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Old August 27th, 2004, 10:21 PM   #941
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Oh my fault then. Sorry
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Old August 28th, 2004, 08:10 AM   #942
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Efcharisto, Konstantinoupolis! And welcome back!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 05:54 PM   #943
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Goodbye Olympic Games...

Ahhh guys, all the good things must come to an end and it so happens now. I will write an account with my personal notes of course about this extraordinary event which really rocked the hearts of every Hellene and made Greece and Athens household names to the rest of the world for the last 17 days and probably many days before and after.

For once, I never saw may city so colourful, so bright and so vibrant. I never saw so many faces cheering, laughing, dancing, having fun. A lowrise, clean, green ( !!! ), unpolluted (!!!!!!) city with efficient infrastructures, smily residents and the best weather (god is generous when it does) that allowed the unobstructed conduct of the games under some of the bluest and clearest skies I remember in Athens for a long time...

Yet it had to come to an end...

In a few hours, the Olympic flame will pass to the Chinese who will host it for four years in Beijing. I will certainly miss the atmosphere, the fun, the excitement.

Goodbye Olympic games and I hope you will continue to be with us in our hearts. As an Athenian and member of this forum, I wish you good buy in your trip and who knows? Maybe in many years, at a time that I will be saving my last breaths to welcome you back in my city, maybe we will meet again...

Goodbye...






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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:03 AM   #944
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I would like to thank all the forumers for the participation of this Olympic thread , it was the best ever.

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Old August 31st, 2004, 06:16 PM   #945
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It is a superb thread indeed! I'm glad you re-opened it, Grumpy.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 06:51 PM   #946
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Thank you to the Admins here at Euroscrapers for opening this thread.

Thank you to all who participated and made is great (especially Gregory!!!!).

And thank you to the people of Athens for putting on such a fantastic show!

THEY DID IT, AND IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

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Old September 3rd, 2004, 09:45 AM   #947
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The "unforgettable, dream Games" of Athens are over!

Athens lived a unique experience!

Now we're all heading towards the Paralympics, maybe those Games are even greater than the Olympics since here the Olympic spirit prevails!

Cheers,
George
 
Old September 3rd, 2004, 02:14 PM   #948
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A letter of apology in Sports International and my reply

Originally appeared in http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...er/index.html#

We were wrong
Greece overcame the world's paranoia to stage a glorious Games

by Rick Reily and Sports Illustrated

August 30, 2004


Dear Athens,

Well, we feel bad. We really owe you an apology.

So, sygnomi, as you would say. Sorry.

Sorry about the way we acted. We were paranoid and stupid and just flat out wrong. Our bad. If you want, we'll sleep on the couch.

We mocked you, ridiculed you, figured you wouldn't be ready. We envisioned you as a bunch of lazy, swarthy guys in wife-beater T-shirts chugging ouzo instead of finishing the baseball dugouts. We were sure steeplechasers would have to jump over drying cement, pole vaulters over tractors, divers into 3 feet of water.

We were wrong. It was all done and it was beautiful. OK, so the swimming stadium never got a roof. Big freaking deal. Imagine: having to swim in an outdoor pool. Let's all sue. Besides, you know what? It was more fun that way. Michael Phelps was out there so much he ended up with raccoon eyes from his goggles. He looked like a snowboarder. "Cool!" he said.

We predicted women madly weaving olive wreaths next to the podiums as the national anthems started up. We foresaw painters sprinting along painting stripes just yards ahead of 400-meter runners. We figured beams would be falling on people's heads. Who knew Wrigley Field would be a lot more dangerous?

We were sure every street corner would have three or four terrorists, just kind of killing time, looking for somebody to kidnap. Some bozo said, "The only place worse to hold an Olympics would be Baghdad." Please. I guarantee you, we felt a helluva lot safer these three weeks in Athens than we do in L.A. Or Detroit. Or the Republican National Convention.
We insisted you spend 1.2 billion euros on security. You had to put up blimps and cameras all over the city. You couldn't throw a bucket of grapes anywhere and not hit a soldier with a rifle. And nothing happened. Zero. The only incident was when our Secretary of State said he was coming to visit. In other words, if Colin Powell would've just been happy with his remote, you wouldn't have had a single problem.

