The Olympics

The Olympics

Text

News, information and stories about the 2016 Brazilian Olympic Games and the Olympics in general.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Undiscovered Country

I am pleased to say that, during the course of the Olympic Games, this site has had over 25000 unique visitors from around the world.



Thanks for visiting.



I have also had a number of emails from some of you; some supportive and complimentary, others critical.



I have appreciated the constructive comments, both positive and negative; and have copied below extracts of two emails, that I received on Sunday, that reflect the variety of views that have been expressed about this site. The authors have given me permission to use the extracts.



Regarding the future, this site will continue to grow and develop; as I begin to change focus from Athens to the Olympic Games to be held in Beijing in 2008.



Therefore, I hope that all of you; both those that like the site, and those that don't, continue to visit.



Ken



View One



"Hi there, first of all what a great site you have - found it only today and wished we had seen it before!!



We are British living in Northern Greece for the last 18 months and our only TV access at the moment is Greek..............



We watched the opening ceremony with our Greek neighbours....... When the doping fiasco started with their athletes it was a case of who was to blame, first the

Americans..., next the Greek Mafia and finally the Norwegians who apparently are tampering with the Greek athletes urine samples in Norway!!



Now that we have found you site we will visit often and will certainly recommend it to friends........."




View Two



"...You certainly know how to put the "frost" on the magnificent Olympics in Greece. Are you simply doing an overkill with your sense of humor?



Ok, granted, many negative occurrences are evident throughout the Olympics, however can you at least focus on a few positive facts? I'm curious; who is your employer?



Greece was like the parents of the bride. They had given gave birth to a beautiful baby- the Olympics. And now came the celebration of their daughter's wedding. They pulled out all of the stoppers. Of course, they will be paying off this "loan" for a long time to come. And if you compare it again to a wedding as a one day event, so much money for one day, so to speak, if it is an only child- it was well worth it.Greece has been slapped around enough, has been tough through global and media verbal abuse. Greece is such a SMALL COUNTRY because it has been made that way by surrounding countries occupations, by the take-over of 1/2 of Cyprus, which should have joined Greece decades before, as did the island of Crete.



Where am I getting to?



It's time to put Greece on the map again. Why don't you try a new approach and write about all the inhumanities history has imposed on Greece. Be mindful of what sources you use for reference.



Are you afraid to do this?



Maybe the Turks will censor such a brave task on your part? Then you can honestly report on what a great job such a small country has accomplished in Athens 2004.



Here's where you can start- the Romans using Greeks as slaves,the stealing of their mythology, teachers, the fatal abuse of their athletic,strong and courageous men in their colliseums. The Ottoman Empire's wrath and exile out of Constantinopole, Smyrna, etc. How the history books of Turkey have been changed with no reference of their "acquired": relics, land, etc. to the Greeks. Their children are led to

believe that they were the oppressed and the Greeks- the oppressor! The Italian

and German invasions What about Serbia- stole the young men, male babies,

trained them in their camps to fight against the Greeks. The new republic of

Macedonia, using the name of Macedonia, birthplace of the Greek-Alexander the

Great, as their newly formed country's name!



This is not propaganda or heresay.



It is the truth of a small country that surrounding nations would like to take

over.



I hope it will not crumble or get strangled by the expensive acceptance of the Euro and I pray it not have the same fate as Sarajevo.



I challenge you to a new view in your "reporting". Do you dare to change your approach. Be the "devil's advocate" or should I say "angel's advocate"? If you

need contacts for referencing, please feel free to contact me...."

Monday, August 30, 2004

Adieu Athens

The closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympics went without a hitch last night.



The show included fireworks, dancing, closing remarks by International Olympics Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge; and the presentation of the Olympic flag to the mayor of Beijing, China, where the 2008 Summer games will take place.



Kudos to the organisers, the Games went off without calamity or disaster.



Now those that attended the Games, along with the locals who delayed holidays, are all making their way to the airport.



It is estimated that 200,000 people will leave for overseas destinations over the next 48 hours.



What a Plonker!

In one of the most bizarre incidents of the Games, an Irish gentleman wearing a rather unusual costume grabbed the leading marathon runner (Brazil's Vanderlei de Lima) in yesterday's race.



Needless to say this put the poor chap (the runner) off his stroke, and he came in third.



Italy's Stefano Baldini won the race.



The incident happened after about 22 miles. The man, dressed in a green beret, a white shirt, a red kilt and green knee socks ran onto the course, grabbed de Lima and pushed him off the roadway onto the sidewalk.



He later claimed that he was promoting the "second coming".



Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Olympic Spirit

It is reported that Britain's Olympic boxing hero Amir Khan, who won silver today, has turned down the chance to become a professional boxer; opting instead to remain as an amateur fighter, for at least the next two years.



His performances in the ring in Athens have been likened to Muhammad Ali.



He has indicated that he wishes to fight in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.



Let Wheat Grow

Tonight sees the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games, as the Greeks pass on responsibility for hosting them to the Chinese.



Therefore expect fireworks, and an Asian feel to tonight's ceremony.



The Olympic stadium will be put to good use afterwards, it will be turned into a wheatfield.

Dopehead

Another dope addled "athlete" has been kicked out of the Games.



This time it is the Colombian cyclist, Maria Luisa Calle Williams, who has been stripped of her bronze medal after testing positive for a banned stimulant.



Dopes Out

More dope ridden "athletes" have been ejected from the Games.



This time the honour falls on Hungary's Ferenc Gyurkovics, a silver medal winning weightlifter, and Puerto Rican wrestler Mabel Fonseca.

The Party's Almost Over

The Athens Olympics have abut a few hours left to run, before the closing ceremony.



However, the Chinese are already preparing to take the Olympic flag this evening; in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, which will be held in Beijing.



The Chinese are promising that their Games will be the best ever.



This site will follow the progress towards the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

No Show

In rather a bizarre change of plans, Colin Powell has cancelled his visit to Athens; he cited "urgent responsibilities".



It seems he will visit later in the year instead.



Last night police fought running battles with demonstrators, as they attempted to march without success to the US embassy.



Prior to this announcement, demonstrators had managed to breach security by hanging a large banner on the Acropolis, in front of CNN, saying: "Powell, killer, go home".



Whilst the anti USA demonstrators will doubtless be crowing about their "success" in driving Powell away; the rumour is that Powell was persuaded by the Greek authorities not to come, for fear of provoking a PR and security debacle.



