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The Olympic Stadium
The huge Olympic Stadium is the heart of the Olympic Centre OAKA. It offers a place to over 70.000 people, and is used to keep the flame of the Olympic fire and was the place of the opening and closing ceremony.
The final of the football (soccer) tournament was here and so were the athletics games. Because of the Olympics the stadium, that already excisted, was renovated. The most important change that was made was the new roof the stadium got, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrave.
After the Olympics the stadium is now used by the best football club of Athens, AEK. But there are also athletics matches held here. In june of 2005, the Jamaican sprinter Asfa Powell set the world record at the 100m sprint in Athens.
The Olympic Complex
In the suburb of Athens, to the north, named Maroussi, you can find the centre of the Olympic Games of 2004. The so called Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) is huge and overwhelming at this point and surely is a must-see if you´re a sports- or modern architecture fanatic.
The OAKA has the Olympic Stadium as its greatest building, but there is a lot more to see here. The Olympic Indoor Hall where the matches of basketball were played (currently used by Panathinaikos Basketball), the Olympic Aquatic Centre, the Olympic Tennis Centre and the Olympic Velodrome (recognised easily by its silver roof).
The biggest part of this complex is not newly built for the Games, but all of it is renovated severly by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. He added the roof construction to the Olympic Stadium, and also designed the useless but beautiful modern stoa construction at the main square of the OAKA complex.
The basketball match in Helliniko Olympic Complex (19/08) between Greece and Lithuania. I've never seen so many greeks at one place and imagine their reaction because Greece lost that time.
Actually we were 7 friends: 2 lithuanian girls (one of them is VT member bagira11) and 4 greeks and me :-)
It was a hot game!
Baltic Mafia in Athens :-)
I met these two Lithuanian girls in Athens. Laura (VT member bagira11) and her friend Agne came to support their basketball team in Olympic Games! We were like Baltic "Mafia" in Greece... :-) I miss both of you! Buciniai
OAKA by day
OAKA means the Athens Olympic Sports Complex and was the centre of the Olympic Games 2004. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has designed the upgrade of OAKA using innovative and creative ways, including the new roof structure. In the same complex you'll find the futuristic velodrome, the giant Wall of Nations video screen and the steel arch "Agora", designed to shade spectators while allowing light into the covered walkway and exhibition space that surrounds the stadium.
The lighting of the Olympic Flame at Olympia
The altar of the Olympic flame is located in Olympia. The flame is transferred every four years to the city that hosts the Olympic Games. The lighting of the flame takes place at the altar of the Temple of Hera and it is done with the convergence of sunlight onto a metal reflector. This process is part of a ritual combination that includes the prayer and the hymn to Apollo. The high priestess enters the stadium holding the lit torch which she then hands over to the first runner in order for it to start its long journey to the ends of the earth.
I didn't have this possibility to see the lighting of the flame in 2004 (25.03.2004) but there's a picture of AndyRG who had this chance.
The Olympics returned to Athens in 2004 after a 108 year absence. It was a very proud moment for the country and Greeks around the world.
The first modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896, and the historic Kallimarmaro (Panathinaiko Stadium) was the main venue. It was originally built in 330 BC by Lykourgos, rebuilt by Herodes Atticus with marble in 144, and restored in 1895. It seats 70,000 and supports track and field events. It is open to the public daily.
The 2004 Olympics saw many great moments and some impressive venues were built, although many were not permanent.
The photo is from Athens2004.com
Athena & Phevos are the official "brother and sister" mascots of the Olympic Games of 2004 and they are named after two gods of Greek mythology: Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens and Phevos, another name for Apollo, the god of light and music.
These cone-shaped caricatures are based on a 7th century BC terracotta doll believed to be one of the first Greek toys. One such doll of the Mycenaean period is exhibited in the Greek Archaeological Museum in Athens.
My favourite olympic discipline
Equestrian events were included in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1900. It consists of three disciplines: Jumping, Dressage and Eventing (3 day event). In Athens Equestrian events were held at the newly-built Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Center. It has been lauded as Europe's most sophisticated.
The most interesting moment of Dressage final - the medal ceremony where 3 horses danced famous "Zorba the Greek".
Greeks have done their best for Olympic Games! They were proud to host this event! The Olympic Games were back home!
Everything was excellent: sport events, ceremonies, public transportation, stadiums, information...
And Thank You!
The Paralympic ("para" means "close to" - close to olympic games...) Games are the equivalent of the Olympic Games for athletes who have a disability. The Paralympic Games were held for the first time in Rome in 1960 and they have been held thereafter every four years. Since the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, they have been held in the same city and facilities as the Olympic Games.
* From 17 to 28 september 2004
* 4000 athletes from about 140 countries
* 19 sports in the programme (15 sports are common with the Olympic Games)
The Closing Ceremony of Olympic Games was great and I was so happy to be there!
This shot shows the view at the main Olympic Stadium a few minutes before the Closing Ceremony. The Olympic Flame lives its last hours in Athens 2004...
Do you understand?
Baseball is the only one sport discipline I couldn't enjoy :-) Well, actually the heat was my enemy that day and even with the explanations of David (american VT member dgeorge10) I stayed in doubt... But btw we had a great VT meeting with a few greek members, David and Simone from Tokyo.
I've forgot to say: Greece! (greek americans) was playing against Japan.
One of the most beautiful olympic disciplines! Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva (at the picture) took the gold medal. It was an impressive performance with the music from "Carmen". It's a pity to hear that she is leaving gymnastic...
A young French cavalry officer of the 19th century was sent on horseback to deliver a message. He rode across the uneven terrain, through enemy lines, and was confronted by a soldier with his sword drawn. Challenged to a duel, the officer won, only to have his horse shot out from under him by another enemy soldier. After felling that soldier with a single shot, the officer ran on, swam across a raging river, and then finally he delivered the message. So, legend has it, was born the modern pentathlon...
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