2004 Summer Olympics

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Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
Games of the XXVIII Olympiad

Ancient victors were crowned with olive
wreaths (Gk. kotinos) — a tradition echoed
with this games' medalists. The colours of
the logo come from the Flag of Greece.

Host city Athens, Greece
Nations participating 201
Athletes participating 11,099
Events 301 in 28 sports
Opening ceremony August 13
Closing ceremony August 29
Officially opened by President Costis Stephanopoulos
Athlete's Oath Zoi Dimoschaki
Judge's Oath Lazaros Voreadis
Olympic Torch Nikolaos Kaklamanakis
Stadium Olympic Stadium

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, were held in Athens, Greece, from August 13 to August 29, 2004. 11,099 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 201 countries. Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance. There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports.

Contents

[edit] Bid and preparations

The ceremony for the lighting of the flame is arranged as a pagan pageant, with "priestesses" dancing.
The ceremony for the lighting of the flame is arranged as a pagan pageant, with "priestesses" dancing.

Athens was chosen as the host city during the 106th IOC Session held in Lausanne in 05 September 1997, after surprisingly losing the bid to organize the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta nearly seven years before, on 18 September 1990, during the 96th IOC Session in Tokyo. Athens, under the direction of Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, pursued another bid, this time for the right to organize the 2004 games. 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 played in the promotion of the Olympic Movement. 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, and Saint Petersburg.[1]

2004 Summer Olympics bidding results
Bid NOC Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
Athens 2004 Flag of Greece Greece 32 - 38 52 66
Rome 2004 Flag of Italy Italy 23 - 28 35 41
Cape Town 2004 Flag of South Africa South Africa 16 62 22 20 -
Stockholm 2004 Flag of Sweden Sweden 20 - 19 - -
Buenos Aires 2004 Flag of Argentina Argentina 16 44 - - -

NBC Universal paid the IOC $793 million for U.S. broadcast rights,[2] the most paid by any country. NBC made it possible for the network to broadcast over 1200 hours of coverage during the games, triple what was broadcast in the U.S. four years earlier. Between all the NBC Universal networks (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA Network & Telemundo) the games were on television 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, concerns about terrorism were much higher. Greece increased the budget for security at the Olympics to €970 million (US$1.2 billion). Approximately 70,000 police officers patrolled Athens and the Olympic venues during the Olympics. NATO and the European Union also provided minor support, after Athens asked for co-operation.

When the International Olympic Committee expressed its concern over the progress of construction work of the new Olympic venues, a new Organizing Committee was formed in 2000 under President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. In the years leading up to the Games, Athens was transformed into a city that uses state-of-the-art technology in transportation and urban development. Some of the most modern sporting venues in the world were built to host the 2004 Olympic Games.

[edit] Venue construction delays

Inside the Athens Olympic Stadium
Inside the Athens Olympic Stadium

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, with the sliding over of a futuristic glass roof designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The same architect also designed the Velodrome and other facilities.

Sunset view of the Velodrome -left- and OAKA Arch & Plaza adjacent to the Olympic Stadium
Sunset view of the Velodrome -left- and OAKA Arch & Plaza adjacent to the Olympic Stadium

Other facilities, such as the streetcar line linking venues in southern Athens with the city proper, were considerably behind schedule just two months before 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 OAKA Plaza and Arch adjacent to the Olympic Stadium
The OAKA Plaza and Arch adjacent to the Olympic Stadium

Late July and early August witnessed the Athens Tram and Light Rail become operational, and these two systems finally connected Athens with its waterfront communities along the Saronic Gulf, such as its 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 14,500-seater indoor basketball arena, and the softball and baseball stadia), and Faliro (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 Athens proper 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.

For the first time the Olympic Flame toured the world.
For the first time the Olympic Flame toured the world.

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

EMI released Unity, the official pop album of the Athens Olympics, in the leadup to the Olympics. It features contributions from Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Moby, Destiny's Child, Hikaru Utada and Avril Lavigne. EMI has pledged to donate US$180,000 from the album to UNICEF's HIV/AIDS program in Sub-Saharan Africa.[3]

At least 14 people died during the work on the facilities. Most of these people were not from Greece.[4]

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 had also been protesting, as they wanted the same Olympic bonuses promised to their security force counterparts.

[edit] Mascots

The mascots were based on this clay model at the National Archaelogical Museum
The mascots were based on this clay model at the National Archaelogical Museum
Soft toys were one of the many items of merchandising available at the Games: Athiná
Soft toys were one of the many items of merchandising available at the Games: Athiná

Since the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France it has been the tradition to have a mascot for the games; for 2004, the official mascots were sister and brother, Athiná and Phévos (pronounced in Greek, Athina and Fivos), named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and Phoebos, the god of light and music, respectively. They were inspired by the ancient daidala which were dolls that had religious links as well as being toys.

[edit] 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.[5]

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.[6]

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 on TV 24 hours a day on one network or another.

[edit] Technology

As with any enterprise, the Organizing Committee and everyone involved with it rely 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 (UTP)).