Missing Athlete

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) appear to have lost an athlete.



Having kicked out Russian 400 metres runner Anton Galkin, for drug offences; the IOC are now looking for Hungarian hammer thrower, Adrian Annus.



The Hungarian National Olympic Committee have been asked to notify the IOC of his whereabouts.



If anyone sees him in Athens, please drop the IOC a note.



Friday, August 27, 2004

Famine Follows Feast

The party is now almost over, and like all parties, there is a bill which someone is going to have to settle.



In Greece's case, the bill for the Olympics 2004 looks like topping $12BN; that's one hell of a price tag.



The money has been found from state funds, ie the Greek taxpayer will be "coughing up" for this for some time into the future.



The other question that has yet to be answered is this:



"What will a small country like Greece do with all the large Olympic venues that it has built?"



They will cost over $100M a year to maintain.



Christos Chatziemmanouil, president of Hellenic Olympic Properties, noted that a demand will have to be created.



Quite!

Hissy Fit

Greek spectators threw a "hissy fit" yesterday, at the beginning of the 200 metres.



Distraught that Costas Kenteris, one half of the "dynamic duo" of doping/sprinting, was not allowed to run; the spectators vented their spleens by booing and chanting.



The immature tantrum caused the start of the race to be delayed for five minutes.



The top three positions were won by the US.



No Go Areas

Colin Powell's visit to Athens looks like causing a bit of a stir.



There are plans by a number of organisations to march to the US embassy in Athens, at 19:00 this evening, to protest about the visit.



However, the police are planning on setting up road blocks; this will ensure that the demonstrations do not get out of hand.



However, the demonstrators don't seem to see it that way; they are reported to be ready to ignore the police road block.



Organisers expect thousands of people to turn up for the demonstration.



No Duplicates

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected South Korea's complaint about scoring, and their request to have a duplicate gold medal awarded in the men's gymnastics competition.



For good measure, the IOC also turned down the request for duplicate gold medals arising from a judging error in the equestrian competition.



The IOC president, Jacques Rogge, said that no duplicates would be issued "for humanitarian reasons alone".



He did indicate that the IOC would look for ways to improve their scoring techniques, which have been subject to considerable criticisms during the 2004 Olympics.



The IOC decision is at variance with the Salt Lake City Games, where duplicates were handed out.



Greetings From Paris

Dear all,



The lack of posts over the last 24 hours was due to www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand" taking a trip to Paris.



Normal sevice will now be resumed.



Ken



Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony on Sunday will centre on Greek "glendi" (celebration through traditional dances).



The omens are good for Sunday, as there is going to be a full moon.

Award

My thanks to Feedster.com, who have made this site "Feedster of the day" for 26 August.





Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tremors

A small earthquake rattled hit Athens yesterday; causing some minor tremors at the Olympic venues.



No one was injured, and there was no apparent damage.



The tremor had a reported of 4.5, and was centered about 42 miles northeast of Athens.

Weight Off Their Mind

The Indian government has sacked their national weightlifting coaches, Pal Singh Sandhu of India and Leonid Taranenko of Belarus.



They were both have been involved in administering drugs to two Indian women weightlifters, Pratima Kumari and Sanamacha Chanu, at the Olympic Games.



International Weightlifting authorities have already suspended Pratima Kumari and Sanamacha Chanu, pending an inquiry.







Iraq Bow Out

Iraq's attempt to win gold ended on Tuesday, as they were beaten by Paraguay 3-1.



They will play Italy on Friday for the bronze medal.



This may mean that President Bush will change his travel plans (see earlier post "President Annexes Olympics").

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Another Dope Head Bites The Dust

Yet another drug scandal has emerged today at the Olympics.



This time it involves Hungarian Olympic discus champion Robert Fazekas, who will lose his gold medal and be expelled from the Games; after being caught trying to tamper with a urine sample.



How very unpleasant!



It seems he had trouble giving the full sample, even though he remained at the doping control check point until 3:00am.



Maybe he should have tried whistling?



Another athlete, this time Belarussian high jumper Aleksey Lesnichiy, has tested positive for the anabolic agent clenbuterol.



These guys don't learn do they?

Judges Biased Towards Rich Nations

It seems that the "People Power" protest about lousy Olympic judging, noted in my previous post, has had some resonance with the Russians.



It is reported that Russia is to lodge a complaint with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), over biased judging throughout the Athens gymnastics competition.



Whilst the complaint will not be specific to the Monday debacle, it will cover all gymnastic judging over the course of the Olympics.



The Russians have a certain feeling that the judges are showing favouritism to those competitors from the wealthier nations, ie those offering the more lucrative commercial contracts.



Should their suspicions be well founded, the complaint will rock the very core of the Olympics. Amateur competition between athletes, not corporate marketing and product placement, is after all what the Olympics claims to be about.



Stupid or What?

It seems that the coach of the dynamic duo of sprinting, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou (who were kicked out, sorry pulled out, of the Games for avoiding a drugs test), holds in interesting line of food additives in his warehouse.



A search, carried out by Greece's National organisation of medicines, of a warehouse owned by Christos Tsekos revealed small amounts of anabolic steroids.



In all, 641 boxes of food supplements were confiscated; of which more than a 1000 of the supplements listed ephedrine (a banned weight reducing drug) as the main ingredient.



The search also found batches of medicine with steroids from the United States, Bulgaria and Germany.



People Power

People power put a temporary stop to yesterday's Olympic gymnastic horizontal bar final, as spectators jeered and booed the judges.



The rumpus began after judges awarded Alexei Nemov of Russia 9.725, putting him in third place.



The jeering continued as Paul Hamm got ready to follow. Despite pleas for silence from Olympic officials, the fracas continued. The judges attempted to bring the fracas to an end, when they changed their scores; giving Nemov 9.762.



Unfortunately, Nemov was still last; and so the noise continued. There was a brief cessation when Hamm went through his routine; only to return when he was awarded 9.812, putting him into the lead.



Nemov came fifth in the end, feeling that he had been marked down deliberately.



The scoring matter was exacerbated by the fact that 3 judges had been suspended last week for judging errors.



The most troubling element of this story, is the fact that the spectators were able to intimidate the judges into changing their scores.



What happened to impartiality?



This bodes ill for the future.



Monday, August 23, 2004

Nipples Boost Viewing Figures

It seems that the BBC has adopted a "nanny like" stance, in respect of its Olympic swimming coverage.



