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering has collaborated with researchers at the National Technical University of Athens to make an 'on-body' computer which will track the acceleration, pace and body temperature of the wearer.

The computer, which is strapped to an athlete's chest and wrists, sends signals to a receiver via a radio link. In the case of a volleyball game, there is a corresponding data collector in the ball which, when hit by the player, also sends information back to the receiver. The data is collected on a laptop and a graph produced which shows detailed information about the forces from the hand of the player and the forces applied to the ball."

Read more at Wearable computer which can remotely monitor the performance of athletes

Posted by Darren at 02:13 AM

Olympic Babes Images Among Most Emailed from Yahoo

6 of the 10 most emailed images from Yahoo are of Female Olympic Athlete's Butts. Seems that the Beach Volleyball is pretty popular amongst some this year!

Posted by Darren at 12:17 AM

August 17, 2004

Organisers happy with sales

"Olympic officials insisted today they were happy with ticket sales despite masses of empty seats at many venues.

However, they said they could not control corporate sponsors who may have bought tickets and distributed them only for recipients not to turn up.

Marton Simitsek, Olympic chief of operations, said: "We have reached our goal. We are going to have 3.5m tickets sold by the end of the Games.

"We're very happy. In many sports we have sold 100% of our capacity."

According to Simitsek, 3,285,000 tickets have been sold, eclipsing the 2.7m sold for the Games in Seoul in 1988 and the 3.21m sold for Barcelona in 1992."

Read more at Organisers happy with sales

Posted by Darren at 10:16 PM

Openly gay athletes remain rare at Olympics

"U.S. equestrian Robert Dover is among the rarest of all 10,500 athletes in Athens, not only for his six Olympic appearances but because he is one of a tiny handful of competitors who publicly identifies himself as gay.

Dover -- along with some prominent ex-Olympians who came out after retiring -- believe there are scores of other gay and lesbian athletes in an array of sports at these Summer Games, either fully in the closet or confiding only to a small circle of people.

Gays and lesbians may be able to marry in a few European countries, and now the U.S. state of Massachusetts, but it's another era on the Olympic field of play.

Dover, a three-time bronze medalist who is captain of the dressage team, said many gay athletes simply want to stay focused on their performance and worry that publicizing their sexual orientation could lead to distractions."

Read more at Openly gay athletes remain rare at Olympics

Posted by Darren at 09:32 PM

Attendance not required for the Games of the 28th Olympiad

"Do not adjust your TiVo. Those giant banks of empty seats you might be seeing are not an illusion.

Attendance for the opening days of the Games of the 28th Olympiad has been a bust.

For months, Games organizers have been assuring skeptics that slow advance ticket sales were illusory; as soon as the torch was lit, the theory went, people would flock to the turnstiles.

Nice thought, but it hasn't happened. Sunday was a national holiday in Greece, and it's true that many Athenians were out of town. But a lot of them were in town, too and off work but they still stayed away from venues in droves."

Read more at Attendance not required for the Games of the 28th Olympiad

Posted by Darren at 06:33 PM

Internet radio loses Olympic match

"Some Australian broadcast outlets have been forced to shut down their Internet radio broadcasting streams to avoid breaching the International Olympic Committee's strict rules governing use of games material.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and heavyweight Sydney radio station 2GB are two of those that have largely shut down their radio broadcasting streams for the duration of the games.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that it has redistribution rights for Olympic material for radio use but is restricted from streaming any of the material online. It has largely shut down all but one of its Internet radio streams."

Read more at Internet radio loses Olympic match

Posted by Darren at 03:17 AM

Olympic Athletes Face Weather-Related Obstacles

"Athletes coming to the Summer Games knew they'd have to perform under a blazing sun, but they're finding out winds are a problem as well.

The notorious Meltemi winds started blowing Sunday and continue Monday.

For archery competitors, Sunday's competition meant a lot of uncertainty. Winds were swirling in the historic stadium used for the Games in 1896. Some of the support equipment used for the event was blowing over."

Read more at Olympic Athletes Face Weather-Related Obstacles

Posted by Darren at 03:16 AM

Chaplains Ordered to Behave at Olympics

"The Olympic Village of Athens houses around 15,000 athletes and a fair number of chaplains who are there to minister on behalf of the various religions represented. They are, however, under some restrictions because Greece doesn't allow proselytizing.

Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, senior Anglican chaplain in Athens, described last week how he suddenly found himself in discussion with the Athens Olympic Committee (ATHOC) over the chaplaincy work. "The authorities were only prepared to deal with established Christian Churches within the country with whom they had good relations. The idea of sports ministries from abroad coming in and doing their own thing was out of the question." Canon Bradshaw said that what was at stake was a place in the Olympic village. "We are living with the constant threat of moving the Religious Services Centre outside the Olympic village." "

Read more at Chaplains Ordered to Behave at Olympics

Posted by Darren at 03:15 AM

Olympics-Tickets to top 3 million but stands still half empty

"Ticket sales at the Athens Olympics are set to top three million on Monday but stands are still barely half full as organisers struggle to fire up Greek sports fans.

However organisers firmly denied reports that they would be giving out free tickets to fill embarrassing gaps that show up so starkly in global television coverage.

After falling short on a promise to sell about 65 percent of the total 5.2 million tickets by the Games opening, organisers had hoped sales would rise as the Olympics became more exciting.

The 2000 Sydney Games, with almost double the total tickets available, were held mostly in front of capacity crowds."

Read more at Olympics-Tickets to top 3 million but stands still half empty
Olympics Tickets to top 3 million but stands still half empty

Posted by Darren at 01:51 AM

NBC's Athens draws more viewers than Sydney Games

"Television ratings for the Athens Olympics have so far outpaced the results four years ago at the Sydney Games, but the network has fallen short of delivering the knockout that it hoped for.

Through the opening two days, NBC's coverage of the 2004 Games has drawn 95 million total viewers -- 8 million more than the comparable period at the last summer Olympics, the network said.

NBC, a unit of General Electric (GE), is showing the action from Athens around the clock, with expanded coverage on all of its cable channels -- MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and Telemundo."

Read more at NBC's Athens draws more viewers than Sydney Games

Posted by Darren at 01:28 AM

Olympic Fun

Especial Bruno Bozzetto has a great little animated flash parody of the Olympics. Save it for a low patch in the TV coverage - it goes for a few minutes.

Posted by Darren at 01:26 AM

August 16, 2004

Olympics opener third-highest rated on record

"The spectacle in Athens lured 56 million viewers to watch at least some portion of NBC's Friday primetime telecast of the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

NBC said it was the third-highest-rated Summer Olympics opener on record. The turnout tied the total viewer tally for the 2000 festivities in Sydney but fell behind Sydney and the 1960 games in Rome in households.

Viewership remained healthy on Saturday in primetime for NBC, which offered swimming and gymnastics events that averaged 20.2 million viewers for the night, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

The Athens kickoff on Friday averaged 25.1 million viewers, or a 14.4 rating/26 share in households, from 8-11:49 p.m. In primetime, the telecast averaged 26.4 million viewers and a healthy 8.1/26 in the adults 18-49 demographic."

Read more at Olympics opener third-highest rated on record

Posted by Darren at 10:58 PM

Tickets are not hard to come by in Athens

"The Olympic crowd tried to roar with approval as the world's best female gymnasts did cartwheels and back flips inside the shiny new Olympic Indoor Hall. But the cheers kept dying out, smothered by thousands of vacant seats in an arena at least three-quarters empty.

The Games entered their second full day of competition Sunday, but already attendance has been so far below expectations and sellouts so infrequent that ticket scalpers are losing their shirts. Passes for the most popular sports -- gymnastics, swimming, tennis -- are widely available. The nonstop television coverage is struggling to cover up the painful fact that many of the world's best athletes are competing in front of minuscule audiences.

Women's softball and field hockey games over the weekend attracted hundreds of fans, not thousands. Historic Panathinaiko Stadium -- the site of overflowing crowds during the 1896 Olympics -- was eerily empty Sunday for archery competition. Volunteers appeared to outnumber spectators at equestrian events."

Read more at Tickets are not hard to come by

Posted by Darren at 09:25 PM

Phevos and Athena make mark on Games

"It looks like a giant nose with feet.

An ungainly Olympic mascot, but no sillier than some of the cartoon characters seen around major league ballparks. And clearly popular with Greek kids, as evidenced by children dragging their moms to the souvenir doll section at a huge Athens toy emporium the other day, whining for a Phevos or an Athena, as the male and female versions not anatomically correct are called.

The Olympic mascot doll is a cash cow for Games organizers, with millions of them on sale at 10,000 licensed retailers throughout the country. Ancient Olympians had a fondness for Games-related toys and athletic figurines, too hundreds of the tiny, charming items, fashioned from brass and clay, are on display at the museum in Olympia.

Both athletes and spectators arriving at the sacred site would make offerings of such figures to the gods. Competitors also purchased their version of voodoo dolls and amulets, with which to charm themselves whilst casting evil spells on opponents."

Read more at Phevos and Athena make mark on Games

Posted by Darren at 09:11 PM

Athens Olympics - The Games of the Empty Stadium

"Across Athens, on the opening weekend of the Olympics, the scene was the same: So far, the Olympics are a box-office bust.

Athens organizers, in their rush to finish building some of the sparkling new venues, apparently didn't work as hard trying to fill them. And Greeks are proving to be selective about what they'll pay money to watch, despite ticket prices of as little as $11 a seat for some preliminary competitions.

That's led to some embarrassing scenes, such as Sunday when Williams played in front of only about 500 fans on center court in the Olympic tennis complex."

Read more at Lots of seats, not many people in them

Posted by Darren at 09:10 PM

British tourist killed by Danish Olympian - Niklas Holm

"A Danish Olympic sailor has struck and killed a British tourist while driving to an event at the Athens Olympics, semi-official ANA news agency has reported.

The incident occurred on Sunday while sailor Niklas Holm, 23, was driving to a Danish women's handball match against France.

Danish television said earlier that Holm, his trainer and a team mate were in the car.

Holm, in a special Olympic lane on a seaside boulevard, was detained by traffic police and will be taken to a prosecutor on Monday. The pedestrian was a 45-year-old British tourist, ANA said."

Read more at British tourist killed by Olympian

Posted by Darren at 09:06 PM

Athoc Chiefs Rule Out Ticket Giveaway

"The organisers of the Athens Olympics have ruled out ticket discounts or giveaways in a bid to boost attendances.

Three days into the homecoming of the modern Olympics billed as the greatest show on earth and crowd levels at many venues are becoming a major concern.

Venus Williams played her opening match of the womens tennis event against Melinda Czink of Hungary on Sunday, but there were only 500 fans on centre court.

The archers began their competition at a virtually deserted Panathinaiko Stadium, where Paula Radcliffe will hope to win a gold medal in the womens marathon on Sunday, and there have been empty stands at the basketball and the softball.

However, Michael Zacharatos, spokesman for the Athens Organising Committee (ATHOC), said: We will not be giving out tickets and there will not be discounted tickets sold because that would be unfair to those who have paid full price.

ATHOC have put the poor attendances down to the fact that some of the sports are not familiar to the locals."

Read more at Athoc Chiefs Rule Out Ticket Giveaway

Posted by Darren at 09:04 PM

Day 3 Results and Medals

Today is day 3 of the Athens Olympics and there are 14 Gold Medals up for grabs in the following events (click to see results of each event as they happen).

13:00 Women's Trap

15:55 Men's 10m Rifle

16:30 Women's -57kg (Judo)

16:30 Men's -73kg(Judo)

18:10 Women's 58kg(Weightlifting)

19:45 Men's 200m Freestyle

19:52 Women's 100m Backstroke

19:55 Men's Foil

19:59 Men's 100m Backstroke

20:15 Women's 100m Breaststroke

20.30 Men's Team Competition (Gymnastics)

21:40 Men's 62kg

21:54 Women's Synchronised 10m Platform

23:08 Men's Synchronised 3m Springboard

Posted by Darren at 07:34 PM

Day 2 Medals and Results

We come to the end of day 2's competition where 12 Gold medals were fought for and won in the following events (click to see results for each).

Women's Individual Road Race

Women's Epee

Men's -66kg(Judo)

Women's -52kg (Judo)

Women's 10m Air pistol

Men's Trap

Women's 100m Butterfly

Men's 100m Breaststroke

Women's 400m Freestyle

Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay

Men's 56kg (Weightlifting)

Women's 53kg (Weightlifting)

Posted by Darren at 04:51 AM

Olympic flame has ugly past

"Pardon me if I'm not engulfed by tearful sentiment when some designated celebrity is shown carrying the Olympic flame, allegedly toward an opening ceremony for the Games.

I'm more likely to barf from the reality of such over-hyped, misunderstood smoke and fire. Consider the miserable source.

As the flame was about to end its 26-nation, 46,800-mile trip this week, people in Greece gathered along the route and cheered, as people have done so often in America. The final destination was Acropolis Hill in ancient Athens, site of the carnival. Said the mayor of one Athens suburb:

"The sacred flame is part of the soul of the Greek people. This is a historic moment for us. It's our flame." Baloney!"

Read more at Olympic flame has ugly past

Posted by Darren at 12:24 AM

August 15, 2004

Greece Suffers Second Black Out

"Greek television screens went blank for a second time in four days Saturday as state-run ET-1 television lost its Olympic signal.

Two senior executives from Greece's main telephone operator, OTE, resigned after the company accepted responsibility for the signal loss.

The 20-minute Olympic blackout affected Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, as well as northern and central parts of country, ET-1 said.

International broadcasts were not affected by the interruption.

"We will do everything we have to so that this doesn't happen again. And I don't think it will," Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis said."

Read more at Greek TV suffers second Olympic blackout

Posted by Darren at 11:11 PM

Olympic venues safe despite tabloid report

"The Greek government insisted Sunday there were no problems with security at the Olympics, a day after a British tabloid reporter wrote he was able to leave three fake bombs undetected in the main stadium.

Bob Graham, of London's Sunday Mirror, said he worked at the stadium as a forklift operator without undergoing any background checks by organizers. He wrote he was able to leave the fake bombs after getting them through security.

Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, in charge of the $1.5 billion security plan, criticized the story and said Greek efforts to safeguard the games were thorough. A ministry spokesman said officials searched the stadium and other venues before the Olympics and found nothing."

Read more at Olympic venues safe despite tabloid report

Posted by Darren at 10:40 PM

Olympic Flame Burning Mostly Money

"The opening ceremony will be spectacular. Some of the sporting contests will be thrilling. And sentimentalists the world over will feel a lump in their throats as the Olympic torch is lit in Athens.

Yet the games are turning into a financial disaster. Greece has raised its estimate of government spending on the event three times, and it now stands at as much as $8.6 billion, according to Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas. That's 52 percent more than the initial cost estimates.

And for what? A few weeks of ceremony that will be swiftly forgotten?

Those are meager returns for such huge expenditures. In reality, the Olympic Games have become a bloated economic monster, growing uncontrollably.

The first casualty of Olympic fever appears to be economic sense, a point that should be noted by the residents of Paris, London, New York and the other cities competing to bring this madness to their own doorsteps in 2012."

OLYMPIC FLAME BURNING MOSTLY MONEY

Posted by Darren at 09:19 PM

Poor Attendance of Some Athens Olympic Events

"The first thing the Greeks need to learn about running sporting events is to lie about the attendance.

No self-respecting American ever would have announced the paltry crowd of 2,300 that was on hand to see the two top-ranked women's volleyball teams in the world go at it Saturday. In the old days, for example, the Minnesota Timberwolves would have announced 19,006 no matter if we could hear crickets in the upper deck.

Peace and Friendship Stadium (honest), which seats 14,000, definitely was peaceful.

Granted, it was just a preliminary match. When this round is over, two of six teams in each bracket will be eliminated. So there wasn't much on the line. Yet it still was a real glamour set-to. And the match, won by China in four sets, was absolutely terrific."

Read more at Preliminary matches, mistakes

Posted by Darren at 08:19 PM

Olympics turn away from sports

"The Olympic Games increasingly are defined by something other than the competition.

Think politics (Mexico City 1968), boycotts (Moscow 1980), crass commercialism (Atlanta 1996) and bribery scandal (Salt Lake City 2002).

The haunting question as 10,500 athletes from a record 202 countries assemble for today's opening ceremony is what memory will define the Athens Games.

Greece will spend $1.5 billion on security -- five times more than Australia spent for the last Summer Olympics, which occurred before Sept. 11, 2001. Soldiers will outnumber athletes 7 to 1 in the Olympic Village.

Jittery U.S. basketball players who on Tuesday played their final tuneup game in Turkey got a chilling reminder of the new reality when bombs exploded near their Istanbul hotel and the pregame warmup included a State Department security briefing.

U.S. corporate Olympic sponsors are keeping the locations of hospitality centers secret and, because many security-conscious Americans are opting to stay away, more Europeans (who apparently aren't as worried) are getting the freebie VIP tickets. Oddly enough, it was the desire for a muted corporate presence (after Atlanta's organizers buried the 1996 Summer Games in corporate logos) that initially prompted the International Olympic Committee to select historic Greece as the site of these Games."

Read more at Olympics turn away from sports

Posted by Darren at 07:57 PM

Day 1 Recap

Two numbers jump out from the first day of full competition.

52.95
232.134

Jodie Henry's 52.95 is by far the fastest 100m ever swam by a women - for that matter, it's probably faster than the first two heats of the men's 100m free. The victory reminds me of another event where the U.S. was considered unbeatable - the men's 100m sprint on the track. There too it took amazing performances to end the U.S. dominance in '96. Great win by the Aussies.

232.134 by itself really doesn't mean much - there have been higher men's gymnastics team scores before and there will be again. But few thought we'd see that score in these Olympics, and even fewer thought it would be Japan that would post the score. To think that Japan scored a 9.725 on high bar - and then discarded it - speaks to incredible quality and superb depth. The 3-gymnast final system makes it difficult to predict placings - one error and it's over. The top three teams (JPN, USA, ROM) showed their consistency with only 3 performances under 9.35 from each team. China is in 4th because they had many errors - errors they will have difficult hiding this week. Russia seemed to confirm their also-ran status - even their 3-gymnast score would have placed them 4th.

Posted by at 05:21 PM

10 Gold Medals to be Contested at Olympics Sunday

"The Athens Olympics continue Sunday with medals up for grabs in six different sports.

Medal events are scheduled in the sports of road cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.

The women's road race gold medal will be handed to fastest cyclist in the race. Swords will rattle as women compete in the final of the individual epee.

Two finals in judo include the women's under 52-kilogram and men's under 66-kilogram divisions.

Swimming continues to be the early highlight with four finals. The men will plash to gold in the 100-meter breaststroke and four-by-100 meter freestyle relay. Women will try to top the podium in the 100-meter butterfly and 400-meter freestyle races.

Shooters will take aim at Olympic gold in the men's final trap and women's 10-meter pistol."

Read more at 10 Gold Medals to be Contested at Olympics Sunday

Posted by Darren at 04:31 PM

Athens Olympics - Day 1 Highlights

"American swimmer Michael Phelps won the men's 400 individual medley with a world record time of 4:08.26....

- Tadahiro Nomura of Japan won a historic third consecutive gold medal in men's 132-pound (60kg) judo, beating Nestor Khergiani of Georgia.

- Australia won gold in the women's 400-meter freestyle relay with a world-record time of 3:35.94.

- Ian Thorpe of Australia won the 400-meter freestyle, an event he almost missed after he fell off the starting block and was disqualified at trials. Teammate Craig Stevens gave up his spot for Thorpe.

- Lauren Jackson, the WNBA's MVP last season with Seattle, scored 27 points to lead Australia to an 85-73 win over Nigeria.

- Middleweight Andre Dirrell got the U.S. boxing team off to a strong start, beating China's Ha Dabateer 25-18.

- Li Du of China won the first gold of the Athens Games, in the women's 10-meter air rifle competition.

- Ryoko Tani of Japan, nicknamed for a comic book character who happens to be a nearly invincible judo specialist, won the women's 48-kg judo event for her fourth Olympic medal since 1992.

- Italy's Paolo Bettini pulled away in the final 100 meters to win the men's cycling road race."

Read more at
Yahoo! News - Highlights of Saturday's Olympics Action

Posted by Darren at 09:04 AM

August 14, 2004

The obsessive competition: Collecting Olympic pins

"THEY seem like anyone else. They're bankers, printers, husbands and wives, even celebrities. But they have a dirty little secret. They're trapped in the throes of an obsession that can strain marriages and even ruin lives.

"These little pieces of metal have amazing powers over people" says veteran collector and dealer Jeff Fleming of Utah. "Olympic pins are like dope or gambling."

Among the famous Olympic pin addicts are Katie Couric, Ahmad Rashad and Jim"

Read more at The obsessive competition: Collecting Olympic pins

Posted by Darren at 11:54 PM

Road to Athens lined with land mines for some

"A Swimmer who sat idle for months because U.S. soldiers took over the pool where he trained. A judo competitor who practices in a small room because she can't go out in public without a veil. A runner who jogs on the sand because the streets are too dangerous.

The road to Athens is tough for any athlete, but for some it is lined with land mines. For those representing war-torn countries, training can mean risking bombs and bullets to reach the stadium, and making do without the barest essentials of equipment and coaching.

But many say the adversity they face has strengthened their resolve to push themselves to the limit.

Some even dare to dream of a medal."

Read more at Road to Athens lined with land mines for some

Posted by Darren at 10:43 PM

No Green Medals for Olympics

"International NGO Greenpeace has disqualified Athens from the race for environmental excellence. Greenpeace has said that Athens had lost the race for holding the Olympics event in an environment friendly manner.

The report by Greenpeace called 'How Green are the Games' states that "green energy is the most striking failure for the Athens Olympics... For a country that markets itself as a country of endless sunshine, solar energy for the games shouldn't be so difficult. But green energy at the Games is close to zero."

Greenpeace conceived the idea of a Green Olympics way back in 1992 and by 1993, a specific set of Environmental Guidelines for the Games, developed by Greenpeace were passed into law by the NSW Government. "

Read more at No Green Medals for Olympics

Posted by Darren at 10:37 PM

Olympics open without visible transgender participation

"Despite their recently won right to compete in the Olympics, no one seems to know of any transgender athletes who will be participating in the summer games, which kicked off this week in Athens, Greece.

The International Olympic Committee (news - web sites) (IOC (news -web sites)) enacted new rules in May, allowing transgender athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time. But it is unclear if any are taking part in the current games.

"With so many countries and so many athletes, it could be that (a transgender athlete) just hasn't gotten any publicity, but I think we would have heard if there was," said Jim Buzinski, cofounder of OutSports. Buzinski noted to the PlanetOut Network that only five openly gay athletes are competing, out of a field of more than 10,000.

Transgender athletes who might have wanted to compete probably haven't had time to prepare and qualify for the Olympic Games (news -web sites). The IOC changed the rule regarding transgender athletes in May, only three months prior to the start of the games.

Still, it is possible transgender athletes are quietly competing."

Read more at
Olympics open without visible transgender participation

Posted by Darren at 06:05 PM

Beloved Olympic icons have a dark Nazi-era history

"The most beloved emblems of the modern Olympics have a decidedly dark past.

The torch relay that culminates in the ceremonial lighting of the flame at Olympic stadium was ordered by Adolf Hitler, who tried to turn the 1936 Berlin Games into a celebration of the Third Reich.

And it was Hitler's Nazi propaganda machine that popularized the five interlocking rings as the symbol of the games.

Today, both are universally recognized icons of the Olympics. But historians say neither had much, if anything, to do with the games born centuries ago in Ancient Olympia.

"The torch relay is so ingrained in the modern choreography that most people today assume it was a revival of a pagan tradition - unaware that it was actually concocted for Hitler's Games in Berlin," author Tony Perrottet writes in a new book, "The Naked Olympics.""

Read more at Beloved Olympic icons have a dark Nazi-era history

Posted by Darren at 05:02 PM

Myths and technology welcome Games back home

"The Games of the 28th Olympiad have officially started with a spectacular opening ceremony which brought the myths of Ancient Greece to life through the magic of 21st century technology.

After three hours of pageantry, Greek windsurfing gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanakis lit the Olympic flame.

He was by all accounts a late substitute for sprinter Kostas Kenteris, the Olympic 200 metres champion who is to appear before an International Olympic Committee (IOC) doping panel on Monday.

Athens, on the verge of losing the Games four years ago because of chaotic preparations, raised the curtain on the greatest show on earth with a flourish before a worldwide television audience of up to 4 billion people."

Read more at Myths and technology welcome Games back home

Posted by Darren at 04:17 PM

Taiwan goes for gold as Olympics start

"Thousands of athletes have gathered for the international sports competition, and Taiwan is hoping that it can make history during this year's event.

Seventy-five members of Team Taiwan -- including athletes and staff -- were to be led by flag-bearer Chen Chih-yuan , a professional baseball player, and were to enter the Athens Olympic Stadium 181st among the 202 delegations attending the games."

Read more at Taiwan goes for gold as Olympics start

Posted by Darren at 04:13 PM

Athens Olympic Schedule Highlights - Sunday 15th August

"The second day of the 2004 Summer Games on Sunday is even busier than the first, with 24 sports in action, including:

BEST BET: The U.S. softball team takes on Australia, the only foe with a winning record (2-1) against the Americans. This could be a preview of the gold-medal game.

FROM THE POOL: The teen swim sensation of these Olympics, American Michael Phelps, and the Aussie who carried the same distinction four years ago, Ian Thorpe, could go head-to-head on the anchor leg of the 400-meter freestyle relay.

TIP OFF: A few months after coaching Detroit to the NBA championship, Larry Brown tries guiding an array of NBA stars to a gold medal under the Team USA banner, starting with an opener against Puerto Rico. Also, Yao Ming and China take on Pau Gasol and Spain."

Source - A quick look at Sunday's Olympics action

Posted by Darren at 04:06 PM

Full Olympic Competition Begins Saturday in Athens

"Medal events are scheduled in the sports of road cycling, diving, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.

Thirteen specific finals include the men's cycling road race, the men's sabre final and women's weightlifting in the under-48 kilogram category. Two finals in judo will be contested in the women's under-48 kilogram and men's under-60 kilogram divisions."

Read more at Full Olympic Competition Begins Saturday in Athens

Posted by Darren at 03:55 PM

At Athens Olympics, insurers already reaping the gold

"Even before Friday's ceremonial lighting of the cauldron to open the Athens Games, at least one Olympic record already had been broken.

Organizers, broadcasters and the countless companies involved in the international event had taken out a total of more than $1 billion in insurance coverage, according to estimates by underwriters and brokers. All told, it's far beyond anything seen at previous Games -- and represents a boon for insurers ranging from American International Group (AIG) to Ace Ltd. (ACE) to European re-insurers like Munich Re (843002843002) and Swiss Re (SWCEF).

The specter of terrorism has increased demand for coverage and raised the price of insuring any Olympics-related asset, whether it's the sports events themselves or the cruise liners docked in Piraeus Harbor. Even the trinket vendors outside the stadiums have taken out policies."

Read more at At Athens Olympics, insurers already reaping the gold.

Posted by Darren at 10:54 AM

Olympic Pins Are Big Business In Athens

"t's a precious metal other than gold, silver or bronze that draws some people to the Olympic games. It may not be as exciting as Michael Phelps going for the gold, but there a hundreds of people in Greece, other than the athletes who are in the hunt for these Olympic medals.

Well sort of. Olympic pins are a big deal to collectors.

The quest has taken Bill Baker all over the world. He has attended 9 Olympic games, both Summer and Winter for the chance of picking up pins.

"My collection numbers around 5,000. But there are many collectors out there who have many more.""

Read more at Olympic Pins Are Big Business In Athens

Posted by Darren at 08:17 AM

Business profs predict outcome of Olympic Games

"No need to spend all that time watching the 2004 Olympic Games -- a University of California, Berkeley economist and a colleague from Dartmouth have predicted who will win.

Meghan Busse, a visiting assistant professor of economics at the University of California's Haas School of Business, and Andrew Bernard, a professor of international economics at Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business, used a combination of economics, statistics, and history to forecast overall medal totals and gold medal totals by country."

Read more at Business profs predict outcome of Olympic Games l

Posted by Darren at 07:52 AM

Olympic Daily Preview - Saturday, August 14

"Athens, Greece (Sports Network) - There will be 13 gold medal events at the Olympics on Saturday, including four in swimming.

Amidst the Day 1 action, Michael Phelps will begin his quest to break Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven gold medals when he swims in the 400m individual medley. This is one of Phelps' strongest disciplines; he owns the world record of 4:08.41, which he set at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. His closest challenger is expected to be Hungarian Lazslo Cseh, the second-place finisher at last year's World Championships.

The men's 400m freestyle gold medalist will also be decided on Saturday. Australian Ian Thorpe, who holds the five fastest times in history for this event, is favored to win -- as long as teammate Grant Hackett doesn't get in the way. Hackett holds the second-fastest time this year in the 400, and the sixth fastest time ever behind Thorpe.

On the women's side, Yana Klochkova of the Ukraine looks to defend her Olympic title in the 400m individual medley. Klochova won gold in Sydney and set a world record with a time of 4:33.39, which she hasn't been able to match."

Read more at Olympic Daily Preview - Saturday, August 14

Posted by Darren at 07:51 AM

August 13, 2004

American Stars Set for Olympic Ad $$ Bonanza

"Big corporate sponsors won't have to fret that their chosen Olympic athletes will get tarnished by embarrassing situations in Athens all jocks are under 24-hour guard.

Apart from tight security, the other major concern of sponsors who are spending upwards of $10 million on their spokespeople is whether the athletes will win any new fame in the games.

The leader of the spokes-jock pack, cover-boy swimmer Michael Phelps, has already nailed down more than $2 million in sponsorship deals this year, including Visa and ATT Wireless.

If the swimming stud takes home several medals, his endorsement deals could triple past $6 million, experts say.

The close runner-up to Phelps in the sponsorship stakes is his teammate on the U.S. swimming team, Lenny Krayzelburg, whose deals with Speedo and Monster.com have reeled in about $1 million for him so far. He also stands to swell his deals with extra gold medals."

Read more at AMERICAN STARS SET FOR OLYMPIC AD $$ BONANZA .

Posted by Darren at 06:38 PM

Olympic Flame Reaches Famed Acropolis

"With the 2,500-year-old Parthenon as a majestic backdrop, a modern-day Greek sports heroine lit a cauldron Thursday night atop Acropolis Hill with the Olympic flame - home at last from a worldwide journey on the eve of the Summer Games.

Niki Bakoyianni, a silver medal-winning high jumper at the 1996 Olympics, raised her arms in triumph after touching the torch to the cauldron at the Acropolis, one of Athens' most celebrated landmarks.

She was handed the torch by nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis, who was cheered exuberantly by huge crowds as he ran through the cobblestone streets below the Acropolis.

"We welcome the Olympic flame back home ... it will shine in the hearts of all people on Earth, carrying the message of peace and brotherhood," Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni told a crowd that gathered on a balmy evening beneath the ancient floodlit columns.

"We are ready - let the games begin!""

Read more at Olympic Flame Reaches Famed Acropolis.

Posted by Darren at 01:54 PM

Dignitaries Arrive in Athens for Olympics

"On the eve of the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympics, British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) arrived amid tight security Thursday the first of several world leaders expected to use the games as a backdrop to diplomacy.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected early Friday and hold talks with Greek Premier Costas Caramanlis, who also will meet with the Bosnian and Ukrainian premiers, the government said.

Blair came to the Olympics host city two days after the arrival of former President Bush (news - web sites) known locally as "Papa Bush." He is leading the U.S. delegation and began an Aegean Sea tour on a private yacht owned by Greek billionaire financier Spyros Latsis.

The yacht Dumara, which will be home to Bush, his wife, Barbara, and granddaughters Barbara and Jenna, along with a team of Secret Service agents, docked Thursday at Athens' main port of Piraeus. It was escorted by a Greek warship and three coast guard vessels."

Read more at Dignitaries Arrive in Athens for Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 01:39 PM

OC suggests that Beijing ease up on its fast pace of construction for 2008 Olympics

"In contrast to Athens' down-to-the-wire preparations, organizers of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing are slowing their vigorous construction timetable at the request of the International Olympic Committee -- though the Chinese still plan to have all venues ready a year ahead of time.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said Thursday that the unprecedented request for a delay was mainly a money-saving measure.

"Usually, it's the other way around," he said, alluding to the IOC's exhortations to Athens and some previous host cities to speed up slow-moving construction.

Liu Jingmin, a Beijing deputy mayor and vice president of the organizing committee, told a news conference that organizers would take the opportunity to re-evaluate venues already being built, such as the 100,000-seat national stadium, and those not yet under construction."

Read more at IOC suggests that Beijing ease up on its fast pace of construction for 2008 Olympics

Posted by Darren at 01:36 PM

Afghanistan Women First Ever to Compete in Olympics


"It's not necessarily whether you win or lose, what's important is that you actually get a chance to play the game. That might sum up the philosophy of the two young Afghan women who are the first female athletes ever to join their male counterparts at the Olympics.

When asked about her chances of winning an Olympic medal in Judo, Friba Razayee smiles and giggles that she's just happy to be able to compete at the games.

"I am really happy, winning or losing is not important for us, because we are the first women," she says. "The Olympic Games are important to us, we are all Olympians and it is important to us to participate and we are not here just for a medal."

Ms. Razayee and her teammate, Robina Muqim Yaar, a sprinter, are in Athens for the 2004 Olympics. That's no small feat considering the International Olympic Committee banned Afghanistan from participating in the games in 1999 partly because of the Taliban government's decision to exclude female athletes."

Read more at Afghanistan Women First Ever to Compete in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 01:04 PM

A Games fit for the Gods

"THEY said it would never happen. The Greeks wouldn't have it ready in time. After all, they still haven't got around to sticking a roof on the Acropolis, have they? But tonight in this ancient capital, the world will see what the Greek government have promised all along - an opening ceremony in a sensational Olympic Stadium that has been finished on schedule .. even if the 75,000 spectators who will stream into this bowl can still smell the Dulux.

That's if they can get the carbon monoxide out of their nostrils. The Greek authorities claim to have tried to ease the traffic congestion that turns Athens into a giant car park most of the time but they can't be serious.

It takes an hour to get anywhere and if this is it improved then heaven knows what these poor people have to suffer the rest of the time."

Read more at dailyrecord - OLYMPICS 2004: ADONIS MAY HAVE BEEN OVERTHROWN BY ADIDAS BUT SPIRIT OF ANCIENT GREECE COULD GIVE US GAMES FIT FOR THE GODS.

