Thursday, August 13, 2009

ATHENS 2004 - 5 Years since Athens' Magical, Unforgettable, Dream Olympics - Efharistoume Ellada!!!

"The Olympics came home and we showed the world the great things Greece can do - Athens was great for athletes and Greece was great for the Games."
Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, President, Athens 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC)

And the Games came Home...

And what a glorious homecoming it was! 

Athens, and indeed the whole of Greece lived through spectacular days in the summer of 2004. 

To the chagrin of all those who said that we wouldn't make it, Athens not only made it, it showed the world what glorious things could be achieved! The smallest country ever , but also the only one whose history alone entitled it to host the Olympics, put on the greatest Olympics ever. 

All those Cassandras who predicted that we would be painting and nailing right through to the Closing Ceremony were proved wrong! Our Australian friends, who should have known better, and should have been more sympathetic, after having hosted their own Olympics four years earlier in Sydney in 2000, were amongst the most critical unfortunately!

An email which had done the rounds earlier in the preparations even gave the Games a new logo ...
ATHENS 2005 ...because good things take a little longer!

But Greeks invented satire and proved that more than anything, we knew how to laugh at ourselves...
At the pre-show, just before the Opening Ceremony began, Greek French Showman Nikos Aliagas, in blue workers' overalls, hammered in the last nail and beamed ecstatically, 'At last, we're finished!', before he took off the overalls and settled in to present the show, receiving ecstatic laughter and thundering applause from the 70,000+ audience!

The greatest ever celebration of youth and sport was about to begin, and Athens was in celebration mode!

Let the Games Begin!

And the Games began!!! And what incredible Games they were...
Dimitri Papaioannou's magnificent Opening Ceremony set the tone for the days that were to follow!

Athens 2004 - Opening Ceremony

For all those who were in Athens during those magical 30 days, for all those who worked for the Olympics, either directly or indirectly, either as paid staff or as volunteers, the experience was one we will never forget!

For us, Athens changed incredibly and for the better! 

Athens 2004 Mascots Phoebus and Athena at play
For 30 days, Athens was a gracious and wonderful hostess to the World and like a real Diva, lived up to her myth! The atmosphere was superb and Athens had its own unique way of making every day memorable! Hundreds of thousands of people, athletes, officials, our extraordinary volunteers, including 3500 volunteers of Greek origin from Australia to Uruguay (more about these very special volunteers in another post), gave of their very best and thus achieved the ultimate!

The years of upheaval as the whole city underwent major structural and constructional changes and in fact became one huge construction site, paid off - it all pulled together beautifully just like the Calatrava Roof on the Olympic Stadium, just weeks before the Opening Ceremony.

As Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee so aptly said

Athens' preparations for the Games are like the Syrtaki - It starts very slowly, it accelerates and by the end you can't keep up with the pace."

We lived through magnificent, glorious days in August of 2004, forgetting all the problems as the countdown began for the best ever Olympic Games! 

The IOC President might not have said exactly that at the closing Ceremony 16 days later, but he said enough to ensure that the Athens Olympics would leave their own mark in history, along with the first Modern Olympics of 1896, and the Classic Olympics of Antiquity!

Volunteers Harvest the Wheat-Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony
Photo: Mike Blake for Reuters

Efharistoume, Athena! Thank you, Athens!

Dear Greek friends, you have won. You have won by brilliantly meeting the tough challenge of holding the Games.
These Games were held in peace and brotherhood.
These were the Games where it became increasingly difficult to cheat and where clean athletes were protected.
These Games were unforgettable, dream Games.
IOC President Jacques Rogge with ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki at the Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony
Photo:Mike Blake for Reuters

As Dimitri Papaioannou's magnificent Opening Ceremony unfolded and several millennia of Greek history paraded before the world in his fascinating Klepsydra, as the wonderful music of Greek New Zealander John Psathas, among others, flooded the stadium, the world watched in awe, mesmerised and enchanted.

The next day, and for many days after, while competition continued and it became obvious that Athens' Olympics were a great success, the apologies came pouring in! To the credit of all concerned, these apologies (see below for just a few examples) were pretty generous, albeit sometimes a little tongue-in-cheek!

We, who knew what we Greeks can achieve when we are united were not one bit surprised.
 Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony
Photo: Reuters
Athens and Greece had once again given the World something unique to remember, something that would live on forever in our hearts!