Their top presenter, Sharon Davies, has been the subject of a few complaints from keen eyed viewers; who were disturbed to be distracted by her "prominent nipples".



The BBC, ever conscious of its duty to protect British morals, has ordered the camera crew to raise the camera focus above Ms Davies's nipple line.



This may cause something of a backlash, as unconfirmed reports suggest that viewing figures have been enhanced by the "nipple issue".



I leave you to judge for yourself, here is a picture of Ms Davies (former medal winning swimmer):







Bush Annexes Olympics

In what some cynics may describe as a purely political move, President Bush is thinking of popping over to Athens to watch the Olympics this week.



You will recall that, as posted on this site some time ago, Bush was never going to attend in person; he had only planned to send his Mum and Dad and his children.



Now it seems that things have changed.



One particular sporting event that seems to have caught the President's eye, is the football game final being possibly played by Iraq this coming Saturday (only if they beat Paraguay on Tuesday).



It is already confirmed that Colin Powell will be at the closing ceremony on Sunday.



Needless to say, when it comes to US Presidential politics nothing is ever straighforward. Aside from the massive security, and logistical, problems that an "unplanned" Presidential visit would cause; there are also the political implications, in what is after all an election year.



It seems that "W's" TV campaign at the moment is running an advert that claims that the only reason that Iraq and Afghanistan are competing in the Games, is because of the "success" of the "War on Terror".



I would venture to ask, if the "war on terror" is such a success, why did the security measures at the Games have to cost a whopping $1.5BN?



The advert links today's, situation with the attack on the 1972 Munich Games. Quote: "Freedom is spreading through the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations and two less terrorist regimes.....With strength, resolve and courage, democracy will triumph over terror and hope will defeat hatred."



The trouble is, the advert uses Olympic symbols; which are protected by copyright law.



The US Olympic Committee are investigating the possible breach of copyright.



To further fuel the fire of controversy, it seems that the "liberated" Iraqi players are more than tad "pissed off" at being used to help "W" win his election campaign.



Bush remains unapologetic, he reportedly told the voters of Oregon: "It (Iraq) wouldn't have been free if the United States hadn't acted."



Well, in order to ensure complete electoral impartiality, I have a link here to that most excellent of animations "This Land".



It takes a few minutes to download, but is a hoot...."This Land"

True Brit

Commiserations to the UK's Paula Radcliffe, for heroically failing to complete her marathon yesterday.



She returned to the Panathinaiko Stadium via ambulance, having pulled out of the marathon after 19 miles.



If the newspapers are to be believed, the UK appears to be in mourning today.



All credit to her, but an over reaction I would suggest.

I Won't Give It Back

In a splendid display of temperament, Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, who failed a drugs test; has stated that he won't give his bronze medal back.



He is reported to have said to Greek TV NET: "I deserve this medal, I won't give it back".



Unfortunately for him, the Greek Olympic Committee have begun procedures to remove his medal; whether or not he gives it back voluntarily.



Sampanis and his coach, Christos Iakovou, testified to an IOC disciplinary panel on Saturday; protesting his innocence.



Invoking God and his children, Sampanis said to reporters afterwards: "I want to declare to the Greek people that I swear to God, to my two little angels, my children, that I never took any such substances.".



To no avail, he was expelled on Sunday.





Sunday, August 22, 2004

This Blog Was Created Without The Aid of Performance Enhancing Drugs

It seems that there is more dope at the Olympics than at a frat house party.



The latest dope head, sorry athlete, to be accused of using drugs is women's shot put gold medalist Irina Korzhaenko.



The Russian Olympic team spokesman, Gennady Shvets, would not confirm the reports but noted that there was a "problem".



It seems that this is not Korzhaenko's first offence; she was also stripped of her 1999 shotputting World Indoor title, for drugs offences.



Women's shot putter Olga Shchukina was expelled from the Games on Friday after failing a drugs test.



Judge Ye Not

It seems that even Olympic judges are mortal.



An error in scoring the gymnastics final on Wednesday, meant that Paul Hamm won gold instead of Yang Tae-young from South Korea.



Three judges have been suspended, but the result will stand; as the South Koreans did not lodge a complaint in time.



The names of the judges have not been released.



Saturday, August 21, 2004

Dropping Like Flies

Albina Khomich, a Russian weightlifter, has been suspended from the Olympics; as a result of a positive drug test.



That makes him the ninth person to be kicked out.



Will there be any weightlifters left?

The Real Olympic Spirit

My commendations to Kim Collins, the sprinter from St Kitts, who is competing in the Olympics.



In a gesture displaying the Olympic spirit of days long gone; he has promised his 40000 fellow citizens of St Kitts a massive party, on the beach, when he returns from the Games.



The party will happen whether he wins or loses, as it is a thank you party for the support of his fellow citizens during the run up to the Games.



That is what the Olympics should be about.



Friday, August 20, 2004

Touts Scammed by Their Own Petard

Major sporting occasions attract ticket touts, offering inflated priced tickets, like flies around dog s**t.



The Olympics has proven to be no different. However, for the hapless spectator who has been fleeced by these scam merchants in the past; there is at last a feeling of schadenfreude.



It is reported that, as a result of low attendance figures, ticket touts are offering tickets at face value for most events.



However, before you start to weep for the poor ticket tout; do remember that he will have bought his tickets in bulk at a considerable discount.



So if you still want to attend, for example, the 22nd of August men's 100 metre final you can; tickets that are listed on the Athens 2004 official site as sold out, are still available at face value of $110.90.



My advice is to haggle with these guys, you should be able to get a discount.



Dopes

It seems that those competing in the weightlifting part of the Olympic Games are either remarkably unlucky, or remarkably stupid.



It is reported that an eighth competitor in the weightlifting section has tested positive for taking performance enhancing drugs.



The hapless competitor, to add his name to "list of honour", is a Greek whose identity has not been revealed (as at the time of writing).



However, speculation in the local press named Leonidas Sampanis as the likely dope head. He will face losing his bronze medal if found guilty.



The only way to eliminate this problem is to either test all competitors on a regular basis, or to simply allow them to take whatever they want; and damn the consequences.



Views anyone?

Sex - Harder, Deeper, Longer

I thought that would attract your attention!



It seems that ATHOC, the organisers of the Athens Olympics, have a strong puritan streak running through their veins. They have taken exception to the Greek edition of Playboy, which devoted a section in this month's edition to Olympic sex traditions, and tried to ban it.



