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The Athens Hash House Harriers guide to

Olympic Games 2004 Facts & Figures

- The 28th modern Olympiad -


First Olympic Games: 776 B.C. in Olympia, Greece

Athens Olympic games dates: Friday 13 - Sunday 29 August 2004 A.D.

Athens Paralympic games dates:  Friday 17 - Tuesday 28 September 2004 A.D.


President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC): Jacques Rogge

President of the International Paralympics Committee (IPC): Phil Craven

President of the ATHENS 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC): Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki

Mayor of Athens: Mrs. Dora Bakoyanni (daughter of ex- ND prime minister Mitsotakis)

Prime Minister & Minister of Culture: Costas Karamanlis (came to power in March 2004)

Alternate Minister of Culture: Mrs. Fani Petralia

General Secretary for the Olympic Games: Professor Constantinos Cartalis


Former US President George Bush (Senior) accompanied by his wife Barbara, twin granddaughters Barbara & Jenna & 20 FBI security agents arrived in the northern port city of Kavala some 700 Km Northeast of Athens on Tuesday 10th August on a plane chartered by Greek business magnate Spyros Latsis (whose late father Yannis was a personal friend of the Bush family). They embarked on a Latsis family yacht (The newly outfitted Tumara - on her maiden voyage) and travelled south to the Athens port of Piraeus in order to attend the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday 13th August. Then they continued their cruise around the Aegean islands ( firstly Lesvos).

It was claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin stayed on another large Latsis yacht, the 122-metre Alexander which in past summers often hosted former President Bush.

MASCOTS Phevos & Athena

A symbol of fraternity & brotherhood between countries, of joyful participation in the games & equality between the two sexes. Their designer Spyros Gogos was inspired by a bell-shaped doll of antiquity.

Phevos derives from the name of the ancient Apollon, god of the light and the music. Athena carries the name of the goddess of wisdom and protector of ancient Athens.


A humorous prelude to the ceremony occurred when presenter Nikos Aliagas took part in a sketch where workmen in blue worksuits pretended to hammer in a few last-minute nails and then said "it's finished".

The Opening Ceremony on 13th August (held in the OAKA main Olympic stadium) began with a young boy sailing across a manmade lake in a paper origami boat, waving a small Greek flag. It was soon followed by a representation of the three periods of ancient Greek sculpture in the form of giant statues that broke apart and hovered above the stadium core.

The story continued through 3000 years of Greek history & culture as depicted in art, primarily sculpture - underlining the Games' Greek origins. A train of floats paraded living motifs past a packed stadium. Dazzlingly coloured Minoan frescoes & Minoan bull-leaping were at the head, followed by black and brick-red Geometric vase figures. Hercules & Alexander the Great. Then came the Archaic and Classical periods with powdered muscular men posing as Kouroi - monumental statues standing with their hands by their sides - and finally the freer bronze sculpture of Praxiteles depicting athletes in motion.

The caravanserai moved quickly through Byzantium, with a passing reference to Emperor Justinian and his Empress Theodora, taking after the Gothic mosaics of Ravenna in Italy. Towards the end of the parade came the Greek Revolution of 1821 (and war hero Theodoros Kolokotronis) , which began to carve a modern Greek state out of the Ottoman empire, featuring honour guards with their pom-pom shoes and fustanella skirts. Finally came the modern period of popular and high art - bouzouki and Maria Callas. Even included was Karagiozis, the popular underdog of the Greek shadow-puppet theatre. References to war and religion were pointedly absent.

There were about 74, 000 spectators for the Opening Ceremony.

Tiesto, twice voted the #1 DJ in the world by DJ Magazine made Olympic history on 13th August when he became the first DJ ever to perform in an Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. He was introduced by Mrs. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and played music including new tracks produced especially for the Opening Ceremony for the 90-minute parade of the approx. 10, 500 athletes. He said it was the first time he worked on such a mammoth production.