View of the ATHOC Technology Operations Center during the Games.
View of the ATHOC Technology Operations Center during the Games.

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. 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.

[edit] Opening Ceremony

The well-received 2004 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony was held on August 13. As part of the theatrics, the Olympic rings are seen burning in a pool of water.
The well-received 2004 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony was held on August 13. As part of the theatrics, the Olympic rings are seen burning in a pool of water.
A bare-breasted priestess holding snakes, based on a Minoan statue
A bare-breasted priestess holding snakes, based on a Minoan statue

The widely praised [1] Opening Ceremony by avant garde choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou held on August 13, 2004 began with a twenty eight (the number of the Olympiads up to then) second countdown paced by the sounds of an amplified heartbeat. As the countdown was completed, fireworks rumbled and illuminated the skies overhead. After a drum corp 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 duel 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 haunting 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 the National Broadcasting Company in the United States presented the entire opening ceremony from start to finish, a topless Minoan goddess was shown only briefly, the breasts having been pixelated digitally in order to avoid potential fines by the Federal Communications Commission (and because the "Janet Jackson" incident was still in recent memory). 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.

The olympic flame at the Opening Ceremony.
The olympic flame at the Opening 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, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, China among the last to enter the stadium. 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. The country of Kiribati made a debut appearance at these games and East Timor made a debut appearance under its own flag. Due to the unpopularity of the American-led invasion of Iraq among Greeks, it had been expected that audience members would protest the war during the entrance of the American delegation into the stadium by booing; however, the roar of cheers and applause the Americans received was among the loudest of the evening.[7][8][9]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. 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 the parade.

The Opening Ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron by 1996 Gold Medalist Windsurfer Nikolaos Kaklamanakis. 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.

[edit] Closing ceremony

Athens 2004 Olympics Closing ceremony
Athens 2004 Olympics Closing ceremony

The Games were concluded on August 29, 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 Antwerp games between the mayor of Athens and the mayor of Beijing, host city of the next Olympic games. After the flag exchange a presentation from the Beijing delegation presented a glimpse into Chinese culture for the world to see. The Twelve Girls Band from China sang Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) and the medal ceremony for the last event of the Olympiad, the men's marathon, was conducted, with Stefano Baldini from Italy as the winner.

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".

It should be noted that 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' (with the notable exception of Atlanta 1996). 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.

A young Greek girl, 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 Anna Vissi, Sakis Rouvas, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Alkistis Protopsalti, Marinella, George Dalaras, Dimitra Galani, and Haris Alexiou, as thousands of athletes carried out symbolic displays on the stadium floor.

[edit] Sports

The sports featured at the 2004 Summer Olympics are listed below. Officially there were 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 shotput became the first woman to compete at the ancient site of Olympia but Cuban Yumileidi Cumba became the first woman to win a gold medal there.

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 September 17 to 28.

See also: :Category:Competitors at the 2004 Summer Olympics

[edit] Participating NOCs

Participating nations
Participating nations

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 the total number of participating nations increased from 199 to 201. The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that NOC contributed.

[edit] Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games:

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States United States 36 39 27 102
2 China China 32 17 14 63
3 Russia Russia 27 27 38 92
4 Australia Australia 17 16 16 49
5 Japan Japan 16 9 12 37
6 Germany Germany 13 16 20 49
7 France France 11 9 13 33
8 Italy Italy 10 11 11 32
9 South Korea South Korea 9 12 9 30
10 Great Britain Great Britain 9 9 12 30

[edit] Venues

[edit] Competition venues

[edit] Football (soccer) venues

[edit] Non-competition venues

  • Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport
  • International Broadcast Centre IBC
  • Main Press Centre
  • Olympic Village
  • Olympic Youth Camp (Shoinias)
  • Goudi Depot (VIP Transportation)
  • Hellenikon Depot (Press/VIP Transportation)
  • Dekelia Depot (Athletes Transportation)
  • Vari Depot (Judges/Referees Transportation)

[edit] Notes and references

  1. ^ International Olympic Committee - Athens 2004 - Election
  2. ^ NBC Universal rings in Athens profits by Krysten Crawford, CNNMoney.com, August 30, 2004.
  3. ^ Unity Olympics Album. The Star Online eCentral.
  4. ^ Workers in peril at Athens sites, BBC News Online, July 23, 2004.
  5. ^ Pfanner, Eric. "Athens Games beating Sydney in TV race", International Herald Tribune, 2004-08-30. Retrieved on 2006-08-18.
  6. ^ "You're Athletes, Not Journalists", Wired News, 2004-08-20. Retrieved on 2006-08-18.
  7. ^ Fraser, Andrew, Matt Davis. "Athens lights up the Games", BBC Sport Online, 2004-08-14. Retrieved on 2006-08-18.
  8. ^ "Americans surprised by warm welcome", Indianapolis Star, 2004-08-14.
  9. ^ U.S. cheered at Games opening ceremonies, Reuters (hosted by SI.com), August 14, 2004.

[edit] External links


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