However, the Playboy edition which used such phrases as "harder, deeper, longer" along with pictures of naked models doing "athletic type things" is still in circulation; the court did not see that ATHOC's case had any merit.



ATHOC also took offence to the use of Olympic images, such as the five rings, which they feel Playboy debased. Seemingly five coloured condoms were arranged, in a pattern similar to the five rings.



I would remind ATHOC that, as mentioned earlier in this blog, the five rings myth originated with Hitler and the 1936 Games; there is therefore no harm in debunking them in the manner in which Playboy has done.



As with all half baked attempts at censorship, the story gave a huge amount of publicity to Playboy's Olympic edition; all copies were sold out as soon as they reached the newsagents this morning.









Good For Business

WPP, the world's third largest advertising agency, has reported a notable rise in profits today for the first 6 months of 2004.



Pre-tax profits rose by 15% to £176M, and turnover rose 13% to £2BN.



WPP attributed this improved performance to The Olympics, Euro 2004 and the US Presidential election.

So Far So Good

Without wishing to tempt fate, it is clear that the $1.5M spent on security for the Olympics in Athens seems to be money well spent.



There have been, at this halfway stage in the Games, no serious security issues. The only breaches have been perpetrated by the media looking for weak links, a man in a tutu diving into the Olympic swimming pool and the accidental arrest of the Olympic doping testing team on suspicion of terrorism.



Here's hoping that this state of affairs continues.

Second Opinion Sought

It seems that despite pulling out of the Olympic Games, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou won't be let off the hook so easily.



The prosecutor looking into their motorcycle "accident" is reported to be now investigating the "injuries" of the athletes.



The prosecutor, Haralambos Lakafosis, wants to question some of the doctors at Athens' KAT hospital; where the dynamic duo were taken after their "accident".



When the athletes were admitted on 13 August the hospital issued a statement saying that Kenteris was suffering from "cranial trauma, whiplash and open wounds on his lower leg". Thanou sustained abdominal bruises, injuries to her right hip and a muscular injury to her right upper leg.



However, the problem is that this doesn't match with the report from medical examiner Philipos Koutsaftis; who examined the athletes on 16 August.



This report noted that Kenteris had a few cuts and bruises on his right leg and left elbow, and detected no significant injuries to Thanou.



Time for a second opinion I think.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Fake Off!

It seems that the dynamic duo of Greek sprinting, Kostadinos Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou, faked their alleged motorcycle accident. This accident was used as an excuse for missing a hearing into their missing a drugs test.



Why am I not surprised at this revelation?



Our "heroes" seem to have missed two other earlier drugs tests as well.



The Greek prosecutor, who is conducting an investigation into the "accident", has concluded that the accident didn't happen or at least was deliberately caused by the dynamic duo.



It seems that a medical expert who examined the injured heroes, has concluded that the nature of their "injuries" negated them travelling at speed; and that they had exaggerated their condition.



So in addition to being cheats, they are also guilty of being stupid.



Maybe they should have taken a few drugs to improve their mental abilities, instead of their physical abilities?

Mini Blackout

It is reported that internet services for most of East Athens went down at around 18:00 yesterday, and did not come back up until several hours later.



It seems that excess use by the press centre of the Olympic Games is being blamed for this.



However, earlier predictions of chaotic blackouts of the net and phone services have not come to pass.



The reason?



The Games are not attracting the level of interest that the organisers had hoped/hyped for.



Where Have All the People Gone?

It seems that the excuse for the empty Olympic stadiums, namely that people are away on holiday, doesn't ring true.



Reports indicate that the citizens of Athens are neither in the city, nor vacationing on their favourite holiday islands.



They instead seem to be taking short breaks at nearby destinations.



The reason? Lack of spare cash it seems.



Since joining the Euro, the Greek economy has been gripped by inflation; as shopkeepers use confusion over the new currency to hike their prices.



Additionally, the Olympics has been used as an excuse by many groups of "entrepreneurs" to raise their prices.



The high prices, reported here some time ago, have deterred foreign visitors from coming to Greece. Oddly enough people don't like being "ripped off".



It seems that in hosting the Olympic Games, the Greeks have killed the goose that lays the golden egg; ie tourism, which normally brings in around 14 million visitors each year.



Add on to this the debt overhang from the $12BN Games, that the Greek citizens will be paying for over the next decade, and I wonder if the average Greek feels that it was all worth it?





Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Don't Look at My Tutu

A man clad in a blue tutu defied the massive Olympic security measures, and dived into a swimming pool during a diving competition on Monday.



It transpires that the man, a Canadian, was performing a publicity stunt for an on line casino.



He was detained by police, and is understood to be "helping them with their enquiries".

Security Works

The massive Olympic security operation, in and around Athens, is working.



It is reported that the levels of petty crime, such as theft, have fallen dramatically; by up to 40%.



It seems that it is not so much the Zeppelin patrolling the skies or cctv monitoring the citizens; but good old fashioned "bobbies on the beat", who have contributed to this fall.



There are lessons to be learned here, for other crime spots around the world. However, putting 70000 police on the beat, as is the case in Athens, may be a bit extreme.



The criminal element does still have some free reign, it seems that Athens's taxi drivers are still cheating their customers.



Out They Go

The "dynamic duo" of Greek sprinting have bowed to the inevitable, and have pulled out of the Olympic Games (before being thrown out).



The Greek Olympic 200 metres champion, Costas Kenteris, has withdrawn out of "a sense of responsibility".



He is still in denial about the fact that he deliberately missed the drugs test, last Thursday; claiming that he was not told about it.



Katerina Thanou, the other half of the "dynamic duo", issued an apology to the Greek people; noting that as she was not be able to race, she had to pull out of the Games.



For good measure their coach, Christos Tzekos, also pulled out; defiantly noting that he had done nothing wrong.



This decision will certainly hit their pockets.



It is reported that Kenderis's sponsorship contract, with Greek Telecom OTE, is worth over 5M Euros. Needless to say this goes to the wind, as the contract contained an anti doping clause.



They may even lose their honourary positions as lieutenants in Greece's air force.



But they are innocent, right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Dynamic Duo Leave Hospital

Reports are coming in that the dynamic Greek sprinting duo, Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who missed a drugs test and then had a motorcycle "accident"; thus avoiding a hearing to discuss the drugs test, are leaving hospital now.

It's Radio Jim, But Not as We Know It

It seems that some Australian radio broadcasters, ABC and 2GB, have fallen foul of the arcane restrictions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the broadcast of Olympic material.