Some of the ceremony was set to music composed by Mikis Theodorakis & Manos Hatzidakis.

There were 202 delegations of the participant countries in the parade of athlete at the Opening Ceremony. They entered in alphabetical order (based on the Greek spellings of the country's names) but as host country, Greece (Hellas) entered last.

The production director David Zolkwer said that the Opening Ceremony employed close to 2,000 moving lights, mounted on what is probably the largest mobile light rig ever installed. It also featured one of the most complex aerial flying systems ever utilised for a one-off show, capable of moving over 10 tonnes of scenery in three dimensions. Deep underground the Olympic Stadium a chamber 23 metres deep and 25 metres wide was built to act as a backstage area. The stadium was crammed with the most advanced theatrical technology in the world, yet the majority of it was hidden .. or suspended high above the spectators heads.


Acclaimed Greek jeweller & designer Elena Votsi was responsible for redesigning the Olympic medals (that since the Italian Guiseppe Cassioli's design for the 1928 Amsterdam Games have not only been symbolically incorrect but have failed to reflect the Greek origin & character of the Games). Votsi was chosen to replace the Roman amphitheatre (reminiscent of the Colosseum) with an image of the Kallimarmaro Panathenaic Stadium, site of the first modern games. Also, the figure of Nike, the ancient Greek goddess of victory was to be depicted according to the legend descending from the sky in an upright position ready to place the laurel wreath on the head of the winner - and not seated in a chariot as had been the case since 1928. Additionally, in the background the outline of the Parthenon. On the reverse side Votsi chose to layer an engraving of the Olympic Flame over a line from poet Pindar's 8th Olympic Ode, composed in 460BC. The front side of the medal will remain the same for ALL FUTURE OLYMPIC GAMES. Her medal designs were presented to the media on 2 June 2003. [Note: Elena Votsi's shop is at 7 Xanthou Street, Kolonaki. Tel: 210-360-0936]


The security system (called C4I standing for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) was designed & built by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) at a cost of 255 million euros. It concentrates all information and management of resources in a vast network of computers, cameras and sensors - such as fence sensors & fire detectors. The system links ships, helicopters, Patriot missile batteries, AWACS, airships, and a NATO special forces battalion. It allows 1,200 users (from the police, coastguard, fire brigade, etc) to file incidence reports, monitor over 1,000 video cameras, watch changing position of police vehicles, track manpower allocation, pull up maps, check hospital availability, etc. A fibre-optic network (laid by OTE) connects more than 100 operations centres.

Key components of the C4I system such as the Command Decision Support System (CDSS) were functioning after the 24-25th July weekend when, after problems arose, the software for the mainframe computers was completely re-installed after SAIC technicians worked a 30-hour shift. About 400 users had been logged-on to the system by 29th July. The Olympic torch relay on 11 August was the first real use & live-test of the system.

Uniformed security forces (including Police, Army) numbered 58,000 but their presence was very discreet. Only 10 very minor incidents occurred during the games.

The port of Piraeus was protected by coast guard vessels and divers patrolling the Saronic gulf & underwater sonar equipment and sensors to prevent any attack from the deep. Reinforced steel gates and high fences monitored by hundreds of newly-installed cameras offer added protection for the port's luxury cruise-ship floating hotels. A minesweeper combed the harbour area before the ships arrived.

The weapons of mass destruction defence operation known as Distinguished Games, was the first major mission of NATO's new Multinational Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Task Force. It was based at the Greek beach resort of Halkida by 1st August.

A senior Palestinian official ( Marwan Abdelhamid - diplomatic representative in Athens for President Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Aurthority) said on August 10 that no true Arab or Muslim would carry out any violence against the Athens Olympics. The Palestinians and their security forces had been instructed by Arafat to cooperate closely with the Greek government. Earlier in the year Arafat signed the Olympic Truce.