Why you had to pay for our paranoia, I'll never know. It's the world's problem, the world should have to pay for it. What small country is going to be able to afford to host the Olympics anymore with these insane security demands? From now on, if a country wants to send a team to the Games, it pays its share of security, based on its share of the gross world product. In other words, it's our war, we should have to pay for it.

And our ignorance cost you more than just the billion or so Euros. Our Edvard Munch screams leading up to these games kept millions of people away. Corporations bailed on you. Fans chickened out. I know burly journalists who were too scared to come.

Sygnomi. Really. You did such a beautiful job on all the venues, arenas and stadiums and yet most of them were so empty you would've thought you'd stumbled upon a goiter seminar. At one basketball game, we counted: There were 307 people. One women's soccer game involving the U.S. started with fewer than 50 people. I had a friend call one night and say, "You better get over to gymnastics, quick. There's only 15,000 seats left."

The shopkeepers told us, "We've never seen it so dead in August." Hotels came down on their prices by three-quarters. Shirt stores lost their shirts.
It's too bad. It was a glorious Olympics. It really was. The opening ceremonies were fabulous. The nightlife was amazing. Even the stray dogs and cats couldn't have been friendlier. I got lost once and had to hitchhike out of nowhere, and a motorcyclist not only picked me up but drove for miles until he found me a cab. So, efharisto, as you say. Thanks.
Somebody did a poll and found that 97 percent of fans were "satisfied" with safety and security, 95 percent appreciated the job the volunteers did and 98 percent had a favorable impression of Greece. The other two percent were Paul Hamm's family.

And what did you get for all your trouble? Nothing but heartache. With 9,000-plus Greeks about to go delirious, our men's volleyball team handed you a giant buzzkill --- coming back from eight points down to win the fourth set and then the fifth to advance to the semifinals. The only really good game our men's basketball team played the whole time was against Greece.

It was Greek Tragedy Fortnight on TBS. It started even before the Games with your heartbroken judoka jumping from a balcony, followed two days later by her distraught boyfriend. Your two best sprinters turned in their credentials to end a doping/conspiracy/motorcycle wreck soap opera that tore the nation up. One of your favorite weightlifters had to give up a medal for a failed drug test, then wept in front of the world protesting his innocence.

And now you're stuck with about $8.5 billion in debt, a bunch of huge, expensive stadiums you'll never use (Hey, kids, who's ready to synchronized dive?!) and a whole lot of "Get Your Butt to Team Handball!" shorts nobody was around to buy. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

So, really, we're sorry. If it makes you feel any better, we all feel a lot more Greek now. We're all coming back to the States telling the daughter, "OK, you be Athena and I'll be Zeus!", demanding our favorite restaurants reserve us a table about 1 a.m. under the moon, right near a 2,500 year-old ruin. We keep spitting in people's hair for good luck, crushing plates for no reason and hollering "opa!" in the shower.

No idea how to make this right for you, except this: We vow, here and now, we'll never make you host us again.

See you in Baghdad, 2016.




…and my reply with the capacity of the most active Greek in this forum

Dear Rick,

Thank you for your kind apology as per August 30, appearing in SI.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...er/index.html# ). It has been a pleasant surprise for me and my fellow countrymen to see that at least someone in the beginning, and quite a few later, representing the US and the English speaking press in general, felt like pushing the envelope of initial sympathy a bit further (albeit AFTER the completion of the games), venturing an apology spiced accordingly with some dithyrambic comments and (true-to-heart, undeniably) accolades.

I understand that probably the image and information you were receiving from Athens over the long and exhaustive period of preparation before the games –and I mean exhaustive not just for us Greeks, but also probably for all the ones with a valid concern about the conduct of flawless games to the best possible extend- was not at all encouraging but on the contrary you might have heard that even Chuan Antonio Samarang has given us the “yellow card” some four years ago.

Also, I can fully understand your concerns and logic about security which were based on linearly derived inferences following in sketchy terms the following motif:

“If they managed (you know who ) to do it in NY then they sure can do it anywhere”, especially in Athens which used to be a terrorist nest for not so long ago according to some of your papers, and where, being a US or English-speaking national was as dangerous as being a proponent of the heliocentric universe in the era of the holy inquisition . And Athens looked like a city that’s come out of the middle ages, with its stocky concrete buildings, its lack of highrise skyline ( trademark of economic progress worldwide), the narrow sidewalks, the hairy taxi drivers with the smelly feet that listen to traditional tunes and don’t even speak Greek properly (let alone English!!!), the gridlocks and the dirty streets, etc, etc, etc, or isn’t this the image that most of you had about my city?