The broadcasters had secured the rights to broadcast live from the Olympics, and were happily doing so. However, they were broadcasting via the internet.



It seems that the grandees of the IOC do not approve of such means of communication, and have banned the companies from making further broadcasts.



There is a possibility that the hapless Australian companies may also be sued, and lose their rights to broadcast Olympic material again.



Acropolis Now

Oh dear, it seems that the Olympics Games chief Gianna Angelopoulos attempted her own version of Armageddon on Saturday.



She held a party Saturday night for foreign VIP's, with a spectacular firework display as a climax.



Unfortunately, the fireworks set fire to a nearby park; odd that, given the fact the Athens is bone dry at the moment!



The result is that the mayor is filing a suit against her, and an investigation has been launched into whether proper safety precautions were taken.



Maybe she should have stuck to water features, such as the opening ceremony, something she has more skill with.

More Intolerance

Having already caused offence to the gay community (see previous post), it seems that intolerance in Greece extends to religion as well.



The Olympics village house over 10000 athletes, plus entourage. They come from far and wide, and not surprisingly have different religious beliefs. In order to tend to their beliefs, many athletes have brought their own priests, spiritual advisers etc.



However, Greece has a few rules with regard to religion. It seems that they only allow certain Christian churches from countries with which they have good relations.



There are ongoing discussions between the Athens Olympic Committee (ATHOC) and religious leaders, as to what the church representatives can and can't do; and where they can do it.



I believe that issues regarding non Christian religions are even more "complex".



The Death of Tolerance

It seems that Greece, once renowned in ancient times for its tolerance towards gay issues, has caused deep offence and anger with modern day gay and lesbians.



It seems that at a concert, sponsored by the Jamaican Olympic team and Puma, held outside the Olympic village over the weekend; the reggae star Buju Banton performed a selection of his hits.



One of these, and it is not clear as to whether he actually sang this one, is "Boom Bye Bye"; an odious little number, in which he encourages people to pour acid on gays then burn them alive.



Monday, August 16, 2004

The Scandal That Won't Go away

It seems that the scandal surrounding the Greek sporting heroes Kenteris and Thanou, won't go away.



Having missed their drug test last week they then mysteriously had a "motorcycle accident", which prevented them from attending a hearing into their missed drug test.



Their lawyer Michalis Dimitrakapoulos is now reported to have told the media that, as they are on drips in hospital, there is no way that they can give interviews.



Funny that!



However, insiders from the hospital are rumoured to be leaking stories that the wounded "heroes" seem to be suffering from no more than a few cuts and bruises.



Even the "accident site" seems to have had a rapid recovery, the police are reported to be having a little difficulty in finding it and indeed any witnesses.



If anyone can help the police find the missing accident site, please give them a call. I am sure that Kenteris and Thanou would be very pleased.





Shank's Pony

It seems that the new tram line installed for the Olympics, which was designed to speed spectators and Olympic officials smoothly and efficiently between Olympic venues in Athens, is having a few teething problems.



Among the issues being reported are the following:



  • The installation of the tram line caused the destruction of hundreds of trees and associated foliage.




  • The trams are not running on time.




  • There have been several traffic accidents between the tram and other road users.




  • There have been power blackouts.




  • The trams are slow.




  • The air conditioning doesn't work.




Aside from the above, they seem to be working fine!



I suggest that visitors and officials take to the streets, and use "Shank's Pony", ie walk.



The Half Million Giveaway

In an effort to fill empty stadiums, and to create the illusion of success, the Olympics organisers are reportedly going to give away 500,000 tickets for Olympic events.



It seems that a combination of fears about terrorist activities, and the extortionate prices being charged by hotels, restaurants and other tourist services in Athens; have driven the Olympic tourist away.



Around 1.3 million tickets remain unsold, and the IOC does not want to see pictures on TV screens of half empty stadiums.



The Greek authorities are pleading with Greek citizens to buy tickets, so as the honour of Greece is not tainted by the low attendance figures.



One bright spot is that the ticket touts, who normally make a killing at such events, are being "screwed"; as tickets that they hold, and "cornered the market in", are simply not shifting.



Sunday, August 15, 2004

Off The Air

Greek TV went off the air, for a second time in a week last night, when the state run network ET1 lost the Olympic signal for 20 minutes.



It seems that Greece's telephone operator, OTE, were responsible. As an act of atonement, two senior executives were offered up to appease the gods.



Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis is confident that it wont happen again.

Rancorous Odour

Full marks for the vigilance of the security teams in the Olympic villages of Athens.



Sniffer dogs sounded the alarm on Saturday night, when a journalist was returning home.



The hapless fellow founded himself surrounded by security forces, who conducted a thorough search of his person, looking for a dangerous substance. It seems that the dangerous substance he was thought to be carrying was no more lethal than a bottle of aftershave.



I wonder what effect it has on his dates?

Insecurity

A British tabloid journalist has blown the "watertight" security of the Olympics apart.



He is reported to have gained work on one of the Olympic construction sites, without any form of security clearance.



He then left various "suspicious" packages in situ, which allegedly have not been found or detected.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Kudos To The Organisers

Last night's opening ceremony, for the Olympics 2004, thankfully went without a hitch or unpleasant incident.



The story of Greece, both historical and mythological, was re-enacted in tableau form; against the backdrop of the Olympic stadium, which had been flooded with water.



My compliments to the organisers.



One interesting point, which I have only just come across, is that the torch ceremony of lighting the Olympic cauldron is not an ancient ritual stemming from the original Olympic Games.



It seems that the ancient Greeks opened their games by heralds, not fire. This ritual was in fact created by Hitler, during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.



Even the Rings, much beloved symbol of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), aren't what they seem to be.



They were designed in 1913 by Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the IOC, for the 1916 Olympics. These Games were not held, as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria started World War I.



The resurrection of the Rings fell to Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's official film maker. In order to give some "historical backdrop" for her film "Olympia, which chronicled the 1936 Olympic Games, Riefenstahl had the Rings carved into a stone altar in the Greek city of Delphi. This was meant to give some backing to Hitler's crackpot theories about Aryan links to the gods etc.



So much for ancient symbolism!



Friday, August 13, 2004

All The Presidents' Men

The great and the good are arriving in Athens, in readiness for tonight's opening ceremony.



Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister arrived yesterday. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived this morning.



President Bush senior "pitched his tent" on Thursday, in the yacht Dumara; which is owned by Spyros Latsis, a Greek financier.



