2004 Summer Olympics

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Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
2004 Summer Olympics logo.svg
Host city Athens, Greece
MottoWelcome Home
(Greek: Καλώς ήλθατε σπίτι, Kalós ílthate spíti)
Nations201
Athletes10,625 (6,296 men, 4,329 women)
Events301 in 28 sports (40 disciplines)
Opening 13 August
Closing 29 August
Opened by
Cauldron
Stadium Olympic Stadium
Summer
Sydney 2000 Beijing 2008
Winter
Salt Lake 2002 Turin 2006

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games (Greek: Θερινοί Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 2004, Therinoí Olympiakoí Agónes 2004), [2] officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad and commonly known as Athens 2004, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004 with the motto Welcome Home.

A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance is the modern Olympic Games.

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Contents

The Games saw 10,625 athletes compete, [3] [4] some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 201 countries. [3] There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports. [3] Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance. 2004 also marked the return of the Olympic Games to the city where they began. Having previously hosted the Olympics in 1896, Athens became one of only four cities to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games on two separate occasions (together with Paris, London and Los Angeles).

Olympic sports type of sport with events at the Olympic Games

Olympic sports are contested in the Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games. The 2016 Summer Olympics included 28 sports, with five additional sports due to be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics program; the 2014 Winter Olympics included seven sports. The number and types of events may change slightly from one Olympiad to another. Each Olympic sport is represented by an international governing body, namely an International Federation (IF). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) establishes a hierarchy of sports, disciplines, and events. According to this hierarchy, each Olympic sport can be subdivided into multiple disciplines, which are often mistaken as distinct sports. Examples include swimming and water polo, which are in fact disciplines of the sport of aquatics, and figure skating and speed skating, which are both disciplines of the sport of ice skating. In turn, disciplines are subdivided into events, for which Olympic medals are awarded. A sport or discipline is included in the Olympic program if the IOC determines it to be widely practised around the world, that is, the popularity of a given sport or discipline is indicated by the number of countries that compete in it. The IOC's requirements also reflect participation in the Olympic Games – more stringent conditions are applied to men's sports/disciplines and to summer sports/disciplines.

1996 Summer Olympics Games of the XXVI Olympiad, in Atlanta

The 1996 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, commonly known as Atlanta 1996, and also referred to as the Centennial Olympic Games, were an international multi-sport event that was held from July 19 to August 4, 1996, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. These Games, which were the fourth Summer Olympics to be hosted by the United States, marked the century of the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens—the inaugural edition of the modern Olympic Games. They were also the first since 1924 to be held in a different year from a Winter Olympics, under a new IOC practice implemented in 1994 to hold the Summer and Winter Games in alternating, even-numbered years.

National Olympic Committee national constituent of the worldwide Olympic movement

A National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a national constituent of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, NOCs are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games. They may nominate cities within their respective areas as candidates for future Olympic Games. NOCs also promote the development of athletes and training of coaches and officials at a national level within their geographies.

A new medal obverse was introduced at these Games, replacing the design by Giuseppe Cassioli that had been used since the 1928 Games. This rectified the long lasting mistake of using a depiction of the Roman Colosseum rather than a Greek venue. [5] The new design features the Panathenaic Stadium. [6] The 2004 Summer Games were hailed as "unforgettable, dream games" by IOC President Jacques Rogge, and left Athens with a significantly improved infrastructure, including a new airport, ring road, and subway system. [7] There have been arguments (mostly in popular media) regarding the cost of the 2004 Athens Summer Games and their possible contribution to the Greek government-debt crisis, however, there is little or no evidence for such a correlation.

Giuseppe Cassioli was an Italian painter and sculptor known for his Summer Olympic Games medal design. Many of his paintings are on display at the Museo Cassioli di Pittura senese dell'Ottocento in Asciano, Tuscany.

1928 Summer Olympics games of the IX Olympiad, celebrated in Amsterdam in 1928

The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated from 28 July to 12 August 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam had previously bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but was obliged to give way to war-torn Antwerp in Belgium for the 1920 Games and Pierre de Coubertin's Paris for the 1924 Games.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

The 2004 Olympics were generally deemed to be a success, with the rising standard of competition amongst nations across the world. The final medal tally was led by the United States, followed by China and Russia with the host Greece at 15th place. Several World and Olympic records were broken during these Games.

United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics

The United States competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. 533 competitors, 279 men and 254 women, took part in 254 events in 31 sports.

China at the 2004 Summer Olympics

China competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004. This was the nation's ninth appearance at the Summer Olympics since its debut in 1952. A total of 384 Chinese athletes, 136 men and 248 women, were selected by the Chinese Olympic Committee to compete in 28 sports. For the third time in its Olympic history, China was represented by more female than male athletes.

Russia at the 2004 Summer Olympics

Russia competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004. This was the nation's third consecutive appearance at the Summer Olympics as an independent nation. The Russian Olympic Committee sent a total of 446 athletes to the Games, 244 men and 202 women, to compete in all sports, except baseball, field hockey, football, and softball.

