Yesterday was the opening ceremony for the 28th Olympics, in Athens Greece (I live in Greece, for the few that don’t know it already). Was the show good ? Yes it was. In fact it’s the best that I can remember. I can hardly recollect any memories from 1988 (Seoul) , but I remember 1992 (Barcelona) , 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney). I think this ceremony was the best I’ve seen…and it SHOULD be for a million reasons.

If you don’t come from Greece then you probably won’t know that our country is living it’s biggest democratic period for the last 500++ years…and how long this period is ? 30 years! During these years this country has improved dramatically with the efforts of so many working people. And now on the 30th year comes this “great” event that costs our economy about 6-10 Billion Dollars!!
The supporters of the olympic games say that the revenue will be bigger than we can imagine (mostly from tourism) and that our country will be more respected and so on. That can be true…but you have to define when that will take place, counting and adding how many years in the future will still be under the effect of the olympics. Because we pay the money now…we have to know when we will take them back…if there’s such a chance.

Another great issue is to whom these games appeal. Do they appeal to the hard working labour man ? To the business man or to the millionaires ? The answer is probably the ones that profit from these games because they are the mostly interested in them. Who can go and watch the great opening ceremony when the cheapest ticket costs 100E (then goes to 350E,750E and 950E). There are people living with under 500E pensions in Greece…and these people were invited to go buy a ticket. Are these people that yell about cheap tickets and so on playing with us ? Playing with our nerves or just playing with the future of this country ? I’m sure there are funny stories to be told by many about ticket experiences,…but there’s one coming straight from the political scene of Greece. The president of the second biggest party in Greece, PASOK, which is supposed to be a socialist party, denied being given a ticket for the VIP seats…and bought one to go sit with “the people who vote for him”. The funny thing is his ticket costed 950E for each person of his family. So for him, his wife and his daughter he needs 2×950=2850E for a 3 hour spectacular show. Now that’s a socialist move!

What’s also very funny is the fact that most stadiums were built by foreign workers living in Greece “almost illegally”. Some of them were given the famous “green cards” but the state has the right to kick them out or not renew their cards for the following year. What’s that got to do with olympics ? The answer is really straightforward. When these people had accidents they were forced to lie about the accident, by telling that they’ve had it before entering the olympic workspaces, else they were to be thrown out of the country. So most of these people were practically working without any chance of getting some money if the had an accident. The whole matter was of course not covered by major newspapers/media because they wouldn’t be given the infamous “olympic advertisments”, and we all know how the media depends on the advertisting companies.

Money, money, money…that’s all about the olympics. Nothing more. We had the opportunity as Greeks to show the rest of the world what the true olympics are. But there wasn’t any chance that we were left alone to do it. A country that organizes olympic games without big sponsors is doomed. It’s funny to even speak about “Coca-Cola Torch Relay”. This is our way of showing to the world the olympic spirit ? By having a sponsor for the torch relay ? When in the past did someone have to pay to be a part of the relay ? Aren’t only the ones who deserve it, supposed to hold the torch ? Do I deserve to hold it because I can afford to pay 300E and a labour man that works all day and builts these magnificent stadiums isn’t ?

Just some pins here:

  • What’s the relation of Juan Antonio Samarank to Santiago Calatrava ? Was the second offered the work of the roof of the Olympic Stadium (and the money of course) as an exchange for Mr. Samarank’s support for Athens when he was president of the IOC back in 1997?
  • What’s Mrs. Angelopoulou (the president of the Athens 2004 comittee) husband doing as a living ? Where did he find the money to rebuild his ruining industrial businness ?
  • Will we ever see again acts like the ones from Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the olympics ?
  • I am really ashamed as a Greek for all that. That’s trully not like our past and I wouldn’t like it to be our future…

    P.S. Maybe I’ll write some more as the games go on. There are a lot of things to be said.