Other leaders coming along include; French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy.



There will be a reception today, hosted by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the various heads of state.



Upping The Ante

With only a few hours left until the beginning of the Olympics, it is reported that the USA is sending more security personnel than athletes to the Games.



Approximately 600 security personnel will be on site, exceeding the 528 US competitors.



In addition, there are 400 special forces on standby in Europe, together with air marshalls on flights between Athens and the US.





Thursday, August 12, 2004

It'll Be Alright on The Night, or Will It?

Oh dear, little more than 24 hours to go until the start of the Olympics, and there has been a bit of glitch with the Greek TV coverage.



It seems that Greek state, TV ET1, screwed up a transmission covering one of the opening Olympic events last night. The result being that John Kalimeris, a senior executive, had to bite the bullet and resign.



In what should have been a simple "bread and butter" task oftransmitting a football match between South Korea and Greece, ET1 managed to severely annoy their viewers; by transmitting sound only during the first half, and picture only during the second half.



As the hackneyed saying goes, "It's a game of two halves".



Unfortunately, in a decision that doesn't seem to have any intellectual, commercial or technical logic whatsoever; ET1, the smallest and least capable of the Greek TV companies, has been given sole transmission rights for the Games.



The reason for the "glitch" is unclear; some blame the holiday season.



How very comforting!



It seems that gremlins were not just at work in the TV studio, but also on the net.



It is reported that ADSL stopped working for over 30 minutes in most parts of Athens, and South Greece yesterday. That is before the 11000 media posse, from around the world, attempt to send their reports and thoughts down the wires.



Rumours and speculation abound as to the likelihood of the mobile phone system collapsing as well. I understand that the percentage of dropped calls has been steadily on the increase.



It would be a sad irony for the Greek authorities, that the Games go off without a hitch; but, that owing to transmission failures and the like, the rest of the world would not know about it.



Sneak Preview

Those of you who cannot wait for tomorrow's 3 hour opening ceremony for the Olympics, can catch the dress rehearsal today.



Details of the opening ceremony were meant to be secret. However, a small scale rehearsal was held last Sunday; and inevitably there was a leak.



I understand that the theme of the ceremony will be related to ancient Greece, its mythology and sights.



Over 8000 people will be involved in the opening ceremony, which will be watched by a worldwide audience estimated to be around 4.5BN people.



Reports indicate that the Olympic stadium will be flooded with water, whilst a giant fireball is sent skimming across the surface. Given Athens's propensity for water shortages during the summer months, it is not quite clear where this water will come from.



I wonder if this is entirely wise?



It is also reported that owing to a shortage of concrete, during the construction of the stadium, the proportion of sand to concrete had to be increased. Such a mixture, if exposed to water, becomes highly unstable and prone to collapse.



Anyhoo, once the fireball splashes down, a child will cross the lake in a boat to the sound of 400 drums. A centaur will then throw a javelin into the water, and an ancient Greek figure will rise from the depths.



Rather idiosyncratically, after this, a pregnant woman will step into the water against a backdrop projection of DNA.



If anyone can explain what this all means, please feel free to enlighten us via the comment section.



Royalty Arrives

The Queen Mary 2, the world's largest cruise ship, arrived in Athens yesterday; ready to accommodate the dignitaries who will be attending the forthcoming Olympic Games.



The dock in which she is berthed, six miles away from central Athens, is protected by a special security shield including; commandos, soldiers and surveillance equipment.



The rest of the floating flotilla of Royalty of the seas, which will berth alongside her, includes; the liners Ocean Countess, World Renaissance and Silver Whisper plus four others.



Among the dignitaries who will be staying on the Queen Mary 2 will be President Bush senior, and "W's" children Barbara and Jenna.



Gut Busting

Those of you worried about your fat intake should breath easy; the fat consumption of the participants and guests at the Athens Olympics is going to be staggering.



3000 gallons of olive oil, and 24000kg of cheese will be consumed during the 3 week sporting festival.



However, that is nothing compared with the diet of the ancient Olympics. It seems that a certain Milon of Croton (a well known wrestler in his day) ate 9kg of meat per day; washed down with 3 jugs of wine during the ancient Games.



Milon, outdid himself one day, after winning a weightlifting contest where he carried a bull on his shoulders; killed the aforementioned beast, and spent the rest of the day eating it.



I wonder if they suffered from indigestion?

Looking For Dirt

It is reported that the USA delivered $26M worth of radiation detection equipment, on Wednesday, to the Greek authorities. The equipment will be used to detect "fall out" from a dirty nuclear device.



The equipment will be positioned at all airports and seaports, as well as the Olympic venues in Athens.



It is a sad indictment of the world that we live in today, that such measures have to be taken at what is meant to be a sporting event open to the entire world.



In other security measures, the Greek security forces have been told not to wave at people during the Games.



No, don't ask, I have no idea why.



Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It's The Money Stupid!

It seems that some of the athletes competing in the forthcoming Olympics, being held in Athens, will be aiming for more than just the fame and a gold medal.



There are lucrative "lifestyle" awards to be won by the top athletes.



It is reported that even smaller countries, such as Lithuania, will be paying their winners a decent "bung". Each Lithuanian gold medal will earn the winner $125K from the Lithuanian government, and a BMW from the Lithuanian Olympic Committee



Can't be bad!



I thought that the Olympics ideal was a competition between amateurs for nothing more than the glory. Needless to say that ideal collapsed in the 1980's, as people openly admitted to what had been known by the rest of us for years; that athletes were receiving large sums of money, "on the sly".



Therefore, instead of regulating and enforcing the rules prohibiting payments, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) abolished the rule that forbade athletes to receive money.



If only other problems in life were so simply dispensed with!



Needless to say, when there are large sums of money "sloshing about", everyone wants "a piece of the action". Trainers, lackeys, assorted hangers on and the Mafia all expect to receive a cut of the athletes money.



Heaven help the poor athlete who doesn't "divi up". The Kazakh Olympic boxing champion Bekzat Sattarkhanov died in a mysterious car accident on New Year's Eve 2000, after winning gold the Sydney Games. It is speculated that he didn't want to share his prize.



The perversity of the award system is that the small, and poor, countries tend to pay their athletes more than the larger wealthier countries.



The poor old USA athletes have to contend with a meagre $25K if they win gold, and Russian athletes $50K.



Paah! I wouldn't get out of bed for that!