Posted by Darren at 12:55 PM

Calling Athens Could be a Problem

"Despite hundreds of (m) millions of dollars spent to upgrade telecommunications in Greece, connection problems have been cropping up intermittently all week.
Sometimes calls won't go through from the U-S -- sometimes it happens with calls out of Athens.

Telecommunications experts say the problem boils down to one word: capacity.

There's just not enough of it.

Sources tell Associated Press Radio the European Union has pressured Greece ahead of the Olympic Games to increase ability to handle the telecom load.

Officials at the Federal Communications Commission say there's very little the U-S can do to remedy the situation, beyond encouraging U-S carriers to work with their Greek counterparts to solve the problem"

Putting calls through to Athens even before the Olympics can be a problem

Posted by Darren at 01:44 AM

Olympics Could Call Out the Couch Potatoes

Olympics Could Call Out the Couch Potatoes

"As the 2004 Summer Olympics officially get underway Friday with an international broadcast of the opening ceremonies, health experts expect the Athens games to inspire couch potatoes to become more active.

But, experts caution, amateurs, particularly sedentary ones, should not jump into a new sports activity without sufficient preparation.

"These athletes make it look way too easy," said Dr. Pietro Tonino, a Chicago-based orthopedic surgeon. "And people need to understand that most of them have been doing their sport since they were young.""

Posted by Darren at 01:02 AM

Queen Mary 2 - World's largest cruise ship arrives in Athens

"Touring the endless hallways and sweeping decks of the Queen Mary 2, you'll find gleaming wood paneling, deep red carpeting and authentic Art Deco details.

You'll also find a hall of fame with larger-than-life, black-and-white photographs of some of the many stars who sailed on the ship's predecessor, the Queen Mary: Buster Keaton. Bing Crosby. Charlie Chaplin. Elizabeth Taylor. And we're just getting started.

What you won't find, though, are the names of the celebrities who will call the world's largest luxury liner home during the Olympic Games -- even if you ask nicely.

"There will be some celebrities on for the next couple of weeks," said Carol Marlow, who oversees the Cunard Line for Europe, the Middle East and Africa."

Read more at World's largest cruise ship arrives in Athens

Posted by Darren at 12:57 AM

Athens Wrestles to Avoid Phone Outages

"Amid the roar of the crowd, the silence of the phones can be deafening.

As thousands of athletes, spectators, journalists, officials and more descend on the Greek capital ahead of the Aug. 13 opening ceremonies of the Summer Games, phone companies are scrambling to ensure that the lines of communication, while long, remain open.

"It's been a big undertaking," said Sofia Marinou, a spokesman for Cosmote, the mobile arm of Greek carrier Hellenic Telecommunications, OTE, Greece's former state-owned telecom. "We put extra effort into it and we've undertaken a lot of work."

Indeed, since 2000, OTE installed some 43,000 fixed lines throughout Olympic sites in and around Athens, as well as 3,000 ISDN connections in 60 different venues to accommodate the more than 21,500 journalists from around the world."

Read more at Athens Wrestles to Avoid Phone Outages.

Posted by Darren at 12:35 AM

Dawn Staley will carry U.S. flag in opening ceremony

"Basketball star Dawn Staley will carry the U.S. flag during Friday's opening ceremony, a highlight in an Olympic career that already includes two gold medals.

Staley, the first basketball player to lead the U.S. delegation at an Olympics, was chosen by captains from each of the U.S. teams.

"It's something that caught me completely off guard. It's a fairy tale that somehow ended up in my lap," she said Thursday at a news conference. "To lead the U.S. delegation into the stadium, it's incredible. It might be an out-of-body experience for me.""

Read more at Dawn Staley will carry U.S. flag in opening ceremony

Posted by Darren at 12:33 AM

Hamm controls Greeks

" The goal was classic Mia. Her assist was even better - and a lot more fun to watch.

Mia Hamm set up a first-half goal with a stutter step that left a Greek defender sprawled on the turf and covering her head in shame.

By the time Hamm scored on a solo run in the second half, the U.S. women's soccer team's 3-0 embarrassment of their hosts was complete, compounded by a mostly empty stadium at kickoff Wednesday on the first day of competition in the 2004 Olympic Games.

"You know Mia - she does that to us in practice," teammate Shannon Boxx said of Hamm's faked-out opponent. "I know how she feels - I would be nervous seeing Mia running down at me one on one.""

Read more at Hamm controls Greeks

Posted by Darren at 12:30 AM

August 12, 2004

Wireless Olympic's News

AT&T; customers will be able to get news updates via mobile content management applications that have been developed for NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games.

NBCOlympics.com - AT&T; Wireless

Posted by at 02:54 AM

August 11, 2004

Athens shopkeepers waiting for customers

"As Nikos Theodorakos gift wraps small statues of ancient gods, he's not sure who to blame for his recent misfortunes.

This was supposed to be a booming week, just as the Olympics are about to begin. But Theodorakos has had few customers. Like other shopkeepers, he's feeling the pinch from a pre-games slump in vacation bookings.

"We have no one to blame but ourselves and the government," he said Tuesday, working extra shifts at his father's shop in Athens' tourist district just to make ends meet. "You still hear stories about taxi drivers and kiosks overcharging tourists. We're earning a reputation as thieves."

Analysts offer a wide variety of reasons for the decline: overcharging, a sluggish international economy, the strong European currency, fears of terrorist attack during the games, and difficulties in buying Olympics tickets overseas."

Read more at Athens shopkeepers waiting for customers.

Posted by Darren at 04:50 PM

Anti-Olympics Rally Honors Dead Workers

"Anti-Olympics protesters gathered in central Athens Tuesday to hold an open-air memorial service for 13 workers killed during round-the-clock construction of venues for the games.

About 500 demonstrators stood in silence as the names of the workers were read out and olive wreaths placed on 13 crosses erected outside Greece's parliament three days before the games' start.

"We have paid for the Olympic games in blood," said Andreas Zazopoulos, head of the Communist-backed Greek Construction Workers Union. "All the money spent on the games means our children and grandchildren will have fewer benefits and will be worse off."

Deaths at construction sites have spurred a small but vocal anti-Olympics movement in Athens, adding to anger over massive security measures and commercialism surrounding the world's biggest sporting event."

Read more at Anti-Olympics Rally Honors Dead Workers.

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

Greek jewelry designer turns 'mistake' into Olympic medals

"The gold, silver and bronze medals have a new look for the Athens Olympics -- a redesign that's unique, Greek and even a little chic.

For the facelift, the first for the Summer Games in 76 years, organizers asked artists to submit proposals that included two distinctly Greek elements: a depiction of Nike, the goddess of victory, and the Panathinaikos, the horseshoe-shaped stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Ever since the 1928 Amsterdam Games, Nike had been shown on the medals, seated on a chariot with a wreath in one hand and an ear of corn in the other, symbolically honoring winning athletes. Next to the goddess was usually a stadium that looked a lot like a Roman amphitheater -- not surprising since the designer was an Italian, Giuseppi Cassioli.

The medals had changed little since, though in recent years, the flip sides usually showed the individual logos that were designed by the host cities."

Read more at Greek jewelry designer turns 'mistake' into Olympic medals

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

IOC: Somali official not welcome at Games

"The head of Somalia's Olympic Committee was declared persona non grata at the Olympic Games amid allegations he embezzled money from a national football federation, the IOC's ethics commission said Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee withdrew Farah W. Addo's accreditation for the Athens Games after a complaint from world soccer's governing body, FIFA.

Keba Mbaye, chairman of the IOC ethics commission, said the decision was taken by the Executive Board."

Read more at IOC: Somali official not welcome at Games.

Posted by Darren at 12:27 PM

Athletes from around the world converge at the Olympic Village to create a sense of community

"It was an ordinary afternoon at the Olympic athlete's village, which meant some extraordinary happenings were under way.

An Iraqi boxer, a recent arrival, grinned broadly about his improbable trip to Greece. A delegation from Ghana assembled for a quick picture beneath their flag. And minutes later, to the sweet sound of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," dozens of U.S. Olympians strolled past for a welcoming ceremony.

The Olympics, in theory, unite the world's nations; the athlete's village, home to 17,000 Olympians from scores of countries, achieves the goal.

Side by side in 336 buildings at the foot of Mount Parnitha, the athletes share experiences both memorable and mundane swapping stories in the 24-hour cafeteria, or simply shopping for CDs."

Read more at Athletes from around the world converge at the Olympic Village to create a sense of community.

Posted by Darren at 12:25 PM

As Clock Counts Down, Ticket Sales Surge

"With the opening ceremony drawing closer, ticket sales for the Athens Games are making an expected surge, including a mad dash by cycling fans.

Organizers said that the number of tickets sold has increased to 2.5 million, slightly less than half of the 5.3 million available. Organizers want to sell at least 3.4 million.

The latest best sellers included track and field events, along with soccer, which has accounted for about 25 percent to 30 percent of overall ticket sales.

Every ticket for all six days of competition in the Olympic velodrome has been sold."

Read more at As Clock Counts Down, Ticket Sales Surge.

Posted by Darren at 12:18 PM

Ancient Olympians Followed "Atkins" Diet, Scholar Says

"The 2004 Athens Olympic Games begin on Friday. Over the course of the 18-day event, 24,000 athletes, coaches, and officials will wolf down almost every food imaginable, from Brazilian fish stew to Asian stir-fried vegetables. Most competitors will follow highly specialized diets and consume sports drinks, gels, and energy bars to boost their performance.

The modern Olympics have radically changed from their debut in 776 B.C., when the cook Koroibos won the only sporting event: a footrace. But even then, ancient athletes were concerned with what they ateand some even followed a meat-heavy, Atkins-style diet.

Now food historians are studying ancient Greek and Roman texts to learn about the diet of the first Olympiansand about the roots of Mediterranean cuisine."

Read more at Ancient Olympians Followed "Atkins" Diet, Scholar Says .

Posted by Darren at 12:11 PM

Olympic golden rule: Eat to compete

"As Olympic medalists wave from the victory podium, you may imagine the years of training and sacrifice, of singular focus and determination, of selfless family support. But lets not forget the food: the true stuff of legends.

Behind every Michael Phelps and Marion Jones, theres a long, mostly overlooked, history of energy-rich meals: training and competition diets that help the worlds fastest and strongest to be so fleet and so powerful.

Although every world-class athlete follows an individualized diet, carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta and potatoes pave the road to world records, sports nutritionists and trainers say. The protein and fats so crucial to popular weight-loss diets including Atkins and South Beach play much lesser roles on the world stage of endurance athletics."

Read more at Olympic golden rule: Eat to compete

Posted by Darren at 11:50 AM

Games to break TV viewing records

Nearly four billion people will watch the Athens Olympics, said the International Olympic Committee - which will make it the most watched sporting event in history.

Read more about TV predictions...

Posted by Rachel at 09:19 AM

Economists make Medal Predictions

Welcome to Athens Olympic Games blog to our newest contributer - Noelle who submitted the following post - if you'd like to become a contributer to this blog simply contact Darren.

If you pay attention to predictions of who will bring home the most hardware from Athens, don't put too much stock in traditional sports media organizations like USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Rather, National Public Radio reports that the obscure journal Review of Economics and Statistics has developed a strong track record for predicting medal counts by country.

The journal's economists explain why some smaller, poorer countries like Cuba
enjoy disproportionate success at the Summer Games while larger and wealthier countries like Canada fare less well than might be expect. Four factors are at play: a country's population size, per capita income, past Olympic performance, and home field advantage for being the host country.

In other words, look for the Greek hosts to double their Sydney haul of 13 total
medals.

The economists predicts the USA will again lead the medal haul, though with fewer medals than it won in Sydney four years ago, followed by Russia, China, Germany and Australia.

Listen to NPR's full report at Economists Venture Olympic Predictions.

Details on the economists' medal predictions are available at who will With the Athens Games?

Posted by Darren at 12:08 AM

August 10, 2004

Athens Olympic Medal Predictions - Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated has a great collection of Medal predictions on sports at the Athens Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 11:39 PM

Olympic Games Mascots Timeline

Just found this great Olympic Mascots site that records all the Olympic Mascots starting with 'Schuss' the first unofficial mascot of the Grenoble Olympics in 1968 right through to those in more recent games.

Posted by Darren at 11:34 PM

Olympic Flame in Corinth

"The Olympic Flame will remain overnight in Corinth, a city of Olympic roots buried in the dust covering the ancient arenas. Athens is now just a stones throw away, as the Flame gets closer to the Olympic Stadium where it will be lit on the night of 13th August.

Todays route was through Achaia and Corinth by way of the old National Road. Under a scorching sun and the shade of the olive branches that many people held by the side of the road, 267 Torchbearers ran for 80 kilometres. The welcome was moving, as it is everyday in the Torch Relay, yet unique as always."

Source - The Olympic Flame in Corinth

Posted by Darren at 11:31 PM

Rogge: Athens Olympic village best he's ever seen

"Whether it merits a five-star rating is still up in the air, but IOC President Jacques Rogge -- a veteran of 16 Olympics -- isn't shy about using superlatives to praise the facilities in Athens.

After spending his first night in the Olympic village, he offered the highest praise: "This is the best village I've seen."

Wearing a blue and white Athens 2004 volunteer uniform, Rogge greeted members of the International Olympic Committee executive board in the village cafeteria Monday and led them on a tour of the grounds.

Rogge competed in three Olympics in sailing and attended others as an official of the Belgian team or the International Olympic Committee. Elected IOC president in 2001, he stayed in the athletes' village at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Rogge described his Athens digs as "standard one-room" accommodation."

Read more at Rogge: Athens Olympic village best he's ever seen.

Posted by Darren at 11:30 PM

Greece faces credit rating hurdle despite Olympics

"The Olympics have provided a powerful boost to the Greek economy but, unless the government gets a grip on spending, the country's credit rating could come under pressure.

This is the conclusion of a strongly worded review of Greece's creditworthiness by Standard Poor's, the largest credit rating agency, to be published on Tuesday, just before the start of the 2004 games on Friday.

SP rates Greece's long-term debt at A plus with a stable outlook. This is comfortably within the investment grade category, but is at the bottom of the eurozone league table.

The Olympic Games give Greece "an opportunity to demonstrate how it has transformed itself from an agrarian-dominated society to a modern, diversified and increasingly open economy", SP said."

Read more at Greece faces credit rating hurdle despite Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 09:38 PM

IOC expel Indonesian member

"Indonesia's Mohamad "Bob" Hasan has been expelled from the International Olympic Committee in connection with corruption charges from a decade ago.

Hasan is the first member to be dismissed from the IOC since the Salt Lake City bid scandal was exposed.

He served four years of a six-year prison sentence for his role in a multi-million dollar scam involving a forest mapping project in the 1990s.

Hasan's dismissal came three days after Bulgaria's Ivan Slavkov was suspended.

Hasan, an IOC member since 1994, was suspended from his membership in May 2001."

Read more at IOC expel Indonesian member

Posted by Darren at 09:21 PM

Olympics Then and Now

"There are a number of parallels between the Ancient and Modern Olympic Games that suggest the more things change, the more they remain the same. (And we're not making these up.)

THEN: Athletes competed naked, slathered in olive oil
NOW: Spectators, most not naked, slathered in sunscreen.

THEN: Only running event in 776 B.C. was 210-yard sprint
NOW: Greek Konstantinos Kenteris defending champion at 200 meters.

THEN: Judges allowed to flog athletes for misbehaving
NOW: Anti-doping officials punish athletes for misbehaving.

THEN: Poets wrote paeans to victorious athletes
NOW: Journalists write breathless prose about gold medalists.

THEN: Triumphant athletes richly rewarded upon returning home
NOW: Winning athletes rewarded with endorsement contracts.

THEN: Sex rampant among athletes, admirers at ancient Olympia
NOW: Condoms distributed to athletes in Olympic Village."

Read more at That was then, this is now.

Posted by Darren at 08:44 PM

Haitian sensation seeks elusive medal

"Haiti has gone more than 75 years without an Olympic medal. A twist of fate could end the drought and turn Miami-born boxer Andre Berto into a national hero in a country where he has never set foot.

Berto, the son of Haitian parents and No. 3-ranked welterweight in the world, said one of the most daunting tasks in his quest for Olympic gold is learning the lyrics to La Dessalinienne, the national anthem of Haiti.

Until a few months ago, Berto was one of the top Olympic medal contenders for the United States. The 20-year-old envisioned himself belting out The Star-Spangled Banner atop a medal podium from the time he began running three miles to the gym in elementary school."

Read more at Haitian sensation seeks elusive medal.

Posted by Darren at 08:26 PM

Seven eyes strong Oly ad demand

"The Seven Network downplayed new figures showing its share of advertising revenue had fallen behind channel Ten for the first time in years, saying it had strong demand for its Olympic Games coverage starting this week.

Figures from Free TV Australia, an industry body which represents all of Australia's commercial free-to-air television licencees, showed the Seven Network gained 29.9 per cent of advertising revenue for January to June this year.

That was just behind the Ten Network, with 30 per cent, while the Nine Network stayed in front with 40.1 per cent of advertising revenue.

Analysts say it was the first time in living memory that Seven's revenue share had fallen below Ten's."

Read more at Seven eyes strong Oly ad demand

Posted by Darren at 08:25 PM

Athens organizers plead for attendance

"The Greek premier and head of the International Olympic Committee say Greece is ready for the games to begin. Now, they just want more people to show up.

"I call upon the Greek public to come to the venues and to cheer for their teams and to cheer for the other teams," IOC president Jacques Rogge said Monday after a tour of the main Olympic complex with chief organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

Premier Costas Caramanlis also urged Greeks to fill stadiums.

"Every Greek should have a live memory of this celebration and be present at this historic occasion," Caramanlis said in a televised address carried live on state-run and private stations.

"The time has come to cheer for the athletes.""

Read more at Athens organizers plead for attendance.

Posted by Darren at 08:24 PM

Style icons to deliver Olympic torch

"Supermodel Naomi Campbell is among 100 celebrity torch-bearers due to carry the Olympic flame on its final stage of a round-the-world journey to the Athens Olympic stadium this week, organisers say.

Pop stars, opera singers, sculptors and businessmen will bear the torch in the shape of an olive leaf from the ancient Marathon site to the port of Piraeus, on to an altar at the Acropolis and finally to the main stadium, organisers said on Tuesday."

Read more at Style icons to deliver Olympic torch.

Posted by Darren at 08:23 PM

Army of young volunteers works Olympics

"Their uniforms are rainbow-colored polo shirts, and their weapons are disarming smiles.

Greece has deployed an army of 60,000 exuberant young volunteers in an all-out charm offensive targeting the hordes of spectators and journalists converging on the capital for the Athens Olympics.

They're unpaid, but that hasn't stopped them from practically tripping over each other to put a broad grin on these games.

As the clock ticks down to Friday's opening ceremony, knots of volunteers are as ubiquitous in Athens as the Olympic logo. They're everywhere - at the airport, the train station, the venues, the athlete and media villages - readily dispensing a hearty "Yia sou!" ("Hello!"), a chilled bottle of water, and a friendly tip on what to eat or where catch the bus."

Read more at Army of young volunteers works Olympics

Posted by Darren at 07:42 PM

Greek President Launches Scathing Attack On Games Doubters

"Greek president Constantinos Stefanopoulos has launched a scathing attack on critics of the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games which start here Friday.

In an unprecedented speech delivered to the 120-plus members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) attending the opening of the 116th session, the country's president admitted he was bitter over what he described as unjustified attacks on the Greek organisers.

"I personally feel bitter when, beyond the balance and justified recommendations voiced by your committee," he told president Jacques Rogge and the IOC members.

"I came across a number of malevolent or ironical comments by others who were anticipating an organisational failure, and rejoicing in advance.

"What I cannot admit is the assertion in that awarding the Games to Greece you (IOC) supposedly committed an error," he said."

Read more at Greek President Launches Scathing Attack On Games Doubters .

Posted by Darren at 07:40 PM

'Women of the Olympics' - Playboy Olympic Edition

"While the 2004 Olympic Summer Games will offer a chance to see some of the most raw, awe-inspiring athletics and fierce competition in the world, Playboy levels the playing field with a unique showcase celebrating the sexy athleticism of the human form -- a stunning, 12-page nude pictorial in the magazine's "Women of the Olympics" September issue (on newsstands Friday, August 13).

Playboy Senior Contributing Photographer Arny Freytag selected the eight models who appear in the layout. "This pictorial is different and fun and really shows natural and physical beauty," said Freytag. "Lots of open spaces, blue skies, the chance to capture the athletes in motion -- I know Playboy readers will like this."

As Playboy's September issue hits newsstands, Olympians will be hitting the scene in the Athens Olympic Village. "One of the big misconceptions is that every athlete is 100 percent serious about being there," said Playboy cover girl Amy Acuff, an American high jumper and two-time Olympian. "A number of athletes in the Village -- people who know they don't have a chance -- are there to have a party."

The following athletes are featured in Playboy's "Women of the Olympics" pictorial:
- Amy Acuff, High Jump
- Ineta Radevica, Triple Jump and Long Jump
- Zhanna Block, Athletics, 100m
- Mary Sauer, Pole Vault
- Haley Cope, Swimming, 100m Backstroke
- Susan Tiedtke-Green, Long Jump
- Fanni Juhasz, Pole Vault
- Katie Vermeulen, Athletics, 1500m"

Read more at Sexy Athleticism of the 'Women of the Olympics' Celebrated in Playboy's September Issue:

Posted by Darren at 04:37 PM

No bombs, Frisbees or propaganda, please - these are the Olympics

Planning on taking a bomb into an Olympic venue - unfortunately the news just to hand is that you won't be allowed to take it into the stadiums with you. In fact there isn't much you are allowed to take in with you. A list of items NOT to take to athens has just been released by Olympic organizers. It includes:

- Skateboards
- Propaganda
- Food
- Small change
- Knives
- Non-copyright Olympic T-shirts
- Banners larger than one square metre
- Motorcycles
- Guns
- Cans of Drink
- Pets
- Bicycles
- Frisbee
- Flags of countries not participating in the Games
- Umbrellas

"It may be stating the obvious to say the Greek government has banned Olympic spectators from bringing bombs to events, but it has also asked them to leave their skateboards, propaganda, small change and non-copyright Olympic T-shirts at home.

And that's not all.

Banners larger than one square metre (yard) will be confiscated, as will motorcycles, skateboards, bicycles and even the seemingly innocuous Frisbee, according to a long list issued by the public order ministry.

"Anyone who notices the presence of such an object or sees a person in possession of one is requested to immediately inform the police because security is everyone's business," the ministry said in a statement accompanying the list of objects which are either banned or undesirable at the August 13-29 Games.

Objects that are banned outright include explosive devices, guns, knives, clubs and other weapons. Carrying one into a stadium could result in criminal charges being brought against the offender, who will also be stripped of the right of entering any other Olympic site."

Read more at
No bombs, Frisbees or propaganda, please - these are the Olympics
.

Posted by Darren at 03:25 PM

Could return to Athens rejuvenate the Olympics?

"Greece is a famously sunny place, which makes one wonder why its moment in the sun _ the 2004 Olympic Games _ has occasioned such a gloomy forecast.

To hear the media oracles, the games will return to their ancient origins with venues half-constructed and seats half-empty. The hosts are said to lack urgency, and the guests _ those who show _ are expected to be hyper alert.

Meanwhile, it's said, the Yanks won't be welcome and fallout from the BALCO doping scandal has cut America's ability to win medals and raised the likelihood that it will give some back.

If there's anything good about these predictions, it's this: They're probably wrong."

Read more at Could return to Athens rejuvenate the Olympics?.

Posted by Darren at 02:18 PM

Cooling tool helps athletes heal faster

"Dealing with sore muscles and injuries is always a worry for athletes and trainers. It's of even greater concern at the pinnacle of sporting events _ the Olympics.

But the U.S. team competing in the coming days in Athens hopes to have an edge in bouncing back from aches and pains through a device the size of a large toolbox.

The new technology, called the Game Ready system, made by CoolSystems in Berkeley, uses space-suit technology from NASA to help athletes recover from injuries by using advanced cold and compression therapy."

Read more at Cooling tool helps athletes heal faster.

Posted by Darren at 02:07 PM

Tourists who leave it late win race for bargain trips to Olympics

"When it was announced that the Olympic Games was to return to Athens, there were many in the city and the international travel industry who assumed the handing over of large amounts of gold would not be confined to the podium in the Olympic stadium.

But with just three days to go until Friday's opening ceremony, the hoped-for financial extravaganza appears to be a fading dream. The travel industry is now hoping that heavy discounting and a last-minute surge of interest will prevent the event from becoming an economic disaster.

Ticket sales for events are down by between 20 and 30 per cent on expectations in the United Kingdom - a pattern being repeated across Europe and, most worryingly, in Greece itself - and it is estimated that 3 million of the original 5.3 million tickets for the Games have still to be sold."

Continue reading Tourists who leave it late win race for bargain trips to Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 01:58 PM

Fear, not games, keeping fans interested this year

"It's supposed to the one time when all the world's problems and each country's woes are forgotten about in the spirit of sportsmanship.

But these days, that no longer applies to the Olympic Games. It's a notion now reserved for Ted Turner's Goodwill Games.

But the Olympics are just a week away and there seems to be more anxiety than excitement.

Athens, the site of the original games a zillion years ago and the site of the rebirth of the games over 100 years ago, is our host. Yet few think this ancient Greek city will be able to weather the atmosphere that has been created by the post-9/11 world.

Who would dare stand next to any American athlete grinning after winning a gold medal? It may not be a big stretch to see the silver and bronze medal winners inching ever-so-slightly away from that American gold medal winner on the Olympic podium, as "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays."

Read more at Fear, not games, keeping fans interested this year

Posted by Darren at 01:38 PM

High tech apparel may determine who takes home the gold

"Drug use may be the most prominent controversy surrounding this summer's Olympic Games in Athens. But the second burning question concerns an entirely legal approach to getting the winning edge: namely, whether or not form-fitting fast-suits made from high-tech fabrics will decide which athletes bring home a medal. These new garments will be most visible in high profile events such as swimming, but rowers and cyclists are sporting them as well. Although to the casual observer the suits might bring to mind costumes for the next Spiderman movie, they are less about good looks and more about their ability to reduce drag and thereby increase speed. In events in which the difference between gold and bronze is measured in tenths of a second, the fast suit an athlete wears may be the difference between winning a medal or not.

Manufacturers have devoted considerable energy to developing various approaches to reducing drag. Nowhere is this competition more intense than in swimming. These days, anyone who shows up at the pool in a pair of tiny trunks is a loser. Fast suits are de rigueur. Speedo, Tyr and Nike all produce them but the big battle will be between the two market leaders, Speedo and Tyr, because both companies have adopted different approaches to moving through water quickly."

Continue reading The Olympian's New Clothes -- High tech apparel may determine who takes home the gold

Posted by Darren at 01:33 PM

Greeks to be flawed, still a rush

"Seven years ago, with International Olympic Committee members about to designate Greece as the word on their ballots, Juan Antonio Samaranch wondered if "maybe the [next] president will say, 'The best Games ever' " at the 2004 Closing Ceremony.

Ormaybe not. The four-word stamp of approval uttered by his ex-excellency at lights-out time of every Olympics except, memorably, Atlanta's will not be parroted by Dr. Jacques Rogge.

Athens has a lesser chance of earning the tribute than does Iraq of winning a gold medal. Part victim of 9/11 aftereffects, but also of self-inflicted wounds, the city is staring into the unsightly face of lowered tourism projections, labor strikes, rushed construction, terrorism fears and chunks of empty seats at venues, whether caused by parochial disinterest or ticket-bearers frozen in traffic jams.

Fewer than half of the 5.2 million tickets are sold. Hotel rooms aplenty are available. Budgetary limitations led to a roofless swimming pool that will let the sun shine in. Surveillance measures have malfunctioned. The phone system crashed recently. A new subway is not fully tested."

Read more at Greeks to be flawed, still a rush

Posted by Darren at 01:32 PM

An Olympics Of One: Solo athletes steal the show in 3 winning ads for Athens

"Solo athletes steal the show in 3 winning ads for Athens

Ascant four years ago, at the Olympics in Sydney, the prevailing American ad imagery (for those who'd gotten over using the Chariots of Fire music) was the multi-culti beauty of the world coming together. Most advertisers were pushing global harmony (cue global music, force a link between athletic supremacy and the power of one's brand).

The Olympics are one of the few places where we do see the excellence of the whole world on display, in the form of each athlete's discipline and struggle. Still, the world is a very different place now; we seem to be going it alone as a country, and, correspondingly, I'm seeing a bit of a change in this year's Olympic ad offerings. There will always be the synchronized-swimming jokes (hello, Aflac and McDonald's), but overall it appears the focus has moved from the group to the solitary athlete.

This Visa spot with 19-year-old swimming phenom (and Time's nearly nekkid cover boy) Michael Phelps, in heavy rotation for the last month, has no doubt built awareness for Phelps and the brand. Oddly, it's vaudeville meets 21st-century Aquaman, as Phelps has to play out the oldest joke around. But it's exquisitely shot (on location in Greece and New York) and manages to capture Phelps' superhuman, superlong underwater wingspan so dramatically that, like some old guy at the Friar's Club who can still make you laugh, you gotta love it."

Continue reading An Olympics Of One

Posted by Darren at 01:30 PM

Hard Times for Mascots Phevos and Athena

"They're getting more bad press than the Olsen twins, and worse reviews than the latest Spike Lee flick. Olympic mascots Phevos and Athena, siblings named for a pair of Greek deities, are catching an ungodly amount of abuse around Athens.

The pair were derided in various news articles, described as animated condoms and mutants from a nuclear meltdown. Their names were co-opted by anti-Olympic activists, who promptly firebombed two government vehicles in February.

Oh, my gods, where did things go wrong?

It's hard to say. The mascots were not the vision of a single artist, like the Spanish stoner who conjured Barcelona mascot Cobi _ squiggled in about four seconds _ while in a state of drug-induced bliss."

Read more at Hard Times for Mascots Phevos and Athena .

Posted by Darren at 01:28 PM

NBC Foresees $50 Million Olympic Profit

"The Olympics' opening ceremony in Athens is set for this Friday, but NBC hasn't closed the books yet on its ad sales.

As of late last week, the Peacock Network had about 4% more of its ad time left to sell with wary advertisers fretting about terror attacks and the TV ad market slowing down.

But NBC execs insisted that even though they have some ads left, the network will turn a profit of $50 million. That's the same amount it took in from the Sydney Olympics four years ago.

"We are absolutely guaranteed profitability in the neighborhood of what we did in 2000," said Cameron Blanchard, senior sports and Olympics spokeswoman for NBC."

Read more at NBC sees 50M Games gain

Posted by Darren at 01:25 PM

South Korea to Relay Olympics TV Coverage to North Korea

"South Korea has agreed to relay to North Korea satellite broadcasts of the Summer Olympic Games, which begin this week.

The Korean Broadcasting Commission Monday said the agreement was made last week during talks between the two Koreas. Among the broadcasts to be relayed are the opening and closing ceremonies, and many events involving athletes from both countries."

Read more at South Korea to Relay Olympics TV Coverage to North Korea

Posted by Darren at 01:23 PM

Old Olive Branch War between Greek Villages Ends

"Two villages on the Greek island of Crete which have been duelling for years over whose olive tree is older and, therefore, qualified to supply the leaves of Olympics victors' wreaths, have finally settled their row.

The argument was laid to rest not by either village conceding that their tree was younger than their rival's, but by the Games' organisers agreeing to take leaves from both trees for the wreaths, the head of the Athens Olympics organising committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told journalists Monday.

Kavoursio, which lies in southeastern Crete, will provide leaves for the winner of the women's marathon on August 22, and Kolybari, on the opposite, northwestern side, for the men's marathon a week later on the last day of the Games."

Read more at Greek villages' war of the olive branch cancelled because of Olympics

Posted by Darren at 01:18 PM

August 09, 2004

Olympic Rip Offs Backfire

"HOTEL chiefs who planned to cash in on the Olympics with rip-off rates are paying for their greed.

Bookings in Athens are down 73 per cent compared with this time last year.

Hoteliers charging up to 12 times more than usual, plus the threat of a terror attack on the Olympics, have left the Greek capital like ghost town.

Liz Faherty, of an online holiday company, said: 'Sadly, Greece is paying the cost of running a major event when fears of a terror strike are growing.

'People are worried about safety and see Athens as a potential target for terrorists, which has not helped draw the masses the country was hoping for.

'Any other time, the city may have got away with charging high prices for rooms, but there are other factors working against it and plans to cash in have backfired.'"

Read more at OLYMPICS RIP-OFFS BACKFIRE.

Posted by Darren at 11:51 PM

Thai workers protest sportswear abuses

"To bring attention to labour conditions in the sportswear industry, more than 500 workers from eight Asian nations staged their own "Olympics" complete with javelin toss, shot put - and protest signs demanding fair wages.

The event in Bangkok was part of an effort by international labour unions and social activist groups to win protection for workers who produce clothing and equipment for companies linked to the Olympic Games, which open on Friday in Greece.

Much of the world's sportswear is made in Asia, where the industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers.

Many labourers work in sweatshop conditions in countries including those represented: the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Thailand."

Read more at Thai workers protest sportswear abuses

Posted by Darren at 06:22 PM

Olympian Diets

The New York Times has an interesting article outlining a number of Olympians diets in the lead up to Athens. Its titled Athens on 5,000 Calories a Day.

They check out the diet of :
- SHANE HAMMAN (Weight Lifter)
- ANNA KOZLOVA (Synchronized Swimmer)
- HUNTER KEMPER (Triathlete)

Posted by Darren at 06:20 PM

Samsung Olympic Gold Phones

olympic_gold_phonesOlympics sponsor, Samsung, has produced a run of 1000 18k gold mobiles.

The limited edition Olympic Gold Phones were auctioned recently and received tremendous response. One of cellphones were sold close to U$ 2000. The proceeds from the online auction was to be awarded to the Olympian who failed to win medals but managed to leaves a great impression to the Korean people.

Source - Olympic Gold Phones

Posted by Darren at 06:04 PM

Record number of volunteers apply for Athens Olympics

"The Olympic Games in Athens has had its doubters, but it now apparent that plenty of others inside, and outside Greece, are prepared to fully commit themselves to the Games.

A record number of people have applied to be volunteers in Greece a whopping 160,000 applications for just 45,000 places. And of those chosen almost 5,000 have come from abroad, including 400 from Australia."

Read more at Record number of volunteers apply for Athens Olympics.