Host city selection

Athens was chosen as the host city during the 106th IOC Session held in Lausanne on 5 September 1997. Athens had lost its bid to organize the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta nearly seven years before on 18 September 1990, during the 96th IOC Session in Tokyo. Under the direction of Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Athens pursued another bid, this time for the right to host the Summer Olympics in 2004. The success of Athens in securing the 2004 Games was based largely on Athens' appeal to Olympic history and the emphasis that it placed on the pivotal role that Greece and Athens could play in promoting Olympism and the Olympic Movement. Furthermore, unlike their bid for the 1996 Games, which was largely criticized for its overall disorganization and arrogance—wherein the bid lacked specifics and relied largely upon sentiment and the notion that it was Athens' right to organize the Centennial Games [8] —the bid for the 2004 Games was lauded for its humility and earnestness, its focused message, and its detailed bid concept. [9] The 2004 bid addressed concerns and criticisms raised in its unsuccessful 1996 bid – primarily Athens' infrastructural readiness, its air pollution, its budget, and politicization of Games preparations. [10] Athens' successful organization of the 1997 World Championships in Athletics the month before the host city election was also crucial in allaying lingering fears and concerns among the sporting community and some IOC members about its ability to host international sporting events. [11] Another factor which also contributed to Athens' selection was a growing sentiment among some IOC members to restore the values of the Olympics to the Games, a component which they felt was lost during the heavily criticized over-commercialization of Atlanta 1996 Games. [12] Subsequently, the selection of Athens was also motivated by a lingering sense of disappointment among IOC members regarding the numerous organizational and logistical setbacks experienced during the 1996 Games. [12]

Lausanne Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Lausanne is a city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and the capital and biggest city of the canton of Vaud. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva. It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura Mountains to its north-west. Lausanne is located 62 kilometres northeast of Geneva.

Atlanta Capital of Georgia, United States

Atlanta is the capital of, and the most populous city in, the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2017 population of 486,290, it is also the 38th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5.8 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. A small portion of the city extends eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki is a Greek businesswoman. She is best known for being the president of the bidding and organizing committee for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She was named one of the 50 most powerful women by Forbes magazine.

After leading all voting rounds, Athens easily defeated Rome in the 5th and final vote. Cape Town, Stockholm, and Buenos Aires, the three other cities that made the IOC shortlist, were eliminated in prior rounds of voting. Six other cities submitted applications, but their bids were dropped by the IOC in 1996. These cities were Istanbul, Lille, Rio de Janeiro, San Juan, Seville, Saint Petersburg and Cali. [13]

Cape Town Capital city of the Western Cape province and legislative capital of South Africa

Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.

Stockholm Capital city in Södermanland and Uppland, Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 962,154 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Buenos Aires Place in Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.

2004 host city election – ballot results
CityCountry (NOC)Round 1Run-offRound 3Round 4Round 5
Athens Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 32385266
Rome Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 23283541
Cape Town Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 16622220
Stockholm Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2019
Buenos Aires Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 1644

Development and preparation

Costs

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games cost the Government of Greece €8.954 billion to stage. [14] According to the cost-benefit evaluation of the impact of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games presented to the Greek Parliament in January 2013 by the Minister of Finance Mr. Giannis Stournaras, the overall net economic benefit for Greece was positive. [15]

The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC), responsible for the preparation and organisation of the Games, concluded its operations as a company in 2005 with a surplus of 130.6 million. ATHOC contributed €123.6 million of the surplus to the Greek State to cover other related expenditures of the Greek State in organizing the Games. As a result, ATHOC reported in its official published accounts a net profit of €7 million. [16] [17] The State's contribution to the total ATHOC budget was 8% of its expenditure against an originally anticipated 14%.

The overall revenue of ATHOC, including income from tickets, sponsors, broadcasting rights, merchandise sales etc., totalled €2,098.4 million. The largest percentage of that income (38%) came from broadcasting rights. The overall expenditure of ATHOC was €1,967.8 million.

Often analysts refer to the "Cost of the Olympic Games" by taking into account not only the Organizing Committee's budget (i.e. the organizational cost) directly related to the Olympic Games, but also the cost incurred by the hosting country during preparation, i.e. the large projects required for the upgrade of the country's infrastructure, including sports infrastructure, roads, airports, hospitals, power grid etc. This cost, however, is not directly attributable to the actual organisation of the Games. Such infrastructure projects are considered by all fiscal standards as fixed asset investments that stay with the hosting country for decades after the Games. Also, in many cases these infrastructure upgrades would have taken place regardless of hosting the Olympic Games, although the latter may have acted as a "catalyst".

