Children paint impressions of Olympic Spirit

In a wonderful publication by the Friends of the Melina Mercouri Foundation (FMMF) on the theme «I dedicate a picture to the Olympic Games, Athens 2004» is a 200 calendar with paintings by primary school children from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Russia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A total of 5,974 children aged 6-11 took part in an international children’s art competition held by the FMMF. They painted their hopes and dreams with affection, poetry, imagination, grace, sensitivity and humor, using the five Olympic circles and the Greek flag. Maybe it is time to put aside our moans and groans and look at the Games through the optimistic eyes of young children. Take for example, 11-year-old Prodromos Papanikolaou, of the Polymenakos private school in Sparta who put Greek tsarouchia shoes on the dove of peace, along with an olive branch, hoping for peaceful and fruitful Games. (Between ourselves, all the paintings are better than the blue and white victory design that is the official Games symbol). Olympic mascots Phevos and Athena have pride of place among the Greek children’s paintings, whereas the foreign children preferred the Olympic rings, such as in the entry by Aleksandra Malesevic, 14, from the Vasa Cubrilovic Gradiska school in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who has filled the rings with child spectators and their flags.