As a result, you can look forward to stable images with a wide array of Dynax/Maxxum lenses-not only with telephoto zoom lenses, but also with lens types that until now did not offer camera shake compensation, such as wide-angle fixed focal length lenses and macro lenses.

Anti-Shake has other benefits as well. Because there is no need to incorporate an image stabilization mechanism within the lens, lenses can be kept compact and the cost of the overall camera system can be minimized. And in terms of image quality, the absence of excessive mechanical parts or optical glass brings us closer to the ideal optical design of each lens.'

Posted by Darren at 05:57 PM

Pope wishes for peaceful Olympic Games

"Amid concerns of terrorism at the Olympic Games, Pope John Paul II expressed his ardent wish Sunday that the upcoming events in Athens provide a venue for peace, not violence.

The pontiff, addressing pilgrims gathered at his summer residence in the hills outside Rome, also sent his warm wishes to all those participating in the Games and to the people of the Greek capital. The Olympics open Friday.

"I hope with all my heart that in this world, which is today troubled and at times very upset by so many forms of hatred and violence, the important sporting event of the Games produces an occasion of calm meeting and works to promote understanding and peace among peoples," the pope said.

"On the Olympics and on the entire world of sport, I invoke the motherly protection of the most Holy Virgin.""

Read more at Pope wishes for peaceful Olympic Games.

Posted by Darren at 03:23 PM

Olympics to set tone for years to come

"The government admits it's 30 percent overbudget and has spent more than 6 billion euros (about $7.3 billion) on the Summer Games, equal to $660 per Greek.

Private estimates set the spending at more than 7 billion euros -- close to 5 percent of gross domestic product and all of it coming from the state budget. Construction delays, power outages in July and an 8 percent decline in tourists to Greece this year have heaped on the pressure.

The Olympic effort has been so consuming that many in Athens believe the tough decisions on government spending and potential privatizations were pushed out to September, after the Olympiad.

The Athens stock market has outperformed the European benchmarks in Germany and France so far this year. The Games, and the government's post-Oyympics plans, will help set the tone for the remainder of the year."

Continue reading Olympics to set tone for years to come.

Posted by Darren at 03:21 PM

Feeling the heat in Athens? No sweat

"Not just fast, but cool too. That is how sportswear manufacturers describe their latest suits designed to help Olympic competitors fight the heat in Athens.

Expect to hear a lot this month about built-in evaporation systems, personal air conditioning and strategically-placed ventilation as the world's leading brands explain how their latest technologies give athletes that crucial edge.

"The main challenge for Olympic athletes will be keeping cool and in Athens' heat the body's main mechanism is sweat evaporation," said Dr George Havenith, a U.K. research from Loughborough University, who advised one manufacturer on its range of cooling clothing.

"The closer to your skin sweat evaporates, the bigger the advantage. And that's where the right clothing can help," Havenith said."

Read more at Feeling the heat in Athens? No sweat .

Posted by Darren at 03:19 PM

For X Games generation, Olympic yawn

"Two years ago in Salt Lake, the winter Olympics embraced a largely ambivalent generation of teens and 20-somethings through the expanding imprint of "stunt sports" - events that mix the grace of athletic achievement with the attitude of an iPod. Yet at the summer Olympics, beginning Friday in Athens, the X Games ethic is completely absent.

NBC, which holds the US broadcasting rights to the Games through 2012, says it doesn't need stunt sports, since everyone can already find something they like in the summer Games. The International Olympic Committee says it can't accommodate them, with the 17-day smorgasbord already packed with 301 medal events from pentathlon to ping-pong.

But the success of snowboarding in Salt Lake was overwhelming, and if NBC's 1,210 hours of coverage in Athens fail to make inroads into that most desirable of demographics - viewers 18 to 34 years old - X sports could yet emerge onto the Olympic stage."

Read more at For X Games generation, Olympic yawn

Posted by Darren at 12:43 PM

Behind the veil of Iran's shooter is a frustrated gymnast

"The only woman athlete Iran is sending to the Athens Olympics is under no illusions of winning a medal in her sport of shooting. In fact, she admits the sport is not her real passion.

"If the dress code was not an issue, I would have preferred to stick with gymnastics. I've been doing that since the age of three," Nassim Hassanpour, a petite 19-year-old told AFP.

With the Islamic republic viewing tight-fitting leotards as unsuitable public attire for women, Hassanpour is instead restricted to any sport that can be played wearing the obligatory headscarf and long coat. This rules out sports such as gymnastics, swimming, track and field athletics or beach volleyball.

Instead she chose shooting; the air pistol on a 10 metre range. And in a gesture of slight rebellion, Hassanpour may be covering up her frame in beige, rather than the ubiquitous black."

Read more at Behind the veil of Irans shooter is a frustrated gymnast.

Posted by Darren at 12:40 PM

North Korea to Get Olympic TV

"The Korean Broadcasting Commission Sunday said it will relay the Summer Olympic Games to North Korea via satellite.

The Korea Times newspaper reported the North has usually pirated the broadcast feed of international sporting events instead of buying the rights to the broadcasts or making other arrangements. This Olympics feed will be provided for free by the South."

North Korea to get Olympics TV

Posted by Darren at 12:29 PM

IOC continues to sink deeper into its own mess

"When the champagne sippers of the International Olympic Committee said they wanted the 2004 Games to be like old times, they meant a dreamy glance back at the days of olive wreaths and Plato and sport for the love of it.

What they have instead today is a nasty reminder of dark days of the not-so-recent past.

With only a handful of days to go before the opening ceremonies of the Athens Olympics, the grand poobahs of the IOC are spending their mornings glancing at newspaper headlines filled with talk of doped-up athletes and, as of today, more talk about the worldwide bid city scandal that a few years ago nearly ripped apart what paternal IOC types like to call "the Olympic movement."

The IOC executive board did the right thing yesterday by suspending Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov and revoking the credentials of four men, one with close ties to Toronto's two failed bids. They were implicated in a BBC program about how powerful lobbyists still claim they can line up IOC member votes for bid city elections, including the 2012 contest that's pitting superpowers London, Paris, Moscow, Madrid and New York against one another."

Continue reading TheStar.com - IOC continues to sink deeper into its own mess

Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM

Greeks rush for last-minute games tickets

"Thousands of Greeks were queuing for hours today to buy tickets for the Olympics after organisers called for a boost in sales which initially had lagged.

With a record in daily sales broken every day in the past week, organisers were satisfied and surprised with the turnout.

"We certainly did not expect this. The response is just magnificent," a senior Games official said today. "We are optimistic but we have to wait for the end of this coming week."

Until early last week organisers had sold less than half of the 5.2 million tickets for the August 13-29 Games, but with over 150,000 sold in three days, they were confident they would meet their target of 3.4 million before the Olympics start.

Concerns over previously slow ticket sales were also dismissed by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

"The sales are going up day by day," the Belgian told a news conference today."

Read more at Greeks rush for last-minute games tickets.

Posted by Darren at 11:55 AM

The Olympics Represent the Best of Western Civilization

"The return of the Olympic Games to the country of their birth is an appropriate reminder of their deeper meaning. The Ancient Greeks founded the games because they valued the spectacle of a great athlete striving for victory. But the veneration of athletic achievement is not a quality one finds in all human cultures. Why did the games begin in Ancient Greece as opposed to, say, Ancient Egypt? And why were they revived in 19th-century Europe, rather than, say, Medieval Europe?

The answer lies in a rarely recognized aspect of the Olympicsand of major athletic competitions more broadly: their moral significance.

Most admirers of the Games can name a particular Olympic moment they found especially inspirational: Michael Johnson in his gold shoes dominating both the 200 and 400 meter sprints in 1996, Nadia Comanecis historic perfect 10 in the 1976 Montreal Games, among numerous others. But few recognize the cause of that inspiration: the crucial value of the sight of human achievement."

Read more at The Command Post: The Olympics Represent the Best of Western Civilization.

Posted by Darren at 11:53 AM

Athenians Head Out as Olympic Games Come to Town

"For Athenians, the Olympics are the ultimate Odyssey.

Up to 40,000 people are leaving the bustling port of Piraeus every day, turning their backs on the Games and heading for sun, sea and sand on the Greek islands.

As fast as tourists fly into Athens for the greatest sporting show on earth, Greeks are sailing off in the other direction.

With just five days to go before the start of the Olympics, Hrisa Ladaki, 23, could not wait to get away.

Heading aboard the Knossos Palace ferry for Crete on a sun-kissed Sunday morning, she said: "It never crossed my mind to stay in Athens for the Games. I'm not interested. I prefer to go on holidays.

"Beside that, all the security measures and the traffic restrictions are very annoying.""

Continue reading Athenians Head Out as Olympic Games Come to Town.

Posted by Darren at 11:53 AM

Olympic Prayers for Athletes

"Greece's Orthodox Church says it is praying for athletes competing in the Athens Olympics not to be lazy.

"Athletes and sports fans should spend the days of the Olympic Games abhorring evil, clinging to good led by brotherly love and should not be slothful," the church said in a statement on Sunday.

The church says sloth is one of man's deadly passions that should be resisted.

"The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece prays also to the Lord for the Games to be conducted in a spirit of mutual love and peace, away from conflict, away from acts of violence and demonstration of cruelty," the church said."

Read more at Prayers for athletes not to be lazy.

Posted by Darren at 11:40 AM

Latin America's Olympians

"As the 2004 Olympics gets underway Friday in Athens, runners, volleyball players and gymnasts from Argentina to Ecuador will knock professional soccer off the front -- or at least to the bottom -- of South and Central American sports pages.

Over 16 days, 301 medal ceremonies will take place -- and Cuba, despite its shrunken team, is expected to haul in more medals than any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean.

But the rest of the region is equally rich in compelling Olympic tales.

There is the story of race walking gold medal favorite Jefferson Prez of Ecuador, who celebrated his country's first Olympic medal in 1996 by walking 285 miles from Quito to his hometown of Cuenca, where he was presented a lifetime supply of yogurt. A postage stamp came soon after."

Continue reading Latin America's Olympians

Posted by Darren at 11:39 AM

Economists Predict Olympic Medalists

suddenstop has an interesting post on the predictions of a group of Economists looking at a projected Medal Table for the Athens Olympics. They predict the following Medal Wins.

US--93
Russia--83
China--87
Germany--55
Australia--54
France--37
Italy--33
UK--27
South Korea--27
Greece--27

Originally from Wall Street Journal, July 26 2004

Posted by Darren at 11:31 AM

August 08, 2004

2004 Games might test concept of Olympics

"With the Athens Olympics scheduled to start Friday, it's uncertain whether the modern version of this quadrennial event holds the same value as in the past.

It depends on whom you talk to. Some scholars say the Olympics may be at a crossroads. However, to those involved directly, the Games offer a grand stage that comes only once every four years.

"From the perspective of athletes, coaches and people in sport, this is the Super Bowl, the big dance, the prom," said Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming. "We work in four-year cycles, so our excitement is not any less than four years ago, eight years ago or 12 years ago.

"In our sport, the excitement may be even higher because there are so many good things happening.""

Read more at 2004 Games might test concept of Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 10:51 PM

Niki Bakoyianni to light cauldron a Acropolis

"Olympic high jumper Niki Bakoyianni will light the Olympic cauldron at the ancient Acropolis hill on the eve of the opening ceremony, officials said Saturday.

Bakoyianni, the silver medalist in the high jump at the 1996 Olympics, will light the flame on Aug. 12 on the "sacred rock," as Greeks call the hill.

The flame of the Aug. 13-29 games has traveled around the world to 35 cities in 27 countries before making its way back to Greece. The relay will end with the lighting of the cauldron in the main stadium on Friday.

Costas Kenteris, who won the 200-meter gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Games, is expected to ignite the cauldron at the stadium."

Read more at Bakoyianni to light cauldron a Acropolis.

Posted by Darren at 10:45 PM

Scandal and threats challenge idealism

"Enhanced by Greece's ancient history but engulfed by contemporary concerns over terrorism, drugs and readiness, the XXVIII Summer Games will open in Athens on Friday beneath the gaze of the world.

The Olympics' long-awaited return to the nation where it was born more than two millennia ago, and where it was resurrected in 1896, has created not just the typical anticipation of athletic achievement but also an unusual level of anxiety.

The lengthy run-up to this 17-day international sports spectacle was marred by frequent bad news -- several small explosions touched off by dissidents in Greece, construction delays, budget overruns, blackouts, drug scandals involving top American track-and-field stars and lagging ticket sales.

Officials of the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee, whose final costs could be nearly $5 billion over projections, insist that the 38 venues and most of the tourism, transportation and security infrastructure will be ready, and that the 11,000 athletes and millions of visitors will be secure and comfortable.

In case they're wrong, however, the International Olympic Committee, for the first time, has purchased a $170 million insurance policy should the games have to be canceled."

Read more at Scandal and threats challenge idealism.

Posted by Darren at 10:23 PM

What Olympic Ideal?

"The official mascots for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens are a pair of fanciful, brightly colored cartoon humanoids, and they're very, very cute; you'd never guess, just by looking at them, who they're supposed to be. Each figure has the shape of an inverted triangle, with a vestigial face and a couple of winsome, vaguely marsupial four-toed feet. One figure is an orangey red, and the other is a vivid blue, and if you didn't know anything else, you'd be right in suspecting that one's a boy and the other's a girl.

The shock comes when you learn their names: Athena and Phevos. The first you probably know; the second is typically rendered in English as Phoebus, one of the names of the ancient Greek god Apollo. Athena and Apollo? Even allowing for the cuteness of mascots, it's impossible to see what relationship these hand-holding blobs have with the mythic originals: Athena, an armor-wearing virgin with cold gray eyes, avid for battle; Apollo, who presided over the great oracle at Delphi, patron of the most brilliant expressions of civilized culture: music, medicine, philosophy, law.

Those responsible for these darling divinities would have us believe that they ''represent the link between Greek history and the modern Olympic Games.'' This appeal to the ancients and their culture is a standard trope -- one that, for obvious reasons, is being invoked more relentlessly than usual in the current Olympiad. But however much we love to cite the Greeks as a pristine standard, as models for contemporary culture, we do so at no little risk; we may like to think of ourselves as Greek, but the fact is that much of classical thought and culture is extremely foreign to us. Indeed, although this Olympiad's mascots were inspired (so the official Olympics Web site informs you) by an ancient Greek doll, the tradition they really belong to is the fairly recent one of infantile Olympic mascots: Misha the Russian Bear (Moscow, 1980), Sam the Eagle (Los Angeles, 1984), Hodori the Tiger (Seoul, 1988). Hodori, as the International Olympic Memorabilia Foundation's Web site tells you, ''portrays the friendly side of a tiger,'' and when you read this, you realize what the mascots have in common: the aggressive, predatory and rapacious traits of the creatures they represent have been eliminated."

Read more at What Olympic Ideal?.

Posted by Darren at 10:12 PM

Athletes beat heat with hi-tech suits and gel

"Not just fast, but cool too.

That is how sportswear manufacturers describe their latest suits designed to help Olympic competitors fight the summer heat in Athens.

Expect to hear a lot this month about built-in evaporation systems, personal air conditioning and strategically-placed ventilation as the world's leading brands explain how their latest technologies give athletes that crucial edge.

"The main challenge for Olympic athletes will be keeping cool and in Athens's heat the body's main mechanism is sweat evaporation," said George Havenith, a Loughborough University researcher who advised Adidas on their new ClimaCool range.

"The closer to your skin sweat evaporates, the bigger the advantage -- and that's where the right clothing can help."

ClimaCool is made from four fabrics designed for different parts of the body depending on how much sweat or heat is produced there, said James Lamont, head of the company's clothing innovation team.

"A lot of sweat is produced in the chest area, so we use a three-dimensional fabric there to aid evaporation by letting air flow near the skin," Lamont said.

The suit also includes conductive cooling tape behind the neck where heat is given off, and a panel of fabric sewn in to act as a "chimney" channelling air down the back -- one of the body's sweatiest areas."

Read more at Athletes beat heat with hi-tech suits and gel.

Posted by Darren at 10:00 PM

Your guide to the 2004 Olympics

"Greece, so old it was a tourist attraction during the Roman Empire, has spent an estimated $10 billion to host the world's quadrennial salute to nationalistic sweat. Roughly 20,000 athletes, officials and media members from a record 202 countries have gathered in Athens, where they'll be outnumbered 5-to-1 by security personnel. Which means any competition decided in sudden death might not be pretty.

The International Olympic Committee has already admitted it made a mistake in awarding the Summer Games to a city that had no modern infrastructure, domestic terrorism problems and the motto, "WE'LL GET AROUND TO IT."

Still, the show must go on. For the first time, U.S. television viewers will be bombarded by the World's Biggest Sandbox, either live or on tape-delay, 24 hours a day, every day, for 16 straight days. NBC and its affiliated networks, which include MSNBC, CNBC, USA and Telemundo, plan 1,210 hours of coverage."

Continue reading Your guide to the 2004 Olympics

Posted by Darren at 09:58 PM

Funding always at issue

"For 16 days this month, U.S. sports fans will cheer and celebrate the accomplishments of wrestlers, swimmers, gymnasts and other American athletes from less-publicized sports.

After the Summer Games end in Athens, Greece, many of those fans may forget about those Olympic sports for another four years.

With some U.S. colleges and universities looking to trim some of these non-revenue sports from their athletics budgets, the NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Committee plan to craft a strategy to prevent those institutions from also forgetting these athletics programs.

The two governing bodies have formed a joint task force to review the decline of college athletics programs that have served as training grounds for U.S. Olympians. According to the NCAA, about 80 percent of U.S. athletes who competed in past Olympics competed at the collegiate level.


Many of those programs -- sports such as wrestling, track and field and rowing that generally cost more money than they bring in -- often are the ones sacrificed as a cost-cutting choice. According to an NCAA report, U.S. colleges and universities have eliminated more than 600 men's and women's Olympic sports in the past five years."

Read more at Funding always at issue.

Posted by Darren at 09:51 PM

Olympics just are not what they used to be

"There was a time when I looked forward to the Summer Olympics.

It was a treat, back in the days when most TV sets received only three channels, to be able to watch the worlds greatest amateur athletes compete against one another.

The results may not have been exactly fair all the time particularly when a Russian judge was involved but the action was fun to see every four years.

Those days now are nothing but a distant memory, however. The Olympics, like so many other things in todays world, have changed drastically. And not necessarily for the better.

So when the 2004 Summer Games begin this coming weekend in Athens, I wont be paying too much attention.

It will be hard to miss them, of course, with television devoting countless hours to Olympic coverage. One problem is that many of the most popular events will not be carried live, but rather saved for NBCs nightly prime-time hours.

One of my biggest concerns about todays Summer"

Read more at Olympics just are not what they used to be.

Posted by Darren at 09:43 PM

Olympics return to Greece

"The Olympics are back in Greece, site of their birth in 776 B.C. The games have changed since those times, but controversy, intense heat and security concerns were not unfamiliar to ancient participants.

North Carolina senior Laura Gerraughty was a fast-growing high school gymnast when her coaches suggested she try a new sport: throwing the shot put.

"Is that kind of like the naked dude with the plate?" the then-teenager asked, referring to the famous ancient sculpture "Discus Thrower" by Myron.

When her coaches shrugged and nodded, she asked, "Well, do I get to wear clothes?"

A half-dozen years and an Olympic shot-putting berth later, Gerraughty is one of roughly four dozen athletes with North Carolina ties who will compete this month in Athens, Greece -- the place where the Olympics were born in 776 B.C., then re-born in 1896 after a 1,500-year hiatus."

Read more at Olympics return to Greece.

Posted by Darren at 09:40 PM

Greece bans Belarus minister from games

"Greece said Friday it would ban Belarus's sports minister from this month's Athens Olympic Games because of suspected human rights abuses, following a recommendation from the European Union.

Minister Yuri Sivakov, due to lead his country's delegation to the games in Athens, was named as one of the "key figures" in a Council of Europe report about the disappearance of journalists while he was interior minister.

"Against this background, the European Union considers the presence of Mr. Sivakov at the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens to be completely inappropriate," read a statement issued by the Dutch EU Presidency on behalf of the 25-nation bloc.

Later in the day, Greece said Sivakov would not be allowed into the country. "Persons for which there is an EU visa ban will not enter Greece," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters.

Belarus expressed its indignation and urged the EU to review the decision, which it said amounted to "blackmail.""

Read more at Greece bans Belarus minister from games.

Posted by Darren at 09:35 PM

NBC ready to tackle task of Herculean Porportions

"When Jim Lampley signs on for NBC and USA Network from the International Broadcast Center next weekend, he will join Jim McKay in working a record 12 Olympic Games as a network broadcaster.

As such, his perspectives, concerns and aspirations are not to be taken lightly as NBC and its viewers embark on their six-network, 1,210-hour Greek odyssey through the 2004 Olympics.

"The number of commentators and announcers and directors who have done every NBC Olympics since (1992) is a healthy number," Lampley said recently. "We have a wonderful continuity to viewers who connect back to the golden age of Olympic television on ABC (in the 1960s and '70s), and I can feel us clinging to and holding onto that audience.""

Read more at Olympics Notebook: NBC ready to tackle task of Herculean proportions

Posted by Darren at 06:31 PM

Games Highlight Exquisite Agony of Being Greek

"First euphoria. Then paranoia.

How appropriate that Greece gave the world both words.

It reveled in winning Euro 2004 as an 80-1 outsider in July but soon returned to its seven-year fret over staging a successful Olympics.

"There is a certain amount of apprehension going into the Olympics but we have a smile on our face after the football," said Antonis Panoutsos, television anchorman for the soccer tournament that gave national pride such a fillip.

After constant buffeting by bad news over Olympic construction delays, security concerns, budget overruns and profiteering since its bid succeeded in 1997, fatalism still rules.

"We are like the British. Greece takes pleasure in disaster. We love to be the worst or best. We don't want to be anything in between," he told Reuters with the opening of the Olympics less than a week a way."

Read more at Games Highlight Exquisite Agony of Being Greek

Posted by Darren at 06:26 PM

Athens' forgotten games seen as Olympic savior

"Call them the lost games.

A decade after the Olympic revival in 1896, athletes again gathered in Athens. More than medals were at stake.

The young Olympic movement was in desperate trouble. Some scholars believe the 1906 competition may have pulled the games back from the brink.

But the International Olympic Committee refuses to give full recognition to the so-called "intermediate" games, claiming they were outside the four-year cycle and don't deserve the honor.

"The 1906 games were real Olympics," said Bill Mallon, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. "They saved the Olympic culture. If they had another difficult Olympics ... it's not sure whether it would have survived."" Continue reading Athens' forgotten games seen as Olympic savior.

Posted by Darren at 05:47 PM

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Are you an avid sports fan who wants to closely follow all the latest news at the Athens Olympics? Sign up today for our free daily email and you will receive a summary of all the biggest Olympic news, controversy, results and highlights in your email. Simply leave your email address in the field below and you'll be included automatically in our newsletter.




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Posted by Darren at 01:25 PM

Olympic Dreams Lyrics - by Maksim Maravitsa

This is where we will put the lyrics of 'Olympic Dreams' - by Maksim Maravitsa. Olympic Dreams is the Official Song of the Olympics and we will post the lyrics of it here as soon as they become public. It can be found on the 'Harmony' Olympic CD.

"The Athens Olympics now has its own official song.

"Olympic Dream" has been composed by Croatian pianist Maksim Maravitsa. The music video for the official song is being shot in Bucharest.

Maravitsa is a pianist renowned for his modern interpretations of classical music. His compositions are aimed at attracting young audiences to classical music, and communicating with them in new ways. His first album in fact became one of the fastest-selling classical recordings ever to be released in Croatia.

"Olympic Dreams" features on 'Harmony', one of the three official Olympic Games albums.

The three albums were launched in Athens this week, and include an official Greek music album, an official pop music album, with 'Harmony', the games' official classical music album.

Read more about Olympic Dreams.

Stay tuned for more Olympic Dreams News and Lyrics.

Posted by Darren at 08:07 AM

August 07, 2004

The Greek National Women's Team hit the training ground.

"The GreekWomen's team completed its first training session at Vardinogannio Sports Centre yesterday (7August) focused on qualifying in the first eight.

Striker Dimitra PANTELIADOU,18, said: "Preparations have progressed very well."

Read more at The Greek National Women's Team hit the training ground..

Posted by Darren at 11:44 PM

Gigantic modern Olympics head to humble roots in Athens

"A seat halfway up the tightly curved end of Athens' old, horseshoe-shaped marble stadium offers a rare vantage point of the first modern Olympics 108 years ago.

Workers set up a canopy to create an outdoor studio for NBC in front of ancient Acropolis hill in Athens. Finishing touches on various projects are still under way.

At just the right angle, eyes see only the bone-white stone, flame-shaped cypress trees and Acropolis rising in the distance.

The spectators who sat here during the 1896 Games had a very similar view. But there are not many places like this left in Athens. More than years separate the Olympic rebirth and the version of the Summer Games that begin Friday. The world, the Games and the host city are all profoundly different.

"I don't see too much of a connection between these Games and 1896," said Bill Mallon, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. "A better analogy could be the ancient Games. Back then it was the best athletes coming together with city states at war and all sorts of political tensions. It's not so different now.""
Read more at Gigantic modern Olympics head to humble roots in Athens.

Posted by Darren at 08:26 PM

Olympic Worship Resources

"Worship material focusing on the Summer Olympic Games has been created and launched for churches from across the denominations focusing on 'faith fitness'.

The resources feature in the latest edition of Roots magazine.

Under a new project director, Liz Marsh, Roots resources include a check-list to encourage worshippers to get 'faith-fit'.

Included is a service outline on the theme of 'A fit body' and children's activities on 'Getting fit for faith'.

Roots is a lectionary-based resource for Churches of all denominations. As well as two bimonthly magazines - 'Roots Children and Young People' and 'Roots Worship', there is a companion web site.

Reflections and prayers are added to Roots on the Webin quick response to topical events. Ahead of the Olympics, online subscribers can download adaptable prayers, readings, activities and sermon outlines."

Read more at Olympic liturgy launched ahead of games - news from ekklesia .

Posted by Darren at 06:35 PM

Online Olympics Broadcasting

"The 100-meter dash and other cherished Olympic moments will for the first time be beamed to computers and mobile phones during the Athens Games. But while many Europeans will be able to see them live on the Internet, Americans will have to settle for tape delay.

After conducting trials involving about 100,000 homes during the past two games, the International Olympic Committee is permitting more than a dozen broadcasters to show video of the Aug. 13-29 Olympics online.

But the footage will be highly restricted to protect lucrative broadcast contracts, which are sold by territory - $793 million paid by NBC alone. Web sites must employ technology to block viewers from outside their home countries, so U.S. Web surfers won't benefit from the BBC's live coverage. They'll have to settle for highlights posted after NBC broadcasts, which are already largely tape-delayed."

Read more at Olympics to Have Broad Online Offering

Posted by Darren at 09:40 AM

Sponsors Go for Gold at Athens Olympics

"WHEN Paula Radcliffe pounds the baking hot streets of Athens seeking Olympic gold in the marathon, she will do so in the running shoes of her long-term sponsor Nike. But if she wins a medal, she will be forced to whip off the Nike shoes and change into Adidas trainers before she ascends the podium.

This extraordinary state of affairs will arise because Adidas is an official sponsor of the British team, supplying footwear and podium kit for its athletes. And the main Olympic sponsors (or "partners"), including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Kodak and Visa, are desperate to avoid any "ambush advertising" - rivals attempts to steal a march on the official sponsors by pushing their own products.

Athens will be, without doubt, the advertising Olympics. "

Read more at Sponsors, too, are going for gold at the Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 09:17 AM

How much is too much Olympics TV coverage?

"Remember the old days, when we used to complain how NBC just didn't show enough of the Olympics, when we griped that a number of sports that were receiving little or no coverage?

By the time the Athens Summer Games are over, we may be saying "Enough already!"

Between NBC and all its growing number of tentacles (which have grown since the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics to include Bravo, USA and Spanish-language Telemundo in addition to CNBC and MSNBC), there will be a whopping 1,210 hours of coverage with nearly 300 of it estimated to be live.

The coverage from Athens is more than the past Summer Olympics combined. It nearly triples the 441.5 total hours of coverage from Sydney on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC in 2000 and is more than seven times the 171.5 broadcast hours from Atlanta on NBC in 1996. This year, Telemundo will air 169 hours in Spanish _ almost equal to the entire NBC package from Atlanta."

Read more at How much is too much Olympics TV coverage?

Posted by Darren at 08:58 AM

Sport by Sport Outlook at Athens

Albuquerque Tribune Online has a good sport by sport outlook on the Gold, Silver and Bronze medal chances in each sport at the Olympics. Definitely worth checking out for some athletes to watch in Athens.

Posted by Darren at 12:32 AM

Olympics vs the Movies

"Hollywood can make movies about the Olympic Games but can't compete with them. When the Olympic torch is lit during opening ceremonies Aug. 13 in Athens, Greece, that fire in the bellies of studio executives is expected to be doused for the remainder of the month.

Not that megaplexes will be shuttered. But it won't be business as usual. Movies scheduled for wide releases during the Games are aimed at a specific audience: those who aren't likely to care what happens in Athens.

Judging from TV ratings and past box office results, Hollywood decided that group is comprised of males younger than 25, females of all ages and, especially, children."

Read more at Let the Games - not the blockbusters - begin

Posted by Darren at 12:29 AM

Athens main square opens eight days before Olympics

"Newly fitted with lights, covered in marble and adorned with a small waterfall, Athens main square was opened to the public Thursday as months of frantic renovation work ended just eight days before the start of the Olympics.

Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni opened Syntagma Square, in front of Greece's Parliament, as dozens of other transportation and beautification projects were hastily finished.

The square has been dug up and remodeled three times in the last decade. Now there are two sidewalk cafes amid rows of trees, a small fountain with a waterfall and an open-air museum displaying the remains of an ancient aqueduct."

Read more at Athens main square opens eight days before Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 12:20 AM

August 06, 2004

Cost to Host the 2004 Olympics

"Hosting the Olympics Can Be an Economic Burden
Sometimes it isn't the athletes that face the toughest challenges in the Olympic Games. Hosting the Olympics can be quite a financial hurdle for any country. The 2004 Olympics are no exception.

After a successful bid in 1997, citizens of Greece were pleased to find the Olympics returning home in 2004 after 98 years (actually 108 years because the 1906 Olympics weren't official). However, much to their surprise, hosting the 2004 Olympics has sucked $10-12 billion (in U.S. dollars) out of the Greek economy. Thats more than five percent of the countrys annual gross domestic product! When Greece bid on the games, it was before security was being beefed up around the world as a direct result of the 9/11 terrorist attack."

Read more at Cost to Host the 2004 Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 06:33 PM

Athens Olympics Swimming Medal Predictions

Athens Olympic Games Blog reader, Jonathan Paxman, has done a lot of thinking about the Swimming events in Athens and has put together this great set of predictions of Medal Winners in swimming events. Thanks Jonathan - great work. Here are his predictions.

These predictions are my humble opinion, based on a number of factors including 2003 and 2004 rankings, and performances in past championships. Dont interpret these as expectations for any given team. In particular, you will note that Americans (14 gold) and Australians (11 gold) figure heavily in the predictions. In some ways, I expect the team performances to be somewhat lower than these predictions. This is because the Australian and American teams are perhaps more known quantities than their European and Asian counterparts. If there are some surprise packets at the Olympics who break their personal best by a substantial distance to win gold, I expect these to come from outside the Australian and American teams.

Perhaps my predictions for the Aussies are a little optimistic, but not unjustifiably so. Australia has the top ranked competitors in twelve events if you include the relays, and world record holders in seven. For the Australian team, I would regard anything over the five gold haul of Sydney to be a very good result. To match the 1956 haul of eight gold would be outstanding.

It is difficult to see Australia seriously challenging American supremacy in the overall medal count. The difference can be summed up in one word: Phelps. It is interesting to note that the top ranked competitor or team in every mens event is either American or Australian. Certain individuals may challenge that whitewash at the Olympics: Kitajima, Hoogenband, and Popov in particular. The womens events on the other hand are a much more multinational affair, with gold medal chances in the Japanese, Polish, German, Ukrainian, Dutch, French and Chinese teams.

Women:
50m Freestyle
Gold: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Silver: Lisbeth Lenton (AUS)
Bronze: Michelle Engelsman (AUS)

The womens sprint events are shaping up to be Inky vs the Aussies, and I predict that Sydneys queen of the pool will triumph in the one lap splash and dash.

100m Freestyle
Gold: Jodie Henry (AUS)
Silver: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Bronze: Lisbeth Lenton (AUS)

Sure to be one of the most closely contested races of the meet. Henry has had the better of Lenton in recent finals, despite Lenton's world record in the semi-finals of the Olympic trials. de Bruijn will definitely be looking to regain her world record in the event.

200m Freestyle
Gold: Franziska van Almsick (GER)
Silver: Melanie Marshall (GBR)
Bronze: Petria Thomas (AUS)

This one is tough to predict, with Melanie Marshall swimming strongly this year, along with Otylia Jedrzejczak, Jiaying Pang, and Petria Thomas. World record holder van Almsick should stamp her authority on this race if she can swim anywhere near her best.

400m Freestyle
Gold: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL)
Silver: Laure Manaudou (FRA)
Bronze: Camelia Potec (ROM)

This event could be very close, with the top six competitors within half a second this year.

800m Freestyle
Gold: Sachiko Yamada (JPN)
Silver: Kalyn Keller (USA)
Bronze: Diana Munz (USA)

Yamada is the best this year by several seconds, and it will take a top performance to beat her. The Japanese and Americans should clean up the medals in this event.

100m Backstroke
Gold: Natalie Coughlin (USA)
Silver: Laure Manaudou (FRA)
Bronze: Reiko Nakamura (JPN)

Natalie Coughlin is a big favourite on paper, but after a several of failures at major championships, she will be under a lot of pressure. Manaudou has also put in a number of strong times this year, and may be very close.

200m Backstroke
Gold: Reiko Nakamura (JPN)
Silver: Stanislava Komarova (RUS)
Bronze: Katy Sexton (GBR)

Nakamura and Komarova are the standout performers this year, although the British swimmers could also be in contention.

100m Breaststroke
Gold: Leisel Jones (AUS)
Silver: Tara Kirk (USA)
Bronze: Brooke Hanson (AUS)

World record holder Jones, with six of the top ten times this year, should win this if her nerves hold up. Brooke Hanson, and Americans Beard and Kirk are the only other serious contenders. Interestingly, American Staciana Stitts failed to qualify in this event despite setting the fastest time by an American this year in the preliminary rounds at the US trials.