You had it all ready in your minds, as if the hairy little people (some 4.5 million of them) that lived in a city made of concrete built around some ancient precious ruins were not capable of pulling out anything bigger than a high school ping-pong tournament. You actually believed that Muslim “terrorists” were playing backgammon with the fat and slimy Greek policemen waiting for the time that you would land so that, once they kidnapped you and had you in their hands, they could “work” on you and your adolescent daughters real good. You believed that your precious athletes would be running on unfinished venues and would be living in a village with no tap water and continuous electricity failures, using pigeons instead of internet connections. You had it all figured out didn’t you?

And nothing like that happened. The venues were state of the art, only half empty because it so happens that what’s on the first page of a “prestigious” paper, even slightly opinionated (slightly? ) tends to have an influence in the minds of people, especially in the dark times that we live in (nobody wants all of a sudden to be found cuffed on his knees in a dark room filled with strange headscarfed people speaking in tongues, slowly brandishing their swords above his neck- you know, the full scenario, while cursing in their own incomprehensible language the infidels and the sinful Olympic games).

The funny thing is that you almost held responsible the Greeks for not having achieved to fill the stadiums while having to counter the almost hysterical cries of 90% of the papers of the English speaking world that were alerting anyone not to come to Greece because the Calatrava roof would fall on their heads, because they would otherwise lose their heads in the hands of the terrorists that are also experts in backgammon , or that their daughters would be sodomised by the hordes of the shaggy short legged middle-eastern lovers that –like a modern personification of the long-shafted satyr statuettes sold in tourist shops in Plaka, on the slope of the Acropolis- tend to use their long members indiscriminately due to their primitive sex-driven nature. Not to mention the heat and smog-generated haze that would make Athens look like a place where “Citius-Altius-Fortius” could be easily replaced by a much hotter, some 30 degrees centigrade hotter version of “Arbeit Macht Frei” or something like that if you catch my drift, making mid-summer Las Vegas feel like the Swiss Alps in mid April…

And nothing happened. The weather was bearable, the new transport system, combined with the Olympic road system restrictions and the so-called “Olympic lanes” performed comparably to the one in Zurich on a smooth Monday morning, and, even I. was dazzled by the new metro and suburban rail stations, as well as the four-level mega-junctions in the recently completed new 100km+ highway system… And the athletes stayed in state-of the art premises and your colleagues enjoyed some 170,000 square metres of available space in total for the journalists and reporters in two venues, the Main Press center (MPC) , and the International Broadcasting Centre (the IBC), the biggest and best of their kind today.

And the terrorists didn’t come, although we were coerced as a nation to spend 1.2 billion dollars for piping-tom equipment and oversized balloons and blimps whose only use would be to eavesdrop hotline style conversations or spy the hot Greek lovers doing what they do best instead of playing backgammon with terrorists. And the lights didn’t go out, and the TV broadcast was flawless, and the long-forgotten Greek hospitality was there in full glory, and we had the biggest number of volunteers available ever recorded in the history of Olympic games. Plus, we did a heartbreaking opening ceremony reminding all of you who we are, were we’ve been, and what this business of the Olympic games gotta do with us. Yes, we had some mishaps but besides some boos (Greek lovers found another way to spend their energy that night ), and a few doped athletes, Greek and foreign, the shambles and mayhem, the kidnaps and traffic chaos, everything that was predicted (or better say: wished by some of you ) for Athens did not happen.

And then came the apologies, few in the beginning, many later.

And it didn’t take long before hysteria gave way to dithyrambs, and downplaying articles to hymns trying to dispel the increasingly apparent (and painful like a thorn in the eye) hubris that was taking place for over three years, where a small nation was –in the name of some “justifiable concerns”- abused in the worst manner by some of your best and most “prestigious” as well as “impartial” media.

And now came the apologies, well met, but a little too late to even partially repair the damage. A damage that incurred a flat cost of at least 1 billion dollars (normally, we would have spent some $200mn for security before 911, for which, it would be useful to note for those of the “objective” reporters that haven’t heard, Greece had nothing to do with it) paid for the acquisition of an unneeded sophisticated “security” state-of the art piping-tom technology. All that without counting the HUGE opportunity cost measuring God knows now many gazillions of dollars of potential tourists that decided not to come in fear of the rampant terrorists, the collapsing installations or the shaggy natives stalking their daughters in shady back alleys, or even the tropical cocktail of hot temperatures and gas-chamber density air pollutants that only the mutant shaggy inhabitants of this city can endure.