Olympic Triple Gold Medallist Pyrros Dimas holds Greek Flag at Closing Ceremony
Photo: Arko Datta for Reuters

Ευχαριστουμε Ελλάδα! Efharistoume Ellada!

Greece, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for those unforgettable, magical moments !!

Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony Fireworks
And then the apologies came rolling in from every side ....

We were wrong

Rick Reilly in SI 31 August 2004

Greece overcame the world's paranoia to stage a glorious Games

Dear Athens,
Well, we feel bad. We really owe you an apology.
So, sygnomi, as you would say. Sorry.
Sorry about the way we acted. We were paranoid and stupid and just flat out wrong. Our bad. If you want, we'll sleep on the couch.
We mocked you, ridiculed you, figured you wouldn't be ready. We envisioned you as a bunch of lazy, swarthy guys in wife-beater T-shirts chugging ouzo instead of finishing the baseball dugouts. We were sure steeplechasers would have to jump over drying cement, pole vaulters over tractors, divers into 3 feet of water.
We were wrong. It was all done and it was beautiful. OK, so the swimming stadium never got a roof. Big freaking deal. Imagine: having to swim in an outdoor pool. Let's all sue. Besides, you know what? It was more fun that way. Michael Phelps was out there so much he ended up with raccoon eyes from his goggles. He looked like a snowboarder. "Cool!" he said.
We predicted women madly weaving olive wreaths next to the podiums as the national anthems started up. We foresaw painters sprinting along painting stripes just yards ahead of 400-meter runners. We figured beams would be falling on people's heads. Who knew Wrigley Field would be a lot more dangerous?
We were sure every street corner would have three or four terrorists, just kind of killing time, looking for somebody to kidnap. Some bozo said, "The only place worse to hold an Olympics would be Baghdad." Please. I guarantee you, we felt a helluva lot safer these three weeks in Athens than we do in L.A. Or Detroit. Or the Republican National Convention.
We insisted you spend 1.2 billion euros on security. You had to put up blimps and cameras all over the city. You couldn't throw a bucket of grapes anywhere and not hit a soldier with a rifle. And nothing happened. Zero. The only incident was when our Secretary of State said he was coming to visit. In other words, if Colin Powell would've just been happy with his remote, you wouldn't have had a single problem.
Why you had to pay for our paranoia, I'll never know. It's the world's problem, the world should have to pay for it. What small country is going to be able to afford to host the Olympics anymore with these insane security demands? From now on, if a country wants to send a team to the Games, it pays its share of security, based on its share of the gross world product. In other words, it's our war, we should have to pay for it.
And our ignorance cost you more than just the billion or so Euros. Our Edvard Munch screams leading up to these games kept millions of people away. Corporations bailed on you. Fans chickened out. I know burly journalists who were too scared to come.
Sygnomi. Really. You did such a beautiful job on all the venues, arenas and stadiums and yet most of them were so empty you would've thought you'd stumbled upon a goiter seminar. At one basketball game, we counted: There were 307 people. One women's soccer game involving the U.S. started with fewer than 50 people. I had a friend call one night and say, "You better get over to gymnastics, quick. There's only 15,000 seats left."
The shopkeepers told us, "We've never seen it so dead in August." Hotels came down on their prices by three-quarters. Shirt stores lost their shirts.
It's too bad. It was a glorious Olympics. It really was. The opening ceremonies were fabulous. The nightlife was amazing. Even the stray dogs and cats couldn't have been friendlier. I got lost once and had to hitchhike out of nowhere, and a motorcyclist not only picked me up but drove for miles until he found me a cab. So, efharisto, as you say. Thanks.
Somebody did a poll and found that 97 percent of fans were "satisfied" with safety and security, 95 percent appreciated the job the volunteers did and 98 percent had a favorable impression of Greece. The other two percent were Paul Hamm's family.
And what did you get for all your trouble? Nothing but heartache. With 9,000-plus Greeks about to go delirious, our men's volleyball team handed you a giant buzzkill --- coming back from eight points down to win the fourth set and then the fifth to advance to the semifinals. The only really good game our men's basketball team played the whole time was against Greece.
It was Greek Tragedy Fortnight on TBS. It started even before the Games with your heartbroken judoka jumping from a balcony, followed two days later by her distraught boyfriend. Your two best sprinters turned in their credentials to end a doping/conspiracy/motorcycle wreck soap opera that tore the nation up. One of your favorite weightlifters had to give up a medal for a failed drug test, then wept in front of the world protesting his innocence.
And now you're stuck with about $8.5 billion in debt, a bunch of huge, expensive stadiums you'll never use (Hey, kids, who's ready to synchronized dive?!) and a whole lot of "Get Your Butt to Team Handball!" shorts nobody was around to buy. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
So, really, we're sorry. If it makes you feel any better, we all feel a lot more Greek now. We're all coming back to the States telling the daughter, "OK, you be Athena and I'll be Zeus!", demanding our favorite restaurants reserve us a table about 1 a.m. under the moon, right near a 2,500 year-old ruin. We keep spitting in people's hair for good luck, crushing plates for no reason and hollering "opa!" in the shower.
No idea how to make this right for you, except this: We vow, here and now, we'll never make you host us again.
See you in Baghdad, 2016.
Thanks Rick! We accept!
(For original article Click here)

