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OCTOBER 23

Athens Travel Guide

Sports in Athens



Independent of its cultural and architectural events Athens can also enjoy the modern Olympic Games and the marathon among its lasting heritages. Panhellenic athletic competitions were held in Athens from the fourth century BC and reinstated as the modern Olympic Games in 1896. After the initial disappointment of seeing the millennium Olympic Games go to Sydney, Athens is ready to welcome the Games home again in 2004. The marathon remembers the Greek soldier Phidippides who ran 42km (26 miles) from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens, to announce Greek victory over the Persians (490BC). He delivered his one word message – ‘Nenikamen’ (we have won) – and then fell down and died. The annual Athens Marathon repeats his footsteps from the battleground to the 1896 Olympic Stadium.

Although the Greek national team has not seen much success in last years, football is by far the nation’s chosen sport. In the national league, the local giants are Panathanaďkós and AEK in Athens and Olympiakós in Piraeus. The season runs from September to June and most main football matches are played at the Athens Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Maroussi. Basketball and volleyball are also prevalent. These sports events have significantly contributed to the build of several modern bigger or smaller sports resources, stadiums and training buildings for a wide range of sports all over Greece, where both the local people and visitors to the area have the opportunity to practice their chosen sports. Moreover, many hotels provide special sports facilities for their customers (basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, water sports etc). Individual venue ticket offices sell tickets for national sporting events, while SEGAS, Syngrou 137 , sells tickets to international events. The Olympic Committee can provide information on the forthcoming 2004 Olympic Games.



Sports in Athens


Olympic Games


Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin was a French pedagogue and historian best known for being founder of the modern Olympic Games. Thanks to him, in 1896, Athens was awarded the first modern Olympic Games. In those years Athens had an approximate population of 123,000 people and helped boost the towns international image. Of the places used for these Olympics, they included the Kallimarmaro Stadium, and Zappeion. It would be more than 100 years till Athens would once again be awarded the Olympics.

After of 100 years approximately, Athens introduced the 2004 Summer Olympic Games on September 5, 1997 in Lausanne, Switzerland, after having lost a previous bid to introduce the 1996 Summer Olympics, to Atlanta, United States. It would be the second time Athens would have the honour of hosting the Olympic Games, the first one being in 1896. After the unsuccessful bid of 1990, the 1997 bid was radically improved, and also included an appeal to Olympic history. The 2004 Games were adjudged a great success, as both security and organization were extraordinarily good and only a few visitors reported minor difficulties, principally concerning transportation or accommodation issues. Essentially, the only notable difficulty was a somewhat sparse attendance of some preliminary events. Eventually, however, a total of more than 3.2 million tickets were sold, which was higher than any other Olympics with the exception of Sydney.


2004 Summer Olympic Games






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