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  • Athens: the quiet crisis?

    The Athens crisis has been off our collective radar screens for awhile, but it hasn't gone away. My local Sunday paper had an article that read, in part:

    "From the optimisitic view of the local organizers, the web of Olympic projects is finally taking shape...[But] then there's the darker take on Athens: almost nothing for the 2004 Games is actually finished with less than 10 months left, and even the smallest glitch could be catastrophic.
    "...IOC inspectors were duly impressed. But what still troubles them is the precarious balance that could be easily upset with no time for alternative plans.
    "...Some of the biggest holes remain in security planning..."

    With apologizes in advance to Pego & CO., one needs to ask yet again if the Olympics is sustainable in this day and age. We know that a closed, authoritarian state (e.g., China) can pull it off, but can ANY single city in an open society really do it anymore? I sincerely hope that Athens surprises us all and does a wonderful job. I have my doubts, however, and am fearful about the last point raised in the quote above. A track & field WC is too small for the bad guys to bother with. An Olympics, on the other hand, is entirely too "perfect" a target. In an age when smaller may well be better, the Olympics is the Hummer of the sports world.

    Do we run the risk of the modern Olympic movement beginng and ending at Athens?

  • #2
    Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

    With apologizes in advance to
    >Pego & CO., one needs to ask yet again if the
    >Olympics is sustainable in this day and age. We
    >know that a closed, authoritarian state (e.g.,
    >China) can pull it off, but can ANY single city
    >in an open society really do it anymore?

    Are you referring only to security, or to pulling off the Olympics in general? If the latter, we don't know that a closed, authoritarian state can pull it off. It'll be interesting to see how Beijing handles the huge influence of the all mighty corporate dollar that now drives the games, even with China's increasing capitalization in urban centers.

    Security-wise, China also has the advantage of being a very homogenous society, whereby anyone foreign stands out a lot more than they would in New York, London or Paris.

    >Do we run the risk of the modern Olympic
    >c movement beginng and ending at Athens?

    I don't know about ending, but the Olympics have become incredibly bloated with the number of sports (they're always adding new ones, but loathe to cut any, even those with huge international followings such as modern pentathalon). They could very well surpass their critical mass in Athens and require a revamping heading into 2008.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

      'we don't know that a closed, authoritarian state can pull it off'

      Really? I thought Moscow did a pretty could
      job in 1980. Even if we decided not to play.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

        Correction for above.

        'we don't know that a closed, authoritarian state can pull it off'

        Really? I thought Moscow did a pretty good
        job in 1980. Even if we decided not to play.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

          You misquoted me. I said that we "know that a closed, authoritarian society can pull it off."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

            Really? I thought Moscow did a pretty
            >good
            job in 1980. Even if we decided not to
            >play.

            As the original poster mentioned, the WC are apparently too small fry these days. How would you compare the 1980 games with those of 1996 or 2000 in terms of numbers of athletes, participating nations, sports, corporate sponsorship, Olympic construction, global TV and media interest?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

              There is no doubt that the Games are bloated and in today's world the security concerns are humongous. I personally think quite a few sports could be cut. Soccer, baseball, field hockey for example. Basketball and volleyball are no longer summer outdoor sports, therefore they could be played at winter Games. Cut "circus" sports such as beach volleyball. I would not touch too many individual sports (modern penthatlon, equestrian, yachting sure are possibilities).
              "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
              by Thomas Henry Huxley

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                If the IOC had any guts and any sense, they'd eliminate all sports in which the Olympic Champion is not universally recognized as the best in the world. That would knock out baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, and probably a few other sports where the very top indviduals and teams are not necessarily in the Games. And it would keep out some of the Olympic wannabes like golf.

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                • #9
                  Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                  All team sports should be eliminated from the olympics, as well as some other anachronisms and worthless events. I'm sorry, but synchronized swimming is not a sport and has no place in the olympics, as well as ballroom dancing or whatever else has managed to weave its way into the olympics. It is ridiculously bloated.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                    Totally agree with Pierre.

