August 13th marks one of the greatest days in the history of contemporary Greece, when after a failed attempt in 1996, the City of Athens was finally given the opportunity to host the premiere sporting event on the planet in 2004.
But when history is written in a hundred years and students in 2, 3 generations look back at major events like Olympic Games,as well as the history of Greece, the legacy of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens won’t be the self-congratulations showered on each other by then IOC President Jacques Rogge and Athens 2004 organizing committee chair Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki.
The legacy won’t even be the medal winners.
Unfortunately, most people will probably even forget the outstanding opening ceremony spectacle that Dimitris Papaioannou created that put on display three thousand years of Greek history in such vivid fashion.
They may have been called “dream games” then, but the images below prove that they have become a nightmare to the people of Athens, and all of Greece, not to mention a symbol of bad planning and wasteful spending— an endemic problem in Greece over the past four decades.
In my humble opinion— Daskalakis, credited the world over for doing the impossible— actually failed in her mission for not having secured a plan for “the day after.”
Was she charged with that? Was that in her job description? Probably not— but every good leader cares about sustainability and legacy and Gianna Angelopoulos’ legacy are these buildings below— what remains of the billions of dollars spent— wasted— on two weeks of sporting events.
But here’s a plan that even Mrs. Daskalakis can get behind and use her influence and international connections to promote.
Greece needs to come up with €50 billion in assets to put into a fund in Luxembourg to guarantee the third bailout. Perhaps a good starting point could be the many Olympic venues that have fallen into disrepair and could easily be sold, privatized and eventually developed for the good of the communities they were originally built to serve.