CULTURE

Conference promises domestic Olympic truce in 2004

Athens Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki returned from Lausanne yesterday morning to attend a one-day meeting organized by New Democracy at the Hotel Grande Bretagne on the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Traveling light on a Lear jet, she carried the International Olympic Committee’s unanimous approval for the shot-put event to be held at the site of Ancient Olympia, which already had the approval of the Central Archaeological Council on condition no harm was done to the site. This is the first tangible indication of how the Athens Olympic Games will be unique, and which has provoked lively discussion. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki has already brought to Athens the noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to state on the spot that «there is zero-percent chance that the stadium roof will not be ready in time.» All is well with the roof, and all is well with the so-called Olympic immortals in Lausanne. Let’s see the message of the one-day meeting as it emerged from the photographs. All the protagonists were present: ND leader Costas Karamanlis, who shouldered the burden of national responsibility, with his explicit confirmation that the Olympic Games would not be exploited during the election campaign. So there is a domestic truce, alongside the international truce achieved by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who did not participate in the meeting. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who is a member of the joint committee for the Games, deputy and former Deputy Sports Minister Fani Palli-Petralia; and ND deputy for Iraklion, Crete, Manolis Kefaloyiannis, who is responsible for cultural affairs, were all there, smiling with satisfaction at the atmosphere of Olympic unity. Also present were former premier and head of ND’s election campaign Tzannis Tzannetakis, and former minister and current mayor of Olympia Yiannis Skoularikis. The photograph shows them all in an atmosphere of unity.