The guiding courage of Ulysses

Anyone passing the Panathenaic Stadium, commonly known as the Kallimarmaro, in Athens between June 25 and July 4 this year will notice a 22.8-meter screen, part of the elaborate set design for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The organizing committee of the event asked the Central Archaeological Council for permission to use the Kallimarmaro for the ceremonies, a request that received a unanimous green light.

Choreographer Fokas Evangelinos was the winner of an open contest for the concept of the opening and closing ceremonies and is in charge of developing the creative part of the ceremonies along with his team: Stefanos Korkolis is composing the original score, Elias Ledakis is working on the set design and Elli Georgakopoulou on the costumes, while author Theodoros Grigoriadis is writing the script.

The large-scale set design will include a podium based on a scaffolding construction that will be erected alongside the track and field area, while aerial lifting platforms will aid those who will be suspended in midair during the ceremonies.

With every host country drawing on its own national stories of great courage, the keystone of the 2011 ceremonies? content will be a modern-day narration of what is perhaps the quintessential Greek myth, «The Odyssey.?

?Our efforts lie in coming up with a tale which will have comic references in order to make the youngsters happy,? said set designer Ledakis. Flying above the audience will be Poseidon and Polyphemus as well as Helios in his chariot, among others.

On June 25, 7,500 Special Olympics athletes from around the world, their 2,500 escorts and coaches and thousands of relatives, not to mention over 3,000 international media staff and many more spectators, will hear and watch the story of the ingenious adventurer Odysseus as an introduction to this heartwarming spectacle of courage.

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