It was in this sense that the Greek Ministry of Finance reported in 2013 that the expenses of the Greek state for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, including both infrastructure and organizational costs, reached the amount of €8.5 billion. The same report further explains that €2 billion of this amount was covered by the revenue of the ATHOC (from tickets, sponsors, broadcasting rights, merchandise sales etc.) and that another €2 billion was directly invested in upgrading hospitals and archaeological sites. Therefore, the net infrastructure costs related to the preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was €4.5 billion, substantially lower than the reported estimates, [18] and mainly included long-standing fixed asset investments in numerous municipal and transport infrastructures.

On the revenue side, the same report estimates that incremental tax revenues of approximately €3.5 billion arose from the increased activities caused by the Athens 2004 Olympic Games during the period 2000 to 2004. These tax revenues were paid directly to the Greek state specifically in the form of incremental social security contributions, income taxes and VAT tax paid by all the companies, professionals, and service providers that were directly involved with the Olympic Games. Moreover, it is reported that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games have had a great economic growth impact on the tourism sector, one of the pillars of the Greek economy, as well as in many other sectors.

The final verdict on the cost of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, in the words of the Greek Minister of Finance, is that "as a result from the cost-benefit analysis, we reach the conclusion that there has been a net economic benefit from the Olympic Games"

The Oxford Olympics Study 2016 estimates the outturn cost of Athens 2004 at US$2.9 billion in 2015-dollars. [19] This figure includes only sports-related costs, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, of which the largest components are technology, transportation, workforce, and administration costs, while other operational costs include security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included here, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. Athens 2004 cost of US$2.9 billion compares with costs of US$4.6 billion for Rio 2016, US$40-44 billion for Beijing 2008 and US$51 billion for Sochi 2014, the most expensive Olympics in history. Average sports-related cost for the Summer Games since 1960 is US$5.2 billion.

Cost per sporting event for Athens 2004 was US$9.8 million. This compares with US$14.9 million for Rio 2016, US$49.5 million for London 2012, and US$22.5 million for Beijing 2008. Average cost per event for the Summer Games since 1960 is US$19.9 million.

Cost per athlete for Athens 2004 was US$0.3 million. This compares with US$0.4 million for Rio 2016, US$1.4 million for London 2012, and US$0.6 million for Beijing 2008. Average cost per athlete for the Summer Games since 1960 is US$0.6 million.

Cost overrun for Athens 2004 was 49 percent, measured in real terms from the bid to host the Games. This compares with 51 percent for Rio 2016 and 76 percent for London 2012. Average cost overrun for the Summer Games since 1960 is 176 percent.

Construction

The OAKA Plaza and Arch adjacent to the Olympic Stadium Olympic Athletic Center of Athens Plaza and Arch.jpg
The OAKA Plaza and Arch adjacent to the Olympic Stadium
Faliro Sports Pavilion Arena Faliro Sport Pavillion.jpg
Faliro Sports Pavilion Arena
The Olympic Indoor Aquatic Center Athens Indoor Olympic Aquatic Center.jpg
The Olympic Indoor Aquatic Center

By late March 2004, some Olympic projects were still behind schedule, and Greek authorities announced that a roof it had initially proposed as an optional, non-vital addition to the Aquatics Center would no longer be built. The main Olympic Stadium, the designated facility for the opening and closing ceremonies, was completed only two months before the Games opened. This stadium was completed with a retractable glass roof designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The same architect also designed the Velodrome and other facilities.

The Olympic Outdoor Aquatic Center Athens Olympic Outdoor Aquatic Center.jpg
The Olympic Outdoor Aquatic Center

Infrastructure, such as the tram line linking venues in southern Athens with the city centre, and numerous venues were considerably behind schedule just two months before the start of the Games. The subsequent pace of preparation, however, made the rush to finish the Athens venues one of the tightest in Olympics history. The Greeks, unperturbed, maintained that they would make it all along. By July/August 2004, all venues were delivered: in August, the Olympic Stadium was officially completed and opened, joined or preceded by the official completion and openings of other venues within the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA), and the sports complexes in Faliro and Helliniko.

The Athens Olympic Velodrome during the 2004 Olympic Games Athens Velodrome.JPG
The Athens Olympic Velodrome during the 2004 Olympic Games

Late July and early August witnessed the Athens Tram become operational, and this system provided additional connections to those already existing between Athens city centre and its waterfront communities along the Saronic Gulf. These communities included the port city of Piraeus, Agios Kosmas (site of the sailing venue), Helliniko (the site of the old international airport which now contained the fencing venue, the canoe/kayak slalom course, the 15,000-seat Helliniko Olympic Basketball Arena, and the softball and baseball stadia), and the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex (site of the taekwondo, handball, indoor volleyball, and beach volleyball venues, as well as the newly reconstructed Karaiskaki Stadium for football). The upgrades to the Athens Ring Road were also delivered just in time, as were the expressway upgrades connecting central Athens with peripheral areas such as Markopoulo (site of the shooting and equestrian venues), the newly constructed Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, Schinias (site of the rowing venue), Maroussi (site of the OAKA), Parnitha (site of the Olympic Village), Galatsi (site of the rhythmic gymnastics and table tennis venue), and Vouliagmeni (site of the triathlon venue). The upgrades to the Athens Metro were also completed, and the new lines became operational by mid-summer.

