18,149 Olympic volunteers

With just over two years left until the Athens Olympics, organizers said yesterday some 18,000 people have asked so far to work during the Games as volunteers, about a tenth of the organizing committee’s target figure. Just over half are Greeks living in Greece. The Athens 2004 organizing committee said it had received 18,149 applications by Tuesday. This, it claimed in a statement, «gives Athens an important comparative advantage, even compared to the [September 2000] Sydney Games.» Organizers need some 60,000 volunteers to help in areas such as public relations, visitor services, transport, interpreting and tourism, but have said that they would like to get three times that number of applications, in order to be able to select the most suitable people. Only 57 percent of the applicants so far are Greeks living in the country. The next biggest group are the foreign nationals living in Greece (25.96 percent), followed by Greeks of the diaspora (12.7 percent). A further 2.01 percent consists of foreign nationals resident abroad. The biggest age group is made up of 21-30 year-olds.