OPINION

Passive volunteers?

The key problem we are to face with volunteers for the Athens 2004 Olympics has been clear since the Sydney Games in 2000. And since then the desire of the Greek people to participate as volunteers in the world’s largest celebration of sports has not grown. Of the 47,000 volunteer applications submitted to date, most are from Greeks living abroad, with many highlighting a preference for a specific sport. Weightlifting is the most popular, followed by track events and soccer. The «small» events hardly get a mention. And this is worrying. Because, once again, Greeks reveal themselves as spectators rather than genuine sport lovers. Why on earth would they wake up at the crack of dawn for an archery contest or a game of softball? Indeed, Greeks are interested in voluntary work only as a free ticket for watching the Olympics and not as a way of contributing to the success of the Games. Very few people are genuinely concerned about the success of the 2004 Olympics, and the organizing committee is to blame for this as it has failed to convince people of the significance of offering one’s services for such an event being hosted in one’s own country. Maybe the committee’s public relations strategy has yet to reach its peak, but people have already had enough of too many words and too little action. The best thing would be for committee officials to set the example by showing that those being paid to organize the Games are not all friends and relatives of those in top jobs.