Security passes for 180,000 Olympic delegates were issued (against an original projection of 150,000). They were issued in an average time of 15 minutes (as against 2 hours in Sydney).


Atos Origin, providers of the 2004 Olympics IT and data network said their systems are build to withstand attacks from both without and within - and only for $100 million more than what was spent on the significantly smaller Salt Lake Winter Games. The company has already agreed with the IOC to head IT for the Beijing 2008 and will use the opportunity to boost it's presence in the vast Chinese market.

The Athens 2004 system consists of over 10,000 computers, 900 servers and 4,000 score results terminals at over 60 Games venues. It uses a closed (physically isolated) network to handle sports information, accreditation, protocol & the transport database - so is not vunerable to outside interference or hacking.

The Technology Operations Centre (TOC) is a 600 square metre nerve centre inside ATHOC headquarters that monitored all sports information during the Games. Row upon row of computers fill the room with the far wall covered in television screens positioned for live stadium coverage. The TOC entered 24-hour operation on July 20.

The size of the Athens IT project is triple that of Salt Lake Winter Games but the value of the IT budget has risen by no more than 33 percent. The system will cost US$380-400 million compared to US$300 million for Salt Lake.


Average time to confirm & issue event results to Journalists & the Media was less than 2 minutes.


Public transport was used by 3.1 million spectators daily.

Transportation journeys for the Olympic family averaged 95,000 daily. Of those journeys, 36,000 were for athletes, 52,000 for journalists, & 8,500 for VIP visitors.

One million transport maps (500,000 in Greek & 500,000 in English) were printed and distributed free of charge.

Major Olympic traffic restrictions took effect on 1st August with road lanes cordoned off for Olympic bus & vehicle use & public transport use.

The suburban railway to the airport came into service on 30th July.

The Athens Tram system came into service in the 1st week of July.


The capital has been improved with the construction of 90 km of new motorway around the city & the improvement of approximately 120 km of existing roadway.


To provide additional, secure accommodation for thousands of dignitaries, world leaders and officials, the port of Piraeus (Europes biggest passenger port) hosted 8 cruise ships including the world's largest, most luxurious & technologically advanced luxury liner the Queen Mary 2 (which can accommodate 2,600 people - and is 343 metres long, 21 stories tall and cost 653 million Euros i.e. 800 million dollars). Other liners were Ocean Countess, World Renaissance, Silver Whisper, Olympia Explorer, Olympia Voyager, Olympia Countess, Oosterdam, Aidaura.

The Olympic Village has 2,292 newly-built apartments for athletes.

Games organisers ATHOC booked about 90 percent of the hotel rooms in the Athens region.

The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) said that Athens hotels expected to sell 100,000 to 150,000 beds a night during the August 13-29 Games but had sold only 70,000 to 120,000. This was mainly due to overpricing. They then cut prices for mid-range hotels to 150 euros from 350-400 euros and for luxury hotels to 350 euros from 500-600 euros per night.


Of the 25 venues that were constructed:

Ministry of Public Works - built five of the sporting venues.
Ministry of Labour - built the Olympic village
Ministry of Public Order - built the Media Village
Ministry of Education - built two Media Villages that will later become student campuses


For the period of the Games, for breakfast in the 7 Press Villages a total of 400,000 crousannts, 210,000 omelettes, 137,000 bread rolls, 6,500 kilos of turkey and 4,500 kilos of cheese were consumed.

In the Olympic Village a shortage of cerials occured as there were 2.5 tons consumed in the first 48 hours - against a projected consumption ( & purchase) of 3 tons for the whole period of the Games.


From a record breaking 160,000 volunteer applications (from a program launched 3-years prior to the games), 90,000 interviews were held. From these, 48,000 volunteers were chosen. Some 4,500 of these were foreign nationals, the largest number of foreign volunteers in the history of the games. In Sydney, 20,000 volunteers left their posts but in Athens the number was negligible, Some were given days off early in the games due to the smaller number of spectators.