First of all, don’t misunderstand me dear friend, your apologies are more than accepted. I know that you probably had a very good time amongst us natives, partying, having fun, working and watching the widely accepted as probably the best games to date, coming second only to Sydney and this, only according to some hard-core pro-Anglo-Saxon media. We appreciate your words of apology and we ensure you that we want you all to come back, without the stress of professional duty, without the rush which is parts and parcels of any big event athletic or any other of equal magnitude.

We don’t hold any grudge for the countless insults and demeaning comments that appeared in the mainstream press of any country whose first language is English (and most of the ones where English is not ), although it would be good to remember that had all this bad publicity taken place against physical or legal persons, a rightful lawsuit for slander with a high probability of winning the legal battle might have already been in effect.

Also, we don’t want you to sleep on the couch. In our book of hospitality, having a guest is something sacred and we keep it that way, with the exception of some bipeds that have “rooms to let” in the islands or some strange creatures driving yellow cabs asking half the Fort Knox deposits for a ride to the airport. What can we say, nobody’s perfect, but that’s as far as it goes.

In fact, we are waiting for you to come back as said before, to continue the fun, to speak to you in YOUR language (in contrast to the rest of the continental Europe as you probably know) and to accept your last orders for drinks at dawn’s early light –and even later.

For all the above, dear Rick and the rest of our friends, there is only one thing that I would like to ask from you on my behalf as well as the rest of my compatriots: Next time you will write something about my country, be it good or bad, be it right or wrong, be it about lousy cab drivers or nice beaches or whatever, just try to do it with a bit more RESPECT, like you did during the last week, respect that we earned the hard way over the last few years and, many, many years before that, but also respect that any small (or big for that matter) nation deserves regardless of history, race or culture –and I hope to God that a prominent and influential journalist like you that also represents the most powerful nation on the planet agrees on this!!!

To end, me and the rest of my people would very much appreciate this, more than given back some of the money spent on security and renting blimps and cameras, or used to pay yawning special forces agents resting on the side of competition venues, much more than you sleeping on the couch, calling yourselves Athina or Zeus, spitting on each other’s back for good luck (Jees- are there people that still do this? ) or shouting “opa” in the shower (I can assure you we don’t do this, I certainly don’t and if you try to do it anywhere in Greece, the neighbours will think you are mentally deranged or something). Your “syggnomi” and your fair share of respect from now on will do just fine, as long as it comes from the heart. For the rest, we have much time to talk about, until the 2016 Bagdad Olympics.

Regards,

GM2263
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Last edited by gm2263; September 3rd, 2004 at 02:22 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2004, 03:25 AM   #949
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Hello Greek Forumers !

A portuguese friend of mine arrived from Athens today, and he LOVED Greece and is people.

He said the only "bad" thing was the "crazy" taxi drivers

The food was GREAT, The beaches and the islands too!!

He liked also the Athens urban sprawl. He said maybe isn't the best example of urban planning, but I like the "felling" of the place!

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Old September 4th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #950
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Thank you for this Marco. I can certainly tell you Greeks don't forget Portugal and its beauties as well as the beautiful Portugese people during the 2004 EURO. Beautiful country, inhabited by beautiful people.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 11:45 AM   #951
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I reccomend to the greeks to start from the first page of this thread and read through all the way to the last... it's quite moving....
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Old March 5th, 2005, 09:19 PM   #952
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WOW! This thread must be a record! 48 pages?
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Old May 21st, 2005, 03:39 PM   #953
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This may just be the longest thread
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Old May 21st, 2005, 04:56 PM   #954
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ah memories.
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Old May 21st, 2005, 05:15 PM   #955
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reading this was emotional i must say
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Old November 26th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #956
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Nice thrread, nice Olimpic games
Biggest thread ever??
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Old May 10th, 2007, 06:03 AM   #957
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Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #958
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Damnit Steel, just after I thought this thread was finally dead..
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Old May 21st, 2007, 12:08 PM   #959
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so what's that?



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Old June 28th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #960
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i miss athens
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