200m Breaststroke
Gold: Amanda Beard (USA)
Silver: Leisel Jones (AUS)
Bronze: Qi Hui (CHN)

This one on one battle between Beard and Jones should be decided in a world record. Jones broke the record (previously held jointly by Beard and Qi) in heavy training earlier this year, only for Beard to take it back by half a second at the US trials. Of the other swimmers, only Qi may get close.

100m Butterfly
Gold: Petria Thomas (AUS)
Silver: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Bronze: Martina Moravcova (SVK)

In the lead up to the Olympics, much of the attention has been focused on Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones and the speedy freestylers Lenton, Henry and Mills. This has suited Petria Thomas just fine as she has continued to set scorching times in the 100m and 200m Butterfly. On this years times, nobody will come close in the 100m, however world record holder 'Inky' de Bruijn can never be discounted.

200m Butterfly
Gold: Petria Thomas (AUS)
Silver: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL)
Bronze: Yuko Nakanishi (JPN)

Petria Thomas is again the form swimmer in the 200m 'fly, but will be chased by another world record holder in Jedrzejczak. Galvez will fight with Nakanishi for the bronze. There is a danger for Thomas in the semi-final, where she may have less than 15 minutes to recover from swimming the 200m freestyle final.

Amid all the speculation over whether Michael Phelps will match Mark Spitz' record of seven gold medals in one games, nobody has mentioned that Petria Thomas has a serious possibility to match Kristin Otto's 1988 record of six gold medals. It is pretty unlikely that either swimmer will achieve the feat, however Thomas seems to have the better chance.

200m Individual Medley
Gold: Amanda Beard (USA)
Silver: Yana Klochkova (UKR)
Bronze: Alice Mills (AUS)

This will be a very closely contested event. The main contenders are Americans Beard and Hoff, Aussies Mills and Hanson, along with Klochkova and Rohman (GER). Only 0.04 of a second separates the top three ranked this year (Beard, Hoff and Rohman).

400m Individual Medley
Gold: Yana Klochkova (UKR)
Silver: Kathryn Hoff (USA)
Bronze: Eva Risztov (HUN)

World record holder Klochkova will do battle with the top ranked swimmer this year, Hoff. Australian Jennifer Reilly should be in medal contention along with Risztov and Sandeno (USA).

4x100m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: Germany

After the scorching times set by the Australian women at the Olympic trials, Australia is now a hot favourite to win this event for the first time since Dawn Fraser's 1956 team. USA are also very strong, and the German world record holders led by Franziska van Almsick will not be far away. It should take a new world record to win this event.

4x200m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: Germany
Bronze: USA

With no one team showing dominance in the 200m freestyle, this relay could be one of the most closely contested events of the games. Australia look strong, with Petria Thomas swimming as well as she ever has, Linda Mackenzie improving all the time and Elka Graham returning to her best form. Germany, USA and China will all be strong and any one of them could take the gold medal.

4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: China

With top ranked swimmers in three of the four strokes, Australia should cement it's domination of women's swimming on the final day of the Olympic programme. USA will provide a close contest as always, and expect China and Germany to fight out the bronze ahead of Britain and Japan.


Men:
50m Freestyle

Gold: Gary Hall Jr (USA)
Silver: Roland Shoeman (RSA)
Bronze: Alexander Popov (RUS)

Gary Hall has just qualified for his third Olympics, and is looking as hungry as ever. The 50m free might be a bit of a lottery between the Americans Hall and Lezak, Popov, Shoeman and a couple of Spaniards Lorente and Noriega.

100m Freestyle
Gold: Jason Lezak (USA)
Silver: Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)
Bronze: Roland Shoeman (RSA)

This should be the breakthrough year for Lezak, after years in the shadow of Hall, Ervin and Walker. Any of the finalists might win however: watch out for a certain Ian Crocker.

200m Freestyle
Gold: Ian Thorpe (AUS)
Silver: Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)
Bronze: Grant Hackett (AUS)

In the most anticipated race of the swimming programme, Ian Thorpe should gain his revenge over van den Hoogenband for his defeat in 2000. Hackett and Phelps are also in top form, and the winner could come from any of those four.

400m Freestyle
Gold: Ian Thorpe (AUS)
Silver: Grant Hackett (AUS)
Bronze: Klete Keller (USA)

Ian Thorpe will be looking for a strong start to his Olympics. He will need it to beat Grant Hackett, who has put in several strong 400 swims this year. Americans Keller and Jensen will be fighting for bronze.

1500m Freestyle
Gold: Grant Hackett (AUS)
Silver: David Davies (GBR)
Bronze: Yuri Prilukov (RUS)

Hackett says he can beat his world record, and who is to doubt him? If he swims anything close to it, he will be untouchable. Davies, Prilukov and Jensen will fight out the medals with Craig Stevens. Expect the top five to all swim under 15 minutes.

100m Backstroke
Gold: Aaron Peirsol (USA)
Silver: Matthew Welsh (AUS)
Bronze: Lenny Krayzelburg (USA)

Aaron Peirsol is the pacesetter this year, but Welsh is only a whisker away, and the world record holder Krayzelburg cannot be discounted. Expect a touch to separate the medals.

200m Backstroke
Gold: Aaron Peirsol (USA)
Silver: Razvan Florea (ROM)
Bronze: Gregor Tait (GBR)

With the withdrawal of Michael Phelps, there is noone to touch Peirsol in this event. I cant imagine Phelps withdrawing if he thought he had a chance of winning this event, and if he cant do it, noone else can come close.

After a number of good performances this year, Romanian Florea is a good chance of a medal ahead of Gregor Tait and Markus Rogan.

100m Breaststroke
Gold: Kosuke Kitajima (JPN)
Silver: Brendan Hansen (USA)
Bronze: Darren Mew (GBR)

Kitajima will be looking to regain his world records in the breaststroke events from Hansen. His best chance lies in the 100m, but it will be a close battle.

200m Breaststroke
Gold: Brendan Hansen (USA)
Silver: Kosuke Kitajima (JPN)
Bronze: Jim Piper (AUS)

Brendan Hansen has stamped his domination on this event with a time that is almost two seconds faster than his rivals this year.

100m Butterfly
Gold: Ian Crocker (USA)
Silver: Michael Phelps (USA)
Bronze: Andriy Serdinov (UKR)

This one could well be a repeat of the extraordinary event at the Barcelona world championships, where Serdinov, Phelps and Crocker in turn broke the world record in the semi-finals and final.

The Australians Huegill and Pine are well off the pace, and will not figure in an event that Australia once dominated.

200m Butterfly
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Pawel Korzeniowski (POL)
Bronze: Justin Norris (AUS)

And so begins the Phelps procession. There are three events in which he is all but unbeatable, and the rest will race for silver. My prediction for Phelps Olympics is four gold and two silver (including the two freestyle relays), which is nothing short of phenomenal. Unfortunately, many in the media will perceive anything short of a Spitz as failure.

Any of a further ten athletes could win a minor medal.

200m Individual Medley
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Thiago Pereira (BRA)
Bronze: Ryan Lochte (USA)

Again, this could be a close race for silver between a number of athletes.

400m Individual Medley
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Alessio Boggiatto (ITA)
Bronze: Laszlo Cseh (HUN)

Boggiatto and Cseh are the clear candidates for silver. No one comes close the Phelps for gold.

4x100m Freestyle Relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Russia
Bronze: South Africa

World record holders Australia will have a tough time getting a medal, let alone retaining their Olympic title. In 2000 Michael Klim was in blistering form, breaking the individual world record in leading off the relay. Fydler, Callus and Thorpe also swam extremely fast splits to beat the Americans by a whisker. This year, Klim is recovering from injury and only two swimmers broke 50 seconds in the 100m final of the Olympic trials (compared to 6 americans under 49.5).

This year, the Americans look unbeatable. Jason Lezak is in worlds best form, and with the addition of Crocker and Phelps to the team, the Aussie record is surely in danger. The fight for the minor medals will be between Australia, Popovs Russia, South Africa, and perhaps Italy.

4x200m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: Italy

The Americans are very quick in the 200m, but Australia has a secret weapon, and its not Ian Thorpe. Grant Hackett swam a disappointing 200m in 2000, missing out on the world record breaking relay final. This year, he is nearly four seconds faster. With solid swims from the supporting crew of Sprenger, Pearson, Matkovich and Stevens Australia could well break the record again.

The American team led by Phelps will not be far behind, and the Italian team led by Rossolino and Brembilla should be good for a medal.

4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Great Britain

With the top ranked competitor in each stroke, including three world record holder, the USA are a lock. Barring disqualifications, the rest are competing for silver. Australia will be strong, and Britain, Ukraine and Russia will all be aiming for a medal.


Medal Tally:
USA 14 Gold :: 8 Silver :: 5 Bronze :: 27 Total
Australia 11 Gold :: Silver :: 5 :: 8 Bronze :: 24 Total
Japan 3 Gold :: 0 Silver :: 2 Bronze :: 5 Total
Netherlands 1 Gold :: 4 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 5 Total
Poland 1 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 3 Total
Germany 1 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 1 Bronze :: 3 Total
Ukraine 1 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 1 Bronze :: 3 Total

Petria Thomas 5 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 6 Total
Michael Phelps 4 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 6 Total
Ian Thorpe 3 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 4 Total

Aussie women 7 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 5 Bronze :: 14 Total
Aussie men 4 Gold :: 3 Silver :: 3 Bronze :: 10 Total
US women 3 Gold :: 5 Silver :: 2 Bronze :: 10 Total
US men 11 Gold :: 3 Silver :: 3 Bronze :: 17 Total

Compiled By Jonathan Paxman

Posted by Darren at 05:47 PM

Philippines to pay arrears to save Olympics coverage

"The Philippines is to pay the International Olympic Committee fees owed since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney to allow it to cover this years Athens Games, an aide to President Gloria Arroyo said Wednesday.

State television incurred $1.2 million in debts to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from its local broadcast rights to the 2000 Games. The IOC had since threatened to bar the station from broadcasting the Athens Games.

Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin said Arroyo authorized the release of an initial 600,000 dollars to pay half of the National Broadcasting Networks arrears this week. Under an agreement with the IOC, the station would pay the other half over a two-year period, Boncodin said."

Read more at Philippines to pay arrears to save Olympics coverage

Posted by Darren at 03:54 PM

Olympic truce enacted again - to little effect

"Last November, the United States joined 190 other nations to endorse a worldwide ceasefire in hostilities during the upcoming Summer Olympics.

The unanimous vote for a United Nations resolution calling for a 16-day truce was accompanied by lofty rhetoric about the ancient Olympic tradition of promoting peace and the chance the Games give the world to embrace non-violence.

"While limited in duration, the Olympic truce can offer an invaluable opportunity for reconciliation," Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou told the U.N. General Assembly last Nov. 3. "We want to encourage the notion that it is possible to create lasting peace from a pause in hostilities."

But don't expect any fighting pause in Iraq or Afghanistan _ or anywhere else for that matter _ when the games begin Aug. 13. As have similar decrees enthusiastically approved in the past decade, the U.N. resolution lacks teeth to bind any nation to comply with it. And it certainly carries no weight among the terrorist and insurgent combatants at war in assorted parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

"It is not going to impact our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," a State Department official said."

Read more at Olympic truce enacted again - to little effect.

Posted by Darren at 02:56 PM

Olympic Athletes Talk about Faith

"Olympic Specialist, Doug Andersen, talked with some Olympians who seek a higher power in all things....

Barb lindquist, Olympic Triathlete:
"Its my joy to go out and glorify Him through sport. Triathlon's my missionfield. I think God's given me these strengths, these talents, to swim, bike and run, for a purpose."

Her other teammates share that same spirit.

Jennie Finch, Softball:
"Before every pitch, I say I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and it kind of puts things in perspective for me."

Stacy Dragila, Pole Vault:
"He's given me everything. All the abilities I have to have a relationship with Christ is an amazing road to take."

Jennifer Nichols, Archery:
"It is so comforting to know there is a God who's in control and has a good plan for my life.""

Read more at FAITH IN SPORTS.

Posted by Darren at 02:55 PM

No heatwave for Athens Games

"The organisers of the Athens Olympics have received more good news, with weather forecasts suggesting the city will escape a heatwave during the Games.

Athens gets extremely hot in August. The Olympics organisers have been worried that temperatures might hit 40 degrees during competition, making conditions uncomfortable for the spectators and potentially dangerous for the competitors.

The official weather forecast has now been released and it predicts there will not be a heatwave."

Read more at No heatwave for Athens Games .

Posted by Darren at 02:37 PM

Olympic TIVO Tips

The PVR Blog has some excellent TIVO tips for recording the Athens Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 02:30 PM

Olympic Security Passes Stolen

"Ten days before the Olympic Games start in Athens, passes allowing vehicles into several venues, including the Olympic village, have been stolen.

A security source told the Telegraph that the passes were taken from the windscreens of unattended official vehicles.

"Some people left the doors of their cars unlocked and the thieves just came in and took the accreditations," he said.

It is not clear whether the thefts were opportunistic or part of a plot to breach the 700 million security operation for the games, which begin on August 13."

Read more at Olympic security fiasco revealed by stolen passes.

Posted by Darren at 02:26 PM

Two Koreas to March Together at Athens Olympics

"South and North Korea will march together at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Athens Olympics, officials said Friday, despite the lingering standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and chilled inter-Korean relations.

The Koreas agreed in February to enter together at the Athens Summer Olympics under the same flag, as they did in four previous international events, including the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000, the Busan Asian Games in 2002, officials of the Korean Olympic Council (KOC) said."

Source

Posted by Darren at 10:55 AM

An Athenian's Opinion of the Olympics

Another Olympic Blog that we read - 18 Days in August - has just published a great piece by an Athens resident titled The opinion of the Games by a long time resident of Athens. It gives a great insight into the view of an Athenians on the Olympics.

'What has happened to Athens over the last seven years (the Games were awarded on a Friday night in September 1997) is simply amazing. Whichever way you look at it Athens has been changed by the Games, and this process is irreversible'

Read the rest

Posted by Darren at 10:47 AM

10 Stars to watch at Athens Olympics

The Delhi Times has a great list of 10 stars to keep an eye on when the Olympics start in Athens next Friday.

- Hicham El Guerrouj Men's 1500m (August 24), Men's 5000m (August 28): After four consecutive World Championship golds, the Morocco star has a chance to seal his standing with an Olympic gold.

- Marion Jones Women's long jump (August 27): US athletics' sprint queen travels to Athens under a cloud; the long jump is the only event for which she's qualified.

- Felix Sanchez Men's 400m hurdles (August 26): The Dominican Republic star hasn't lost a 400m hurdles race since 2001; and he's won by huge margins at that.

- Ana Guevara Women's 400m (August 24): Guevara lost over 400m for the first time in three years recently but, as the World Champion, is still the athlete to fear.

- Christian Olsson Men's triple jump (August 22): The Swede won both last year's world indoor and outdoor crowns, and starts as the hot favourite.

- Maria Mutola Women's 1500m (August 28), Women's 800m (August 23): Mozambique's defending 800m champ is lining up for her fifth Games as Ms Unbeatable.

- Yelena Isinbayeva Women's pole vault (August 24): Records will tumble as she takes on Feofanova and Dragila.

- Kenenisa Bekele Men's 10,000m (August 20): The Ethiopian world champ broke the 5000m, 10,000m records in the space of nine days. That's what makes him hot property.

- Paula Radcliffe Marathon (August 22), Women's 10,000m (August 27): Britain's great hope is injury-free and set to seal her career with an Olympic gold.

- Konstadinos Kederis Men's 200m (August 26): When Kederis defends his 200m title, all of Greece will be praying for his success."

The Perfect 10 - The Times of India

Posted by Darren at 10:47 AM

Olympic Advertisers - Spirit Dampened

"The Olympic spirit has waned among the world's advertisers, though the flame burns bright in Australia and Brazil even as it barely glows in Korea and Switzerland, the findings of a newly released survey reveal.

"It's not as high an interest as it has been in the past," said Gary Burandt, the executive director of Icom, the global network of privately owned advertising and marketing firms that conducted the survey.

"I'm not sure if that's related to 9/11 or whether it's related to Greece and the concerns that the venues may not be ready or whether it's a continuing malaise in the marketing communications business around the world," Burandt said."

Read more at Olympic Spirit Dampens Among World's Advertisers

Posted by Darren at 10:41 AM

August 05, 2004

BBC to air 'Buying the Games'

"Four middlemen claim in meetings secretly taped by a BBC TV program that they could secure IOC members' votes in bidding for the 2012 Olympics.

The show, which offers no conclusive evidence of bribery, will air in Britain tonight. Reporters were shown an advance screening Tuesday.

Only one IOC member, Ivan Slavkov of Bulgaria, is specifically implicated. He is shown discussing how to influence votes, but his comments are ambiguous, and he and one of the middlemen, Goran Takac, denied any wrongdoing at a news conference in Sofia on Tuesday. Takac said they played along to expose potential corruption. Attempts to reach the other middlemen were unsuccessful."

Read more of BBC to air 'Buying the Games'

Posted by Darren at 11:20 PM

Do Olympic Gold Medals Pay off?

"Olympians going for gold in Athens shouldn't do it for the money. At least when it comes to turning their success into marketing payoffs, the money likely won't be there.

"Every Olympics, we get questions about who'll have staying power as endorsers," says Doug Shabelman, a Chicago-based talent broker who matches advertisers with athletes. "But it's really only the people who come out and do something absolutely amazing."

This year's top candidate to achieve Mary Lou Retton status is swimmer Michael Phelps, who could win a record eight gold medals and a $1 million bonus from Speedo, one of his sponsors. But pre-Games hype, says talent broker Nova Lanktree, might hurt Phelps' prospects: "If he only wins three golds, will we all say he didn't measure up? Probably."

Lack of pre-Games hype is the central handicap for most Olympians. Most top athletes build name recognition through continual exposure on high-rated TV. But most Olympians, in sports drawing tiny TV ratings outside the Games, can't become brand names."

Read more of Gold medals aren't standard for athletes' long-term profit.

Posted by Darren at 11:19 PM

Athens Games Hit by First Sports Controversy

"The Athens Olympics grappled with its first sporting controversy Thursday when women tennis players threatened to boycott next week's Games if two German players were not cleared to play.

But with only eight days to go before the opening of the August 13-29 Games, the boycott was the only serious cloud on the horizon for the Greek capital, which has staged a remarkable turnaround in preparing for the world's biggest sporting event.

Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, who is in charge of the massive operation to protect the first summer Games since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said security forces had not detected any threatening "chatter" concerning a possible terrorist attack.

Ambulance workers called off planned strikes during the Games to support their demands for an Olympic bonus, an issue that other unions, including hotel workers, have taken up."

Read more at Athens Games Hit by First Sports Controversy.

Posted by Darren at 11:17 PM

UN asks for Olympic Truce

"U.N. General Assembly President Julian Hunte Wednesday asked all nations to demonstrate a commitment to peace by observing the traditional Olympic truce.

"While conflicts in the world will not cease overnight, if we could have peace for 16 days, then maybe, just maybe, we could have it forever," Hunte said in a statement issued at U.N. World Headquarters in New York. The XXVIII Olympic Games are to open Aug. 13 in Athens, where the first modern competition was revived in 1896.

Hunte noted the sacred Greek tradition of ekecheiria (truce) was the cornerstone of the Olympic Games in ancient times, providing safety and a peaceful environment for both athletes and spectators alike."

Read more at U.N. asks nations to observe Olympic truce.

Posted by Darren at 01:31 PM

Adidas reports rising sales with Olympic focus

"Sports apparel and footwear company Adidas-Salomon raised its earnings outlook on Wednesday and said that its vital North American business was the catalyst for "better-than-expected" second-quarter results.

Adidas raised its 2004 earnings forecast to a 20% rise in net profit from an earlier projection of 15%. The company also said annual sales would grow by about 5% this year (excluding currency effects), the high end of its previous growth target of 3-5%. Net profit rose 36% in the second quarter to $52.9 million

Adidas said it posted a 4% sales increase in its North American business, the first such growth in four quarters. The company said it was now expecting full-year sales growth in North America, where its "Impossible is Nothing" campaign is now in the Olympic-related stage."

Read more at Adidas Says Sales On The Rise.

Posted by Darren at 01:28 PM

Athens ready to host 'magical games'

"After years of pushing, prodding and scolding, Athens is now ready to host "magical games," the head of the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday.

"It's a magic moment because this is the culmination of seven years of preparations, and in a little more than a week's time the games will begin and the whole world is waiting for that," president Jacques Rogge said.

"We are heading to very, very successful games."

Rogge will meet with officials to discuss the games and will preside over the IOC executive board meetings this weekend before moving into the Olympic village.

The IOC was not always so optimistic about the Aug. 13-29 games.

Rogge was the IOC's coordination commission chairman for Athens when former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch warned the Greeks in 2000 about construction delays and organizational problems."

Read more Athens ready to host 'magical games'

Posted by Darren at 01:16 PM

Athens Olympics could cost 10 Billion Euros

"Greece's costs for the Olympics will top six billion euros and put the country in violation of European Union fiscal rules, an official said Wednesday.

"What we have recorded until now shows a total toward six billion euros and over," Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas told private Flash radio.

Some analyst predict that final price tag could climb to 10 billion euros and burden Greek taxpayers for at least a decade.

Doukas said that Greece's 2004 deficit could exceed four per cent of gross domestic product. The EU sets a ceiling of three percent of GDP and violations could lead to a downgrading of a country's financial ratings."

Read more Greece says Olympics will cost $9.5 billion Cdn

Posted by Darren at 08:41 AM

Mexican TV Crew Allegedly Assaulted by Olympic Guards

"Greeces Olympic Games organisers said yesterday they were investigating allegations that a Mexican television crew were assaulted by guards after they attempted to film at the Olympic Games port of Pireaus, 10km south-west of Athens city centre.

The two Televisa Mexico crew and one translator say they were pushed into an unmarked car by three security guards as they tried to film outside the port, which is set to host Olympic cruise ships during the Aug 13-29 Games." Source - Mexican TV crew allege assault

Posted by Darren at 08:35 AM

Animal groups call for amnesty on Greece's stray dogs

"With the Olympic Games less than two weeks away, the fate of the thousands of stray dogs in Athens remains in doubt, amid fears by animal groups that the authorities may undertake a mass-poisoning campaign to clear the streets of dogs.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), along with its hundreds of member societies worldwide (such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are calling on Greece to issue an assurance that strays will not be subject to any cruel treatment.

Trevor Wheeler, Director of WSPA Europe and the Middle East, said, "Greece is under the spotlight as it prepares to host the 2004 Olympics. We hope that the stray dogs do not fall victim to a knee-jerk reaction of clearing the streets, as has been seen in many other countries with stray dog problems. We are continuing to monitor the situation and have offered our assistance in providing long-term humane solutions to deal with these animals.""

Continue reading Animal groups call for amnesty on Greece's stray dogs.

Posted by Darren at 08:31 AM

Bomb does minor damage to Athens power station

"A homemade bomb exploded today near an electrical substation outside the Greek capital, causing damage but no injuries, officials said.

Authorities said it was not immediately clear if there was a link between the blast and the Olympics, which open here next week amid unprecedented security.

The device, which police say was made with a cooking gas canister and a triggering fuse, exploded in the bathroom of a building near a substation in the town of Metamorphosi, 9 kilometres north of Athens. No electrical facilities were damaged, a government official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

According to the official, the culprits broke the bathroom window and dropped the device inside. The damage was discovered by an employee of the state power company."

Read more of Bomb does minor damage to Athens power station.

Posted by Darren at 08:29 AM

Olympic flame travels through Greece

"As the sun rose over the ruins of this ancient site, Katerina Kopsida hugged her husband and two young sons. Then she embarked on what she called one of the most important moments in her life.

There were no crowds watching the 43-year-old postal worker grab the Olympic flame, which is making its way back to Athens with little fanfare after a global journey. Still, Kopsida said it was her chance to be part of the Olympics.

"I am just a small link in a big chain that spanned the world. But this is my moment, for me it is everything," Kopsida said.

This is the quiet side of the flame's trip to the Aug. 13-29 Athens Games. The metal and wood torch has in recent weeks been largely forgotten as it passes from hand to hand through the country that gave birth to the Olympics."

Continue reading Olympic flame travels through Greece

Posted by Darren at 08:28 AM

August 04, 2004

Beware of Greeks vowing worry-free Games

"The syrtaki is a traditional Greek dance where the music starts languidly and then builds up to a frenzied flourish.

Organizers would have us believe that rhythm of crescendo also applies to the XXVIII Olympic Games.

They were slow out of the gate, bogged down by administrative lassitude and a morass of construction delays, a state of building inertia so severe that the International Olympic Committee even threatened to take the Games away from Athens at one point. But tweaking and grooming aside, the 29 Olympic venues 20 of them erected from scratch are now essentially ready for opening night: Gorgeous, pristine, shimmery white in the buttery Aegean sunlight.

And the people, organizers insisted yesterday, they will come, despite terror fears and organizational boondoggles."

Read more at TheStar.com - Beware of Greeks vowing worry-free Games

Posted by Darren at 10:56 PM

Asia gears up for Games Mighty China lead the way in quest for medals

"From mighty China, who are aiming to repeat their medal-laden triumph of four years ago, to war-weary Afghanistan, who are just glad to be back, Asia is gearing up for the greatest sporting show on earth.

The worlds most populous continent, Asia has rarely punched its weight at the Olympics, with only seven nations finishing inside the top 50 on the medal standings at the 2000 Sydney Games.

But few other regions will field as diverse a collection of athletes as Asia, which is sending one of its biggest ever contingents to Athens.

The ranks have been bolstered by the welcome return to the fold of Afghanistan and the debut of tiny East Timor, taking part for the first time since the countrys full independence in May 2002.

Afghanistan last competed in the Olympics in 1996, when they sent a team of around three dozen athletes to take part in Atlanta."

Read more of Asia gears up for Games Mighty China lead the way in quest for medals.

Posted by Darren at 03:19 PM

Pope Sets up Vatican Sports Department

"The Vatican now has a sports department.

Pope John Paul, who was athletic in his younger days, has established a sports bureau in the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Lay People.

The Vatican announced the initiative, pointing to the (m) millions of people who will follow the Olympics in Athens this month as proof of the important role sports plays in today's world.

The Reverend Kevin Lixey, an American priest who's setting up the department, says the pope has always been interested in sports "as a means of evangelization and a great way to form youth."

Lixey adds that the initiative also is aimed at countering negative examples in sports -- to "let people know that there are sportsmen who are also virtuous.""

Continue reading Pope sets up Vatican sports department.

Also read about it at Once athletic pope sets up sports department as church seeks new ways to reach young people

Posted by Darren at 03:02 PM

Stray dogs move into Olympic village

"ATHENS: Stray dogs have breached security at the Olympic village because heavily armed soldiers regard the animals as friends, the Australian team says.

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) chief John Coates said dogs were roaming the village that will house 17,000 athletes during the August 13-29 Games in the Greek capital.

Soldiers stationed around the village were petting and feeding the dogs, one AOC official said.

Athens is home to an estimated 15,000 strays. Many dogs are so at home they obey traffic lights when crossing streets and regularly wander on to the pitch at soccer matches."

Read more at Stray dogs move into Olympic village.

Posted by Darren at 12:58 PM

What do the five Olympic Rings Represent?

"According to the Olympic Charter, the five-ringed symbol "represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games." Baron Pierre de Coubertin conceived of both the symbol and the flag. Not coincidentally, Coubertin is the founder of the modern Olympic Movement. The Olympic Committee adopted the flag in 1914, and it was first flown at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

While the charter isn't explicit, many believe that the colors of the flag-- blue, black, red, yellow, and green on a white field -- are used because at least one of these colors exists in each of the flags of the nations participating in the Olympics. This may be true; however, the notion that each ring represents a specific continent is not. The five interlocking rings represent the five continents brought together by the Olympic Movement.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games adds an additional layer of symbolism to the flag. Traditionally, eight people carry in the flag. Five of these flagbearers represent the continents, while the other three stand for the Olympic ideals of sport, environment, and culture...."

Continue reading What do the five rings on the Olympic flag represent?

Posted by Darren at 12:54 PM

Athens Travel Guide - Walk, Don't Run

"Athens may be in a rush, but visitors should enjoy its attractions at a leisurely pace, writes Gary Walsh.

For a city with 2500 years of history, Athens is quite the work in progress. The looming Olympic Games may have been the catalyst for the present frenzy of construction, renovation and revitalisation, but there's much more going on than can be attributed simply to the influence of next month's five-ring circus. The building crane appears to have overtaken the Acropolis as the icon of Athens, and the howl of a jackhammer is more common nowadays than bouzouki music on the streets of Plaka.

Syntagma Square, which flows down from the parliament building in central Athens, is a clamorous and dusty pit, its footpaths torn up and its heart a mass of building equipment. And the Acropolis! The incomparable Parthenon is draped in scaffolding, cranes sprouting like metal pot plants from its interior. Around it lie a litter of workers' huts, steel fences, pulleys, ladders, warning signs. Workmen drill into the unadorned marble (all that remains after Lord Elgin nicked the friezes), and architects, archaeologists and engineers bustle about self-importantly with sheaves of papers in their hands.

The Erechtheion has been reconstructed, with plaster Caryatids replacing the marble ladies who stand in the Acropolis Museum, but it still has scraps of protective sheathing on its flanks. The worn marble steps of the Propylaia are now clad in timber. And the perfect, gorgeous Temple of Athena Nike is gone, totally disappeared, with just a bare marble platform to let you know anything was ever there."

Continue reading Walk, don't run.

Posted by Darren at 12:52 PM

Majority of Olympic Tickets Remain Unsold

"Athens Olympics organizers have sold less than half of the 5.2 million tickets available just 10 days before the start of this month's Games.

Tickets for the opening ceremony on August 13, the closing ceremony and the finals have almost gone but millions more for qualifying events remain unsold, organizers said on Tuesday.

"We have sold 2,205,273 tickets with revenues of 157 million euros, 86 percent of the amount budgeted," said spokesman Michael Zaharatos.

He said organizers aimed to sell 3.4 million tickets or 64 percent until the Games start with a total revenue of 183 million euros.

"87 percent of tickets for the finals and semifinals of Olympics sports have been sold," he said."

Continue reading CNN.com - Majority of Olympic tickets unsold .

Posted by Darren at 12:48 PM

Greek PM Says Athens Will Stage Extraordinary, Safe Games

"Greece has completed all venues and is ready to host extraordinary and safe Olympics this month, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Tuesday after a long tour of the main Olympic sports complex.

Karamanlis, who toured several sports facilities with Athens Games chief Gianna Angelopoulos 10 days before the start of the Aug. 13-29 Games, said everything was in place to welcome athletes from a record 202 nations.

"The Olympic installations and infrastructure are ready to welcome, host and serve the Olympic family, the athletes, the journalists and the spectators coming from around the world," he said.

"Together we made it this far and together we will achieve the common aim of hosting extraordinary Games under conditions of maximum security."

After wasting the first three years of its seven-year preparation period, Greece went on a construction frenzy to complete the projects that ended only a few weeks before the Games."

Continue reading Greek PM Says Athens Will Stage Extraordinary, Safe Games.

Posted by Darren at 10:54 AM

Kodak and Xerox - Producing millions of Olympic images and pages

"If you think Michael Phelps, Marion Jones, Yao Ming and other world-class athletes will be under extreme pressure during the upcoming Summer Olympics in Athens, consider what managers at Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox Corp. will be facing.

Rochester's signature employers will be responsible for printing millions of documents and processing millions of images in connection with their top-level sponsorships of the Summer Games, which open Aug. 13 and last for 17 days.

To produce those pictures and pages, Kodak and Xerox will be managing sprawling imaging networks that connect thousands of pieces of equipment printers, photo processors, personal computers and the like deployed to more than 100 venues across Greece.

The numbers could end up being staggering by the time the athletes go home. Kodak is responsible for processing and digitizing what could be an estimated 3 million images captured by photojournalists at the games, as well as for producing 350,000 security badges and 80,000 visa credentials. Its equipment will also be used to X-ray injured athletes both humans as well as horses involved in equestrian events.

Xerox, meanwhile, will be busy creating the printed record of athletic competition. The company is charged with printing and distributing results of competitions in all 28 sports in a variety of formats. The company expects to produce 120 million pages of race results 5,000 each second. That's the page equivalent of 118,577 copies of Bill Clinton's recently published memoir."

Continue reading Olympics using Kodak, Xerox.

Posted by Darren at 10:52 AM

Nebraska Beef will Feed Olympians

Ever wonder where the beef comes from that the Athletes in Athens will be eating?

No - neither had we. But the answer (in case you're at a trivia night and need it is Nebraska...

"Nebraska beef will be served to Olympians and spectators at this summer's Olympic games in Athens.

The Greater Omaha Packing Company has struck a deal with the Denver-based supplier of the U-S Olympic training centers. They've also received orders for hormone-free beef from food venders in Athens. Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns hopes it will further U-S exports to European markets."

Source

Posted by Darren at 10:50 AM

IOC member 'selling votes'

"An International Olympic Committee member agreed to help a fake bid to bring the 2012 Olympics to London for cash, the BBC's Panorama reports.

Bulgarian Ivan Slavkov was secretly filmed by the television programme discussing how the votes of other IOC members could be "bought".

Four sports agents are also filmed saying they can secure nearly half the total votes needed, for a fee.

The IOC has launched an inquiry into the claims, to be aired on Wednesday."

Read more at IOC member 'selling votes'.

Posted by Darren at 10:49 AM

August 03, 2004

Athens Olympic Volunteers Take to Streets

"Olympic volunteers recruited by the City of Athens take to the streets on Thursday to help visitors to the capital find their way around.

The roughly 3,000 volunteers who rallied to Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis under a campaign dubbed "Show them the Athens you love" have excellent knowledge of at least one foreign language, while 80 percent also speak another language.
Sixty five percent of the total are female, while most are aged between 18 and 35, but there are exceptions, including a 77-year-old man who speaks seven languages. Other volunteers know sign language for the deaf; and more than 80 percent have reached tertiary education.
Beyond Greeks, other nationalities are to work as volunteers, including Nigerians, Ethiopians, Chinese and Poles."

Continue Reading City of Athens Olympic volunteers take to the streets.

Posted by Darren at 11:30 PM

Athenians get first taste of Olympic Measures

"Athenians on Sunday got their first taste of measures to ease congestion and boost security for the Athens 2004 Olympics, which begin on August 13.