EMI released Unity, the official pop album of the Athens Olympics, in the leadup to the Olympics. [20] It features contributions from Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Moby, Destiny's Child, and Avril Lavigne. [20] EMI has pledged to donate US$180,000 from the album to UNICEF's HIV/AIDS program in Sub-Saharan Africa. [20]

At least 14 people died during the work on the facilities. Most of these people were not from Greece. [21]

Before the Games, Greek hotel staff staged a series of one-day strikes over wage disputes. They had been asking for a significant raise for the period covering the event being staged. Paramedics and ambulance drivers also protested. They claimed to have the right to the same Olympic bonuses promised to their security force counterparts.

Athens Olympic Sports Complex Panorama.JPG
Panorama of Athens Olympic Sports Complex.

Torch relay

The ceremony for the lighting of the flame was arranged as a pagan pageant, with dancing priestesses. Greece 2004 Olympics flame ceremony DSC04251.jpg
The ceremony for the lighting of the flame was arranged as a pagan pageant, with dancing priestesses.
The Olympic Flame toured the world for the first time. Route of Olympic Flame Worldwide for the 2004 Summer Olympics.png
The Olympic Flame toured the world for the first time.

The lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame took place on 25 March 2004 in Ancient Olympia. For the first time ever, the flame travelled around the world in a relay to various Olympic cities (past and future) and other large cities, before returning to Greece.

Mascots

The mascots were based on this clay model at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens Athens athena model.jpg
The mascots were based on this clay model at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Mascots have been a tradition at the Olympic Games since the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. The 2004 Olympics had two official mascots: Athena and Phevos (Greek pronunciation: Athina and Fivos). The sister and brother were named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and Phoebus, the god of light and music, respectively. They were inspired by the ancient daidala, which were toy dolls that also had religious connotations.

Online coverage

For the first time, major broadcasters were allowed to serve video coverage of the Olympics over the Internet, provided that they restricted this service geographically, to protect broadcasting contracts in other areas. For instance, the BBC made their complete live coverage available to UK high-speed Internet customers for free; customers in the U.S. were only able to receive delayed excerpts. [22] The International Olympic Committee forbade Olympic athletes, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from setting up specialized weblogs and/or other websites for covering their personal perspective of the Games. They were not allowed to post audio, video, or photos that they had taken. An exception was made if an athlete already has a personal website that was not set up specifically for the Games. [23] NBC launched its own Olympic website, NBCOlympics.com. Focusing on the television coverage of the Games, it did provide video clips, medal standings, live results. Its main purpose, however, was to provide a schedule of what sports were on the many stations of NBC Universal. The Games were shown on television 24 hours a day, on one network or another.

Technology

View of the ATHOC Technology Operations Center during the Games. TOC-01.jpg
View of the ATHOC Technology Operations Center during the Games.
Olympic Airlines Boeing 737-484 decorated with the colours of the 2004 Olympics Boeing 737-484, Olympic AN0399495.jpg
Olympic Airlines Boeing 737-484 decorated with the colours of the 2004 Olympics

As with any enterprise, the Organizing Committee and everyone involved with it relied heavily on technology in order to deliver a successful event. ATHOC maintained two separate data networks, one for the preparation of the Games (known as the Administrative network) and one for the Games themselves (Games Network). The technical infrastructure involved more than 11,000 computers, over 600 servers, 2,000 printers, 23,000 fixed-line telephone devices, 9,000 mobile phones, 12,000 TETRA devices, 16,000 TV and video devices and 17 Video Walls interconnected by more than 6,000 kilometers of cabling (both optical fiber and twisted pair).

This infrastructure was created and maintained to serve directly more than 150,000 ATHOC Staff, Volunteers, Olympic family members (IOC, NOCs, Federations), Partners & Sponsors and Media. It also kept the information flowing for all spectators, TV viewers, Website visitors and news readers around the world, prior and during the Games. The Media Center was located inside the Zappeion which is a Greek national exhibition center.

Between June and August 2004, the technology staff worked in the Technology Operations Center (TOC) from where it could centrally monitor and manage all the devices and flow of information, as well as handle any problems that occurred during the Games. The TOC was organized in teams (e.g. Systems, Telecommunications, Information Security, Data Network, Staffing, etc.) under a TOC Director and corresponding team leaders (Shift Managers). The TOC operated on a 24x7 basis with personnel organized into 12-hour shifts.