To the People of Greece: We Apologize
San Jose Mercury News
Posted on Sat, Aug. 21, 2004
ATHENS – The Greeks could sue for defamation of character. They could demand an apology from the world. Instead they just shrug and order another frappe.

Their Olympics are going beautifully. Just like they expected. After all, they invented this business.
For years, we heard how miserable these Olympics would be, how dangerous, how choked with traffic, how polluted, how unfinished. After just a couple of days, some observers turned in an instant thumbs-down on the Games. No atmosphere. No crowds. The horror – gymnastics wasn’t even sold out!
Such rips are ridiculous. For one thing, you can’t judge the Olympics until they start. And, in reality, the Athens Games didn’t start until Friday, when track and field got under way.
Olympic atmosphere comes from 160,000 people streaming into the park every day. And that can only happen when track starts. Until then, the Olympic park seems deserted even with 30,000 people inside it.

Saturday night, the upper bowl of Olympic Stadium was filled with rippling blue and white Greek flags and fans cheering for runners and discus throwers. The roar of the crowd rose into the Athens night. You couldn’t convince anyone there that these Games have no atmosphere.
So far these Games get a huge thumbs-up from this corner. And not just because I set my personal bar so low – my goal was to come home alive. I swore I wouldn’t whine about slow buses or hot weather.
I’m still alive and feeling sheepish about all my worries. The heightened security is evident but not oppressive. The fear-mongering has dissolved into a happy Olympic atmosphere where Canadian fans wander around in togas and olive wreaths drinking Mythos beer. The Games aren’t over, but so far, Athens feels very safe.
And there hasn’t been much to whine about. The buses run on time. The taxis are cheap. The phones work. Even the weather has cooperated, with temperature mostly in the 90s during the days, but not the 100-plus heat that had been advertised.
Are they as great as the Sydney Summer Olympics, which drew rave reviews? So far, they’re not far behind (and gymnastics wasn’t sold out there either – not everyone loves the little pixies as much as Americans).
The scene at Darling Harbor was terrific – but the crowded cafes of the Plaka, in the shadow of the Acropolis, are almost as lively.
Are these Games as great as Barcelona, which I didn’t attend but many veteran Olympic writers say is their favorite? They’re not far behind – and they’re beating Barcelona in ticket sales.
And how do they compare to Atlanta? There is no comparison. The United States hosted the worst Summer Olympics of the modern mega-Games era.
Everything people feared would happen here actually did happen in Atlanta: There was a bombing, the buses didn’t run on time, the computer system didn’t function, the crowds were suffocating and the weather was oppressive. Greece, the smallest country to host an Olympics in 52 years and one of the poorest countries in the European Union, is outperforming the world’s super power.
On Saturday, Athens was abuzz. The efficient new metro system was packed with fans heading to every venue. Inside the Olympic park every event except trampoline was sold out (and you’re not going to hold it against the Athenians if they don’t support trampoline, are you?).
On Friday, 244,144 fans went to 47 events. Ticket sales have reached 3.2 million – close to the target of 3.4 million – and they’re not done yet. The fact that most Athenians were on vacation until last week is part of the Games’ new energy.
Not only were the Greeks underestimated, their capital city has been mistreated. For those of us who haven’t been here before, Athens is a surprising delight.
Yes, it’s crowded and poorly laid out. But it has dazzling historic sites around almost every corner, restaurants and bars that stay open until almost dawn, and wonderful, gracious hosts.
It also has a terrific coastline along the Saronic Gulf. A new tram runs along the water, and Saturday it carried both Olympic spectators and sunbathers. The beaches were packed and Athenians bobbed in the sparkling water.
The first eight days have been a success. I told my cabdriver how impressed I was.
“Of course,” he said and shrugged. What did you expect from the folks who came up with idea in the first place?