In place for the first time were restrictions on movement along major highways leading to Olympic venues, with buses, private vehicles, and event-accredited coaches, taxis and automobiles channeled into three separate lanes to facilitate movement for athletes, sports officials and media. Lane violators will be filmed on security cameras and charged 156 euros.

Also taking effect were circulation and parking restrictions around Olympic venues and selected spots in the city centre; and at midnight an airspace control coordinating centre was due to begin monitoring the Athens flight region to ensure safety and security for flights, which are increasing ahead of the games.

The control centre belonging to the Civil Aviation Authority and reporting to the ministries of transport, public order and defense will be run by specially-trained staff to monitor air traffic and provide immediate solutions if complications occur.

The Athens international airport is also in a state of readiness in terms of security and measures to handle vastly increased air traffic, including more than 500 flights daily for 48 hours before the Olympic opening ceremony and the day of the closing event at the end of August. Tens of teams have already flown into Athens, but the bulk is expected to arrive next week."

Continue Reading Athenians get first taste of Olympic measures.

Posted by Darren at 11:29 PM

Olympic training tips

"Dr. Jo Hannafin will serve as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Medical Staff and will be among 11 doctors providing healthcare to the more than 540 American athletes at the summer games in Athens, Greece. Hannafin, a Greenwich resident, is an orthopedic surgeon and co-founder of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery, a New York City-based hospital that specializes in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation, which also has a satellite office in Old Greenwich. While in Athens, Hannafin will keep a journal of her experiences, which will run in the Health Fitness section in September. In addition, Hannafin has provided some conditioning tips that athletes of any level can heed to prevent injury.

* Avoid the "too much, too soon" injury trap. Start your first practices or workouts gently and slowly. Work up gradually to more aggressive training or play by increasing your training duration or mileage just 10 percent each week.

* Stretch regularly. You'll see many Olympic athletes stretching to keep their muscles limber. Maintaining flexibility is particularly critical as you age."

Continue reading The Advocate - Training tips from Olympic medical team doctor.

Posted by Darren at 11:21 PM

Olympic Medallist Sally Gunnell Gives Support to Foreign Office Travel Advice

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE News Release issued by the Government News Network on 3 August 2004

Sally Gunnell has endorsed the Foreign Office Travel Advice for those attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer in Athens.

The Foreign Office is advising travellers to prepare properly before they depart so that they avoid problems and remember the Games for all the right reasons.

While visitors to the Games should expect a warm welcome from the country that founded the Olympics, the FCO has highlighted some important tips for consideration by visitors. For example it is important to understand local laws and customs like the requirement to carry valid ID at all times and to be aware of aspects such as road safety, accommodation, public transport and rules when at the Games.

Perhaps the most vital advice is to obtain adequate travel insurance, without which medical bills could be hefty. For example, treatment for dehydration, which could catch unawares those unused to Greeces warm climate, could be between 200-400 per day (costings from Options Insurance).

Sally Gunnell, Olympic Gold medallist in 1992, urges all British nationals going to Athens to visit the FCO website for top tips.

The Olympics are close, very close both the date and the location! Its great to see that so many British nationals are intending to travel to Athens to support the British Olympic Team this summer. It certainly will be a spectacular event set in a fabulous city, making it a trip to remember. With this is mind its crucial that all those making the journey are prepared. Dont go abroad without checking out the Foreign Offices Travel Advice and tips, especially their advice on taking out adequate travel insurance that covers you for every eventuality and noting their health advice Greece is renowned for its soaring temperatures during the summer months and therefore dehydration is not uncommon.

Being fully prepared before you travel and taking note of the Foreign Offices Know Before you Go campaign will ensure you have a very enjoyable Games.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Olympic Games take place in Greece between 13 and 29 August 2004, followed by the Paralympic Games from 17-28 September.

2. Full details of Travel Advice for Greece, specific advice on the Games and the Top Travellers Tips are available on the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk.

3. FCO Travel Advice can be obtained on the following telephone number : 0870 6060290

4. FCO Travel Advice is kept under constant review and will be updated as the Games approach and more information becomes available.

5. Travel Advice specifically for visitors to the Paralympics will be available nearer to September.

FCO Press Office: Jo Lamb 020 7008 2238

Press Office, Downing Street (West), London SW1A 2AH Telephone: 020 7008 3100 Fax: 020 7008 3094

Posted by Darren at 10:56 PM

Anti-rip off leaflets distributed

In an attempt to stop visitors to the games getting ripped off by pesky shops/restaurants/taxi drivers who put their prices up for Olympic tourists, the Greek government are giving out leaflets to people arriving at the airport.

The leaflets will give the correct approximate prices of various products and services - apparently including bottled water, taxi journies and kebabs.

It's a nice idea, but quite what you're meant to do with the leaflet if an Athens taxi driver does decide to over-charge you (which many try to do even when it's not the Games) isn't clear. Perhaps the leaflets will also include handy Greek phrases such as 'Oi! Taxi driver! You're having a laugh! I'm not paying you that much!'

USA Today: Athens visitors to get price guides to beat Olympic profiteers

Posted by at 05:03 PM

Athens the Best Olympic Games Ever?

"Most Greeks now believe that this month's Athens Olympics will be the best ever, a nationwide poll showed on Monday.

The number of Greeks who think their country will stage the most successful Games in their modern 108-year history has steadily increased since 2001, the poll conducted by the Focus research centre in July said.

For the first time in three years more than half of those asked said the August 13-29 Games would be better than any previously staged, compared to 45 percent a month ago and 38 percent a year and a half ago.

A total of 88 percent of those polled said the Games would as good as previous Olympics or better.

"There is a significant acceleration of "optimism" as the Games approach which makes more than half of the Greek population expect that the Athens Olympics will be better and more impressive than any previous ones," the centre said in a statement."

Read more at SI.com - Poll: Greeks certain Athens Games will be best ever.

Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM

August 02, 2004

Indonesia Won't Have Olympic Coverage Due to Cost

"Indonesias major television networks have decided the $1.35 million price tag for the rights to broadcast the 2004 Athens Olympic Games is too expensive.

"Indonesia will be the only country out of the 220 represented in Athens, not to telecast it," Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) head of sport John Barton was quoted as saying Monday (2/8/04) by The Jakarta Post daily.

"We have done everything possible to secure television coverage for the people in Indonesia. However, Indonesian television and radio broadcasters have decided against broadcasting the Athens Olympic Games," he said.

It is a sad day for international sports, and for the many people in Indonesia who would be keen to support their athletes and teams in Athens, and in particular the nation's badminton players who still have a strong chance for medals," he added."

Continue Reading TV Networks Deem Olympics Too Expensive.

Posted by Darren at 11:47 PM

Olympic visitors enjoy life in fast lane

"The Athenian love affair with the car, responsible for the city's infamous congestion and smog clouds, was cut short yesterday as draconian traffic regulations went into effect for the Olympic Games.

On the main three-lane roads which criss-cross Athens, private cars are now restricted to one lane only, with driver's tempers set to boil in interminable single-lane summer jams

The other two lanes are for public transport and athletes, organisers and VIPs in the so-called "Olympic family".

More than 2,000 traffic wardens will hand out 120 fines to offenders."

Read more at Olympic visitors enjoy life in fast lane.

Posted by Darren at 06:50 PM

'Stadiums Will Be Full' says Athens Olympics Chief

"The chief Olympic organiser for the Athens Games has declared that in spite the slow pace in ticket sales the stadiums will be full of spectators and the Games will be unique.

We started with sales of about 4,000 tickets a day, then reached the 13,000 and now we have surpassed the 24,000 tickets per day. The stadiums will be full, Athens Olympic Organising Committee president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told the daily Kathimerini in an interview published yesterday.

Last week, Athens organisers said more than 1,000 additional tickets for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies will go on sale.

The extra tickets for the ceremonies, as well as track and field events, were made available after all the seats were installed in the main stadium and the exact number of places was tallied with 538 more than originally planned."

Continue Reading Chief Olympic organiser says stadiums will be full.

Posted by Darren at 06:41 PM

Athens Passes First Test

"Drivers stayed out of Olympic lanes. Sports chiefs praised Games venues. Even harsh critic Australia found much to compliment.

The start of the Athens Olympics are still 12 days away but Games organisers breathed easier on Sunday after coming through their first Games-time tests with flying colours.

With 86 of a record 200 teams taking part in the homecoming Olympics now either fully or partly checked into the athletes Olympic Village, there was barely a complaint.

"No serious problems, no cause for alarm," Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said.

"ATHOC is doing a very good job in getting the teams settled in so far," said Coates who in the past has taken Athens to task for delayed preparations.

Another team official from Australia, which received wide praise for organisation of the last Games in Sydney in 2000, said a drive from the Village to the main Olympic Stadium complex was a "very smooth trip."" Continue Reading SI.com - Greeks pass first tests with flying colors.

Posted by Darren at 06:39 PM

Olympic TV Viewing Record Set to Fall

"While athletes try to set world records at the Summer Olympics, 22 Americans will try to break a decidedly less active record.

NBC is teaming up with the Guinness World Records folks to stage a TV-viewing marathon during the Games, hoping to break the record of 50 hours, 5 minutes. The viewing party will take place at Universal Studios Orlando theme park, which is now owned by NBC Universal.

The contest, of course, highlights the fact that NBC-owned properties Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, USA and Telemundo and an HDTV feed in addition to the network will have round-the-clock coverage from Athens. Guinness World Records is also using the event to promote a 50th anniversary edition of its compendium.

Would-be record breakers can enter at NBCOlympics.com. The finalists will be flown to Orlando, Fla., where they will watch nothing but NBC's coverage of the Olympics, beginning with the Aug. 13 opening ceremony."

Continue reading TV viewing record may fall during Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 06:19 PM

Sexuality, Drugs and the Ideal of Sport

"THE Olympic Games take place in Athens this month, even as an investigation into the use of steroids has led to suspicions that some of the biggest names in track and field, as well as other sports, are using banned drugs. That makes this an awkward time for the International Olympic Committee to decide, as it did in May, that transsexuals may compete openly in the Games. None are expected to participate this time, but the decision raises difficult questions about the nature of sports achievement.

Does allowing a small number of athletes to take large doses of hormones threaten to undermine the international effort to rid sports of performance-enhancing drugs? As a columnist for The Irish Times wrote, because the decision "officially brings into the international sporting community athletes who have undergone a radical and life-altering course of hormone treatment, it is bound to provide a further smoke screen for the malevolent practitioners of science who engineer the substances that seduce athletes."" Continue reading Sexuality, Drugs and the Ideal of Sport.

Found via Inside the Mind of Gloria Brame

Posted by Darren at 09:03 AM

What a Week at the Olympics

"Wow, what a week for the Olympics!

-- Phone service to much of the Athens Olympics complex was blacked out for more than 10 hours.

If a similar phone-out should occur during the Olympics, the organizers have a back-up plan for journalists to get their stories out of Athens: smog signals.

-- Animal-rights activists protested the alleged poisoning of 15,000 stray dogs in Athens.

This is nothing new, the Olympics host city trying to put on a happy face for the world. Some cities ship out their homeless. Seoul tried to close down all of its dog-meat restaurants.

I'm a little disappointed in the Athens deal. I was planning to "adopt" a street mutt during the Olympics and teach it to bite pickpockets.

-- More drug busts, highlighted by Belgian mountain-biking world champ Filip Meirhaeghe testing positive for EPO, a blood-boosting agent."

Read more at Lighting up the five-ring circus in Athens / At least it's safe bet that Athens won't be going to the dogs.

Posted by Darren at 12:03 AM

August 01, 2004

Athens Olympics Weather Forecast - High Winds and Storms

"Greek forecasters believe this month's Athens Olympics may be lashed by high winds and thunderstorms although temperatures will not reach the seasonal peaks of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

"From the first forecasts we have, it seems we will not have very high temperatures, for example of 40 degrees," meteorologist Dimitris Ziakopoulos told Sunday's To Vima newspaper.

"However it seems there will be storms ... "

Read more at Business Day.

Posted by Darren at 11:57 PM

A New Athens Emerges

"With the advent of the Olympic Games, there have been so many changes in Athens - especially in transportation - that it will seem like a new city for future visitors.

If you're traveling in Greece right now, new traffic and parking restrictions start on August 1st. These are designed to encourage Athenians to leave their cars at home for the duration of the Olympic Games, lightening traffic and rendering many streets free of parked cars.

It's always been a guessing game where parking is concerned - if you are brave enough to drive yourself during this period, be doubly careful where you park as violators are much more likely to be towed rather than ticketed."

Read more at A New Athens Emerges.

Posted by Darren at 11:22 PM

Financial Burden for Olympians

"Shawn Dulohery, a sergeant first class on the U.S. Army's marksmanship unit at Fort Benning, Ga., has finally caught the Olympic dream he chased for more than a dozen years.

After trying to do it in '92, '96 and 2000, to have come as close as I did in two of those one person, one target they are just huge character-builders, said Dulohery, a Lee's Summit native and the top U.S. qualifier for the men's skeet-shooting event in Athens.

But compared with the financial hurdles he now faces? Well, the actual Olympic competition is like shooting clay pigeons compared with the dollars and sense of sharing the dream with those closest to him."

Read more at Going for broke: Getting there is a financial burden for Olympians

Posted by Darren at 11:17 PM

Superstition part of Olympic routines

"For some it's a comfortable shirt or a favorite food. For others it's a soothing Bible verse or a simple pat on the shoulder.

A rubber band or a hair band worn on her arm is part of any uniform worm by Tamika Catchings, left.
Click photo for larger image.

A superstition, like beauty, is truly in the eye of the beholder. What is baffling and illogical to some is perfectly understandable and rational to others.

Olympic athletes train, sweat and sacrifice for years to compete in the Games. But some athletes feel that their preparation is incomplete unless they perform a particular routine or participate in a special habit.

Swimmer Michael Phelps could race up to 19 times in Athens. And before every race, he'll do the exact same thing.

"I step on the block every single time before I swim, and I do this stretch with my arms where I'm leaning over and my arms are out and I swing them," said Phelps, whose swinging motion produces an audible "smack" when his arms touch behind his back. "I've done it every single race since I was a little kid. Why stop now?"

Many athletes share Phelps' "Why stop now" philosophy."

Read more at Superstition part of Olympic routines.

Posted by Darren at 11:14 PM

Staying Alive in Athens

How about a gold medal for staying alive in Athens is a great column worth the read...

"Packing for Athens, Greece . . .
Toothbrush. Check.
Extra underwear. Check.
Greek-English dictionary. Check.
Visa card. Check.
Flak jacket and various antidotes for poison gases. Check.

I leave for the Olympics a week from today, and everybody keeps asking the same question:

Are you nervous?

Sure I am, I tell them. I'm nervous that I'll get to the airport and find out I have a middle seat on the nine-hour, 45-minute flight from New York to Athens.

I'm nervous that I'll arrive at my housing and find that the Greeks never quite finished putting bathrooms in our units.

I'm nervous that the transportation system will be worse than in Atlanta, meaning the bus to Marathon might actually take us to downtown Sarajevo.

I'm nervous I'm going to take a 10-minute cab ride and get charged the U.S. equivalent of $230. And then our accounting people won't let me write it off.

I'm nervous the security people will get one look at my horrific Olympic ID photo -- call me Sheik Khalid ibn-Kravitz -- and immediately send me to Guantanamo Bay for questioning...." Read more

Posted by Darren at 11:12 PM

10 Reason To Watch the Olympics

Why the Games are still worth it / Let's just hope we don't get caught watching the paint dry is an interesting article with 10 reasons why the Olympics are worth watching...

"With all the talk of doping, security plans, the threat of terrorism, high heat and pollution, monumental traffic and whether the paint will be dry by Aug. 13 -- Friday the 13th -- it's important to remember the Games of the 28th Olympiad of the modern era will take place in Athens in 12 days.

We think.

While the history of the modern Olympics is written in doping scandals, corruption, egregious mistakes and genuine horror, it also includes singular moments that go for the high note and hit it, spot-on. Here are 10 reasons that make the Olympics worth watching:

1.The parade of nations in the Opening Ceremonies. Nowhere else is the world on display in one place at one time. Over the course of a couple of hours you can see broad-shouldered giants from the United States, Russia, China and Germany as well as little dots on the map like Togo (an African country, not a sandwich), Djibouti (rhymes with "shake your booty'') and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (which is not a '50s doo-wop group)." Read more

Posted by Darren at 11:03 PM

Athletes get ready for 'Real Olympics'

"Hundreds of people have gathered in bare feet and tunics to compete in what the organisers claim are the 'real' Olympic Games at Nemea in Greece.

Men and women from at least 36 countries, aged between 10 and 93, took part in a 100 metre race and one over 7.5 kilometres at the ancient site, 120 kilometres outside Athens.

Anyone can participate, regardless of talent, so long as they run in bare feet wearing a traditional tunic. There are no sponsors and no medals.

Archaeologist and organiser Steven Miller says the Games aim to capture the true spirit of the original Olympics.

"The Nemea Games are not designed to be in opposition to the modern Olympic Games in Athens this summer which will be terrific but the link [with the ancient Games] is stronger," Mr Miller said."

Athletes tunic up for 'real' Olympics

Posted by Darren at 12:29 PM

Olympic Uniforms - Combination of Function and Fashion

"Some of you will tune in to the Olympics in a couple of weeks to see Michael Phelps swim for a medal or Carly Patterson negotiate the balance beam. Us? We'll be watching to see what the athletes are wearing.

Olympic uniforms truly are a combination of form, function and fashion. They must perform at Olympic levels, cutting through air or water like a second skin. At the same time, uniforms are each nation's fashion statement to the world, wrapping athletes in the stretchy, skintight colors of their country. Equal parts equipment and accessory, they are designed to enhance appearance and performance. Here's how...."

Continue reading HOT COUTURE: Olympians sport high-performance, breathable fashion.

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

BBC Accused of Sabotaging London's Olympic Bid

"The organisers of London's bid for the 2012 Olympics have accused the BBC of attempting to sabotage the capital's chances by broadcasting a Panorama investigation this week.

A senior source branded the documentary - which will claim to expose a new bribes-for-votes scandal in the 2012 bidding process - "as a piece of mischief" and said it could harm London's bid.

Undercover reporters working for Panorama posed as East London businessmen who would benefit from the Games being held in the capital. Although the BBC are refusing to reveal details, it is believed the Panorama investigation took place over a year and implicates a Bulgarian member of the International Olympic Committee, Ivan Slavkov, the 64-year-old son-in-law of the country's former Communist leader Todor Zhivkov."

Continue reading BBC is accused of sabotaging London bid

Posted by Darren at 12:26 PM

What's on Tomorrow

Here is a list of events scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday the 15th of August, 2004
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Archery
Badminton
  
Baseball
Basketball
Boxing
  
Cycling
Equestrian
Fencing
Football/Soccer
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Judo
Rowing
Sailing
Shooting
Softball
Swimming
Table Tennis
Tennis
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Posted by at 09:26 AM

July 31, 2004

Olympic Dream - Official Olympic Song

"The Athens Olympics now has its own official song.

"Olympic Dream" has been composed by Croatian pianist Maksim Maravitsa. The music video for the official song is being shot in Bucharest.

Maravitsa is a pianist renowned for his modern interpretations of classical music. His compositions are aimed at attracting young audiences to classical music, and communicating with them in new ways. His first album in fact became one of the fastest-selling classical recordings ever to be released in Croatia.

"Olympic Dreams" features on 'Harmony', one of the three official Olympic Games albums.

The three albums were launched in Athens this week, and include an official Greek music album, an official pop music album, with 'Harmony', the games' official classical music album.
"

Read more at NDTV.com - Croatian pianist composes Olympic song.

Posted by Darren at 05:41 PM

Olympic Insurance

"For the first time, the International Olympic Committee takes out a multimillion-dollar policy to hedge against cancellation at the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens. The move ushers in a new era for the IOC, which intends to insure Games until 2010.

The decision to return this year's Olympic Games to its birthplace, Athens, has created unintended drama, as construction delays and budget overruns triggered a nightmare scenario of unfinished facilities and cancelled events. However, a renewed commitment from Greece's new government, elected in March, and frantic last-minute building work should see the Games open in Athens, as planned, on August 13 for 16 days' duration. The city is ready to play host to around 1.5 million visitors, 20,000 officials and 15,000 competitors. Their welfare will depend on 70,000 police and soldiers and the anti-terrorism measures drawn up with input from NATO and Israel's intelligence service, Mossad.

Threat of terrorist attack has boosted the security budget to almost $1.2 billion, more than three times the amount allocated for the 2000 Games in Sydney. The Athens Games represent "a spectacular concentration of global terror risk," in the words of the London-based political risk analysts and forecasters Exclusive Analysis Ltd."

Read more at Risk and Insurance : Vaulting Olympic Risk:

Posted by Darren at 05:27 PM

Watch Olympics Online - Video Highlights

"Viewers in the U.S. and the U.K. will be able to watch video highlights of the Athens Olympics on the Internet. Canadians will not. NBC will feature online video coverage of the Summer Olympic Games. The BBC will broadcast live coverage of the games by Internet on the BBC Sport Olympics website to U.K. viewers.

In prior Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prohibited websites from displaying video of actual Olympic events in order to protect multimillion-dollar television broadcasting deals."

Read more Athens Olympics achieves balance between Internet and TV viewing.

Posted by Darren at 05:16 PM

Will the 'Real' Olympics Please stand up?

"The Athens Olympics begin on 13 August, but thousands are gathering this weekend in an ancient Greek stadium for what they say are the true games.

Anyone can take part regardless of age or talent, as long as they run barefooted and in traditional tunics.

The stadium in Nemea in the Peloponnese was built more than 2,300 years ago.

It was excavated in the 1970s by a team of American archaeologists, who were disillusioned with the elitist nature of modern Olympics."

Read more at 'True Olympics' begin in Greece

Posted by Darren at 04:41 PM

What's on Today

Here is a list of events scheduled for today, Saturday the 14th of August, 2004
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Badminton
  
Basketball
Boxing
  
Cycling
Diving
Fencing
Football/Soccer
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Judo
Rowing
Sailing
Shooting
Softball
Swimming
Table Tennis
Volleyball
Weightlifting
Sport
8
9
10
11
12
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Posted by at 03:51 PM

Cool Mitts to Ease Heat in Athens

corecontrol.jpgIf you see some US and British Athletes at the the Athens walking around with gloves on its not because they are cold - quite the opposite in fact - they are hot!

"A Michigan company has developed a handheld gizmo that could help soldiers, firefighters and athletes beat the heat. The so-called CoreControl device looks a bit like a large mitten.

Researchers at AVAcore Technologies say blood passing through the hand is cooled, which then cools the whole body in just three to five minutes. It's much like the way a panting, furry animal is cooled by air passing over its tongue."

British and US Olympians will be trial the CoreControl Cooling device in Athens.

Read more at Gizmo could cool soldiers' bodies in minutes.

Also read about it at ABC News

Posted by Darren at 03:38 PM

Athens Olympic Games 2004 Schedule Of Events

Sports
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Baseball
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
Canoe/Kayak
Sports
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football/Soccer
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Sports
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing
Sailing
Shooting
Softball
Swimming
Sports
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Sports
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Posted by at 02:15 PM

Athens Olympics - Kids Resources

Hi there kids - are you doing a school project on the Athens Olympics? Do you just want to know more about the Athens Olympics that you are watching on the TV? We know a lot of kids are coming to this site looking for information so we thought we'd put some resources together that might help you find the sort of information you are after. If you find a helpful website we don't have in our list below please leave us a comment at the bottom of this page and tell us what you've found.

Have fun!


Athens Olympics Kids Resources

Posted by Darren at 02:07 PM

Kiribati - The Newest member of the Olympic Family

"Straddling the Equator and hugged by the blue of the Pacific Ocean, the newest member of the Olympic family had a celebration last week.

Tiny Kiribati, the string of coral atolls which will make its games debut in Athens, held its national track and field championships to finalise its team.

It was a far cry from the United States trials held about the same time.

At the national stadium in the capital, Tarawa, Kiribati's athletes raced on a track of black coral sand, lanes marked out with white beach sand.

"We don't have the synthetic tracks that most countries do, so we get by with what we have," said the national secretary of the Kiribati Olympic Committee, Willy Uan."

Read more at First-time Olympians beat odds.

Posted by Darren at 12:23 PM

Athens at Night

Heading to the Athens Olympics? This article suggests that to truely experience it you need to head out into the neighborhoods at night!

"To fully appreciate and discover Athens' many charms, do as the Greeks do: Venture out into the neighborhoods, find the packed nightclubs, eat at one of the innumerable restaurants tucked in the most unlikely places, or see Hollywood stars under real stars in a romantic outdoor cinema.

'Athens by day is unlivable, but it's magical at night'
The Greek capital is named for the ancient goddess Athena, whose favourite animal was the owl. It's a fitting symbol for the city's nocturnal nature, which often culminates in summer with a bleary-eyed rush hour just before dawn.

As native Athenian Panos Demestiha observed: "Athens by day is unlivable, but it's magical at night.""

Read more at Hidden pleasures of ancient Athens.

Posted by Darren at 11:34 AM

Should You Run Naked?

here is an interesting article examining the question of whether its better to run nude or not at the Olympics! Some people have too much time on their hands.

"If you ask me, the ancient Olympians were a lot smarter than we are. They had the good sense to run, jump, and throw in the nude. When you put anything between your skin and the environment--like shorts and a singlet, for example--you only decrease your body's cooling efficiency (even if you're more...comfortable in certain areas). The so-called "modern" Olympians of 1896 were smarter than us, too. They did their running, jumping, and throwing in April. Some athletes complained about the chilly, damp weather, but Spiridon Louis gave thanks to Zeus all the way to his (clothed) marathon victory in 2:58:50.

Unfortunately, Olympic Marathons have been getting hotter ever since. The 1900 Olympic Marathon started at 2:36 p.m. under a 95-degree Parisian sun. Twelve years later, in Stockholm, a Portuguese runner died in the sweltering Olympic Marathon. Many of us remember Gabriele Andersen Schiess staggering across the finish line in the 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles. In Athens this month, both the men's and women's marathons will start at 6 p.m., when average temperatures are in the mid-80s, though the city has a record August high of 109. And the marathoners will be running on black asphalt that has been simmering for 12 hours.

"It's a terrible disservice that the marathoners will be forced to compete in conditions where they can't perform their best, and could actually hurt themselves," says Dr. William Roberts, medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon and president of the American College of Sports Medicine. To help athletes deal with the Athens weather, the U.S. Olympic Committee has been holding educational meetings since last September, when it organized a conference called "Heat, Humidity and Air Pollution: What to Expect in Athens 2004." In May, the top U.S. marathoners gathered in Colorado Springs for the latest update. "We believe the heat actually opens the window of possibilities for our marathoners," says U.S. men's Olympic distance coach Bob Larsen. "We'll leave no stone unturned in our search for scientific approaches to running in the heat.""

Enduring Questions -- Should You Run Naked

Posted by Darren at 11:32 AM

Olympic Sponsorship Opportunities

"The big corporate sponsors at the 2004 Olympic Games pay between $40 million and $50 million for the privilege. Then they often spend two to three times that much to augment their sponsorship through marketing and advertising, said Rana Kardestuncer of Carlson Marketing Group (CMG).

Several Twin Cities firms, including CMG, are capitalizing on that Olympic fallout.

Plymouth-based CMG, The GEM Group in Minnetonka and Minneapolis-based Fast Horse Inc. public relations have all been tapped by large Olympic sponsors to leverage their sponsorships through marketing, promotion or logistics -- either before or during the event."

Read more at MSNBC - Marketers seize Olympic opportunity.

Posted by Darren at 11:20 AM

Athens Smog could be Hurdle for Olympic Athletes

"Olympic runner Ryan Tolbert-Jackson is familiar with the effects of smog. She has asthma, which was triggered after she competed at the 1997 World Championships in Athens.

She says she hopes that returning to the Greek city to compete in the 2004 Olympics won't leave her gasping for air.

"I think your body deals with allergies and pollution as if it's fighting off a virus," Tolbert-Jackson says. "Your breathing's labored. You're more fatigued."

Environmental experts have cautioned that the air pollution in Athens may be a problem for some athletes at this year's games, which begin August 13. A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund paints a bleak picture of the overall environment in the ancient city -- and the U.S. Olympic Committee isn't taking any chances with its athletes."

Read more at CNN.com - Athens'smog may behurdle for Olympic athletes.

Posted by Darren at 10:46 AM

Athletes Arrive in Athens

"Americans, Australians and Finns were among the first to check into the Olympic Village on Friday as the venue opened its doors to athletes.

Organizers said the village,nine miles northwest of central Athens, was to receive about 500 of the expected 16,000 athletes and team officials. On Monday, another 2,000 are to arrive.

"Today the Olympic Games begin ... because the Olympic village opened its doors," Spyros Capralos, the government's general secretary for sport, told The Associated Press.

Athens organizers gave no details on the arrivals."

Read more at Athletes begin moving in to Olympic Village

Posted by Darren at 10:03 AM

Olympic village open. Has disco!

With thousands of athletes now arriving in Athens, the Olympic Village has fully opened. According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, 16,000 athletes will stay there and they'll be able to take advantage of "places of worship, shops, a bank, a post office, a hairdresser, cafeterias, 24-hour restaurants, a cinema, bars and a disco, a library, and a billiards hall." Bars and a disco? A DISCO?! A place where people get drunk, stay up late and cop off? And how exactly is that going to help these athletes when they've got to get up early the next morning and run faster, throw further or judo, er, judo-ier than anyone in the whole world?

Having said that, I do like what the piece says about them having a little welcoming celebration for every nation as they arrive. Well, as long as that celebration doesn't involve everyone going down to the disco and getting hammered...

eKathimerini.com: Olympic Village opens

Posted by at 08:03 AM

July 30, 2004

Athens Olympic Events Schedule

The Athens Olympics Officially run between 13- 29 August. Following is the Schedule of Events organized on a daily basis.

Wednesday, 11 August
Soccer (Preliminaries)

Thursday, 12 August
Soccer (Preliminaries)

Friday, 13 August
Opening Ceremony

Saturday, 14 August
Badminton (round matches), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelim), Boxing (prelim), Cycling Road (medals), Diving (finals),
Fencing (medals), Football (prelim), Gymnastics Artistic (qual), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Judo (medals), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Sunday, 15 August
Archery (round), Badminton (round), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelim), Boxing (prelim),
Cycling Road (medals), Equestrian (dressage),
Fencing (medals), Football (prelim),
Gymnastics Artistic (qual), Handball (prelim),
Hockey (prelim), Judo (medals), Rowing (heats), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim),
Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round),
Tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim),
Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Monday, 16 August
Archery (round), Badminton (round), Baseball (prelim),
Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelim),
Boxing (prelim), Diving (finals), Equestrian (dressage), Fencing (medals), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Judo (medals), Rowing (heats), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round), Tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim),
Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Tuesday, 17 August
Archery (round), Badminton (round), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelim), Boxing (prelim), Canoe/Kayak Slalom Racing (heats), Equestrian (cross-country), Fencing (medals), Football (prelim), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Judo (medals), Rowing (repechages), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round), Tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim).

Wednesday, 18 August
Archery (medals), Badminton (round), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelim), Boxing (prelim), Canoe/Kayak Slalom Racing (medals), Cycling (medals), Equestrian (finals), Fencing (medal matches), Football (prelim), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelims), Judo (medals matches), Rowing (repechages), Sailing (races), Shooting (medals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round matches), Tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Thursday, 19 August
Archery (medals), Badminton (medals), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (prelims), Boxing (prelim), Canoe/Kayak Slalom Racing (heats), Fencing (medals), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Judo (medals), Rowing (rounds), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round), Tennis (round), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Friday, 20 August
Archery (medals), Athletics (rounds/finals), Badminton (medals), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (round), Boxing (prelim), Canoe/Kayak Slalom Racing (medals), Cycling Track (finals), Diving (prelim), Equestrian (dressage), Fencing (medal matches), Football (prelim), Gymnastics Trampoline (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelims), Judo (medals matches), Rowing (finals), Sailing (races), Shooting (finals), Softball (prelim), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (round), Tennis (finals), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Saturday, 21 August
Archery (medals), Athletics (rounds/finals), Badminton (medals), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (round), Boxing (prelim), Cycling Track (finals), Diving (semi-finals), Equestrian (Grand Prix), Fencing (medals), Football (round), Gymnastics Trampoline (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Rowing (finals), Sailing (finals), Shooting (finals), Swimming (finals), Table tennis (medals), Tennis (medals), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (finals).

Sunday, 22 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Baseball (prelim), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (round), Boxing (round), Cycling Track (round), Diving (finals), Equestrian (qual), Fencing (medals), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Rowing (finals), Sailing (finals), Shooting (finals), Softball (medals), Table tennis (finals), Tennis (medals), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (round), Wrestling (Eliminations).

Monday, 23 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Basketball (prelim), Beach Volleyball (round), Boxing (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (heats), Cycling Track (rounds/finals), Diving (prelim), Equestrian (Grand Prix), Football (prelim), Gymnastics Artistic (finals), Handball (prelim), Hockey (prelim), Sailing (races), Softball (final), Synchronised Swimming (prelim), Table tennis (finals), Volleyball (prelim), Water Polo (prelim), Weightlifting (medals), Wrestling (medals).

Tuesday, 24 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Baseball (round), Basketball (classification), Beach Volleyball (round), Boxing (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (heats), Cycling Track (rounds/finals), Diving (medals), Equestrian (rounds/finals), Football (rounds), Gymnastics Artistic (Gala), Handball (rounds), Hockey (rounds), Sailing (races), Synchronised Swimming (prelim), Volleyball (round), Water Polo (round), Weightlifting (medals), Wrestling (elimination/qualification).

Wednesday, 25 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Baseball (medals), Basketball (round), Beach Volleyball (medals), Boxing (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (round), Cycling Track (rounds/finals), Diving (prelim), Equestrian (Grand Prix), Hockey (classification), Sailing (races/finals), Synchronised Swimming (finals), Triathlon (finals), Volleyball (round), Water Polo (classification), Weightlifting (medals), Wrestling (rounds/medals).

Thursday, 26 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Basketball (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (round), Diving (finals), Football (round), Gymnastics Rhythmic (qual), Handball (round), Hockey (medals), Modern Pentathlon (medals), Sailing (medals), Synchronised Swimming (finals), Taekwondo (prelim/medals), Triathlon (finals), Volleyball (round), Water Polo (medals) , Wrestling (rounds/medals).