The Games

Opening ceremony

The Olympic Flame at the opening ceremony Olympic flame at opening ceremony.jpg
The Olympic Flame at the opening ceremony

The widely praised Opening Ceremony Directed by avant garde choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou and produced by Jack Morton Worldwide led by Project Director David Zolkwer was held on 13 August 2004. It began with a twenty eight (the number of the Olympiads up to then) second countdown paced by the sounds of an amplified heartbeat. [24] As the countdown was completed, fireworks rumbled and illuminated the skies overhead. After a drum corps and bouzouki players joined in an opening march, the video screen showed images of flight, crossing southwest from Athens over the Greek countryside to ancient Olympia. Then, a single drummer in the ancient stadium joined in a drum duet with a single drummer in the main stadium in Athens, joining the original ancient Olympic Games with the modern ones in symbolism. At the end of the drum duet, a single flaming arrow was launched from the video screen (symbolically from ancient Olympia) and into the reflecting pool, which resulted in fire erupting in the middle of the stadium creating a burning image of the Olympic rings rising from the pool. The Opening Ceremony was a pageant of traditional Greek culture and history hearkening back to its mythological beginnings. The program began as a young Greek boy sailed into the stadium on a 'paper-ship' waving the host nation's flag to aethereal music by Hadjidakis and then a centaur appeared, followed by a gigantic head of a cycladic figurine which eventually broke into many pieces symbolising the Greek islands. Underneath the cycladic head was a Hellenistic representation of the human body, reflecting the concept and belief in perfection reflected in Greek art. A man was seen balancing on a hovering cube symbolising man's eternal 'split' between passion and reason followed by a couple of young lovers playfully chasing each other while the god Eros was hovering above them. There followed a very colourful float parade chronicling Greek history from the ancient Minoan civilization to modern times. Although NBC in the United States presented the entire opening ceremony from start to finish, a topless Minoan priestess was shown only briefly, the breasts having been pixelated digitally in order to avoid controversy (as the "Nipplegate" incident was still fresh in viewer's minds at the time) and potential fines by the Federal Communications Commission. Also, lower frontal nudity of men dressed as ancient Greek statues was shown in such a way that the area below the waist was cut off by the bottom of the screen. In most other countries presenting the broadcast, there was no censorship of the ceremony.

Following the artistic performances, a parade of nations entered the stadium with over 10,500 athletes walking under the banners of 201 nations. The nations were arranged according to Greek alphabet making Finland, Fiji, Chile, and Hong Kong the last four to enter the stadium before the Greek delegation. On this occasion, in observance of the tradition that the delegation of Greece opens the parade and the host nation closes it, the Greek flag bearer opened the parade and all the Greek delegation closed it. Based on audience reaction, the emotional high point of the parade was the entrance of the delegation from Afghanistan which had been absent from the Olympics and had female competitors for the first time. The Iraqi delegation also stirred emotions. Also recognized was the symbolic unified march of athletes from North Korea and South Korea under the Korean Unification Flag. [lower-alpha 1] The country of Kiribati made its debut appearance at these Games and East Timor made a debut under its own flag. After the Parade of Nations, during which the Dutch DJ Tiësto provided the music, the Icelandic singer Björk performed the song Oceania, written specially for the event by her and the poet Sjón.

The Opening Ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron by 1996 Gold Medalist Windsurfer Nikolaos Kaklamanakis. Many key moments in the ceremony, including the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, featured music composed and arranged by John Psathas [25] from New Zealand. The gigantic cauldron, which was styled after the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch, pivoted down to be lit by the 35-year-old, before slowly swinging up and lifting the flame high above the stadium. Following this, the stadium found itself at the centre of a rousing fireworks spectacular.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Participating nations 2004 Summer Olympic games countries.svg
Participating nations
Team numbers 2004 Summer olympics team numbers.gif
Team numbers

All National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in the Athens Games, as was the case in 1996. Two new NOCs had been created since 1996 and made their debut at these Games (Kiribati and Timor-Leste). Therefore, with the return of Afghanistan (who had been banned from the 2000 Summer Olympics), the number of participating nations increased from 199 to 202. Also since 2000, Yugoslavia had changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro and its code from YUG to SCG.

In the table below, the number in parentheses indicates the number of participants contributed by each NOC.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Sports

The sports featured at the 2004 Summer Olympics are listed below. Officially there were 301 events in 28 sports as swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo are classified by the IOC as disciplines within the sport of aquatics, and wheelchair racing was a demonstration sport. For the first time, the wrestling category featured women's wrestling and in the fencing competition women competed in the sabre. American Kristin Heaston, who led off the qualifying round of women's shot put became the first woman to compete at the ancient site of Olympia.

The demonstration sport of wheelchair racing was a joint Olympic/Paralympic event, allowing a Paralympic event to occur within the Olympics, and for the future, opening up the wheelchair race to the able-bodied. The 2004 Summer Paralympics were also held in Athens, from 17 to 28 September.