That being said, I have a reasonable suspicion that US and Russian winners will find themselves some very reasonable advertising and sponsorship contracts afterwards.



So let us not shed too many tears for them.

The Olympics 2004 Featured on Feedster

Just a brief post to say that this site is now a featured blog on sports.feedster.com.



My thanks to the team at Feedster for featuring me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Olympics - The Movie

This is an ablsolute hoot; it takes a few minutes to download, but it's worth the wait.



Enjoy! The Olympics - The Movie

It's In The Bag

It seems that the strict rules, concerning foreigners bearing arms in Greece, have been circumvented by a diplomatic sleight of hand.



It is reported that the Greek authorities have allowed US, Israeli and UK security services to arm their personnel during the Olympics in Athens. This breach of the Greek constitution, which forbids foreigners to bear arms in Greece, has been achieved by allowing the arms to be brought in via diplomatic bags; which of course cannot be opened.



The UK has a special armed squad of 130 people, it is not clear how many armed US and Israeli personnel will be in Athens.



Those of you who may be confused as to how the Greek authorities believe that the use of the diplomatic bag negates their constitution, may care to address their queries to Fanny Palli-Petralia (the Culture Minister), who has insisted that none of the nations participating in the Olympic Games would bring armed personnel into Greece.



L'Addition Monsieur

Once the Olympics, which open this Friday in Athens, are over; the Greek government, and Greek citizens, will face the prospect of settling a very large bill which will damage Greece's credit rating.



It is reported that Standard and Poor have published a report today, which gives warning of future problems for the Greek economy.



They note that the Olympics have given Greece an opportunity to shrug off its agrarian economy. However, if Greece wishes to maintain its current credit rating, it will need to increase taxes and cut public expenditure.



They note that the Olympics has improved the mobility of the Greek labour force, and improved the infrastructure.



However, the current cost estimates for the Games stand at $8BN (with some predicting $12BN) on top of a debt burden that has risen from $32BN to $49BN.



The Greek government faces a challenge of Olympic proportions.



Other News



It seems that there is a story going around that athletes and others, who are particpating in the Games, will not be allowed to blog about it.



Wonder why?

Monday, August 9, 2004

Zeppelin Raid

It seems that the use of the Zeppelin to patrol the skies of Athens, during the forthcoming Olympic Games, has not met with everyone's' approval.



A Greek civil rights group has petitioned the local courts, in respect of the Zeppelin. They believe that it is a violation of people's privacy, and have asked the courts to bring the Zeppelin back to earth.



The court will rule later this week as to whether the Zeppelin, which is equipped with sensors, chemical "sniffers" and ultra-high resolution cameras, will be grounded or not.



The Greek government denies that the Zeppelin violates people's privacy, and state that there is no violation of the Greek constitution.



Other News



500 Thai workers are holding their own alternative Olympic Games in Bangkok; in order to highlight the sweatshop working conditions, and low rates of pay, of the people who produce clothing and other related products for the forthcoming Olympic Games.



The average garment worker may labour for 14 hours a day, and earn 7 cents for every dozen shirts worked on.



Sunday, August 8, 2004

Banquo's Ghost

Here is an extract from the website of the Greek embassy in Washington USA. This was posted on the 21st of July 1997:



"...The president of the Athens 2004 Olympic candidacy committee, Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, told CNN on Friday that the Greek capital holds the prospect of a "virtually new city" as regards public transport, telecommunications, the environment, accommodations and sports installations.



"Most sports installations are already in place, and we have the financial guarantees for completing all additional necessary projects well before 2004," she added.



Replying to a remark that Athens faces difficult traffic problems, Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said that any existing difficulties will be effectively met with large projects already underway, such as the underground metro, which she claimed will be ready in 1999, the city's new airport at Spata (scheduled for completion by 2000) and a number of circular roads. These projects, she said, will drastically change the situation regarding public transport in Athens.



Turning to the economic impact of the Olympics, she said: "we expect 130,000 new jobs to be created. The overall benefit will be huge..."



Regarding security, she said, "Greece is a safe country, as INTERPOL and other independent analyses show. We have one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, and moreover, what is very important is that no incident has taken place during any sports, political, or other event that Greece has organized"......"



I have come across an archived version of the Athens Games website from 1997. This contains details of their bid, and promises made regarding infrastructure etc, for the Games. You can visit it here Athens archive.



I am also trying to track down a copy of the Athens Bid Book, which is in excess of 600 pages, and details every promise made by the Greek bid committee in respect of their bid to host the Games in 2004. If anyone knows where I can lay my hands on a copy I would be very grateful.



There are copies held by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Switzerland, unfortunately they are under embargo; and cannot be viewed by the public for another 30 years.



I wonder why?

Greece Safest Nation On Earth

Greece, in the shape of Ioannis Lampropoulos the deputy defence minister, has declared itself to be the safest nation on earth yesterday; less than a week before the start of the Olympic Games 2004, which are being held in Athens.



NATO patrols the coast, a Zeppelin patrols the skies, Patriot defence systems are on alert along with the Greek airforce and 70000 troops patrol the streets; in an unprecedented security operation.



The security blanket, which costs in excess of $1.5BN, has been praised by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge. However, he cautioned that there is no such thing as 100% security.



The ambassadors of the member countries of the Arab League paid a visit to the Greek Public Order Minister Voulgarakis during the week; to show their support for the Olympics 2004. They noted that it would be the enemy of Arabs and Greeks who takes action against Greece during the Olympics.



Saturday, August 7, 2004

Gas! Gas! Gas!

It is reported that the US Olympic Committee (USOC) will be supplying gas masks to all 500 of their athletes and entourage, who will be attending the Olympics 2004 in Athens.



The emergency escape masks (gas masks to you and I) are designed to provide protection against tear gas, and other noxious agents.



It is estimated that the USOC bought around 1000 of these, at $150 a piece.



They might come in handy if the summer winds, needed to disperse the Athens smog, don't appear.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Greedy, Gutless Meanmindedness Update

Regarding my earlier post on the use of the word "Olympics" on my products; I have made an adjustment to the design which I think neatly sidesteps the problem, whilst giving my view of the absurdity of the issue.



Check out the new design at www.theolympicswarehouse.com



Ken

Greedy, Gutless Meanmindedness

In a crushingly meanminded and gutless act, my third party on line store provider has disbarred me from selling my "Big Fat Olympics" T shirts, as they contain the word "Olympics".



It seems that they are worried that the use of the word "Olympics" may upset the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who are desperately seeking ways to milk this event for every penny that they can get their hands on.