Friday, 27 August
Athletics (rounds/finals), Basketball (round), Boxing (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (finals), Cycling Mountain Bike (medals), Diving (prelim), Equestrian (finals), Football (medals), Gymnastics Rhythmic (qual), Handball (round), Hockey (medals), Modern Pentathlon (medals), Synchronised Swimming (finals), Taekwondo (medals), Volleyball (round), Water Polo (round), Wrestling (elimination/qualification).

Saturday, 28 August
Athletics (finals), Basketball (medals), Boxing (round), Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Racing (finals), Cycling Mountain Bike (medals), Diving (finals), Football (finals), Gymnastics Rhythmic (finals), Handball (round/medals), Sailing (finals), Taekwondo (medals), Volleyball (medals), Wrestling (eliminations/medals).

Sunday, 29 August
Athletics (medals), Boxing (finals), Football (medals), Gymnastics Rhythmic (finals), Handball (medals), Taekwondo (medals), Volleyball (medals), Water Polo (medals), Wrestling (medals), Closing Ceremony.

Posted by Darren at 04:00 PM

Olympic Village Open

"The Olympic village, home to about 16,000 athletes and officials during next month's Olympic Games, officially opened on Thursday.

"Greece has made it. Greece has succeeded in doing something that many people considered as beyond its capabilities," said Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, President of the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC), at the inauguration ceremony.

"At Games-time we shall answer those people doubting or disbelieving what we have already achieved. We loathe our countrybeing underrated," she added.

Construction of the village in the Menidi suburb, about 15km northwest of central Athens, was dogged by the same delays that hampered Athens' overall preparations.

The 397-million-US-dollar complex has a hospital, drug test center, places of worship, a restaurant, a swimming pool, a track and two gyms."

Read more at Olympic village opens door to athletes

Posted by Darren at 02:11 PM

50,000 Athens Phones Down for 10 Hours

"Nearly 50,000 telephones at Olympic sites and parts of Athens went dead for more than 10 hours today, officials said.

The outage follows a July 12 electricity blackout across southern Greece that raised concern over the stability of public utility networks ahead of the Aug. 13-29 Games.

The phones went down during attempts to upgrade the system, officials said.

"Some 48,000 fixed-line phones stopped working during work to improve a telephone switching centre," Christos Malapanis, an official at the Greek Telecommunications Organization, or OTE, told state-run NET television"

Read more at Phones down in Athens for 10 hours.

Posted by Darren at 01:19 PM

More tickets available for opening, closing ceremonies

"More than 1,000 additional tickets for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies will go on sale Monday.

The extra tickets for the ceremonies, as well as track and field events, were made available after the seats were installed in the main stadium and counted - with 538 more than originally planned.

The stadium had faced years of delays and problems with putting in the seating.

So far, more than 2.2 million of the 5.3 million tickets have been sold. Organizers said sales have increased rapidly in the last few days with 12,000 to 13,000 tickets sold per day."

Read more at More tickets available for opening, closing ceremonies.

Posted by Darren at 01:14 PM

Athens Visitors to get Price Guides

"Olympic visitors to Athens will be given leaflets indicating prices for commonly purchased items as part of measures to combat profiteering during the Aug. 13-29 Games, government officials said Thursday.

The material, to be distributed at airports and other entry points, will list typical prices for items and services including bottled water and a taxi fare along a popular route, Development Ministry spokesman Kleanthis Hatzinikolaidis told The Associated Press.

They will be ready next week, he said. The leaflets will list price guidelines."

Read more at MSNBC - Athens visitors to get price guides to beat Olympic profiteers.

Posted by Darren at 11:51 AM

Olympic Games flunk basic economics

"By almost any measure, the Olympics flunk basic economics. The bidders spend lavishly and make costly promises. The winning city opens the vault to build stadiums, venues and villages that may have questionable value after the games. Local commerce is disrupted for years. Then theres skyrocketing costs for payroll and security.

And it all happens with the knowledge that the whole venture will probably end up losing lots of public money.

But cities keep slugging it out to play host. Five are in the running for the 2012 Summer Games. Some cities are even gearing up a bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"On paper it doesnt make sense," said Larry Hadley, a University of Dayton expert in the economics of sporting events.

"But with the Olympics there are many other factors than just the bottom line."

Perhaps its the seduction of being in the world spotlight for more than two weeks to promote local attractions, culture and talents."

Read more at Olympic Games flunk basic economics.

Posted by Darren at 11:51 AM

Athens Uses Olympics to Fuel Civic Rebirth

'This summer's Olympic Games are providing Athens residents with improved communications, better roads and a brand new subway. The Greek capital is attempting to lost its reputation as one of the most polluted cities in Europe, with appalling traffic problems and a decaying infrastructure.'

Listen to the rest of this audio report at NPR : Athens Uses Olympics to Fuel Civic Rebirth

Posted by Darren at 11:50 AM

Hotel Workers to Strike During Olympics

"Athens' hotel workers, demanding their wages be doubled, will stage a one-day strike next week and threatened to continue their protest during the Aug. 13-29 Games.

``If our proposals are not accepted the workers will decide the next protest which will probably be during the Olympics,'' said union representative Nikos Papageorgiou. The official works at the Metropolitan Hotel which will host officials from the world soccer's governing body, FIFA, during the games.

The hotel workers' union has called for a strike on Aug. 4 demanding that monthly minimum pay rise from 490 euros ($588) to 1,100 euros ($1,300).

Workers at hotels reserved for Olympic employees will receive a bonus of 187 euros ($224).


Union leader Christos Katsiotis promised union support if any protesting workers are fired. "

Read more at Workers Threaten Strike During Olympics:
.

Posted by Darren at 11:49 AM

Ticket Sales Rise - Slowly

"Athens Olympics organisers ATHOC said yesterday they see a last-minute surge in ticket sales for the Aug 13-29 Games.

Last month we sold 3,500 tickets a day.

Now we've reached 13,000 tendency rising, ATHOC ticketing director Stephanos Kakarantzas told private radio station Flash.

ATHOC runs a massive advertising campaign in the Greek media to convince locals to attend the Games as fears mount that many events could take place in empty venues."

Source - Organisers see last-minute pick-up in ticket sales

Posted by Darren at 11:45 AM

Olympics Reflect Our World

Olympics reflect our world; Athens will be no different is an interesting article that argues that the Olympics (from the very beginning) have always been a reflection of the world they are held in. These games are no different.

"From the ancient games that began in 776 B.C. in Olympia to the modern games of 1896 in Athens and to the XXVIII International Olympiad Aug. 13-29 again in Athens, the Olympics have served as survey courses of their era's living conditions, world affairs, cultural attitudes and innovations.

"Throughout history, the Olympics have always reflected the life in the world at a specific time," said cultural anthropologist Orin Starn, a Duke University associate professor who teaches "Anthropology of Sport."

"We see the politics, technology, commercialism and the preoccupations of the world in each games. Athens will be no different, with worries about terrorism and performance-enhancing drugs."

The Greek government has spent a reported $1.4 billion - five times that of the 2000 Sydney Games - to secure the world's biggest, most-watched sporting event at a time of terrorism and war."

Read more at Olympics reflect our world; Athens will be no different.

Posted by Darren at 11:42 AM

Olympics Coverage Gender Bias

"Based on past broadcasts of the Summer Olympics, female athletes on the U.S. Olympic Team, and their sports, should receive more coverage on than U.S. television than ever before when the 2004 Summer Olympics begin in Athens Aug. 13.

However, commentators will probably still not provide equitable coverage of female and male athletes, focusing more on the females' physical appearances and personal lives than on their athletic ability, according to University of North Texas and Slippery Rock University researchers.

Dr. Karen Weiller, UNT associate professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation; Dr. Christy Greenleaf, UNT assistant professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation; and Dr. Catriona Higgs, professor of physical education at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Penn., also say profiles of female athletes that appeal to the emotional nature of a female audience may be present in this year's Summer Olympics coverage as well."

Read more at Gender bias still evident in Olympics coverage, study says.

Posted by Darren at 12:15 AM

July 29, 2004

Many Tickets Still Available

"Organizers of the Summer Olympics in Athens say there are still plenty of tickets for events at the games which begin in two weeks.

Travel experts say you will pay a premium for flights and hotels. John White of Mid-Atlantic Triple A says plane tickets will hit you at over $1,000, and hotels in Athens range from $600 to $2800 a night."

Source - Olympic Tickets Still Available, Getting There Costly

Posted by Darren at 03:53 PM

Officials Lay down the Law to Athens Taxi Drivers

"Olympic organisers have laid down the law to Athens' unruly cabbies ahead of August's Olympic Games, demanding they clean up their act or stay away from venues.

Only fully air-conditioned, clean and modern taxis will be allowed access to the stadiums, airport and big hotels, the Transport Ministry decided on Wednesday.

A total of 8,500 of the capital's 14,300 registered cabs will be licensed to operate in the designated areas, with a further 1,500 allowed to service Olympic venues in towns outside Athens."

Read more at SI.com: Organizers lay down law to Athens cabbies

Posted by Darren at 03:45 PM

Beijing Olympic Stadium

An architectural design competition for the Beijing Olympic Stadium (ok we're getting ahead of ourselves now) is being held.

See some of those contesting for the prize at Presentation of Competation for the Architecture Design of National Stadium. There is some pretty amazing looking stadiums on offer there!

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

Ian Thorpe - Australia's Most Bankable Sports Star

"OLYMPIC swimming sensation Ian Thorpe has a golden future before he even gets wet in Athens.

He has just been named Australia's most bankable sports star, worth more than $500,000 per sponsor. The news came as Thorpedo and the rest of the swim team set off for Athens.

Cutting a dash through Sydney Airport, he looked every inch the superstar.

After kissing his mum Margaret goodbye - and a brief hold-up when he got stuck in a revolving door - he met teammate Elka Graham for the flight.

Swimmers including Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill left from Brisbane, while others flew out of Melbourne and Perth.

Hackett was named fifth in the sport rich list, compiled by Sponsorship Solutions of Melbourne.

The company evaluates the most valuable sports and athletics sponsorship opportunities.

Thorpe was top, followed by tennis star Lleyton Hewitt, Mark Webber, Adam Gilchrist, Hackett, Pat Rafter, Cathy Freeman, Greg Norman, Ricky Ponting and another Olympian Jana Pittman, now worth $230,000 per sponsor." Read more at Sponsors bank on Ian.

Posted by Darren at 01:52 PM

Athens Olympic Medal - Picture

athens_medal.jpg'The main feature of the medals is the Greek character shown on both sides, since their basic side has been changed for the first time since the Amsterdam Olympic Games in 1928. This is of particular importance, as from now on all Olympic medals will reflect the Greek character of the Games as regards both their origin and their revival.

On the medals awarded to Olympic athletes from 1928 until the Sydney Games, goddess Nike was seated, holding an ear of corn in one hand and a wreath in the other. Here, she flies into the stadium bringing victory to the best athlete. The Organising Committee has chosen to show the Panathenic stadium, where the Games were first renewed in 1896.
On the obverse, the athlete�s discipline will also be engraved.

The reverse side of the medal is composed of three elements:
The eternal flame that will be lit in Olympia and will travel through the five continents by way of the 2004 Torch Relay; the opening lines of Pindar's Eighth Olympic Ode composed in 460 BC to honour the victory of Alkimedon of Aegina in wrestling and the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games emblem.

The design of the Medal was created by Elena Votsi.
The total number of medals to be produced is 1,130 gold, 1,130 silver, and 1,150 bronze.'

Source - IOC

Posted by Darren at 01:23 PM

Athens backdown on journo ban

"ATHENS Olympics organisers ATHOC backed down today after announcing they had banned a British journalist from the Games in retaliation for having revealed secret details of the Games' opening ceremony.

"There has been a mistake," a source from the organisers said.

Earlier, the same source had said, on condition of anonymity, that "in a communal decision with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), ATHOC decided to withdraw the journalist's accreditation"."

Read more at Athens backdown on journo ban.

Posted by Darren at 12:28 PM

HGH test could be ready for the Athens Olympics.

BBC Sport | Pound backs new drug tests.

A research team from Southampton University are close to creating a test for the previously undetectable drug.

Posted by at 03:28 AM

July 28, 2004

Athens Restaurants Fined for Olympic Price Inflation

Three dozen Athens restaurants fined for price-gouging:

"Some three dozen cafe and restaurant owners in Athens have been fined for price-gouging, after overcharging their customers by up to 500%, the Greek news agency ANA reported Wednesday.

Officials from the Greek development ministry have been regularly checking menus at dozens of restaurants and cafes and cracking down on overcharging, as Athens readies for the Olympic Games in just over three weeks.

The restaurants and cafes cited had profit margins of between 82 and 588% on some products, well above the state-sanctioned legal limit of 45%.

More than a quarter of all restaurants checked violated the prices law seven of the 37 establishments alone were at Athens airport."

Found via Cronaca

Posted by Darren at 02:44 PM

July 27, 2004

Free Medal Table

If you have your own website and would like to provide your readers with a free Medal Table of the Top 10 medal winning countries at the Athens Olympic Games then by simply adding a small piece of code to your website, you will be able to provide your readers the latest medal tally as it comes to hand.

Just copy the the following code into your webpages:

<iframe name="medaltable" src="http://www.livingroom.org.au/olympics/minitable.html" width="160" marginwidth="0" height="236" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"></iframe>

We'll automatically update the countries that win medals so all that you have to do is sit back and watch the table for the latest results collated by Gold, Silver and Bronze. Links will be provided for more information (fully medal tally) and each country listed.

Posted by at 07:02 PM

Afghanistan Preparing for Olympics on Lesbos

Afgha.com - Afghanistan's Olympics team to train on Lesbos:
"The Olympic team from Afghanistan will spend two months on the Greek resort island of Lesbos to prepare for their return to the games this year after an eight-year absence.

The 22-member delegation has accepted an offer by a Greek aid group to train in May and June on the eastern Aegean Sea island near the Turkish coast. "We have some of the best training facilities in Greece on the island and we will provide them with the best of Greek hospitality," a government official said."

Posted by Darren at 05:00 PM

Dutch Olympic Fans Get SMS Medal Alert

"Dutch sports' fans will have the chance to be immediately informed about any medal won by Dutch athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games. ANP, DataWireSport and Mobillion have introduced an "sms-medal-alert" which will deliver a message with the news directly to subscribed mobile users." Source - Adverblog: Olympics' medal alert

Posted by Darren at 12:57 PM

Greece Guerrilla Trial May Extend into Olympics

"The trial of five members of Greece's oldest urban guerrilla group, which Greek authorities had hoped would be over by next month's Olympics Games, could continue during the games, a court official said on Monday....

Greek authorities had hoped the trial would be over before the August 13-29 games to avoid the possibility of even a symbolic attack by supporters who might protest the verdict." Source - Greece guerrilla trial may extend until Athens Games.

Posted by Darren at 11:34 AM

Sydney is still paying for its Olympics

It something of a warning to Athens, Independent.co.uk reports today that after four years, Sydney is still paying for hosting the games in 2000.

"In the euphoric aftermath of the Sydney Olympics, the New South Wales state government boasted that the books were balanced and the venues would not be a financial burden to future generations.

Four years on, the picture looks decidedly less rosy. Under-used venues are costing state taxpayers Aus$46m (18m) a year to keep afloat, and the government said yesterday that some would need at least another decade to break even.

The extent of the losses being made by facilities at Homebush, the main Olympic site, and elsewhere in Sydney were revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. It named the former Olympic stadium and the SuperDome as being in dire financial straits, with neither having paid state tax levies since 2001." Source - Four years on, and Sydney is still paying for its Olympics

Posted by Darren at 11:33 AM

July 26, 2004

Olympics Help Plasma TV Sales

With the Olympics under three weeks away, Plasma TV sellers in Australia are reporting that sales have never been better.

"At retailers such as JB Hi-Fi, orders for top-quality plasma screen TV sets - some that sell for $6000 to $10,000 each - run to the hundreds.

Page after page of newspapers now advertise "hot deals" on 106 cm plasma screen TVs, at prices that might otherwise buy a four-week holiday in Paris."

Read more at Olympics helps boost plasma TV sales - The Age

Posted by Darren at 12:18 PM

July 25, 2004

Athens Hotels Slash Prices in bid to Fill Empty Rooms

"Athens hotels that massively hiked up their prices for the Olympics are now bringing them back down again in a last-minute bid to fill empty rooms.

The inflated room rates have been partly blamed for an estimated five million tickets as yet unsold for the games, which start on 13 August.

Deluxe rooms in hotels such as the Holiday Inn have dropped from about 1,260 to 800 per night, according to Suzi Stembridge, director of Greece specialist Filoxenia. 'Last week hotels started saying "give us a ring, we've got good prices". They sold rooms to tour operators who just couldn't sell them so now they've dropped the prices.'

She said most availability was in newly built, out-of-town hotels, but rooms priced originally at 600 were down to 280-400, and those priced at 700 were down to 350 a night.

Panos Argyros, director of the Greece National Tourism Organisation, said that following a government-level meeting last week, the chairman of the Hotel Chamber of Greece had agreed his industry would offer better prices. 'Hotels have dropped their rates considerably and will drop them more this week,' he said." Read More at The Observer | Travel | Hotels slash prices for Olympics

Posted by Darren at 04:18 PM

British Tourist Numbers Down

Fears of a terrorist attack the the Athens Olympic Games has resulted in the number of Briton's visiting Athens down 70 percent on this time last year. The Greek capital is not the only area to have been hit by the slump. The Greek Isalnds have also seen a 30 percent dip compared to the same time last year.

Source

Posted by at 11:30 AM

BBC Technicians to Strike during Olympics

"The walkouts threatened by BBC Technology staff are to go ahead - and it will be right in the middle of Auntie's coverage of the Olympics.

Union Bectu (broadcasting entertainment cinematograph and theatre union) has announced it's chosen two dates for its strike action. The first strike will fall on 30 and 31 July, with the second walkout on 13 and 14 August.

The union said it believes the BBC will be "hard-pressed" to continue normal service during the walkouts - especially as 13 August is the opening day of the Olympics, traditionally a ratings winner for the Beeb." Source - BBC techies to strike during Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 10:41 AM

Ancient Olympics - Like Super Bowl, Woodstock, Mardi Gras and Chippendale Dancers

"It was like the Super Bowl, Woodstock, Mardi Gras, a holy pilgrimage and Chippendale dancers all rolled into one. The setting for the earliest Olympic Games some 3,000 years ago was both a sanctuary of soaring marble temples and a foul, drunken shantytown plagued by water shortages, campfire smoke and sewage. The athletes, glistening from olive oil, competed naked. Gymnasiums were restricted to keep the sex trade from overrunning events on the field.

With the 2004 Summer Games set to begin in Athens on Aug. 13, archaeologists and scholars are demythologizing and viewing the original Olympics as they really happened." Read More at Ancient Olympics weren't all that pure.

Posted by Darren at 10:40 AM

Athens Unveils Party Plans

"Athens will throw a citywide party for the Olympics -- every night of the games.

Mayor Dora Bakoyianni promised Wednesday to stage the biggest outdoor entertainment blitz in the Athens' history, with more 500 concerts and live performances together with art exhibitions, puppet shows and acts from 34 countries.

"We want to create a festive feel across the entire city," Bakoyianni said.

"Athens will try to combine recollections of ancient myths and history with its modern reality ... The whole city will be one large party."

Sculptures and other artwork will be displayed along a cobblestone walkway linking the Acropolis to the city's other main ancient sites like the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the ancient marketplace." Read more at SI.com - Athens unveils street party plans for Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 10:37 AM

July 24, 2004

Poker in Athens

Poker in Athens is a very amusing site dedicated to bringing Poker to the Athens Olympic games in 2004.

It includes an article on poker players being willing to submit to drug testing:

"As poker continues its drive to become part of the games, poker players from all over world have been volunteering to submit to drug screening. "The last thing poker needs is for a few 'roid cases to ruin it for all of us," said Steve Peckingham..."

It also has polls (which Athens landmark should host poker at the Olympics), a petition to get poker to the games and a variety of various other amusing features.

It's worth a look.

Posted by Darren at 11:24 PM

Olympic Betting

"The TAB is confident New Zealand Soccer has opened the way for betting on a variety of sports at next month's Olympic Games.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has opposed betting on Olympic sports after a strong "we don't want it" message from the IOC.

But NZOC secretary-general Barry Maister yesterday admitted it could not stop New Zealand Soccer going ahead with plans to have betting on matches at the Olympic tournament." Source - NZ Soccer flouts Olympics betting ban

Posted by Darren at 08:20 PM

Anti Olympics Rally in Athens

"Greek anti-Olympics groups held a large rally Thursday in Athens to protest the holding of the Olympic Games only three weeks ahead of its opening ceremony.

The anti-Olympics leftist groups, including the Anti-2004 Campaign, the Greek Social Forum and the Genoa 2001 Initiative, as well as popular movements and labor groups, staged a rally in downtown Athens and marched to the Houses of Parliament.

The demonstrators claimed that the climate prevailing in the capital is a state of emergency and that labor conditions are worsening as a result of the Olympic Games.

They also denounced Olympic security measures by which information will be registered and processed to enable, if necessary, action by a rapid reaction force of the NATO alliance, saying that these steps greatly violate their personal privacy and their human rights.

Some extremist or leftist groups, which were labeled as "anarchists" by Greek government and local media, have been opposing the holding of the Olympic Games in Athens." Source - :Anti-Olympics groups hold rally in Athens

Posted by Darren at 08:05 PM

A Long Ride to Athens

At 65, Jumber Lezhava might be forgiven more than most for staying at home to watch the Athens Olympics on television in his native Georgia.

However, the engineer from the ex-Soviet state famed for longevity plans to pedal to the events by bike.

"I am keeping fit all the time and am ready to ride my bicycle to Athens," he told reporters in the capital, Tbilisi.

But the Athens trip should be a mere spin - he once covered 264,000km (164,042 miles) on a tour of the globe.

Read More at - Georgian plans Olympic bike ride

Posted by Darren at 01:16 PM

A Very Different Olympics from the Original

Next month's Olympic Games in Athens will be a very different affair from the largely religious festival that began 3,000 years ago; for one thing, the competitors will be wearing clothes. By Christopher Howse

The modern Olympic ideal is completely alien to the spirit of the Greek original, which despised women, slaves and foreigners and celebrated sectarian religion, nudity, pain and winning at any cost.

Source

Posted by at 11:47 AM

Olympic Broadcast to Phillipines in Jeopardy

GOVERNMENT-RUN NBN 4 has surrendered all hopes of covering the Olympic Games in Athens, saying it cannot afford the conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). NBN 4 chairperson Mia Concio, however, assured that the cashstrapped government station will settle the $1.2 million back account it owes the IOC.

Source

Posted by at 11:23 AM

Jackie Chan carries Olympic torch

Martial arts movie star Jackie Chan took a turn carrying the Olympic flame as it passed through this northern Greece before next month's Summer Games.

Chan, who flew to Greece from China to carry the torch, said he was glad the Olympics were returning to their ancient homeland but was also looking forward to the Beijing games in 2008.

Source

Posted by at 10:43 AM

July 23, 2004

Athens Olympic Medals

athens_medals'Gold, silver and bronze Athens 2004 Olympic medals are on display in Athens (pictured left).

Using 13 kilos of gold, a ton of silver and a ton of bronze, 15 experts started minting the 3,000 medals that will be awarded during the Athens Olympics.'

Also see Specialists Begin Production of Olympic Medals

'Production of the most coveted prizes at the Olympics has begun in Athens, the gold, silver and bronze medals that the world's Olympic athletes will be competing for.

Electronics specialists, machinists, engravers and goldsmiths at an Athens company (Efsimon) have begun producing up to 150 gold, silver and bronze medals per day.

Workers will use nearly 30 pounds of gold, a ton of silver and a ton of copper to make the nearly�3,000 medals that will be manufactured for the Olympic games.

The medals have a unique greek look. One side of the medals shows Nike, the goddess of victory, standing in the Panatheneum Stadium, site of the first modern Olympic games held in 1896. The other side shows the Olympic flame, the Athens Olympics emblem, an excerpt from an ancient Olympic ode, and the name of the sport being awarded.'

Posted by Darren at 10:46 PM

Dissent in Athens

A number of groups are beginning to protest against the Athens Olympics including a group called 'Dissent!'.

'Dissent! is a network of groups and individuals taking action against the G8 in Britain in 2005. Our struggle against the globalisation of exploitation and capital means that we are in solidarity with the struggles of all the common people around the globe. In the coming month the focus of the global bosses is the Olympic Games in Athens (Greece).

The preparations for what is perhaps the biggest spectacle in the world are well under way. So far national and international corporate media have largely focused on the construction (or not) of the Olympic venues. The social effects and consequences of the Games however, remain largely unreported. Already massive environmental damage has been caused plus nineteen workers have lost their lives in the so-called working "accidents" whilst working at the Olympic venues' construction sites. At the same time, the Olympics have proven to be the perfect excuse for the Greek State to attack all the social groups that are in the margins, in fact, everyone refusing to participate in the corporate spectacle that the Olympics are. ' Read More at Popular dissent against the Olympic Corporate Games

Posted by Darren at 11:44 AM

July 22, 2004

Athens Traffic Map

athens_traffic.jpgThe Athens Traffic Map is going to be a very interesting site to watch over the month.

I'm tipping we might see a bit of red on the map come 13 August.

Found via Konnecke

Posted by Darren at 11:02 PM

Molotov Cocktails Hit Olympics Office in Athens

The protests against the Olympics continue to come in Greece - the last one involving violence.

'TWO Molotov cocktails were thrown early today at the Greek culture ministry, in charge of preparing next month's Olympic Games, and the nearby "Cultural Olympiad" offices in downtown Athens, causing slight damage, police said.

The two buildings, which in principle are under police guard, are behind the Greek national archaeological museum in the traditionally anti-establishment student quarter of Exarchia.' Read More at - Molotov cocktails hit Games office.

Posted by Darren at 02:26 PM

First Olympic Medals Being Produced

1 Ton of bronze, and 13 kilos of Gold. Wow.

A group of 15 specialists have started cutting the medals that will be awarded to winners at the Athens Games.

More than 3,100 medals will be minted � 986 gold, 986 silver and 1,150 bronze.

Also there will be around 3,300 Paralympic medals.

The Olympic medal shows the statue of Winged Victory of Peonios at Olympia against the Panathenaic Stadium on one side, and the Olympic Flame against an extract of Pindar�s Eighth Olympic Ode on the other side.

The Paralympic medal bears an image of a seahorse � the official logo for the Athens Paralympic Games � and the phrase Athens 2004 in Braille on one side, and the Acropolis on the other side.

Source: Olympic Medals Produced

Posted by at 08:30 AM

Athens Mosque will not be ready for Olympics

ATHENS (Reuters) - Athens' first new mosque in more than 175 years will not be ready in time for next month's Athens Olympics, says the government.

Greek authorities had linked the planned mosque to efforts to bolster the country's image among Muslim nations competing in August's Olympiad.

Athens is home to an estimated 100,000 Muslim Albanians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Moroccans, Syrians and Nigerians, but it is the only European Union capital with no officially recognised mosque.

Bureaucratic hurdles have prevented its construction in Peania 35 km (20 miles) from the capital, the foreign ministry said.

Source: Mosque not ready

Posted by at 08:27 AM

July 21, 2004

Olympic sex

Durex has been appointed official supplier of condoms and lubricants for the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, this year.

The donation of 130 000 condoms and 30 000 tubes of lubricant will cost the company US$100,000, says Jo Giles of Durex, and it promises to give athletes' performance in the bedroom a boost.

The free condoms will be available at a central pharmacy in the Olympic village for the estimated 10 500 athletes and 3 000 officials from 199 countries.

The free condoms will be available at a central pharmacy in the Olympic village for the estimated 10�500 athletes and 3�000 officials from 199 countries.

Source - Oiling the way for Olympic sex

Also see more on this topic at Athletes achieve a personal best in sex

Posted by at 08:01 AM

July 20, 2004

Pankration - Ancient Olympic Fighting Event

One of the criticisms I've seen of the fighting events at the Olympics is that they are too barbaric. However this article compares it to Pankration - an ancient Olympic Sport that makes what we'll see in Athens look like kids stuff.

"A no-holds-barred combination of the two, it allowed choking, scratching, slapping, kicking, punching the genitals, leg tripping, finger bending and flipping an opponent overhead. A judge watched over the two opponents, ready with a stick to strike the perpetrator of fouls like biting and eye-gouging.

The sport, if such it can be called, was added to the Olympic program about 75 years after the Games began, according to historians, in 776 B.C. And it is vividly depicted in sculptures and vase painting of the era, along with more refined contests like running, chariot racing, discus and javelin throwing, long jumping and others, including the pentathlon, a combination of five events performed in one day." Read More at The New York Times: The Olympics as They Were

Posted by Darren at 05:32 PM

Australian Volunteers in Athens Blog

konnecke.com/athens for those volunteers who volunteered in Sydney, that are also volunteering in Athens to tell of their daily activities. Sounds like an interesting blog to keep an eye on during the games.

Posted by Darren at 02:00 PM

Last Minute Athens Olympics Travel Tips

Are you still trying to make up your mind if you should go to the Athens Olympics? National Geographic have just put out an article looking at the pros and cons of going to the Olympics that might help you make your last minute decision.

'The Athens 2004 Olympic Games are less than a month away. Yet ticket sales are down by 20 percent. The negative press around the games hasn't helped much: While no specific threat has been made, many consider the Olympics to be a prime terrorist target. And even at this late date, Athens's officials are still struggling to complete necessary infrastructure for the 18-day sporting event.

The cost to attend the games is also high: Accommodations and tickets to just four events runs close to U.S. $4,000. Tack on at least another U.S. $1,000 for airfare from the United States.

In short, there are lots of reasons for travelers to say home. But will they miss a momentous experience if they do? In an interview, National Geographic Traveler Editor in Chief Keith Bellows shares his views on the pros and cons of traveling to this summer's Olympic Games.' Read More at Traveler Editor's Tips for Last-Minute Dash to Olympics.

Posted by Darren at 01:31 PM

Kodak Olympic Sponsorship

Kodak corp logo 72dpi.jpg.jpgKodak - Press Release
Jul 19, 2004 09:03

Kodak And The Olympic Games: A Legacy Of Support
ROCHESTER, N.Y. --(Business Wire)-- July 19, 2004 Eastman Kodak Company

-- "Kodak is a very important member of the Olympic Family. It takes a very active role in helping us stage the world's greatest event. And through its various marketing efforts, Kodak helps us share the Olympic spirit with the world."

-- Jacques Rogge, President, International Olympic Committee.

When the first Modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896, Kodak, then just 16 years old, was there. More than a century later, the Olympic Games remain the pinnacle of athletic endeavor - and Kodak, a long-standing Olympic Sponsor, will again be there, this time providing security badges for all participants, digital medical imaging equipment in the athlete's clinic, and support for the more than 1,000 professional photographers who will capture the drama of the world's most photographed competition using both film and digital technologies. Indeed, Kodak will digitize all images -including film - for rapid dissemination around the world. (See fact sheets attached.)

"Kodak is in the business of capturing and sharing memories, and few world events create positive memories quite like the Olympic Games," said Daniel A. Carp, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eastman Kodak Company. "Over the past 27 Games back to 1896, virtually every record-breaking moment has been captured on Kodak film. These ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, however, will mark the first primarily digital Olympic Games in history. Kodak people are proud to play a key role in bringing digital imaging to the Games with products and services crucial to the conduct of the Games."

Kodak to operate the world's largest photo lab.

The Kodak Image Center, an 18,000 square-foot facility within the Main Press Center, will provide traditional film and digital photographic products and services to accredited professional photographers. Kodak will digitize 100% of the estimated 3 million images to be processed through the Kodak Image Center, making it quicker and easier to share these memorable moments with audiences around the world. Kodak will also provide photojournalists with on-site image-rich publishing, producing postcards and poster-sized prints of key images for display purposes. Using the company's NexPress 2100 digital color press, Kodak will publish daily newsletters, invitations, and daily event guides for sponsors.

Kodak technology will help serve the healthcare needs of the athletes and staff.

Kodak will supply the Olympic Polyclinic, the healthcare clinic located within the Olympic Village, with technologies enabling radiologists to electronically send digital X-ray images, CT scans, and other medical images and accompanying reports to specialists at the ATTIKO University Hospital in metropolitan Athens for consultation, thus helping ensure rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Kodak will also equip the Polyclinic with systems that capture X-ray images digitally in seconds; with innovative dental products to diagnose any injuries that may involve teeth, jaw fractures and dislocations; and with a broad range of services to ensure optimal integration and operation of these advanced systems and products. The Kodak dental film and equipment can be expected to serve as a primary source of dental care for many athletes from all over the world; for some, a first-time experience.

"Because our systems allow images to be sent electronically to remote specialists, an injured athlete will not have to travel across town for diagnostic imaging services. This is key, since rapid diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between an athlete returning to competition or having to drop out of the Games," said Dan Kerpelman, President of Kodak's Health Imaging Group and a senior vice president of the company.

Much of the Kodak medical and dental imaging equipment will be purchased by the ATHENS 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and will remain at the Polyclinic after the Games conclude.

Security badges by Kodak.

It will be Kodak systems that produce the more than 350,000 security badges and 80,000 visa credentials required for the Olympic athletes, officials, volunteers, and sponsors. Each credential will be produced in a record-breaking time of just 10 seconds.

Kodak to provide on-site digital services for Olympic spectators.

Olympic fans can print, share, and store their Olympic memories at the Kodak Digital Picture Center, a 2500-square-foot facility located in the OAKA Common Domain.

"For the first time at an Olympic Games, spectators will be able to use KODAK PictureMaker kiosks to print images captured from their digital cameras or mobile phone-cameras," said Bernard Masson, President of Kodak's Digital & Film Imaging Systems group and senior vice president of the company. "They can also use our online photo services, Ofoto and KODAK Picture Center Online to instantly share their digital photos with friends and family around the world."

The Kodak Digital Picture Center will also allow fans to create a personalized Olympic photo pin as a unique souvenir from the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. Kodak films, one-time-use cameras, batteries, and digital cameras, memory cards, and printer docks will be available for purchase at this facility.

"As much as the Olympic Games provide a platform to showcase Kodak products and innovation, it also offers the opportunity for both to highlight the similar pillars on which they were founded," Carp said. "The Olympic Games have a heritage of personal excellence, fair play, cultural understanding and respect for humanity, which are perfectly aligned with Kodak's corporate values of integrity, diversity, trust, respect for the dignity of each individual, continual improvement and personal renewal, recognition and celebration."