2004 Summer Olympic Sports Programme

Calendar

All times are in Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
  Opening ceremony  Event competitions  Event finals  Closing ceremony
August11th
Wed
12th
Thu
13th
Fri
14th
Sat
15th
Sun
16th
Mon
17th
Tue
18th
Wed
19th
Thu
20th
Fri
21st
Sat
22nd
Sun
23rd
Mon
24th
Tue
25th
Wed
26th
Thu
27th
Fri
28th
Sat
29th
Sun
Gold
medals
Archery
Athletics









Badminton
Baseball
Basketball
Boxing

Canoeing





Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Field hockey
Football (soccer)
Gymnastics



Handball
Judo
Modern pentathlon
Rowing



Sailing
Shooting
Softball
Swimming





Synchronized swimming
Table tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Total gold medals
Cumulative total
Ceremonies
August11th
W
12th
Th
13th
F
14th
Sa
15th
Su
16th
M
17th
Tu
18th
W
19th
Th
20th
F
21st
Sa
22nd
Su
23rd
M
24th
Tu
25th
W
26th
Th
27th
F
28th
Sa
29th
Su

31 sports

Highlights

Closing ceremony

Balloons falling at the Athens 2004 Olympics Closing ceremony Athens 2004 Olympics Closing ceremony.jpg
Balloons falling at the Athens 2004 Olympics Closing ceremony

The Games were concluded on 29 August 2004. The closing ceremony was held at the Athens Olympic Stadium, where the Games had been opened 16 days earlier. Around 70,000 people gathered in the stadium to watch the ceremony.

The initial part of the ceremony interspersed the performances of various Greek singers, and featured traditional Greek dance performances from various regions of Greece (Crete, Pontos, Thessaly, etc.). The event was meant to highlight the pride of the Greeks in their culture and country for the world to see.

A significant part of the closing ceremony was the exchange of the Olympic flag of the Athens Games between the mayor of Athens and the mayor of Beijing, host city of the next Olympics. After the flag exchange a presentation from the Beijing delegation presented a glimpse into Chinese culture for the world to see. Beijing University students (who were at first incorrectly cited as the Twelve Girls Band) sang Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) accompanied by a ribbon dancer, then some male dancers did a routine with tai-chi and acrobatics, followed by dancers from the Peking Opera and finally, a little Chinese girl singing a reprise of Mo Li Hua and concluded the presentation by saying "Welcome to Beijing!"

The medal ceremony for the last event of the Olympics, the men's marathon, was conducted, with Stefano Baldini from Italy as the winner. The bronze medal winner, Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima of Brazil, was simultaneously announced as a recipient of the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his bravery in finishing the race despite being attacked by a rogue spectator while leading with 7 km to go.

A flag-bearer from each nation's delegation then entered along the stage, followed by the competitors en masse on the floor.

Short speeches were presented by Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, President of the Organising Committee, and by President Dr. Jacques Rogge of the IOC, in which he described the Athens Olympics as "unforgettable, dream Games". [7]

Dr. Rogge had previously declared he would be breaking with tradition in his closing speech as President of the IOC and that he would never use the words of his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch, who used to always say 'these were the best ever games'. [7] Dr. Rogge had described Salt Lake City 2002 as "superb games" and in turn would continue after Athens 2004 and describe Turin 2006 as "truly magnificent games."

The national anthems of Greece and China were played in a handover ceremony as both nations' flags were raised. The Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyianni, passed the Olympic Flag to the Mayor of Beijing, Wang Qishan. After a short cultural performance by Chinese actors, dancers, and musicians directed by eminent Chinese director Zhang Yimou, Rogge declared the 2004 Olympic Games closed. The Olympic flag was next raised again on 10 February 2006 during the opening ceremony of next Winter Olympics in Torino.

A young Greek girl, 10-year-old Fotini Papaleonidopoulou, lit a symbolic lantern with the Olympic Flame and passed it on to other children before "extinguishing" the flame in the cauldron by blowing a puff of air. The ceremony ended with a variety of musical performances by Greek singers, including Dionysis Savvopoulos, George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Anna Vissi, Sakis Rouvas, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Alkistis Protopsalti, Antonis Remos, Michalis Hatzigiannis, Marinella and Dimitra Galani, as thousands of athletes carried out symbolic displays on the stadium floor.

Medal count

Army Maj. Michael Anti (left) holds up his Silver medal in the Men's 50m Three-Position Rifle, Zhanbo Jia from China (center) took the Gold and Christian Planer (right) from Austria took the Bronze 2004 Olympics medal ceremony for the Men's 50m Three-Position Rifle Competition.jpg
Army Maj. Michael Anti (left) holds up his Silver medal in the Men's 50m Three-Position Rifle, Zhanbo Jia from China (center) took the Gold and Christian Planer (right) from Austria took the Bronze

These are the top ten nations that won medals in the 2004 Games.