By Zeus, the Greeks are great again!

Instead of sneering at the supposed failings of the Olympic hosts, the British should address their own inadequacies
Helena Smith
Sunday August 15, 2004
The Observer
The only time I met Jeffrey Archer, he was ranting about the Greeks. ‘These bloody people, they couldn’t organise their way out of a paper bag.’
It was the eve of the 1997 World Athletics Championships in Athens. Archer was standing in the foyer of the Hilton, fuming because an overworked saleswoman in the hotel bookshop had had the temerity to keep him waiting. ‘To think that they’re organising these games is a real joke,’ he grumbled. ‘They’re bloody hopeless.’ His tirade was embarrassing. But what struck me more, living in Greece and being British, was the ferocity of such Anglo-Saxon condescension. It was both disquieting and buffoonish. In the event, the championships were the best of recent times.
As Greeks defy sceptics with world-class sports venues and a vastly improved city for the Olympics, I wonder what put-downs Archer and his ilk will come up with now? That Athens 2004 isn’t a patch on what London could be in 2012? Or perhaps they will take a leaf out of Tessa Jowell’s book? After touring the Greek capital last week, the British sports minister could only exclaim: ‘We are here to learn … and support the city in the face ofdoomsayers – they have turned it around.’
Greece is the smallest country to stage the Olympics, which are the biggest ever. The feat will help dispel some of the self-doubt and nagging inferiorities that torment Greeks. Not even the humiliation of seeing the farcical flight from drug testers of their two star athletes could take the gloss off Friday’s magnificent opening ceremony.

If the Games go as well and remain incident-free – and the Greeks have spent a record £900 million providing security for the event – the organisers may just succeed in proving that Athens is no longer Europe’s Christian Orthodox ‘odd-man out’. That, actually, it can very effectively ‘organise its way out of a paper bag’. But will the Olympics also change the prejudices against Hellenes?

In Britain, it seems, there is still a readiness to think of the Greeks as barely civilised: they are all called Zorba, sport bushy moustaches and smash plates. If not that, then they are corrupt southern Europeans with a criminal justice system that goes out of its way to target British plane spotters. Such stereotypes are born of an idea of Greece as a Balkan backwater, a country that has no place in the European Union.

Again and again, in the course of reporting from Greece, I have met such prejudices. What still surprises me, though, is the extent to which they appear to have colonised the minds of people I might otherwise respect.

A year spent in the irrepressibly progressive environment of Harvard, as the new century dawned, only served to highlight how entrenched and peculiarly British such views tend to be. Like our fondness for that cliche of Greeks bearing gifts, we seem unable to abandon our belief that modern Greece is a contradiction in terms. Increasingly, I find myself thinking the British, rather than the Greeks, are trapped in outdated mindsets.

As a Briton, I find much to squirm about, whether it’s the Elgin marbles or my compatriots running wild in vomit-splattered Faliraki or feckless, bare-breasted English girls being incarcerated in Greek jails, which are, naturally, described as ‘medieval’ in the British press.
Few ever stop to think how the British might behave if hordes of unprepossessing, out-of-control Greeks invaded our coasts? More often than not, Greek authorities react to such excesses with a leniency far beyond the call of duty.

No one can deny the Greeks’ bewildering last-minute work ethic. In recent months, preparations for the Games appeared so chaotic that they bordered on the burlesque. But, sadly, stereotypes tend to colour political views.

What people tend to forget is just how far the Greeks have come. Three decades ago, Athens was under the iron grip of small-minded military dictators, men as intent on banning mini-skirts as banishing leftists to remote island prisons.

