16 August, 2003
Large crowds in four cities around Greece on Wednesday attended simultaneous celebrations to mark the official beginning of the 365-day countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games of Athens.
The star-studded "One-year-to-go" open-air concerts were held in the “Olympic cities” of Thessaloniki, Irakleio on Crete, Volos, central Greece, and the western port city of Patras, where local performers joined thousands of spectators to celebrate the countdown to the Olympics’ “homecoming”.
Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki greeted crowds in the Cretan capital of Irakleio.
"Today, we are celebrating throughout Greece – in the four Olympic Cities – the mark of the year before the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Games. Our Games, our unique Games", she said in an address carried by the state-run TV channel.
A confident Angelopoulos-Daskalaki assured cheering crowds that the Athens 2004 Games will be the best ever.
"We are moving on with our preparations, we are learning from the problems and focusing on solutions so that we can be ready in one year, and we will be ready.”
Meanwhile, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos was in Thessaloniki, the district where he is elected, to attend count-down celebrations held in the northern Greek port city.
The four Olympic cities will host soccer preliminaries during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Source: Athens News Agency