A collection of national team pins - pinned onto their pass straps - became the status symbols of the volunteers. Athletes & coaches were approached for them at access points. Getting on TV was another major preoccupation with volunteers - but this was more a matter of luck. Many spectators liked to have their pictures taken with volunteers.


A multimillion-euro large-scale streetscape facelift was undertaken in Athens where about 300 roads - nearly 100 km of asphalt - were repaved and a corrugated non-slip surface now covers nearly 40 km of busy, main roads. About 65 percent of the city's broken pavement was also repaired. Potholes & other menacing cavities cursed by motorists were also filled. Pedestrianised projects were completed and wheelchair ramps set into pavements. The city's two main squares Omonia and Syntagma were given major facelifts as were Koumoundourou and Kolonaki squares. Buildings along the so-called Olympic route: Vas. Sofias, Vas. Constantinou and Alexandras Ave. were repainted & refurbished - as were buildings on Academias, Ardittou, Ippokratous & parts of Kallirois. Street & park lighting was fixed, new road signs put up, messy rubbish bins replaced, broken park benches repaired. Advertising hoardings were removed from rooftops. Thousands of new parking spaces were created. Finally, hundreds of trees, bushes & flowers were planted in order to breathe new life into the city.

The widened (to a dual-carriageway including footpaths) and newly resurfaced Marathon-to-Athens route was handed over to the Olympic planners on 26th July. A statue of Pheidippides, the man who ran from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to announce Greece's victory against the Persians, was placed to the side of the road some 20 km from Athens.

Athens, host city to the Games is home to nearly half of Greece's 10.9 million inhabitants.


Refuse collection and restocking of shops and stores took place at night during the Games.

Only 2 very minor power cuts occurred in the city during the games and these did not affect Olympic venues.


The Athens Olympic Games were budgeted at 4.6 billion euros but have cost over 7.0 billion euros (US$8.5 billion). Security costs rose to 1.2 billion euros (US$1.5 billion). Some analysts predict the final price tag could climb to 10 billion euros (US$12.5 billion).

Deputy FInance Minister Petros Doukas said at the Athens Business Club (a forum created to attract post-Olympic investment): "The Olympic games were funded by the central state.... We did not cut corners - not for security, not for equipment, not for the quality of venues, and not for the comfort of our guests".

Approximately 5.3 million seats were available for the games. Organisers reached their ticket sales goal of 3.4 million with five days left until the closing ceremony. Most tickets were sold for the semifinals and finals & many last-minute tickets were sold for these. Final ticket sales reached 3.5 million - bringing in a total of 200 million euros. Generally, the ticket prices were 30 percent lower than at Sydney.

Multinational sponsors included Coca-Cola, Kodak, McDonalds, Xerox, Time Inc. and Panasonic and income from these is expected to reach 248 million euros.

Revenues from national sponsors had reached 274 million euros by May 2003 including:

-OTE telephone company - 59 million euros

-Alpha Bank - 73 million euros

Revenues from officially licenced products are expected to be 728 million euros


TV networks paid the IOC 1.5 billion Euros to broadcast the Athens Games.
TV viewership of the Olympic Games was approximately 4 billion people.
There was a record number of TV viewers for the Athens Games.
USA: 95 million in first 2 days of Games (8-million more than Sydney)
GERMANY: Reached 12.95 million (3.9 million more than Sydney)
JAPAN: 15.6 million daily


Christos Hadjiemanuel, the Head of the state company Olympic Properties S.A. which is managing 14 Olympic facilities - including the main press centre, riding, shooting and rowing venues - said the future of the facilities have not yet been decided. Some were handed over to the Games organisers without even being contractually finished & so cannot actually be considered completed yet.


The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) have instituted strict punishments to protect the health of athletes and the authenticity of athletic results.

- Another Mad Dog special section -

(Acknowledgement to the Athens News, Metro magazine, SportDay, etc.)