Now, Hellenes worry not about human rights or the rule of law, but consumer goods and their second homes overlooking the sea. It is all the more miraculous when you remember that before the colonels came years of wars, coups and near-constant political and social unrest.
It is true that with their extraordinary ability to be their own worst enemy, the tumult was often self-inflicted. The disastrous 1923 Pelepponese campaign, subject of Louis de Berniere’s latest book, did not enhance the country’s reputation. Nor did Athens’s fiercely pro-Serbian and less than magnanimous stance in the recent Balkan wars.

But Greece is changing. Just as the country is no longer the economic laggard of the European Union (at around 4 per cent, its GDP growth rates are the second highest in the eurozone), it is no longer the political juvenile of yore. The trenchant nationalism of the 1980s and early 1990s is no more; instead of generating firebrand politicians with only thinly disguised dreams of conquering Constantinople, it produces men and women who want only to improve relations with Turkey.

Progressive immigration policies, an area for which Greece deserves more credit, are rapidly changing the country’s ethnic make-up. Around 10 per cent of its 11-million strong population are now foreign-born, mostly Albanian, although increasingly from the former Soviet republics, Africa and the Middle East. Admittedly, Greece was never a multicultural paradise; treatment of newcomers has not always been exemplary. But I have often wondered what the reaction would be in other European countries to such a great influx.

In years to come, others might contemplate the wisdom of tasking small states such as Greece with the organisation of a show such as the Olympics. But of one thing there can be no doubt: no other single event has so effectively transformed or revitalised Athens in the 180-plus years since Greece won independence from the Ottoman Turks.

In one fell swoop, it seems, the Greeks have cleaned up their act. They have cracked the nasty November 17 (the group that killed British military attache Stephen Saunders); they’ve used EU funds and dug deep into their coffers to build highways, a sophisticated transport network, a gleaming new airport and a metro system that makes the London Underground look primitive.
They haven’t built a new Acropolis Museum yet, but they’ve united all their ancient masterpieces into a giant and spectacular archaeological park, no mean feat in a city of more than four million people. How long has it taken to even agree to build London’s Crossrail? It is unlikely it will be ready by 2012.
The new Greeks are innovative. In contrast to the patronising eggheads who govern the likes of the British Museum, they come up with forward-looking polices: ‘Why not loan us the Elgin marbles, instead of ‘giving them back’ and we’ll display them in a branch of the British Museum beneath the Parthenon?’
Lovers of Greece will weep to see that acceptance has taken so long, but it could prove to be one of the greatest legacies of the Games.
The Olympics Are Ending: Now Athens Pays for a Nice Party

By GEORGE VECSEY – New York Times

THERE will always be two versions of the 2004 Summer Games:

The very pleasant Games most people experienced, superimposed on one of the world’s historic cities.

The very expensive Games that Greeks will have to underwrite for decades.

Many thousands of visitors will go home with a memory of some epic sporting event – a Greek winning a gold medal, a luminous smile on the podium, a perfect meal in a local taverna.

On the other hand, millions of Greeks will stay home and sort out the ledger sheet, and make up their minds whether the security and the new infrastructure were even remotely worth $9 billion, the current estimate.

But whatever Greeks come to think about these Games, they need to remember they were good hosts. They took care of us, with our low expectations and our high demands. Greece came through.

These Games were secure and peaceful, at least until Secretary of State Colin L. Powell planned to come to town, a visceral reminder of things that annoy some Greeks about the order of the world. A nasty demonstration Friday made him change his plans.

These Games were friendly and capable. Maybe that came through on television sets around the world. Or maybe such considerations are not relevant to viewers.

The Olympic Games have become a made-for-television extravaganza, to keep the American masses occupied for 17 days in August until football, tennis, the baseball pennant races and the Champions League of soccer all kick in on the tube.

For athletes, tourists and wretches from the news media, the Games are reality. Fans walk through an Athenian square carrying their national banner, having an experience they will tell their grandchildren about.

When I get home in a few days, I will tell my grandchildren mostly about the ferry rides and the ancient ruins, far more than most sporting events I witnessed. (I loved the use of the ancient stadium and the old stadium, the respect for history. Best single Olympic action? Kristine Lilly’s superb blast-from-the-past corner kick that set up the gold-medal header by Abby Wambach.)

