13 August, 2003
Today’s Aug. 13 date – one year before the 2004 Olympic Games – generated statements by ATHOC’s head and greek officials.
ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on Tuesday appeared particularly stern in comments to the organizing committee’s administrative staff.
She noted that “test events” have so far been successful, a fact she said is recognized by all national delegations, including the International Rowing Federation.
However, she stressed that certain unfortunate events, like the high winds during the first two days of the rowing competition at the Schinias Rowing Centre, as well as the food poisoning of members of the German junior rowing team, were merely isolated events, which however, ''should make us learn from our mistakes.''
The ATHOC chief also let it be understood that after the pre-Olympic test events, the work of all ATHOC executives will be assess.
Moreover, other officials also made statements regarding the Aug. 13 date.
In his message, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said: ''Greece feels confident and proud of the work done in relation to its Olympic preparation.''
”We spent a lot of time debating, exchanging views, trying to overcome non-constructive criticism and reservations …Now everyone witnesses that Games-related projects are going ahead and are near completion. No-one is entitled to have reservations on the result of the Olympic preparation, which has been the most systematic and most ambitious plan of the country's true modernization.''
Finally, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni welcomed the beginning of the last year to the Olympic Games, calling it a year of hard preparation work, for everyone.
“The success of the Olympic Games of 2004 will be a success for Greece, and especially of Athens. It will prove to the entire world and to all the Olympic family that the Games can be re-baptized in the freshness of the ancient Olympic spirit in the country that twice gave birth to them,” Bakoyianni said.
“Athens dared, based not only on its historical laurels, which in any case are amongst the most renowned in the world, but on the will of its citizens and that of all Greeks to transform this historic heritage into a modern success,” she added.
Bakoyianni went on to issue a call to all European and global friends of the Olympic Games to visit Athens or turn their “gaze” to the city, noting that “Athens is preparing for 2004. Athens is placing the foundations for its future, both for the Games and for its further development as a historic, urban centre and a modern large city”.
Costas Kartalis, head of the culture ministry's Olympic works secretariat, said: ''one year before the Games, preparations are progressing smoothly and methodically.''
He added that 2004-related projects were now ''visible'', and that related difficulties, whether minor or major, were being overcome.
''Athens, ancient Olympia and the other Olympic cities (Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos and Iraklion), are being transformed through projects that are providing solutions to long-term problems. Up to 95 per cent of the Olympic projects are to have a vital post-Olympic use, enhancing urban functionality and quality of life,'' he said.
Source: Athens News Agency