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1Flag of the United States.svg  United States 363926101
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 32171463
3Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 28263690
4Flag of Australia.svg  Australia 17161649
5Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 1691237
6Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 14162050
7Flag of France.svg  France 1191333
8Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy 10111132
9Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea 912930
10Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 991230
Totals (10 nations)182164169515

Venues

OAKA

Athens Olympic Tennis Centre TennisAt2004SummerOlympics-1.jpg
Athens Olympic Tennis Centre
Athens Olympic Velodrome Athens velodrome.JPG
Athens Olympic Velodrome

HOC

Faliro

Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre hosting beach volleyball Beach Voley event 2004.JPG
Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre hosting beach volleyball

GOC

MOC

Football venues

Other venues

Galatsi Olympic Hall hosted gymnastics (rhythmic) and table tennis TableTennisAt2004SummerOlympics-1.jpg
Galatsi Olympic Hall hosted gymnastics (rhythmic) and table tennis

Sponsors

Sponsors of the 2004 Summer Olympics
Worldwide Olympic Partners
Grand Sponsors
Official Supporters
Official Providers

Legacy

Latvian postage stamp to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens 20040814 30sant Latvia Postage Stamp.jpg
Latvian postage stamp to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens
Ecuadorian postage stamp to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens Stamps of Ecuador, 2004-23.jpg
Ecuadorian postage stamp to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens

To commemorate the 2004 Olympics, a series of Greek high value euro collectors' coins were minted by the Mint of Greece, in both silver and gold. The pieces depict landmarks in Greece as well as ancient and modern sports on the obverse of the coin. On the reverse, a common motif with the logo of the Games, circled by an olive branch representing the spirit of the Games.

Preparations to stage the Olympics led to a number of positive developments for the city's infrastructure. These improvements included the establishment of Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, a modern new international airport serving as Greece's main aviation gateway; [27] expansions to the Athens Metro [28] system; the "Tram", a new metropolitan tram (light rail) system [29] system; the "Proastiakos", a new suburban railway system linking the airport and suburban towns to the city of Athens; the "Attiki Odos", a new toll motorway encircling the city, [30] and the conversion of streets into pedestrianized walkways in the historic center of Athens which link several of the city's main tourist sites, including the Parthenon and the Panathenaic Stadium (the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896). [31] [32] All of the above infrastructure is still in use to this day, and there have been continued expansions and proposals to expand Athens' metro, tram, suburban rail and motorway network, the airport, as well as further plans to pedestrianize more thoroughfares in the historic center of Athens.

The Greek Government has created a corporation, Olympic Properties SA, which is overseeing the post-Olympics management, development and conversion of these facilities, some of which will be sold off (or have already been sold off) to the private sector, [33] [34] while some other facilities are still in use, or have been converted for commercial use or modified for other sports. [35]

As of 2012 many conversion schemes have stalled owing to the Greek government-debt crisis. The annual cost to maintain the sites has been estimated at £500 million, a sum which has been politically controversial in Greece, [36] though many of these facilities are now under the control of domestic sporting clubs and organizations or the private sector.[ citation needed ]

The table below delineates the current status of the Athens Olympic facilities:

