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)
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!
"Pass the Flame
Unite the World
It's time to celebrate let our voices be heard
Pass the Flame
Unite the world
Bring us all together
We can grow a forest
On a dried up river bed
We can build a mountain
From a grain sand
Reach out, hold out your hands
Reach out, hold out your hands..."
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".
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!
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.
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.
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.
Latvian girl with the same name like me (Elena) won the silver medal in modern pentathlon on 27 of august in Goudi Olympic Complex. Bravo, Jelena Rublevska! But it's a pity I was the only one latvian with a flag (even the small one :-) to support her... At least she noticed me!
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...
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 Olympic Stadium was closed for more than 2 years, with the purpose to be renovated to host the Olympic Games of 2004. So -except other works- new seats were put and an impressive construction (roof with arcs) by -whom else?- S. Calatrava was fast made, which gave to the stadium a modern and majestical bearing.
During the Olympic Games of Athens 2004, I had the chance to see for first -and last?- time unknown to Greeks sports as badminton, hockey, baseball (as in the picture).
Most of them were hosted at a new complex of stadiums, at the place of the old airport (Helliniko Olympic Complex, which was the 2nd most important one after the Olympic Complex in Marousi).
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...
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...