For more information, see fact sheets attached and visit: http://www.kodak.com/go/olympic

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Accreditation

Kodak will provide all the accreditation badges required by the more than 350,000 athletes, coaches, sponsors, contractors, volunteers, and security personnel--virtually everyone except spectators--who will participate in the 17-day event. Kodak will provide the same service during the 12 days of the Paralympics, which begin in Athens Sept. 17.

-- The accreditation process consists of obtaining a person's image identification and merging this image with their appropriate access rights and classification. Accreditation badges not only act as the primary security pass, but also as a means of identifying which venues and where in the venue a person is assigned, their job title, nationality, and what transportation and dining privileges are authorized.

-- Everyone needing access to the Olympic venues must first submit an application to the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Center (UAC) in Athens. The applications are scanned into a database utilizing a Kodak Digital Science Color Scanner 3590C. Special Kodak software allows the scanned image to be cropped and data added and displayed on a computer screen. The scanners are able to read up to 80 forms a minute and distribute the load to distributed workstations to process the data. Local applicants in Greece can go to any one of 80 Kodak Express Stores throughout the country to have their image captured using the latest Kodak digital cameras. There are various other sites in Athens where applicants can have their image captured by Kodak digital camera workstations utilizing Kodak DX4900 digital cameras and Kodak 3590C scanners.

-- The photos are transferred to the accreditation electronic system supplied and maintained by Atos-Origin, the official ATHENS 2004 Games IT partner, where they are merged with appropriate information taken from the applications. It is here that a security background check is done. Once the badge is ready to be printed, it transfers back to Kodak and is output by the Kodak ML500 or Kodak 8660 thermal printer which produces a badge every 10 seconds.

-- Along with the digital cameras and printers, Kodak is also responsible for the operation of day pass printers at 36 sporting venues, over 200 bar code readers, and over 200 lamination machines.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Kodak Image Center

Kodak has created the world's largest photo lab for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, and for the first time in Olympic history, will digitize 100 percent of all professional photos taken at the Games - making it quicker and easier to disseminate images to all parts of the globe.

-- The Kodak Image Center, an 18,000-square foot facility located in the Main Press Center, will serve the needs of more than 1,000 professional photographers and news agencies with traditional and digital photographic products and services. An estimated 3 million images will be acquired and digitized.

-- The ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games will offer the widest array of digital and traditional film technologies and services ever assembled. Accredited photographers can receive a pre-Games digital camera tune-up, digital camera loan and repair service, image scanning, computer workstations with mass electronic storage space, thermal proofing, large-format ink-jet output, large volume production output, film processing, and image transfer to CD. After photographs are converted into digital images, the Image Center can transmit the images using high-speed phone lines to the world's newsrooms. Images will be transferred and stored on Kodak Picture CDs. The technology at the Image Center will save photographers an estimated two hours a day in editing time.

-- Kodak's involvement with the Games began with the first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896. In 1924, at the Paris Games, Kodak supplied film to professional photographers for the first time. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Kodak introduced new technologies and innovations at the Games, including digital cameras, the Kodak Picture Maker, the Kodak Sticker Print Kiosk and many new professional and consumer films.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Health Imaging Technologies

General Overview:

State-of-the-art Kodak imaging equipment will provide doctors at the Olympic Polyclinic with the ability to rapidly diagnose athletes' injuries and illnesses. In addition, by transmitting images digitally to specialists at the ATTIKO University Hospital in Athens, radiologists can save time, and in many cases, prevent the need to transport an injured person to an area hospital. In addition, Kodak products and equipment will serve the dental needs of athletes; providing some with their first professional dental experience.

Advanced technology from Kodak in the Polyclinic:

Kodak has installed its advanced DIRECTVIEW PACS System 5 with Diagnostic Workstations that enable immediate viewing of digital images on high-resolution monitors for interpretation by radiologists. This system provides rapid access to images with a RAID-centric solution. Digital archiving is managed with Kodak's long-term storage management software using DIRECTVIEW Versatile Intelligent Patient Archive (VIP archive) technology. Additionally, Kodak's CD Distribution Suite distributes images and reports to patients in a soft copy format as an alternative to films printed by KODAK DIRECTVIEW Laser Imagers.

In addition,

-- Medical Imaging output printers - KODAK DRYVIEW 8900 Laser Imager, KODAK DRYVIEW 8200 Laser Imager and KODAK DRYVIEW 8300 Laser Imagers

-- New to the Olympic Games: KODAK RIS 2010, the state-of-the-art Radiology Information System (RIS) technology that will provide complete radiology workflow management within the Olympic Polyclinic. KODAK RIS 2010 is fully integrated with KODAK DIRECTVIEW PACS System 5, allowing complete and simultaneous management of patients' data and images, providing the radiologist with a single desktop, integrated workstation that enables soft copy reading of images and voice dictation of the report.

-- KODAK DIRECTVIEW CR 850 System, KODAK DIRECTVIEW CR 950 System

-- Kodak Professional Digital Color Printer

-- Dental Image Capture

-- 1 extra oral X-ray digital imaging unit, model Trophypan

-- 3 intra oral X-ray & camera digital imaging units, model Elitys

-- 1 intra-oral visible camera digital imaging unit, model STV Pro

Staffing:

The Olympic Polyclinic will be staffed entirely by volunteers. While medical professors from the University of Athens will oversee each department, imaging services will be directed by Prof. Dimitrios Kelekis, an expert in interventional radiology and chair of radiology at the University of Athens. As director of imaging at the Olympic Polyclinic, Kelekis will be responsible for the efficiency and efficacy of the "front-line" radiological team of about 15 radiologists and 45 radiographers. A substantial number of this group are also University of Athens staff with considerable experience in musculoskeletal radiology.

Kodak's Health Imaging Technology at Recent Olympiads:

At the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Kodak's medical imaging technology served 1,410 athletes and supported over 1,900 examinations. At the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Kodak technology served 4,500 athletes and implemented more than 400 exams.

Business Overview:

Kodak's Health Imaging Group is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing intelligent products from analog to digital. Its portfolio includes computed radiography and digital radiography systems, laser imagers, picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), radiology information systems, dental imaging and services, and traditional mammography and x-ray film systems.

The group, with 2003 revenues of $2.34 billion, has served the global healthcare community for more than 100 years. The presence of the Kodak's medical imaging technology at the Olympics has had a direct impact on sales. At the 2002 Winter Games, for example, physicians from the Mayo Clinic who were volunteering at the Kodak lab were so impressed by the technology that they later bought $3 million worth of product.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Kodak Digital Picture Center

To help Olympic ticket holders capture and share their precious Olympic memories with friends and family all over the world, Eastman Kodak Company has set up the Kodak Digital Picture Center in the Common Domain area of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA). Underscoring its industry leadership, Kodak will demonstrate an array of pioneering products and services, many for the growing digital market, to expand the visitors' ability to communicate through photography. The Kodak Digital Picture Center showcases elements of the Kodak strategy to create fresh links between taking, storing, organizing, sharing and printing images at home, in the retail environment or online.

-- In the Kodak Digital Picture Center, Kodak demonstrates its newest generation of self-service kiosks that enable consumers to print photo-quality Kodak pictures in minutes from digital cameras or mobile phone cameras. The Kodak Picture Maker kiosk allows consumers to preview, select and print the pictures they want in the sizes and quantities they prefer at retail. Olympic ticket holders can easily download their digital images to a Kodak Picture CD, enabling them to free up space on their memory cards to capture more Olympic action and memories.

-- Olympic ticket holders can also upload their digital pictures to Kodak's online photo services, allowing fans to store and immediately share their pictures with friends and family anywhere in the world.

-- Visitors to the Kodak Digital Picture Center can create their own personal photo pin using Kodak technology. After a picture is taken of a visitor, the picture is printed on a Kodak printer using special sticker prints. The print can be peeled off and placed on a Kodak collectable pin for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games featuring the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games mascots, creating a truly unique souvenir of the Games.

-- Kodak also will demonstrate the newest EASYSHARE cameras, one of the most popular consumer digital-photography systems. Among these is the KODAK EASYSHARE DX7630 zoom digital camera, with 6-megapixel resolution, which features unmatched image quality among 5- and 6-megapixel consumer digital cameras. EASYSHARE cameras all offer one-touch picture sharing, outstanding picture quality and Kodak's hallmark simplicity of operation. By docking a digital camera to KODAK's EASYSHARE Printer Dock, visitors can easily create great-looking, borderless photos up to 10 x 15 cm (4"x6") in 90 seconds. KODAK XTRALIFE Lamination provides a special protective coating to produce photos that are highly durable, waterproof and last a lifetime. The EASYSHARE Printer Dock is compatible with KODAK EASYSHARE Cameras or any other PictBridge-enabled digital camera.

-- The Kodak Digital Picture Center will be open daily during the Olympic Games from 09h00 - 22h00, and is located in the Athens Olympic Sports Complex common domain area alongside the Agora, near the Neratziotissis metro station entrance.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Kodak Photo Shop in the Athlete's Olympic Village

In the International Zone of the Athletes' Village, which is located at Menidi, Kodak will provide Kodak Picture Maker facilities for athletes to easily print, share, upload, enhance, and store images from their digital cameras and mobile phones. A full range of printing services will also be provided to athletes using film or single use cameras. The printing services will be offered in four hours and next day service.

-- Athletes will also find a broad variety of Kodak products, ranging from film, one-time use cameras to 35mm cameras, batteries and memorabilia items. In this way, the Kodak Photo Shop in the Olympic Village gives participating athletes an opportunity to experience new ways of preserving and sharing their Olympic memories.

-- Next door to the Kodak Photo Shop, athletes will find the Village's Internet cafe, where PC workstations will allow athletes to upload their digital pictures to Kodak's online photo services, allowing them to store and immediately share their pictures with anyone, anywhere in the world.

Capturing the Olympic Games Experience:

Kodak will supply many opportunities for Olympic fans to capture the Olympic Games experience, including:

-- Kodak Backpackers will provide a mobile vending service at two Olympic common domain areas, the Athens Olympic Sports Complex OAKA and Helliniko.

-- Kodak will also be selling films, single use cameras, batteries and digital camera memory cards at Olympic concession outlets, as well as the Olympic Superstore in the Athens Olympic Sports Complex OAKA.

-- A special Kodak web site, http://www.kodak.com/go/olympic will be created to showcase Olympic information and the Kodak Olympic Picture of the Day, featuring day-to-day photo updates on all the action.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Kodak Digital Photo Publishing Services

Eastman Kodak Company's Graphic Communications Group will provide image-rich digital photo publishing services for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Greece. Kodak's Graphic Communications Group will play a key role in the production of image-rich and variable data content at the Games. The Group's activities include:

-- Providing on-site image-rich publishing services at the Kodak Image Center, servicing the needs of the accredited photojournalists covering the Games. Using the award-winning KODAK NEXPRESS 2100 digital production color press and the ENCAD NOVAJET 1000i high-speed wide-format inkjet photo printer, Kodak will produce postcard-sized and poster-sized photo prints of key images of the Games for display purposes.

-- Various Olympic committees and Games Sponsors will use Kodak's suite of imaging and photo publishing services throughout the Games. Kodak will print Opening Ceremony photos and other image related items, on the NEXPRESS 2100 press. Kodak will deliver these imaging services to the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and many of the Games Sponsors.

-- Kodak will operate two NexPress 2100 presses and two NOVAJET photo printers at different locations at the Games to meet the demand for high-quality digital photo color publishing.

-- Kodak's Graphic Communications Group consists of three Kodak companies: Encad, Inc., a maker of large-format inkjet photo printing machines, media and inks; NexPress Solutions, Inc., a leader in on-demand digital color and monochrome image printing systems; and Kodak Versamark, Inc., a world leader in high-speed, 100% variable data printing. The Graphic Communications Group also manages Kodak's interest in Kodak Polychrome Graphics, a 50-50 joint venture with Sun Chemical. The group serves a variety of customers in the in-plant, data center, commercial printing and digital service bureau markets with a range of equipment that spans large-format inkjet printing and digital monochrome printing to on-demand digital image-rich color printing and transactional communications.

ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games

Kodak Fact Sheet - Battery Recycling

At the request of the ATHENS 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, Kodak agreed to establish a first-ever battery-recycling program for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.

-- The program will run for the duration of the Games--including the Paralympic Games--and provide an environmentally sound approach for disposing of the thousands of batteries visitors are expected to use during the event.

-- Kodak has been a manufacturer of batteries for 15 years, and has years of experience running recycling programs. In fact, since 1990, Kodak has recycled more than one billion one-time-use cameras, which are the world's most recycled consumer product.

-- Kodak has arranged for specially designed and decorated collection containers similar to those currently in use in Germany that are made from specially treated cardboard that is resistant to battery acids and heat, and strong enough to be filled with batteries. The battery-recycling project is in accordance with the ATHENS 2004 Environmental Strategy and enhances the environmental performance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens, showcasing the social responsibility of an Olympic sponsor and of the Organizing Committee.

-- The containers will be located at the 120 Kodak Express Stores participating in the project, as well as various retail locations within the Olympic venues. Kodak representatives will handle the distribution of the containers to the stores, as well as collection of them after the Games conclude. ATHENS 2004 personnel will do the same for the locations inside the venues.

-- Schenker A.E., the Official Provider for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, has agreed to be the marshaling point for collected batteries. Schenker A.E. will transport the collected batteries to an approved facility for ultimate disposition.

Posted by Darren at 10:33 AM

July 19, 2004

Life in the Athens Olympic Village

The Scotsman has an interesting article that gives an insight into life in the Athens Olympic Village.

'The secret of the modern Olympics is that the athlete village, with its tightly packed collection of firm young bodies, 24-hour sports television and all-you-can eat international cuisine, has become the most exclusive VIP club in the world. It�s "a two-week-long private party for thousands of hard-bodies," says Nelson Diebel, an American swimmer who won gold twice in Barcelona. Like a mirage, the village appears in the middle of an exuberant host city for two weeks every two years. Open only to competitors, coaches and trainers, it�s a wonderland of hormones, glycogen and dance mixes.

The free dining hall is open 24/7. Vending machines dispense free soft drinks. Pool halls, cinemas, bowling alleys and discos stay open - and jumping - throughout the night. "It�s like adult Disney World for two weeks," says Christo Doyle, a television executive who was the assistant venue logistics manager for Atlanta�s village in 1996. "In Atlanta there were private concerts with big music stars, a free video arcade and all these ripped athletes riding around on free mountain bikes that BMW had given them."

The latest attraction is free internet service, which Marco Buechel, an alpine ski racer who competes for Liechtenstein, put to good use in Salt Lake City. "You can contact any athlete, even if you don�t know them at all," says Buechel. "They give you a list when you get there. Everybody uses it. I saw this beautiful ski racer, from Greece of all places. She had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I saw her at the village and sent her an e-mail, in English. Her reply was very short: �Not good English. Want meet you.�"'

Read more at Let the games begin.

Also see more on this topic at Athletes achieve a personal best in sex

Posted by Darren at 07:08 PM

July 17, 2004

NBC - 99.99% Reliabe Connection for Athens Olympics

NBC are working hard on getting their infrastructure in place for the Athens Olympics by not only having one or two connections for their video, audio and data transmissions but six. During their 1210 hours of broadcasting over the 17 days of competition they will utilize three satellite network linkups and three land-based connections to ensure they always have a connection.

'The six connections, which were set up by AT&T; Corp., are designed to ensure 99.99% reliability, or about one minute of downtime per week, according to officials from the two companies. NBC will be able to send live feeds from Greece to the U.S. over all six links at once or use them for separate transmissions.

�An Olympic event is a one-time event, and there are no do-overs,� Bob Kiraly, director of broadcast and telecommunications operations at NBC, said in an interview from Athens this week. �Everything we plan for in our networks or our Athens operations center is really based on a failure scenario. You certainly can�t tell a marathon runner that you need to run it over [because of a network issue].�

Kiraly added that the six layers of network redundancy are accompanied by built-in systems redundancy at NBC�s on-site network operations center. All servers, switches, routers and power supplies have one or two backups, he said.' Read More at NBC seeks network stability for Olympics

Posted by Darren at 12:36 PM

July 15, 2004

A Different Kind of Doping Story

Yahoo! News - Olympics Helicopter Finds Cannabis Farms

Police uprooted thousands of cannabis plants on the island of Crete after a tip from police who saw three fields of the crop as they shadowed the Olympic torch relay in a helicopter, authorities said Wednesday.

Posted by at 03:43 AM

Marcy Gray, Lenny Kravitz and Avril Lavigne sing on Olympics Albums

Macy Gray, Lenny Kravitz and Avril Lavigne are three of the stars who are contributing to three special albums that have been recorded to celebrate the Athens Olympics.

'The albums, titled �Phos,� �Unity� and �Harmony,� were recorded for the Aug. 13-29 Games, record label EMI Greece announced Monday.

�Phos,� which means light in Greek, features songs by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis sung by Greek musicians. �Unity� is made up of international stars and �Harmony� has classical songs.' Source - U.S. singers record tunes for Olympics

Posted by Darren at 12:22 AM

Greek Electricity Black Out Investigation

'A prosecutor ordered an emergency investigation Tuesday into what caused a power outage that hit more than half of Greece and whether one could strike during the Olympics, now only a month away.

The government formed its investigative committee after blaming Monday's blackout on alleged mismanagement of the electricity distribution network. Its findings will be released in eight days, an official said.

"We will determine the causes and make immediate corrections," government spokesman Panos Livaditis said.' Source - Greece Power Outage Probed

Posted by Darren at 12:16 AM

July 14, 2004

Athens Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

The New York Times wonders if Athens was the best choice and perhaps if it was a bit of an idealistic pendulum swing after the Atlanta 'Coca Cola Games'.

'HE Olympic caretakers reacted to the corporate aftertaste of the 1996 Coca-Cola Games in Atlanta by indulging in the fog of idealism a year later, digging the archaeology of Athens when selecting the summer host site for 2004.

A return to their sepia-toned Olympic roots, the International Olympic Committee proclaimed. A dreamy gaze into an ancient past of olive wreaths and the Parthenon, of Marathon and the Acropolis, the committee declared.

Well, isn't it romantic? The Athens Games by candlelight.

It isn't far-fetched to wonder if athletes, tourists and spectators will require miners' lamps and pith helmets given the embarrassing blackout that left southern Greece boiling on Monday, with the opening ceremony just a month away.

Is this what the I.O.C. meant by using Athens to provide a peephole into its Olympic origins: a power grid prototyped from an abacus?

There was no energy shortage for blame-shifting yesterday, as local officials pointed at one another the day after a blackout left millions without power and hundreds shouting for help in stalled elevators.' Read More at Athens Seemed Like a Good Idea

Posted by Darren at 04:31 PM

July 12, 2004

Olympics Video - Online Olympics Coverage

Wired News reports that the Athens Olympics will not only be watched by millions of viewers in the comfort of their lounge rooms on television but that it will be also video highlights of the Olympics will be streamed via the internet into computers in homes and workplaces all over the world.

'In the United States, the NBC 2004 Olympics site will feature the first online video of the summer Games from Athens, which runs Aug. 13-29.

In another first, the BBC will broadcast live coverage of the Games on the BBC Sport Olympics website to broadband viewers.

"We will be maximizing our rights deal to provide video coverage of the games for U.K. broadband users for the first time," said Aashish Chandarana, broadband project manager for BBC Sport Interactive. "This means the standard text and still pictures coverage on the site will be complemented by live and on-demand video streams -- effectively bringing the interactive TV service to PC users."

While online video isn't new to the BBC, this year's Olympic coverage will feature live video simulcast from television, so online viewers will be able to find any Olympic programs that they can watch on television.' Source - Olympics: Coming to a PC Near You

Check out the sites mentioned in this article:
NBC Olympics
BBC Sport - Olympics

Posted by Darren at 10:51 PM

Athens Black Out

Athens today was in darkness as a result of a wide sweeping power black out that affected most of the city and parts of southern Greece.

'The head of the Athens subway company, who was demonstrating a new Athens airport link when the breakdown occurred, told reporters that the outage was caused by the failure of a high-voltage line bringing power from a generating station in the north of the country....

The breakdown hit the capital at around 12:45, with power in Athens coming back on around 45 minutes later.' Source - Major power blackout hits Greece

Also see the story at Lights go out in Greece

Posted by Darren at 09:59 PM

Green Olympics - Is Athens Games Enviromentally Friendly?

SASS (Style and Sustainability Seasonal) Magazine has a great article asking the question How Green the Games? Athens' Struggle To Host Green-Minded Olympic Games. It brings up some great questions and explores some important issues. Here is the opening paragraph:

'The Olympics are a big deal; from organizing to producing to watching, there are tens of millions of people involved. Between fifteen and twenty million Americans will tune in each day to watch the events, the athletes, the drama and the sport while the Games are underway from August 13th through the 29th. There are few events that draw more world-wide viewers, and more interest; as such, there is no better stage to spotlight sustainability and sustainable development than the Olympic Games being hosted this summer by Athens, Greece. Ten years ago, Lillehammer, Norway proudly hosted "the first Green Games ever." Now, Athens has the unique and wonderful opportunity to build on the efforts of those before them. They can make a profound and lasting change in their country, and in the world. Are they going to pull it off?' Continue Reading...

Found via World Changing

Posted by Darren at 12:43 PM

Olympic Games Cheating - From Beginning to End

Just found this excellent article that compares the ancient mythological beginnings of the Olympics to the modern day Games we celebrate every four years. What is the common aspect?

Cheating.

'The story goes, Pelops sought the affections of Hippodameia, a princess whose royal father decreed that to win her hand any suitor had to first defeat him in a chariot race. Twelve others had unsuccessfully tried to win such a competition.

You knew this because their skulls were nailed to the palace gates.

Fortunately for Pelops, Hippodameia returned his feelings of love. The two conspired to have the metal wheels of her father's chariot replaced with wax, which would melt during the oppressive heat.

This happened and King Oenomaus was thrown from his chariot, became entangled in the reins and was dragged to his death.

Pelops had won his lady with a strategy that has long been a vital component of sport.

He cheated.

Thousands of years later, those trying to deceive others in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage are more sophisticated in their methods but not their intent. Society, it seems, has become a habitat for dishonesty.' Read More of this fascinating article at Games of Deceit

Posted by Darren at 12:03 PM

Calls for a Return to Ancient Olympics - Nudity and All

The Toronto Star has an interesting article about a group of Greek polytheists who are hoping to see a revival of Hellenic culture and a return to an ancient style Olympics, complete with athletes competing in the nude. The group are described as:

'a "national reawakening" that seeks to trace the links between ancient Hellenic culture and the contemporary Greece that will play host to the 28th modern Olympiad next month.'

'"They are trying to replace the pagan aspect of the Olympics with Christian aspects," said Hahalis, who boasts of having run naked around the track in ancient Olympia.

"But athletes should come naked to compete, without all this security, as they did in ancient times."

The neo-pagans rue the loss of the Olympics' original identity, criticizing the disappearance of faith-based elements and the unbridled competitiveness that has replaced them....

"For us, the modern Olympics have little in common with the ancient Games," says philosophy professor and Promithia organizer Tryphon Olympios.

"The Olympics were divine Games, starting and ending in the temple of Zeus. Now, they have lost their sacred meaning and have been reduced to a commercial show."' Read More at In Zeus the `ancients' trust

Posted by Darren at 12:03 PM

Cash Incentive Offered for Medals - Mumbai

Athletes from Mumbai have an extra incentive to win a medal at the Athens Olympics with a cash incentive being offered for any medal winners.

'Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda has announced a cash award of Rs one crore for sportspersons from the state who win a gold medal in next month's Athens Olympics.

The decision was taken to encourage sports in the state, Munda said inaugurating a football tournament organised by Saraikela-Kharswan district sports association at Kharswan yesterday.' Source - Rs 1 Cr for Olympic gold winners

Posted by Darren at 12:01 PM

Greeks Confident of Successful Olympics

A Poll published in Greece has found that Greeks are confident of a successful Olympics in August.

'The survey, published in the daily Eleftherotypia, found that 85 percent of Greeks are supportive of hosting the Aug. 13-29 games, with 18.4 percent of them admitting that in the beginning they did not support the idea....

The poll also found that, despite delays in the construction of some Olympic venues, 82 percent believe that the games will be a success.' Poll: Greeks confident in Athens Games

Posted by Darren at 12:01 PM

BBC go fully interactive for Olympics

The BBC will be going fully interactive for the Athens Olympics with 400 people working on there coverage.

The interactive service will allow any viewer on August 22 who does not wish to see Paula Radcliffe�s bid to win the Olympic marathon to switch over to the men�s tennis final, the apparatus finals in gymnastics, bouts at the boxing or the medals being won in the diving.

Source BBC putting interactive service on Athens menu

Posted by at 03:38 AM

July 11, 2004

Athens Olympics Mascots - Athena and Phevos

athena_Phevos.gifEvery good Olympic Games need some good mascots and the Athens Games is no different.

Athena and Phevos are the Athens Olympic Mascots which will adorn Olympics Merchandise like Athena and Phevos T-Shirts, Athena and Phevos Olympic Pins, Athena and Phevos Coffee Mugs and a variety of other merchandise.

Athena is the protectress of Athens and the goddess of wisdom.

Phevos is the Greek god of light and music.

Athena and Phevos are pictured left. They are sure to cause a bit of a stir - some commentators are already calling for a redesign saying that they are the most 'ungodly gods' they've ever seen.

I'm sure Athena and Phevos will be popular with kids - I can just picture them as little soft cuddly toys.

Posted by Darren at 09:48 PM

Xerox Celebrate Olympic Sponsorship - Six Story Banner

xerox_olympics.jpgXerox Press Release
'Team Xerox' Celebrates Olympic Sponsorship With Six-Story Banner In Athens, Greece

Mosaic combines more than 27,000 employee photos to honor the Games

ATHENS, July 09, 2004 -- In support of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games and to help bring the global spirit of "Team Xerox" to Greece, Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) has created a massive six-story banner out of the individual portraits of more than 27,000 Xerox employees from more than 60 countries around the world.

Unveiled yesterday, the banner's overall image depicts the message "Welcome Home" in both English and Greek, celebrating the return of the Olympic Games to its historical birthplace. The banner covers nearly three sides of Xerox's office building in central Athens and will remain in place throughout the fall.

"The Olympic Games symbolize the teamwork and pride that unite people across the globe," said Diane McGarry, Xerox chief marketing officer. "The employee mosaic captures the message of unity that is the cornerstone of the Olympic spirit, key to our success at Xerox and core to the experience we deliver to our customers."

This is the second time that Xerox has created an employee mosaic banner to coincide with its sponsorship of the Olympic Games. The first mosaic, hung in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, consisted of 17,000 photos of Xerox employees from 59 countries.

Xerox has been an Olympic Sponsor since 1964 and a Top Olympic Partner since 1993. As part of its official sponsorship of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, Xerox will rely on nearly 6,000 high-performing digital multifunction systems, printers and copiers to provide printed race results to press, broadcasters, athletes, sponsors and Olympic staff. In addition, Xerox will have more than 230 support engineers from 20 countries on-site to ensure all systems function flawlessly around the clock during the duration of the Games.

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games take place August 13-29, involving 10,500 athletes from a record 202 nations, 45,000 volunteers, 301 medal ceremonies and an estimated ticketed attendance of 5.3 million. The Paralympic Games run Sept. 17-28 and cover 19 sports in more than 20 venues involving 4,000 athletes.

Posted by Darren at 08:36 PM

NBC Prepare for 1210 hours of Olympics Coverage

NBC is readying itself for one of the biggest broadcasting events in Televisions history - 1210 hours of Olympics coverage! That is over triple what it did at the Sydney Olympics four years ago.

Let's get this into perspective - if you were to watch those 1210 hours end on end you'd be watching 50.4 days worth of television around the clock!

'It's a grand experiment, and even NBC executives concede they don't know whether it's overkill. But it should at least eliminate the most common complaint about the Olympics on TV: "How come you didn't show more of (fill in the blank)?"

In addition to prime-time coverage on NBC, the broadcast showcase, events will be seen on CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo and USA. Telemundo will provide a Spanish-language broadcast, and NBC's digital affiliates will show a limited number of events in high-definition.' Read More atNBC readies 1,200 hours of coverage

Posted by Darren at 03:29 PM

July 08, 2004

Athens Transport Workers Strike

'Transport workers prepared to shut down Athens' rail and bus lines Thursday in the latest strike over demands for extra pay for next month's Olympics.

The walkout, planned for six hours, was called by unions seeking special bonuses for expected additional work during the Aug. 13-29 Olympics. The strike was expected to close the city's subway, commuter rail and bus routes.

Labor groups have held a series of strikes and rallies to press for Olympic bonuses, which have been promised to police and other security forces in amounts up to $3,000.

But the government has rejected more concessions because of skyrocketing Olympic costs projected to top $12 billion.' Athens Transport Unions Call Strike

Posted by Darren at 07:59 PM

Security System Not Good Enough say Olympic Officials

With the Athens Olympic Games kicking off in just over a month the security system provided by SAIC (a San Diego based company) is not up to scratch say officials.

'A few days ago, government officials in Greece were told the security system at the Olympic Village, where most of the athletes will stay, will not be functioning before July 30 due to electricity supply problems.

In addition, SAIC and government officials disagree on how to set up the security system in the port of Piraeus, where thousands of visitors are expected to stay on cruise ships during the Olympics....

Many of the delays are attributed to the fact that SAIC didn't get the $277 million contract for the security system until May 2003, just 15 months before the Olympics. The security system is part of a $1.22 billion security plan for Athens, the costliest in Olympic history.'

Source - SAIC, Olympic Officials at Odds over Security System

Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM

Olympic Venue Construction Still Incomplete - But IOC Confident

Construction is still unfinished on a number of key Athens Olympic venues and sites - but the IOC is still confident everything will be resolved by August 13. The Main Olympic Stadium is one of the main concerns.

'"We reviewed with the different ministers a number of issues we still have on the table before the games can start, mainly completion of ... infrastructure," said Denis Oswald, the International Olympic Committee's coordinator for Athens.

"There are no major problems ... which will not be resolved in the remaining time."

Oswald and IOC executive director Gilbert Felli are in Athens for a two-day inspection.

"We got confirmation of dates and deadlines, which have been discussed before, to make sure everything will be in place," Oswald said after meeting Fani Palli-Petralia, the deputy culture minister coordinating Athens' preparations.

Most Olympic projects are in the final stage of construction or have been completed, but need to be landscaped.

"We are now battling hour by hour to be ready," Palli-Petralia said. "Much has been done and there is much to do until the last minute."

The main stadium complex is the key site of concern.'IOC Reviews Athens' Construction Problems

Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM

July 07, 2004

Fires Threaten Athens Olympic Athletes Village

News just to hand - There are reports just to hand that bush fires are threatening Athens suburbs including the one in which the Athens Olympic Village is situated.

HUNDREDS of firefighters battled a forest fire in northern Athens today that threatened at least two suburbs of the city, including one that is home to the newly built Olympic Village.

The fire broke out at at the foot of Mount Parnis, a thickly forested national park, and was pushed by strong winds toward the Athens suburbs of Acharnes and Thrakomakedones, home to more than 40,000 people.

Officials said the fire was burning just to the north of Acharnes, and was not yet headed in the direction of the Olympic Village, about 4km away on the southeastern outskirts of Thrakomakedones. The newly built village will house 16,000 athletes and officials during the August 13-29 Olympics. Read More at - Fire threatens Olympic Village

Posted by Darren at 10:58 PM

NBC Movie Promoting Athens Summer Games

'NBC is promoting its Summer Olympics coverage with a mini-movie titled Caravan to Athens that will star five likely U.S. Olympians and will showcase four Chevrolet vehicles.

The movie is being shown this month on more than 5,000 screens in 415 Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters and Edwards Theaters, encompasing 46 of the top 50 U.S. markets.' Source - NBC Promotes Olympics Coverage with Mini-Movie

Posted by Darren at 03:18 PM

July 05, 2004

Greece Wins European Championships

Last night's win by Greece at the European Championships could be just the thing the country needs in the lead up to the Athens Olympic Games.

'Greeks filled with pride and patriotism partied, celebrating their national team's surprising 1-0 win over host Portugal in the finals Sunday. It was a much-needed triumph for a nation dealing with the grueling and costly preparations for next month's Olympics.

Shepherds fired guns from mountaintops. Red flares whizzed skyward from luxury yachts. Police - already on full Olympic patrols - let down their guard for a moment and hugged and danced.

"It's unbelievable! It's amazing! It's glorious!" yelled people running through Athens' main Omonia Square. Bands of school children danced together draped in the Greek flag.

The powerful national high comes at a time when Greek taxpayers are grumbling about huge Olympic bills and security officials are facing nonstop pressure to satisfy international concerns.

Olympic organizers hope the soccer fervor would spill over to the Aug. 13-29 Games. Ticket sales have been sluggish and the blitz of work in Athens has made many people see the games more as a long headache rather than a glorious homecoming.
'
Source - Soccer Win Gives Greece an Olympic Boost

Posted by Darren at 10:18 AM

Capralos Named Olympics Troubleshooter For Athens

'One of Athens most experienced hands involved with the 2004 Games will now oversee the day-to-day operations of the city of Athens during the Olympics.

Spyros Capralos, one of the members of the original bid committee and now the government's secretary general for the Olympics, was given the new powers by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

In his role Capralos will work alongside a representative from the city and one from the organizing committee to resolve problems that may come up in the Olympic city.' Source - Capralos Named Olympics Troubleshooter For Athens

Posted by Darren at 10:06 AM

July 04, 2004

Palestinian Athletes Worried

Palestinian athletes are worried that they will not be able to compete in the Athens Olympics due to Israel closures of the Gaza Strip.

'Sana Bkheit, the Palestinian athlete and ambassador to the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens, voiced fears on Saturday that she might be unable to compete in Athens due to the Israeli military closures imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Bkheit, a 19-year-old runner, is due to head to Athens on Tuesday to represent Palestine at the 2004 Olympic Games, while the Israeli Army has been closing the Rafah terminal, located at the southern strip border with Egypt, for over a week.

Bkheit told reporters that "my passports, my authorizations and visa are all ready but I scared about not being able to leave because of the Israeli military closures imposed on the Rafah terminal."

She added she might also be denied access to the terminal since the Israeli Army hasn't been allowing any Palestinian aged between16 and 35 to travel.' Source - Palestinian athlete fears of inability to compete in Athens

Posted by Darren at 10:20 AM

July 03, 2004

Greek cities left behind by Athens

With the massive amount of work being done in Athens in the lead up to the Olympics it seems that other Greek cities are feeling somewhat overshadowed and ignored.