FacilityOlympics useCurrent/Proposed use
Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA)Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Track & Field, FootballHome pitch for Panathinaikos FC, [37] AEK FC [38] (football; Greek Super League, UEFA Champions League), Greek national football team (some matches), International football competitions; [39] Track & Field events (e.g. IAAF Athens Grand Prix [40] ), Concerts [41] [42] [43]
Athens Olympic Indoor Hall Basketball, GymnasticsHome court for Panathinaikos BC [44] and AEK BC [45] (Greek basketball league); Greek National Basketball Team, International basketball competitions, [46] Concerts [47] [48]
Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Water PoloDomestic and international swimming meets, [49] [50] [51] Public pool, [52] domestic league and European water-polo games.
Athens Olympic Tennis Centre TennisDomestic and international tennis matches, training courts open to the public and home of the Athens Tennis Academy, currently the best-kept facility in the complex [53] [54]
Athens Olympic Velodrome CyclingDomestic and international cycling meets [55]
Peace and Friendship Stadium VolleyballHome court for Olympiacos BC (basketball), [56] Concerts, Conventions and trade shows [57]
Helliniko Olympic Indoor Arena Basketball, HandballHome court for Panionios BC (basketball), [58] Conventions and trade shows [52]
Hellinikon Canoe/Kayak Slalom Centre Canoe/KayakTurned over to a private consortium (J&P AVAX, GEP, Corfu Waterparks and BIOTER), plans to convert it to a water park, [59] [60] although currently it is abandoned.
Hellinikon Olympic Hockey Centre Field HockeyMini-football, will be part of new Hellinikon metropolitan park complex [61]
Hellinikon Baseball Stadium BaseballMain ground (no. 1) converted to football pitch, home field of Ethnikos Piraeus F.C. (Football; Greek second division), [62] auxiliary ground (no. 2) abandoned.
Hellinikon Softball Stadium SoftballAbandoned [61]
Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre SailingCurrently out of use, turned over to the private sector (Seirios AE), will become marina with 1,000+ yacht capacity [63] and will be part of Athens' revitalized waterfront [64]
Ano Liosia Olympic Hall Judo, WrestlingTV filming facility, [52] Future home of the Hellenic Academy of Culture and Hellenic Digital Archive [65] [66]
Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre Beach VolleyballConcert and theater venue, it hosted Helena Paparizou's concert on 13 August 2005 to celebrate the first anniversary of the Olympic Games, currently sees minimal usage [67] plans to turn it into an ultra-modern outdoor theater [52]
Faliro Sports Pavilion Handball, TaekwondoConverted to the Athens International Convention Center, hosts concerts, conventions and trade shows [52] [66] [68] [69] [70]
Galatsi Olympic Hall Table Tennis, Rhythmic GymnasticsAfter 2004, was the home court of AEK BC (basketball) before the team moved to the Athens Olympic Indoor Hall. Turned over to the private sector (Acropol Haragionis AE and Sonae Sierra SGPS S.A), being converted to a shopping mall and retail/entertainment complex. [71]
Goudi Olympic Complex Badminton, Modern PentathlonNow the site of the ultra-modern Badminton Theater, hosting major theatrical productions [72] [73]
Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre EquestrianHorse racing, [74] Domestic and International Equestrian meets, [75] [76] Auto racing (rallye) [77]
Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre ShootingConverted to the official shooting range and training center of the Hellenic Police. [63] [78]
Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall WeightliftingHas hosted fencing competitions in the years following the Olympics, [52] but has recently been turned over to the University of Piraeus for use as an academic lecture and conference center. [66] [79]
Parnitha Olympic Mountain Bike Venue Mountain BikingPart of the Parnitha National Park. In public use for biking and hiking. [80] [81]
Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall BoxingPartially converted to a football pitch, also in use for gymnastics competitions. [52]
Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre Rowing and CanoeingOne of only three FISA-approved training centers in the world, the others being in Munich and Seville. [63] Hosts mainly domestic rowing and canoeing meetings. [82] [83] Part of the Schinias National Park, completely reconstructed by the German company Hochtief. [52]
Vouliagmeni Olympic Centre TriathlonTemporary facility, not in existence presently.
Kaftanzoglio Stadium FootballHome pitch for Iraklis FC (football; Greek Super League) [84] and temporary home pitch for Apollon Kalamarias FC (football; Greek second division). [85] Also in use for track and field meets. [86] Hosted the 2007 Greek football All-Star Game.
Karaiskaki Stadium FootballHome pitch for Olympiacos FC (football; Greek Super League) [87] and for the Greek National Football team. Also used as a concert venue.
Pampeloponnisiako Stadium FootballHome pitch for Panahaiki FC (football; Greek third division). [88] Also used for various track-and-field events, concerts, conventions, and friendly matches of the Greek National Football Team. [52]
Pankritio Stadium FootballHome pitch for OFI FC [89] [90] and Ergotelis FC (football; Greek Super League). [90] [91] Hosted the 2005 Greek football All-Star game. Also home to various track-and-field meets. [52]
Panthessaliko Stadium FootballHome pitch for Niki Volou FC (football; Greek third division). [52] Has also hosted concerts, conventions and track-and-field meets. [52]
Panathainaiko Stadium Marathon, ArcherySite of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. One of Athens' major tourist attractions, also used for occasional sporting and concert events. [92] [93] [94] [95]
The Ancient Stadium at Olympia Track and FieldOne of Greece's historic sites and largest tourist attractions, open to the public to this day. [96]
International Broadcast Centre (IBC)International Broadcast CentreHalf of it (the section fronting Kifissias Avenue) has been turned over to the private company Lambda Development SA and has been converted to a luxury shopping, retail, office and entertainment complex known as the "Golden Hall." [97] The remaining section, facing the Olympic Stadium itself, will become home to the Hellenic Olympic Museum and the International Museum of Classical Athletics. [52]

[52] [66] [98]

Olympic Athletes' VillageHousing2,292 apartments were sold to low-income individuals and today the village is home to over 8,000 residents. [52] Several communal installations however are abandoned and heavily vandalised.
Olympic Press VillageHousingIt has been turned over to the private sector and namely Lamda Developments S.A. (the same company which owns and runs the Mall of Athens and the Golden Hall), and has been converted to luxury flats.

Arguments about possible effects on Greece's debt crisis

There have been arguments (mostly in popular media) that the cost of the 2004 Athens Summer Games was a contributor to the Greek government-debt crisis that started in 2009, with a lot of focus on the use of the facilities after the Games. [99] This argument, however, contradicts the fact that Greece's Debt to GDP ratio was essentially not affected until the 2008 crisis, [100] while the cost of the Games, spread over years of preparation, was insignificant compared to Greece's public debt and GDP. [101] [102] Furthermore, the aforementioned arguments do not even take into account the profits (direct and indirect) generated by the Games, which may well have surpassed the above costs. Finally, popular arguments about "rotting" of many of the facilities, appear to ignore the actual utilization of most of these structures. [102]

Broadcast rights

See also

Notes

  1. The national teams of North Korea and South Korea competed separately in the Olympic events, even though they marched together as a unified Korean team in the opening ceremony.

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Preceded by
Sydney
Summer Olympic Games
Athens

XXVIII Olympiad (2004)
Succeeded by
Beijing