The nice people with the Olympic committee all blur together. I cannot tell a paid official from an unpaid volunteer. They seem to wear the same uniform. They all speak English. They all anticipate our needs.

Greece is said to have a culture of privacy and individualism. (If I may say so after a month here, many Athenians tend to talk, walk and smoke oblivious to others around them.) It is said that Greeks do not volunteer, but somehow the organizers found thousands of the best and brightest of their society and put them in uniforms where some cranky American would come lurching along, trying to find a bus or a bathroom. I will always remember their tolerant and worldly ways.

Some people do stand out. Remember that in Ancient Olympia, women were barred from the grounds. Greece tried that act again in 1997, shunning the woman who had earned the Olympic bid for Athens. Three years later, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki was brought back to save the nation from disgrace.

Like many charismatic leaders, Mrs. A is easy to caricature. I’m just guessing she may even have a bit of an ego. Let’s be clear about one thing: if it were not for Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, I would be typing this column in L.A. or Sydney or Seoul. I hope Greece and the International Olympic Committee have a big enough medal for this extremely capable leader.

Then there was the mayor, Dora Bakoyannis, who kept telling us her city would be fine. We got here, and the trains were upgraded and the public squares were refreshed and the bilingual signs were up. She’s another big-timer.

A few months ago the mayor laughed when I told her how grungy Athens had seemed when my wife and I visited last year. She let me know that she had been smart enough not to invite houseguests in 2003. Besides, she said, these Games are really about 2005. Next year, the subways and the beaches and the ruins will still be here.

Are you getting the feeling my enthusiasm is for the site and not the Games themselves? The Olympics have become too big. They have lost their center. Maybe that is a function of television. We lumber around on endless bus rides to events halfway to the equator, and NBC polishes it up for the folks back home.

Up close, the Games aren’t all that compelling. “Seinfeld” was about nothing. The Olympics are about buses and security and lines – and ghastly food inside the Olympic perimeter. I blame the sponsors, who insist on selling their burgers and their sodas. In a country of great tavernas, how contemptuous.

Then there are the drugs, which hang over the Games the way smog used to hang over Athens. That clump of jawbone and biceps and thighs who just won a gold medal is tomorrow’s fugitive, running from the drug police like some bicycle thief.

Testing is getting better, I suppose, but if you want to know the truth, I’m sick of drugs and I’m sick of drug testing. I’m sick of judges and decimal points and particularly the weasels from the gymnastics federation. I think I’m Olympicked out. More to the point, the Olympics may be Olympicked out.

I hope the Games go somewhere other than New York in 2012. We don’t need the kind of costly fix these poor folks are about to pay for. But they were good sports, good hosts. Next time we come back, there won’t be any Games and we can get right to the museums and the beaches.

Efcharisto poli. Thank you very much.


  1. DAPHNE, the most ancient HUMAN discovered!

    16th International Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)

