Hopes rise for burnt Olympia

Work to regenerate the site around Ancient Olympia, charred in last summer’s fires, is virtually complete, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday following a tour of the site. «We are ready to receive the Chinese delegation, to hand over the flame in a simple and solemn ceremony,» said Liapis, referring to the lighting of the Olympic Torch for the Beijing Games, due later this month. The site has been rejuvenated with more than 36,000 plants, with another 2,000 still to be planted. The Hill of Cronus, which bore the brunt of the fire damage, has been replanted. Also, the area around the monument to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, has been spruced up. «A miracle has been performed upon the hell left behind in August,» said Minos Kyriakou, the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

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