April 05, 2004

Will Athens Olympics be a Greek tragicomedy?: The SF Chronicle's Scott Ostler takes the mickey out of Athen's preparations (or lag or lack thereof) for the upcoming Summer Olympics. Security: "We have to worry about terrorism, especially because Athens is freeway close to many of the world's bad-guy headquarters." Stadium construction: "Of the 12 on the map, eight venues still are under construction. ... Construction has lagged behind schedule because of strikes, work stoppages and the fact that Athens wasn't chosen for a makeover on "Queer Eye for the Olympic Host City. ... The marathon route is said to be clogged with construction debris, and the running surface is not ready." How much of this is true? Is it really this bad? There's not been much news and it's only four months away. What's the truth behind the laughs?

posted by worldcup2002 to other at 11:32 AM - 12 comments

They recently celebrated putting the roof on one of the stadiums, and made it an international press invent trying to highlight all the remarkable progress being made. Too bad they have yet to install another larger roof of similar design. The quick piece on ESPN also noted that about half of the venues remain incomplete, but if they are counting the Aegan as complete, they are grasping at straws.

posted by garfield at 01:47 PM on April 05

So maybe Ostler's jokes aren't that far from the truth. And that's gonna be really sad (if not tragic) come August. Anyone in Europe with more coverage? The US media is woefully short on good coverage.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:53 PM on April 05

Ostler is right on, unfortunately. One more tidbit: 'barring any set backs', which in project management is Greek for 'when minataurs fly', the venues will be completed 3 weeks prior to the Opening Ceremony.

posted by garfield at 02:01 PM on April 05

I'm looking forward to watching the scuba divers painting the lines on the pool floor on opening day.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:09 PM on April 05

WC, you won't be able to see those divers due to the glare of the sun streaming down through what was supposed to be a roofed building but now will not be. Roofed or, probably, a building that gets used. Where's Halliburton, or rather their K&R group, when the world really needs them?

posted by billsaysthis at 06:21 PM on April 05

I really hope this.... -- What was the world thinking? The Olympics in Athens? Did we even check to see if Bakersfield was interested? wasn't just another American patronising Europeans....

posted by Brettski at 02:13 AM on April 06

The doggy problem is being addressed, at least.

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:30 AM on April 06

wasn't just another American patronising Europeans.... I think the author's still pissed and insecure about that whole Atlanta disaster.

posted by mkn at 07:45 AM on April 06

From the doggy article posted by FB: "Greece has a feral canine population conservatively estimated at more than half a million. At least 15,000 of the dogs can be spotted around Athens city centre, the groups claim. Most are thought to be domestic pets abandoned by their owners." I don't see why they're viewing this as a problem. This is an Olympian opportunity! Imagine ... The synchronized swim event ... with feral dogs! (new moves!) Race-walking event ... with feral dogs! (new records!) Archery ... with feral dogs! (shoot or run?) Equestrian events ... with feral dogs! (Which pack of dogs is the quickest to bring down a horse and its rider?)

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:34 PM on April 06

What I learned from this article: 1) In greece you can find falafel 2) The Greek currency is drachma 3) Swimming in August under heat results in spectators been cooked. 3) Scott is not very keen in having showers 4) Scott fantasizes about the actress of the torch-lighting ceremony. Well, after some research I found out that Numbers 1, and 2 are not correct. It took me some more time to establish that No 3 is also a lie (swimming venues in the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles, in 1992 in Barcelona and the US trials in 2004 in Long Beach - with a climate similar to that of Athens also did not have a roof. I could not find any reports of spectators been cooked on these events). As far as Numbers 4 and 5 are concerned, I am personaly not interested. Still care to take seriously this article....?

posted by kostas at 08:31 AM on April 08

Hi kostas, welcome to SpoFi! 1. Agreed, availability of falafel is not interesting. 2. Scott is a few years late on the introduction of the euro. 3. Point taken, but it still doesn't bode well when a planned roof is left off due to time constraints! 4. Who cares? 5. Who cares? I hated the article, because it reads like a bad stand-up comedy routine with corny and forced jokes. I hope his coverage of the Olympic events is better than this!

posted by dusted at 11:24 AM on April 08

From the article: Through all the controversy, and warnings from the IOC, and worry from the outside world, the Greek organizers remain upbeat and optimistic. Controversy? Warnings? Where is he getting this? Has anyone read anything else that would substantiate this piece?

posted by lilnemo at 05:16 PM on April 08

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