I would make a small point here, the word "Olympics" is used in the media on a regular basis; are they asking each paper, TV and radio station that use the word to pay a fee everytime the word "Olympics" is used?



I regard this as absolutely pathetic.



If anyone out there with more brains and balls than my current shop provider, would like to host my T shirt emporium please feel free to drop me a line.



In the meantime I will redesign my T shirts to exclude the word Olympics, oops said it again!...



Please feel free to come up with suggestions for an alternative wording that excludes the word "Olympics", I will; be keeping the Owl design.



Note, there is one product remaining in my Olympic store if you are interested you can see it at www.theolympicswarehouse.com



In other news, it appears that the street signs being erected in Athens for the forthcoming Olympics (oops there I go again, I am not meant to use that word!!!) are pointing the wrong way.



That should help the Athens traffic flow!



On the environmental front, Athens authorities are praying for some summer winds to blow the smog and pollution away from the city; if there is no wind, there is a risk that the athletes may have a little trouble breathing.



Thursday, August 5, 2004

Budget Busting Debt

It is reported that the cost of the Olympics 2004, which are being held in Athens, will exceed $7BN. I understand that the original budget had been set at just under $6BN.



Petros Doukas, Greece's Deputy Finance Minister, is reported to have said that these costs (being 4% of GDP) are likely to put Greece in violation of the EU fiscal rules on debt; which state that member nations should not have a debt burden in excess of 3% of GDP.



The costs are being paid by the Greek taxpayer who, if predictions that the total cost will exceed $12BN are correct, will be paying for the Olympics for more than a decade after they have ended.



Wednesday, August 4, 2004

What Did You Do in The War Daddy?

The children of today's Greek armed forces will get an unusual answer to the timeless question "What did you do in the war daddy?".



Their fathers will say "I went to the Olympics".



Instead of being dispatched to the corner of a foreign field, the Greek armed forces are on war alert in their own country.



Is there a threat of invasion?



No



Are they at war?



No



This high state of alert is due to the forthcoming Olympic Games being held in Athens, which are scheduled to kick off on 13th August.



All problems, costs and security issues are being blamed (as with everything else in the world that goes wrong, or is used as an excuse for increased government intrusion) on September 11th.



The cost of the security arrangements for the Olympics 2004 will exceed 1.2BN Euros.



It seems that every member of Greece's armed forces will be involved, one way or another, in protecting the Games. The operation is code named "Ifitos", after the king who founded the Olympic Games. Greece's Patriot missile defence system will be on alert, and around 70000 security personnel will be on duty during the Games.



On top of the home defence forces, Greece has also called on NATO to lend a hand. NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft will patrol the skies, NATO's Mediterranean fleet will patrol the seas and an emergency biochemical and nuclear warfare unit will be on standby.



Let us trust that with the confusion, delays and use of illegal labour in the Olympic construction projects; that terrorists have not copied the IRA's bomb attack in Brighton 1984, which was an almost successful attempt to kill Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party conference being held in Brighton.



The IRA planted the bomb, a good few weeks before the detonation, in the paneling of a hotel bathroom. No amount of body searches of delegates, or "ring of steel" security measures prevented that attack.



To read about the 1984 bomb, please visit 1984 Brighton bombing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Multinationals 1 - Greek Government 0

It is the nature of life that it can, on occasions, throw up a few surprises. One such surprise relates to the forthcoming Olympic Games, which are being held in Athens.



It is reported that Greenpeace, scourge of multinational polluters throughout the world, have complemented Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Unilever for their contribution to the environment in respect of the Olympics 2004.



However, they have taken "a pop" at the Greek government's less than spectacular contribution to the environment. It seems that once the Olympic party is over, the Greek government is going to have a lot of cleaning up to do; in order to repair the environmental damage that the Olympic Games have inflicted on Athens.



One area that has been marked out for special criticism is the Olympic Village, which will house 2300 athletes, this does not use renewable or efficient energy sources.



To be honest that doesn't really matter, as the evidence suggests that Athens will probably be enveloped in power blackouts on a regular basis; thus saving dwindling energy resources and the environment.



On the "cosmetic front", the much vaunted trees and shrubs that were planted to "beautify" Athens, have died; they were planted out of season.



In effect the "third pillar", the promise that the Greek government made to protect the environment when bidding for the Olympics, has been ignored; as with everything, where an excuse is needed for failure, September 11th is being blamed.



Not good enough!



In my view, if they were unable to meet their promises, then they should have forfeited the Games.



However, the Greeks do try to spread the blame; they also accuse the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of failing, the IOC naturally refute any shortcomings.



That's the true Olympic spirit of competitiveness!





Monday, August 2, 2004

Not Long Now

With less than 2 weeks to go until the start of the Olympics 2004 in Athens, the final "touches" are being put to the Olympics infrastructure.



Despite the dead bodies of the construction workers, see yesterday's article, the organisers are beginning to feel proud about the achievements they have made.



Greek minister Voulgarakis is very optimistic that everything will be ready in time, for the start of the Games. Most importantly of all, the computer system that is meant to protect the Olympics; has finally been delivered, at a cost of $350M.



All they have to do now, is sell the remaining 5 million unsold tickets.



Brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Sunday, August 1, 2004

The Olympics Body Count - The True Cost of the Olympics

As has been noted on this site many times, the construction projects for the Olympics 2004 in Athens are seriously behind schedule.



In order to speed things along, something which had the planning and construction work been done in a professional manner would not be necessary; the Greek authorities have employed thousands of illegal labourers from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.



It is reported that their working conditions are squalid, to say the least; a 14 hour day in 40 degrees, with no water or electricity. The workers have no insurance or permits, they earn around 20 Euros a day (the minimum wage in Greece is 30 Euros a day).



This "slave labour" is no overnight phenomenon, but has been in place for the last four years. Where was to International Olympic Committee (IOC) during this time?



Aside form the squalid conditions, the safety aspect is also a disgrace; to date 14 workers have died, and there have been 180 serious injuries (Sydney recorded 1 death and only a handful of serious injuries).



Is this something that the IOC, the Greek authorities and the Olympic sponsors should be proud of?



I don't think so.



Precisely how many dead bodies does it take to expose the disgraceful organisation of this event, and to get official sponsors and competing nations to do some serious soul searching about attending the Games?



In case you are wondering, the official response from the Greek government is that "accidents happen, people die".



How very compassionate!



Brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"