    By Drs Aris and Daphne N. Poulianos
    Kunming, China 31-7-09

    The title of this paper may sound a little deterministic, but I am convinced we human beings went through a longer period of hominization, than usual historians, including marxists, allow to conclude today.
    We definitely come from apes, but not African ones. Once upon a time lived in Europe over fifty species of monkeys. But an ape, which I named Helladopithecus semierectus, lived on trees, seventeen million years ago (ANTHROPOS, V3, N01, Jan. 1976, pp3 – 30, Athens).
    The well known Pikermi fauna of the Miocene period is found from Hungary through Balkans to Iran: (Wagner, A1840: Fossile Uberreste Von einem Affen und anderensau getierren aus Griechenland. Abh. Bayer. Akad. Wiss, 3, Munchen). Among other finds, a very important of that period was Mesopithecus pentelici, whose range also extended over a large territory, beyond Greece, and which is known to be a terrestrial monkey. Its wide extension over a large territory, presupposes, that some anthropomorphic monkeys could ’’descend from trees’’ (Roghinski, J.J. & M.G. Levin, 1963: Anthropologhia, Moskva, str. 184 – 185), and begun to walk. Consequently among those “descenders” could be some andecedent forms of man.
    Another lower jaw from Attica found by a german officer during the years of occupation (1942) and described by G.Von Koenigswald, (1972: Einunterkiefez eines fossilen Hominoiden aus dem unterpliozan Griechenlands. Konikl. Nederl. Akademie Van Wetenschappen. Series B, 75, No 5, str. 385 – 394, Amsterdam), seems to be an advanced form which does not belong to Dryopithecinae, and which might also represent the beginning of African Primates. Koenigswald gave him a not very successful name “graecopithecus”. Its age is about 9 million years old. The lower jaw of another specimen found by the French expedition in 1972 near Thessaloniki, was named Dryopethicus macedoniensis. But it is also of a more advanced type than the Dryopithecinae, and according to Koenigswald is more closely affiliated with the hominids. Its age is Upper Miocene (Vallesian).
    Finally, the find described in this paper (Helladopithecus), is the upper part of a left femur found by our expedition in 1974 near Tharounia, a village in the island of Euboea. The age established lately, is Lower Miocene, about 17 million years old, confirmed by its stratigraphy, as well, and kept now in the Anthropological Museum of the Archanthropus man at Petralona, Chalkidiki.
    It is fully described and decided to be a semierectus monkey, as these authors call the whole complex of similar finds from Attica and Makedonia too.
    The new bone find is 98 mm. long (given the signal name ‘’A.E. – 1’’, seems to belong to a rather young individual, and its whole length (proportionally counted) cannot be more than 350 mm. That is the standing height should be about 140-150cm. Its weight, according to Debetz index (ICVS), approximately should be about 40-42 klgms. The stoutness index then is about 22, 85 (the same index for Orang, Chimpanzee and Gorilla, being 32-33, while for man is 18-21.

  2. DAPHNE, the most ancient HUMAN discovered!


    But among all these indirect methods of identifying a find, the best would be to measure exactly the Torsion angle, in order to establish the percentage of its erect position. Thus a new method was developed to measure the torsion angle in a broken femur bone. This method is based on the assumption that the torsion angle (Θ) of a bone is directly proportional to the angle of its cylindrical surface (α). (See designs 2 and 3). The axis of a bone is the line passing through all gravity centers of all its side section (AB). The edge of the cylindrical surface of a bone is the line uniting all corresponding corners of the cross – section (ΓΔ). That is: θ=Κ.α, where Κ – proportionality coefficient.
    And this assumption is based on
    a)the geometrical similarity of corresponding bones of different animals.
    b)The physico-chemical similarity of bones, and
    c)On the approximately constant ratio between animal weight and cross-sectional area, that is the stress of bone loading is almost constant (the animal weight per unit of cross-sectional bone area).
    In order to find Κ we take a similar unbroken contemporary bone, and measure its angles θ and α:
    Κ= θ. Unbroken / α. unbroken
    Then we measure the angle α of the broken bone and find angle
    θ.broken = K.a unbroken = θ. Unbroken . α. broken / α. unbroken
    Angle α is the average of angles β & γ.
    The angles β & γ can be found by photographing the bone and measuring these angles on the picture. In order to make edge ΓΔ clearly distinguishable we illuminate the bone from the side. Then ΓΔ becomes the border line of two differently illuminated surfaces. In our case we took 17 differently oriented pictures of both bones, broken and unbroken (see pictures in the text and table 1).
    The result of these procedures showed that θ (torsion) broken = 18ο , which means that this monkey was about 65% erect during his lifetime. That means he was pretty much erect, certainly more erect than most today’s African primates. Thus, it is concluded, Helladopithecus could be the forerunner of Homo.
    Finally, we raise to the rank of a separate family the whole complex of Helladopithecus finds from Greece, classifying it right after the Hominid family. As a result of the above process we have the first standing man on earth, Homo erectus trilliensis, spreading all over the world from this region of the Aegean, of the SE of Europe 13 million years ago.
    The over one hundred years long discussion among anthropologists (‘’polyphyletic versus monophyletic origins’’) sounds is ending. Monophyletic origin of man (from Helladopithecus to Homo erectus trilliensis) to our opinion is more or less confirmed who spread from Atlantic to Pacific and then all over the rest of the world. It seems every biological species on earth develops from one center, and then it spreads all over.
    In the mean time excavations are going on: A new find, a part of the skeleton of a young girl of 14 years old was found. The find was named Homo erectus trilliensis Daphnae, after the name of the lady present in this hall Mrs Daphnae A.Poulianos.