'Regional cities -- some playing host to secondary Olympic competitions -- have long felt in the shadow of Athens, where more than one-third of Greece's 11 million people live.
���
Nowhere is the sentiment stronger than Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki.
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"I agree that many works were needed in the capital. . . . But everything occurred at the expense of the rest of Greece, especially Thessaloniki," Panayiotis Psomiadis, a regional governor based in this northern port told The Associated Press.
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"Even the government admits that Thessaloniki has been forgotten and that nothing has started as far as works are concerned," he said.
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Major projects aimed at boosting infrastructure in Thessaloniki were shelved even as Athens was radically modernized -- getting a new airport, metro system, a new highway system and lavish sporting facilities. There were so many projects that many wound up delayed, leading to huge cost overruns.
'
Source - Olympics: Greek cities left behind by Athens

Posted by Darren at 08:25 PM

Greek Flag becomes Fashion Accessory

The Greek flag is becoming the latest fashion Accessory in the lead up to the Athens Olympic Games.

'Forget the Olympic rings. The Greek flag has become the summer fashion symbol of choice, whether it is worn as a halter top or etched as a tattoo.' - Source - Flag becomes the rage before Olympics start

Posted by Darren at 08:20 PM

Athens Security Focuses on Port

Athens Olympics security forces are doing their best to protect cruise ships and liners that will act as hotels during the Games.

'Greece's best-trained commando units want to turn this port near Athens into an impregnable fortress during the Olympics, with particular focus on the cruise ships that will serve as floating hotels, security officials say.

The concentration of forces planned for Piraeus reflects the concern that luxury liners present tempting targets for terrorists who may try to attack the Aug. 13-29 Games.' Source - Port security seeks impregnable fortress for cruise ships during Olympics

Posted by Darren at 08:13 PM

Construction Delays Cause Security Problems at Athens Olympics

Reports out of Athens indicate that whilst venues are expected to be complete on time for the Olympics Opening Ceremony that the delays have implications for security of the event.

'Intelligence officials who have long feared terrorism at next month's Olympic Games say delays in completing the security apparatus and athletic facilities have left too little time to fully test systems meant to detect or respond to an attack.

Although officials say they have no evidence of a planned attack by terrorist groups, they have constructed a web of protective measures that includes Awacs surveillance planes, NATO sea patrols, radiation detectors and thousands of soldiers and police officers.

But a sophisticated security command center, meant to integrate information from thousands of surveillance cameras as well as sonar in the ports and helicopters overhead, will not be operating completely until mid-July. This will not allow enough time to debug the system and fully train technicians, according to officials from Greece and other countries involved in security planning.' Source - Delays in Athens Raise Concern on Olympic Security Readiness

Posted by Darren at 05:12 PM

July 01, 2004

Olympic Games Terrorism

BBC has another interesting article on the history of terrorism at Olympic Games and how it relates to the Athens Olympics.

'The Olympic Games are a prime target for terrorists - with the world's media focused on the competition, they know they would be guaranteed the oxygen of publicity.

The way the Palestinian/Israeli conflict swept to the world's attention after 17 people died in the Munich massacre of 1972 shows how effective an attack on the world's top sporting event can be....'

Source - Terror appeal of sporting showpiece

Posted by Darren at 08:02 PM

Fears of Athens sex slave boom

Aid agencies are predicting that one of the side effects of the Athens Olympic Games is an increase in the trafficking of women and children as sex workers.

'One leading expert in Greece has told the BBC he has information that traffickers will try to bring 2,000 extra women into the country and force them to work as prostitutes.

The United States government has just released a report that sharply criticises Greece for failing to do enough to protect the victims of trafficking.'

Source - Fears of Athens sex slave boom

Posted by Darren at 07:57 PM

U.S. relay medals in doubt

'The International Association of Athletics Federations is considering stripping Olympic gold medals from the entire U.S. 4 x 400-metre relay team after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled yesterday that sprinter Jerome Young was guilty of doping before the Sydney Games.

Young should have been banned two years for steroid use in 1999, the court said, and not have run in the relay.'Source - U.S. relay medals in doubt

Posted by Darren at 07:10 PM

Olympic food not up to standard

Greece's food safety watchdog has found 70 percent of food outlets surveyed this year have broken safety and hygiene rules and will fine or shut down hundreds of them, weeks before the Athens Olympic Games.

Source - News - Olympic food not up to standard

Posted by at 10:38 AM

Turtle conservation loses out to Olympics in Greece

Greece's endangered turtles are among the first losers at this summer's Olympics as funding cuts have left nesting beaches at the mercy of uncontrolled tourism.

Source - News - Turtle conservation loses out to Olympics in Greece

Posted by at 10:12 AM

June 30, 2004

Ticket sales plague Athens Olympic organizers

Ticket prices for events at the Athens Olympic Games will not be cut even though only a third of tickets have been sold with six weeks before the opening ceremony, the organizers said.

Athens has long faced criticism for construction delays and the prospect that some venues might not be finished on time.

But now that the stadia are finally almost ready, the Athens Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) faces the humiliation that many of them might be largely empty during the August 13-29 Games.

There are 5.3 million tickets for the Games, of which just over 1.9 million have been sold.

Source -News - Ticket sales plague Athens Olympic organizers

Posted by at 08:50 AM

Olympic stadium work to be completed a day before games begin

ATHENS (Greece): Construction work at the main Olympic sports complex will be finished just a day before the opening ceremony for the Aug. 13-29 games, its architect said in an interview published Monday.

Spain�s Santiago Calatrava also said work at the complex, also known as OAKA, was on schedule despite massive delays that had threatened to cancel key parts of the project. �Everything will be completed the day before the start of the games,� Calatrava told the Athens daily Eleftheros Typos.

See a recent Satellite Picture of the Main Stadium Under Construction

Source - News - Olympic stadium work to be completed a day before games begin

Posted by at 08:48 AM

Parthenon�s makeover comes up short for Olympics

ATHENS, Greece - The Parthenon, the icon of Athens' ancient glory, might not be looking its best for the Olympics.

advertisement
Scaffolding propping up parts of the 2,500-year-old hilltop temple will remain in place during the Aug. 13-29 games. While organizers are close to putting finishing touches on a number of projects, the Parthenon work remains incomplete with the Olympics less than 50 days away.

Source - News - Parthenon�s makeover comes up short for Olympics

Posted by at 08:39 AM

Interpol chief: No known threats on horizon for Athens Olympics

Greece (AP) --

Interpol's global network has detected "no threats" against the Olympics, but Greek authorities must constantly fine-tune their security operations until the games are over, the head of the international police organization said Tuesday.

Source - News - Interpol chief: No known threats on horizon for Athens Olympics

Posted by at 08:08 AM

OLYMPIC FLAME ROAMS ROMAN ROADS

On Monday 28 June 2004 the Olympic Torch Relay continued on its journey to make its next stop in Italy. At 10 in the morning the sundrenched city of Rome greeted the flame with honours, for the first time for 44 years, in Fiumicino airport where it had been flown to from Barcelona.

Source - News - OLYMPIC FLAME ROAMS ROMAN ROADS

Posted by at 08:03 AM

Olympic Accreditation Centre is up and running

The ATHENS 2004 Uniform Distribution and Main Accreditation Centre, UAC for short, went into operation ten days ago. This makes it the first Olympic Venue in the Games period. Anybody working for the Olympic Games (ATHENS 2004 staff, volunteers, subcontractors, technical officials, totalling 145,000) must call in at the Centre, since obviously no one can take part in the organisation without proper accreditation and uniform.

Source - News - Olympic Accreditation Centre is up and running

Posted by at 08:02 AM

June 29, 2004

Network struggles to find commentators for Olympics

NBC's staggering plan to broadcast 1,210 hours of the Olympics over six networks this summer left its executives with a real problem.

Source - News - Network struggles to find commentators for Olympics

Posted by at 08:39 PM

Security a Top Concern for Newspapers Covering Olympics

NEW YORK With the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Greece just weeks away, sports editors at several of the nation's top newspapers face security issues and other potential problems in addition to executing their regular coverage, which will often focus on local athletes.

Source - News - Security a Top Concern for Newspapers Covering Olympics

Posted by at 07:41 PM

Kenya Aim for larger Olympic team

Nairobi

Although 33 athletes have already been confirmed for the Olympic Games in Athens, plans are underway to try to get many more to attain the qualifying standards.

Athletics Kenya secretary David Okeyo says Kenya is planning to enter a 4x400 relay team in the Olympics and this would be selected in Congo. One hurdler could also be entered since the deadline for attaining the Olympics qualifying standard is July 31.

Source - News - More to Be Picked for Olympics

Posted by at 12:39 PM

Victims of Olympics Bombing Win Right to Sue Organizers

ATLANTA, June 28 - The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that victims of a bombing during a late-night concert at the 1996 Olympic Games may sue the Games' organizers.

Source - News - Victims of Olympics Bombing Win Right to Sue Organizers

Posted by at 10:58 AM

Bjork to sing at Olympics

Wacky pop star Bjork is set to headline the Opening Ceremony at this year's Olympic Games in Athens.

The It's Oh So Quiet singer will perform at the August 13 event in the Greek capital, dressed in a Sophia Kokosalaki dress.

According to pals of the Icelandic star, she has been learning Greek to impress her audience.

Source - News - Bjork to sing at Olympics

Posted by at 09:42 AM

The origin of the Games is shrouded in myth

ATHENS In the good old days of the ancient Games, Olympia was the honorable playground of noble athletes, a theater of sacred peace, fair play and somber processions among white marble temples, right?
.
Wrong. The ancient Games were loud, smelly, sometimes scandalous, every bit as political as their modern counterparts and once even saw a full-scale battle in the middle of a boxing match.

Source - News - Olympics: In antiquity, the polished marble Games came with rough edges

Improve Your Own Boxing Skills

Posted by at 09:37 AM

June 28, 2004

Olympic Advertising Campaigns will Focus more on Brands

Found this interesting article on the Olympic Advertising that we're all about to be bombarded with.

'Sify Home >> Sports >> Others >> Fullstory

Olympic ads focus less on Games, more on brands
Monday, 28 June , 2004, 11:47
Cannes: The Olympic Games have long been the pinnacle of global advertising events, but this year top marketers are looking to make a different kind of splash.

Several of the biggest global Olympic partners are cutting back on Olympic-themed television commercials for the Athens Games, and using more of their year-round advertising messages or investing in broader promotions and events.

"The Olympics represent the biggest of the macro marketing opportunities, and I think we're moving into a time where events need to be micro-marketing opportunities," said Marian Saltzman, chief strategy officer at Havas agency Euro RSCG.'

Source - Olympic ads focus less on Games, more on brands

Posted by Darren at 10:34 PM

June 27, 2004

Israel Dismisses Olympic Peace Offer

Israel have dismissed the peace offer yesterday from Palestinian leader Arafat. Arafat has reportedly called for Peace during the Olympic period but Israeli officials have dismissed his words. Source - Israel dimisses Olympics truce offer. 27/06/2004. ABC News Online

Posted by Darren at 03:57 PM

June 26, 2004

Yasser Arafat Committed to Truce during Olympics

'Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has told foreign diplomats he is committed to a truce during the August Olympics in Greece.'

Source - Arafat commits to truce during Olympics

Posted by Darren at 08:54 PM

June 25, 2004

Australian Mens Basketball Team Wins First Game

The Australian National Mens Basketball Team (the boomers) have won their first game in the lead up to the Athens Olympics. Last night they beat Croatia 90-56 when they played in Italy last night.

'Coach Brian Goorjian has assembled a vastly different team from the one that finished fourth in Sydney and is giving all players a chance to show their worth before the final Olympic squad is announced next month.'

Posted by Darren at 04:04 PM

Athens Olympic Games Schedule of Events

The 2004 Athens Olympic Games sporting schedule has been released with details of times, dates and venues. Venues have been tested in lead up sporting events.

See the 2004 Olympic Games Schedule of Events

Posted by Darren at 01:28 PM

June 23, 2004

Australian Athletes Pose Nude

Australian Olympic Athletes are posing Nude in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

'Swimmer Michael Klim and basketball player Lauren Jackson were among 35 Australian Olympic athletes who posed nude for a calendar released on Tuesday.'

Check out pictures of some of the Aussie Athletes

Posted by Darren at 01:50 PM

June 20, 2004

Athens Olympic Games - News

Looking for Athens Olympic Games News?

This is the page for you. We've trawled the web looking for the best Olympic Games News sites and compiled them here for you so that you can keep up with the latest Olympic News direct from Athens.


Athens Olympic Games News Resources

Posted by Darren at 08:25 PM

Athens 2004 Olympic Games

The 2004 Athens Olympic Games is approaching fast. Already the world is turning its attention toward Athens as athletes in hundreds of countries prepare. Controversy has already hit the games over whether venues will be ready in time and if they will be up to standard. As the Olympic Games get closer the range of sites dedicated to the Athens Games increase.

Following are some of the most useful sites on the web that will help both those attending the Olympics in Athens or those watching their country's Olympic team from home in the comfort of their own armchair. Feel free to add your own suggestions of Olympic links that you've found helpful below in comments.


2004 Athens Olympic Games Resources
- Official Athens 2004 Olympic Games- Athens Olympic Games Tickets
- Athens Olympic Tickets - International Sales
- BBC SPORT - 2004 Olympic Games
- Athens Olympic Games FAQs
- APADA - Athens 2004 Olympic Games
- NBC Sports Olympic News
- 2004 Olympics - Resources for Kids
- Matt Barrett's Athens 2004 Olympics Page
- Olympic Games 2004 Athens - Greece and Heraklion, Crete
- Athens Paralympic Games 2004
- Athens webcams 2004 Olympic Games
- 2004 Summer Olympics News
- FINA - Athens Olympic Games
- Olympic Summer Games News
- Athens Olympics Torch Relay

Olympic Games Resources (General)
- International Olympic Committee
- The Official Site of the Olympic Movement
- The Real Story of the Ancient Olympic Games
- The Olympic Games Timeline
- Centre for Olympic Studies
- World Olympians Associating
- Athens Olympics Blog
- Ancient Greek Olympics

Useful Athens Tourist/Travel Guides
- The Athens Greece Guide 2004
- Athens Survival Guide
- Travel Guide - Greece
- 2004 Athens Guide

Athens Olympics News Reports/Controversies
- Athens Olympic Security A Mess
- Athens 2004: Greece Prepares for Olympic Homecoming
- Top Olympic organisers express "absolute confidence" in Athens' preparations for 2004
- Will Athens be ready for the Olympic Games?
- Athens Told to Hurry Up
- Olympic venues will be ready in time, Greeks say
- Athens Olympics Apparel

Also check out our Athens Olympic Games News Site for services that offer the latest Olympic News from Athens.

Posted by Darren at 08:07 PM

Montgomery responds to USADA notice of doping inquiry

Tim Montgomery this week told the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of his innocence int he face of possible drug charges.

'"The truth will prevail," he said.

His lawyer said Montgomery will continue to fight for the chance "to fulfill his dreams and participate in the 2004 Olympics."

Montgomery, record holder in the 100 meters, is one of four U.S. athletes formally notified on June 7 that the USADA is pursuing possible drug charges against them.'

Source - Montgomery responds to USADA notice of doping inquiry

Posted by Darren at 12:10 PM

Olympic torch passes through New York

The Olympic torch continues its journey towards Athens - this week passing through New York.

'Mayor Michael Bloomberg, musicians, dancers and big- name Greek celebrities such as Nia Vardalos, from my "Big, Fat Greek Wedding" and Melina Kanakaredes, star of the defunct TV series "Providence," were on hand to see the kick-off of the New York City leg of the Athens 2004 Olympic torch relay.'

Source - Olympic torch passes through New York

Posted by Darren at 12:05 PM

Marion Jones 5th in Olympic Lead Up

Recent Drug scandals may be taking their toll on Marion Jones in the lead up to US Olympic trials in July as she finished fifth in a recent 100m race.

'Jones finished fifth behind winner Inger Miller in the women's 100 meters at the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet on Saturday, but consoled herself with a win in the long jump.

"It kind of balanced out the day," she said.

Jones' long-jump mark in the meet's final event was 22 feet, 9 inches - 8 1/2 inches farther than her previous best this season.

The 100-meter effort, though, was anything but encouraging for her final race before the U.S. Olympic trials, which begin July 9 in Sacramento.
'
Source

Posted by Darren at 12:02 PM

June 19, 2004

Japan, Korea, Russia and Italy qualify for Olympics Womens Volleyball

Japan, Korea, Russia and Italy have all won berths in the womens competition at the Olympic Games later this year in Athens.

Source

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM

Pope Blesses Olympics

Pope Offers Blessings To Athens Organizers - 'Pope John Paul II urged the Athens Olympics to be a show of fraternity and peace, and he offered his blessings to the organizers....

"I express the wish that the next celebration of the Olympic Games in your city be a show of brotherhood for all the participants and a message of peace and union for all those who will be spectators across the world," John Paul said. "In this spirit, I invoke divine blessings for you and all the organizers of this celebration."'

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM

Greek Security Officals are Satisfied

'Greece's top security official is satisfied with the results of a four-day exercise testing the country's ability to respond to terror attacks during the Athens Games.

The joint Greek-U.S. exercise, code-named "Olympic Guardian II," started Thursday and involved more than 300 security personnel.'

Source - Greek security official pleased with Olympic test

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM

US Swimmers not phased by lack of Roof

The US Olympic Swimming Team says it is not concerned if the Olympic swimming venue does not have a roof in August.

'Athens organisers had come under intense criticism in March when construction delays forced builders to scrap plans to cover the swimming venue.

While spectators can expect to broil in the searing summer sun, American swimmers like 18-year-old Michael Phelps, who will attempt to match Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics, are predicting fast times and few problems.

"A pool is a pool," Phelps said. "We're all going to be competing under the same conditions and the swimmers will adapt.

"If a pool has lanes and water that's all you need."

There had been fears that without the protection provided by the steel and glass roof, swimmers would suffer under the elements and force drastic changes to training programs in the final build-up to the August 13to 29 Games.'

Source - Pool roof no worry for US

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM

Tony Blair Assassination

Today was Assassinated in Greece at the Olympics. Well he was in the minds of Olympic security forces who tested their ability to handle 77 security disaster scenarios including such an assassination attempt.

'The U.S.-led drill covered 77 scenarios, among them a poisoning attempt on Games chief Gianna Angelopoulos, a rocket attack on an Air France plane, a suspected anthrax attack and riots and looting on the capital's streets, it said.'

Source - Olympic police practised Blair assassination plot

In other Olympic security news today:
- Security costs for the games are predicted to go over $1.2 billion mark - Source
- Greece will deploy their army to secure their railway system during the games. - Source

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM

Transexuals Cleared to Compete at Olympics

History was created this week as Transexuals were given the go ahead to compete in the Athens Olympic Games in August.

'Under a proposal approved by the IOC executive board, athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery will be eligible for the Olympics if their new gender has been legally recognized and they have gone through a minimum two-year period of postoperative hormone therapy.

The decision, which covers both male-to-female and female-to-male cases, goes into effect starting with the Athens Olympics in August.

The IOC had put off a decision in February, saying more time was needed to consider all the medical issues.

Some members had been concerned whether male-to-female transsexuals would have physical advantages competing against women.

Men have higher levels of testosterone and greater muscle-to-fat ratio and heart and lung capacity. However, doctors say, testosterone levels and muscle mass drop after hormone therapy and sex-change surgery.' - Source

Posted by Darren at 02:24 PM

China Eyes Badminton Olympic Gold

'CHINA blasted a clear Olympic badminton warning with victory this weekend in the finals of the sport's prestige team competitions, the Thomas and Uber Cups.

The Chinese men beat Denmark 3-1 in the Thomas Cup 24 hours after the women overcame South Korea by the same score to retain the Uber Cup.' Source

Posted by Darren at 02:23 PM

Olympic Games Issues - Steroids and Security

Monterey Herald reports that the biggest issues for the Olympic Games will be Steroids and Security.

'Just 91 days before the start of the 2004 Summer Games, ongoing questions about security and drug use by American athletes dominated the USOC news conference on Friday that marked the start of the organization's four-day U.S. Olympic team media summit here.'

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

Lebron, Marbury, Stoudemire Join Olympics

'A dozen years after shunning college players, the U.S. Olympic basketball team turned Friday to a pair of players who jumped to the NBA right out of high school: LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire.

The NBA's last two rookies of the year were among five players added to this year's Olympic Dream Team, along with New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson, and Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion.' Source

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

Olympic Flag Raised on Everest

The Greek and Olympic Games flags have both been raised on top of Everest by the first Greek to climb the mountain - Source

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

Athens Olympic Games are Smoking!

SFGate reports that Olympic Organizers are hoping that Greeks will cut back on their out of control smoking habits in August in consideration for their millions of visitors.

'Studies suggest at least 40-45 percent of the adult population in Greece is regularly puffing away. In some age categories, including 25 to 34, it rises to about 60 percent....

They have appealed to Greeks to try to offer a less smoky reception for visitors to the Aug. 13-29 games. No one is demanding American-style blanket restrictions. But Greeks have been urged to establish no-smoking zones, respect rules and think twice about lighting up. Etiquette classes planned for taxi drivers will include a stern warning to keep butts in the packs while on the road.

"We want to show the healthy side of Greek society," said chief organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.'

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

US Trim Medal Expectations

'The United States has trimmed medal expectations for the Athens Olympics but said Friday it still expects to win over 100 even if the team is forced to drop top athletes because of the BALCO steroid investigation.'

Source - U.S. Trims Medal Expectations for Athens Olympics

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

U.S. Athletes Aware of Possible Backlash

The US Olympic team are aware of possible backlash at the Olympic Games in August this year.

'"When you're competing internationally, everyone wants the USA to lose," said Lopez, who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Lopez was one of several athletes who spoke Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in New York. And he's not the only American athlete who has thought about a possible backlash at the games.

"We tend to rub everybody the wrong way, no matter how hard we try not to," men's player Lloy Ball said. "Whether it's the Ryder Cup, or whether it's carrying the flag around like some of the track athletes were doing after winning the last Olympics. That's the way we are, though. We're confident people."

Balancing that confidence with a sense of diplomacy is important to many American athletes - especially those who have been to the Olympics before and understand the joy of competing and living in a friendly environment.' - Source

Posted by Darren at 02:20 PM

Marion Jones is Focused despite Steroids investigations

'MARION JONES believes lingering questions about the BALCO steroids investigation won't take a toll on her track career."All the things going on off the track have made me even more focused," said Jones during a tele-conference today....

Jones said she has never accepted, taken or even been offered any performance-enhancing drugs. She seems tired of having to defend herself.'

Drugs probe 'focuses' Jones

Posted by Darren at 02:15 PM

Olympic Games Sponsorship Frenzy

USA Today reports on the Olympic Advertising frenzy that is about to descend upon us!

' The gold medal of sports marketing has lost some of its luster, but even security worries are not deterring some advertisers and sponsors from the Olympics....

NBC has sold 80% of ad time and expects to net $1 billion over 17 days of coverage....

Posted by Darren at 02:15 PM

Fortress Athens

Yet another article on the increased security that is being mobilized in Athens in preparation for the Olympics in August.

'Already, teams of American, Israeli and British intelligence officials are in Athens, preparing for the massive policing operation that will unfold during the event. The heightened security measures - set to peak a month before the competition begins - involve heightened surveillance of Muslim immigrants; warnings to immigrant community leaders to cooperate in rooting out potential extremist networks; and plainclothes Greek and foreign police operatives patrolling tourist areas. Closed-circuit cameras will scan the streets as will microphones enabled to listen in on conversations. During the games, a blimp bristling with surveillance equipment will hover over the city.'

Source - Fortress Athens awaits a summer of discontent

Posted by Darren at 02:15 PM

Athens Mayor - 'Don't let Terrorists Win'

Athens Mayor, Dora Bakoyianni is pleading that the world sees the recent bombings in Athens as minor and that they would not allow them to impact the Olympic Games in August for fear of giving victory to those behind the attacks.

Source - Athens mayor doesn't want to see terrorists win

Posted by Darren at 02:15 PM

Olympic Cauldron - Spindle Shaped

'The Olympic flame will burn in a huge spindle-shaped cauldron that will be visible from all parts of the main stadium, according to plans by the designer....

The cauldron is 100 feet long and 5 feet maximum in diameter, with a slot in its top section, the document said. The plans added that the main structure will be connected to the base by a hinge, suggesting it could move.'

Source - Documents reveal Olympic cauldron is spindle-shaped

Posted by Darren at 02:13 PM

Athletes weigh security risks of Olympics

The Mercury News reports that American Athletes are weighing security risks of going to the Athens Olympic Games.

Posted by Darren at 02:12 PM

Olympics Insurance Boom

Many industries will be rubbing their hands together in glee in the lead up to the Olympic games, but the insurance industry would have to be at the head of the list if this article at Forbes is anything to go by.

The amount of things that can go wrong at the Olympic Games are vast and the IOC, organizing committee, teams and individuals must be paying billions of dollars in premiums...

'Some teams and sponsors offer their athletes big perks if they do well, but quietly buy insurance against the risk their stars exceed expectations, leaving them with a big bill.

These are just two of the risks -- which range from Athens being hit by a huge earthquake to U.S. President George Bush dying during the Games pushing Olympics coverage off the world's primetime TV schedules -- that are covered in one insurance policy or another issued for the Games.

Though fears of a terror attack have reached fever pitch after a string of Athens bomb attacks and many of the venues remain building sites, insurers have staked billions of euros on the Athens Games being a success....

By the start of the Games on August 13, $1 billion of cover will have been bought to protect against the risk of the Athens Games being called off, insurers said.

That's on top of $1 billion of insurance cover bought to protect the venues, athletes, officials and spectators.

The policies range from major TV networks insuring themselves for up to $350 million to Greek firms producing Athens 2004 memorabilia buying cover worth a million euros. '

Posted by Darren at 02:11 PM

Olympic Roof Slides into Place

BBC reports that the Olympic roof is taking shape - 'Workers and officials have celebrated in Greece after efforts to start raising a grand arch over the main Olympic stadium went without a hitch.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials watched as one half of the hi-tech roof began to slide into place.'

See a recent Satellite Picture of the Main Stadium Under Construction

Posted by Darren at 02:09 PM

British Olympic Team Announcements

The British Team are getting ready and are making a few announcements this week including:

- Naming their Triathlon Team
- Announcing their Equestrian line up

Posted by Darren at 02:08 PM

Greek Police Arrest Journalists in Olympics Venue

ATHENSReuters - 'Greek police briefly detained five British and German journalists who illegally entered two main Olympic sports complexes at night, Athens Games officials said on Thursday.

They said a reporter and a photographer for the London Times tried to approach the Olympic stadium after climbing over a fence and entering the main compound in the suburb of Maroussi.

"A guard on the site saw them and arrested them," the police official said. "The two journalists were taken to a police station for questioning and after a few hours were released."

"Yes we were detained last night and spent a few hours in a police station," Times reporter Laura Peek told Reuters.

The officials said three German journalists, working for a production company, were also detained late on Wednesday in the Hellenikon sports complex, the second biggest after the Olympic Stadium compound. They were later released.'

Also read Athens Olympics: Security Announcement

Posted by Darren at 02:05 PM

Greek extremist group threatens Olympic visitors

ATHENS Reuters - ' A makeshift bomb has exploded outside an Athens bank, and a Greek fringe group claimed responsibility for three blasts in the city last week, saying they were to protest heavy security measures for the Olympics.

Thursday's early morning blast outside a branch of Alpha Bank caused minor damage and no casualties, but will raise more concern about the safety of the Games this summer.

The group "Revolutionary Struggle" told the newspaper "To Pontiki" last week's bombs which damaged a police station but caused no casualties were a response to Olympic security plans....

"With regard to the Olympic Games we say that Greece's transformation into a fortress, NATO's involvement, the presence and activities of foreign intelligence units show clearly that (the Olympics) are not a festival like Games organisers say, but it's a war," it said in a statement sent to the newspaper.'

Get more on this topic from Sydney Morning Herald

Posted by Darren at 02:02 PM

Warning against Games Profiteering

Greek Premier Costas Caramanlis has warned Greek business owners not to hike up prices in an attempt to profiteer from the Olympic Games in August.

'"For those planning to exploit the Olympic Games ... we tell them to think again," Caramanlis told parliament Wednesday.

"We will all be on alert - ministries, agencies and producers - to insure that the market is adequately supplied with products of the highest quality and at the best prices."'

Posted by Darren at 02:01 PM

Security Tight for Athens Olympics

India's deepikoglobal.com reports that IOC head Jacques Rogge believes that security is tight for the Athens Olympics and that everything possible is being done to ensure a disaster free Athens Olympic Games.

'''An atmosphere of security must prevail. Everything that was humanly possible has been done,'' he told French daily Le Monde in an interview.

Belgian Rogge said last week's explosion of three bombs in Athens 100 days before the opening ceremony should not be taken as a sign that security will not be optimal during the Olympics. '

The Seattle Post reports that Athens are about to conduct a four day exercise to 'examine "counter-terrorist response scenarios and management of the consequences" of an attack, a statement said Wednesday.'

'Earlier this month, Greece increased its Olympic security budget to more than $1.2 billion, while 70,000 police and soldiers are set to patrol Athens and Olympic-related areas during the Aug. 13-29 games.'

Posted by Darren at 01:59 PM

Australia Issues Travel Warning for Athens

The Australian Government has issued a travel warning to its citizens wanting to travel to Athens for the Olympic Games in August. The IOC and Greek organizing committee have rightly been concerned with the warning but Australian IOC member Kevin Gosper says that they are overreacting to the warning:

'He said the Australian government had a responsibility to warn its citizens of security risks.

Greece has expressed shock and anger at the Australian government's warning for tourists to the country to look out for bombs, hooligans, sexual predators and other criminals.

The updated advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) came after bomb attacks in Athens last week at the start of the 100 day countdown to the Games.

"Australians in Greece are advised to exercise caution and keep themselves informed of developments that might affect their safety," the advice said.

"Australians should be aware of a recent series of firebomb attacks on domestic, political and commercial premises in Greece, mainly in Athens and Thessaloniki."

Mr Gosper said the advice was credible.
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"It contains good and sound advice to people travelling in Greece and that's a normal responsibility of a government to upgrade that level of advice, if there's been some incident as there was in Greece last week," he told the Nine network.' - Read more of this article at 'The Age'

Posted by Darren at 01:58 PM

Marathon Route in Athens - Under Construction

The Washington Post today reports that it is still a Mad Dash to the Finish for Athens in their preparations for the Olympics - especially when it comes to the Marathon route...

'Athletes have been running the mostly uphill route from this village to Athens for about 2,500 years, ever since a swift soldier named Phidippides legged the 26.2 miles to deliver news of a military victory over the Persians. But with just three months to go until the Olympic Games return to Greece, the ancient path is hardly fit for the world's best modern-day marathoners.

Hundreds of dump trucks, excavators, cement mixers and laborers with old-fashioned pickaxes are working double shifts to widen the racecourse along a narrow highway, but are far behind schedule. About half the route remains under construction. In Marathon, the starting line is nowhere to be seen; even the local work crews say they aren't sure where it's supposed to go.

Posted by Darren at 01:56 PM

2 Euro Coin to Commemorate Athens Olympics

The Bank of Greece is to circulate a new two-euro coin on Thursday to mark the Athens 2004 Olympics.

The 50 million commemorative coins totalling 100 million euros will circulate in all eurozone countries, central bank officials told a presentation on Wednesday. Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas said that collectors at home and abroad had shown strong interest in the issue. Source

Posted by Darren at 01:55 PM

US Olympic Team has Opportunity to Reverse Global Public Opinion

USA Today's column by Christine Brennan talks about how the Olympics are actually an opportunity for the US to reverse global public opinion that has been accumulating after some of the recent negative publicity over some of the images coming out of Iraq of abuse by US Soldiers.

Her call is for the US team to behave well and not badly.

'But right around the corner comes the Olympics, the only regularly scheduled gathering of the world. The Summer Games will be the most watched television event on earth this year; that's quite a platform to try to do a little rehabilitation work on one's image.

The U.S. Olympic Committee is so aware of the nation's precarious standing in the world court of public opinion that it has asked former spokesman Mike Moran, now its senior media consultant, to give seminars on behavior, sportsmanship and even Greek culture to U.S. athletes heading to Athens.

"It is not business as usual for us at these Olympics," Moran said. "We're telling athletes who like to jump around and yell and grab a flag from the audience and wrap themselves in it that they should rethink their exuberance for this Olympics, not only for their own safety but because of the way that some of the world views us.'

Posted by Darren at 01:53 PM

IOC happy with Athens Progress

SBN reports that the IOC are happy with Athens progress in its preparation for the Olympic Games there later this year. This comes after months of speculation that Athens will not be ready in time for the Olympics.

'After three days of productive meetings in Athens, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission confirmed its renewed confidence that the remaining venues to be completed for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be ready on time, and that Athens will host successful Games from 13 to 29 August. This assurance came as IOC members and officials of the Commission completed their 12th and final meeting with the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad (ATHOC) and the Greek authorities, witnessing for themselves the progress made by the organizers since the Commission's last visit six months ago.

With fewer than 100 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, the Coordination Commission worked with ATHOC through the details of the preparations for all the organizational aspects of the Games, such as operations for the venues, the Olympic Village, the media and technology. It also examined the enormous efforts that have been made to serve the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations, spectators, sponsors, press and broadcasters. The Commission members visited the venues where some 10,500 athletes from around the world will compete for Olympic glory, seeing for themselves the construction work being completed at key sites, including the Olympic Stadium, where half of the roof was slid into place during the Commission's stay.
'

Get more news on Athens progress at New York Post

Posted by Darren at 01:52 PM

May 12, 2004

Athens Olympic Games News Resources

Athens Olympic Games News has a great collection of online resources dedicated to reporting news from the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens.

I'm sure the web will be flooded with Olympic Games information so this site will be useful in helping to find quality news.

Its sister page Athens 2004 Olympic Games has an amazing array of links and resources for anyone wanting to visit the Athens Olympic Games or anyone wanting to watch from home.

Posted by Darren at 01:26 PM

May 01, 2004

Athens Olympic Games Information

The 2004 Athens Olympic Games is the XXVIIIth (28th) Olympiad. It will have 28 sports (37 disciplines) with a total of 301 events. 201 countries will send athletes to these Olympics.

The Athens Olympics will be opened by the Prime Minister of Greece, Kostas Karamanlis on August 13th 2004 and will run through until 29th August.

Posted by Darren at 09:57 PM

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