18 September, 2003
The opening ceremony of the Paralympics will take place in exactly one year from now and to mark the occasion, Athens Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki during a special event at the Conference Centre of the Organizing Committee on Wednesday presented the medal and mascot of the Paralympics.
Athens 2004 President Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted that ''Athens 2004 is the first Organizing Committee which has jointly undertaken the preparation of both the events, the Olympic Games and the Paralympics.'' The opening ceremony of the 12th Paralympics will be on September 17, 2004 and the closing ceremony on September 28, 2004.
A record number of athletes will take part in the Paralympics in Athens, the ATHOC chief said. Specifically, taking part will be 4,000 athletes from 142 countries - a record number in the history of the Paralympics.
On his part, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said during the event that ''for us, the hosting of the Paralympics does not only simply have the equal importance with that of the Olympic Games, but double, as the moral achievement is double. It is an athletic achievement but also a social achievement.''
A seahorse named Proteas is the mascot which was presented during the event. One side of the medal depicts the emblem and the serial number of the 2004 Paralympics, the city and the year in the Greek language, but also with the Braille. The other side of the medal depicts the Acropolis.
Source: Athens News Agency