  3. i've always loved athens - fate took me away from this lovely city. i think it is one of the most misunderstood places in the world - people prefer to remember it for its bad points rather than its good points. pity the game cant be scheduled to take place here every olympiad

  4. I loved being here for Athens 2004, and what you say is true. However, I think that there are many omissions, as well. First, the Games were pulled off because uninsured, illegal immigrants were used for hard labor; these stadiums were not built by Greeks. Second, all of us in Greece and our children will be paying the debt for these games for decades to come because they weren't profitable, due to things not being finished until the last minute and security concerns. Third, Athens didn't adhere to the environmental rules set forth by Olympic values. Last, these stadiums are rotting and not being put to use because of bureaucracy and mismanagement.

    It's not about "bad" points. It's about reality. We live with that reality every day.

  5. Thanks for your comment although we don't necessarily agree with you re omissions...

    We are well aware of the problems that were associated with the Games and the lead up to them over the years as well as the appalling state of the venues today but cannot agree that we should have mentioned them. That wasn't the point of the exercise! It is simply a post to celebrate the 5 years since Athens' Magical Dream is not supposed to be a balanced essay - sorry!

    As to whether the Games were profitable or not, if you look at the Organising Committee's Financial Report they were indeed profitable as far as it's share of the organisation was concerned.

    The reality is that the bills we are paying and will be paying would be due whether we hosted the Olympics or not unfortunately, such is the nature of our economy and the extent of the corruption endemic in it.

    The reality is that we in Greece as well as our children will also be enjoying the benefits of the new Athens Airport, the Attiko Metro, Attiki Odos, Rio-Antirrio Bridge and many other major infra-structure projects which, had it not been for the Olympics, might still be at the drawing board level!

    The reality is that despite all of the above, Athens in 2004 was something else! We at Global Greek World prefer to concentrate on the positive aspects of it all!

  6. The projects you mentioned were only completed because the whole world was watching, I agree.

    I also agree that legitimate people (aka, non-tax evaders) are and will be paying centuries of taxes and fees for everything from public works to corrupt practices such as funding container homes for illegal landgrabbers.

    However, I disagree with your statement about the Games being profitable; I also have seen the financial report, being a journalist, and what you state is not true. We can agree to disagree. I respect that and what you were writing to accomplish in this article.

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my Web site/blog. To answer your question, I'm not of Greek origin, though my partner was born and raised here. I call myself, "An American in Athens," and I'd be honored to be linked here if you wish to include me. No need to ask permission :)

  7. Thanks for the feedback! Let's hope that with the new government initiative on the Olympic Venues things will start to change on that front at least and that the venues that have not been disposed of will become wonderful points of reference for Greece's wonderful Games!

    It was most encouraging to see GAP visiting the venues with the architect of Barcelona's turnaround! Fingers crossed!

    Have added your link as Global Greek Lovers aka Lovers of Greece!

  8. Though I'm very late to the party, "Kat's" biases against Greece, despite living in the country, are well-known and spectacular in their diversity and consistency.

    1. Whilst we don't usually publish anonymous comments, since you are referring to a third party, Kat, we have published so that she is able to respond to your comment if she so chooses.

  9. Well... i agree with some of what you all say about venues and stadiums rotting in athens while some years ago millions of euros were spent for them... but just try thinking about it in a less "economical" way. The Olympic Games are in fact part of greek history. The first olympics began millions years ago... and they returned to Greece for the first time in 1896 and again in 2004. The whole world was expecting that the Greeks whould put shame on the Olympics while the Greeks aee the ones that gave birth to the whole thing, they thought that we would let people get robed or feel insecure throughout the whole period of the games... that the opening ceremony whould be a fail. So I say , may we Judge that Greece doed not use the venues and money were wasted... but the Olympics were Greek to begin with, and we shut the mouths of all of them who forgot it. The drugs tests were more effective and strict than any other olympic, the security and service was perfect, the volunteers were the best, and the opening ceremony the best ever (according to me) full of symbolism, full of sentimentality... a whole stadium of millions of people in tears the moment the olymbic circles were set on fire in the rythm of a heartbeat. The athletes taking the medals with olive stems given to them like it should... the spirit of the olympic games shown like it should be.
    Also apart from those things, the world chose Greece, and Greece made its best to host one of the best Games ever made . So im going to keep that in mind :D


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