                    Personaly, I'd also take out any event where you needed an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology to figure out who won. Was that dive worth 5.4 with a 2.9 difficulty or 4.8 with a 3.3 difficulty?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                      To get back to the original subject:
                      I agree, Athens is not ready yet and it won’t be completely ready. Athens is a construction pit as we speak and it will remain so for the months to come. It seems like they are trying to do/finish everything in the next few months. Most likely everything will be presentable for the games but definitely won’t be “perfect”. But then I ask you, so what?
                      What if it is not the best organized Olympics? I am sure that the basic services will be there. Medical teams will be on hand for the marathon race and there should be water in the swimming pool before the divers attempt their dives!!!
                      And what if the walls are not painted? Don't look at them.... look at the athletes.
                      So what if there is traffic in the streets? Leave your hotel an hour earlier.
                      So what is there is garbage in the streets? Ignore it (or hold your breath for few seconds).
                      So what if the taxi drivers are the least polite drivers in the world? They will take you where you want. Smile at them and say thank you. You may make them a little bit more polite.
                      So what if the hotels are already full and the prices over the top (OK, I do have a problem with that)?
                      So what if two thirds of Athens will be vacationing in the islands while you are sweating in the Stadium? You can join them after the games.
                      Will all of the above make winning the 100m less important?
                      Will all of the above make the unique peaceful gathering of people from all over the planet in one place for few weeks less significant?
                      Will all of the above stop you from paying a visit to Ancient Olympia and see where the Olympics started?
                      Can anything replace the Marathon starting from Marathon and finishing in the First Modern Olympic Stadium?
                      Can anything replace the Greek hospitality? The Greeks will welcome the world with the best they can offer and that is what matters (to try your best even if it is not the best in the world).
                      Does it matter if Marion Jones or Konstantinos Kenderis do not stay in the most luxurious hotel room? They can stay at my mother’s house.
                      Does it matter if the Dream Team does not have 24 hours personal service or a limo to take them to the stadium? Can’t they take the metro?
                      As for security I feel more secure walking down the streets of Athens than going to the super market late in the evening in Tucson Arizona. As for terrorists no matter how much security you have you can’t eliminate the possibility of crazy people behaving crazily.
                      The bottom line, participating in the Olympics or winning is what every athlete or coach should be looking for. Being part of the Olympics is what every spectator should be looking for. The Olympics returning home is what we should be so proud off. The rest is just “vitrina” as we say in Greece (window dressing).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                        Lefteris, for the moment off the subject. It appears that you live in Tucson. Does the Big A on the corner of Campbell and Speedway still exist? Are they #1's still the best burgers in the world? They were 30 years ago.
                        "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                        by Thomas Henry Huxley

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                          So what is there is garbage in
                          >the streets? Ignore it (or hold your breath for
                          >few seconds).
                          So what if the taxi drivers are
                          >the least polite drivers in the world? They
                          >will take you where you want. Smile at them and
                          >say thank you. You may make them a little bit
                          >more polite.
                          now, now...it isn't that bad....we actually met a bunch of great taxi drivers...

                          Can
                          >anything replace the Greek hospitality? NOPE

                          As for security I feel more secure
                          >walking down the streets of Athens than going to
                          >the super market late in the evening in Tucson
                          >Arizona. DITTO..

                          they'll be done...and if not, it will just look like it was another original ruin!!!

                          and aside from the great competiton, the beauty that the country and the people have to offer is unparalled...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                            I've been to Athens in 1997, and safety is not an issue.

                            The real problem will be terrorism, and the overall lack of adequate security.

                            Any one who wants to do something will find a general lack of security.

                            I won't go next year, because I don't trust the Greeks to protect anyone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Athens: the quiet crisis?

                              >Lefteris, for the moment off the subject. It
                              >appears that you live in Tucson. Does the Big A
                              >on the corner of Campbell and Speedway still
                              >exist? Are they #1's still the best burgers in
                              >the world? They were 30 years ago.

                              Nope, gone with the wind.

                              Comment

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