NEWS

Doing something for nothing finds receptive Greeks

The Olympics are not just about sports and stadiums, but also about the people that make them work. So went the thinking behind the Greek drive, which started in January 2002, to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers, most of whom had never done something for nothing before – thus making it not the easiest of tasks. A long and many-sided process filled with events, advertisements and interviews bore fruit two-and-a-half years later when, beyond all expectations, and breaking all records, 160,000 applications were received from prospective Olympic volunteers. The figure surpassed the 75,655 reached at Sydney and the 78,000 at Atlanta. Was the result the fruit of a successful advertising campaign or has there been a more general change in attitude to voluntarism? What is the situation with the cost and training of volunteers, not to mention those that got cold feet?