OPINION

Olympic substance

Many Athenians believe that much of the capital’s new infrastructure would never have been built if we had not undertaken to organize the Olympics. But there is little truth in this belief. Apart from the sporting venues constructed specifically for the Olympics, the rest of the works would probably have been carried out. And the end-result would probably have been better and cheaper. Also, the works would have been more fairly distributed, not just in «Olympic» neighborhoods but also in neglected districts. However, these works are just one of the Olympic «advantages» which our country is expected to capitalize upon. The technical knowledge acquired during the preparation and execution of such a major event is a significant gain. But if it is tucked away in the files of a few members of an elite «task force» and not recorded in the files of public and private administration, most of the benefit will be lost… The extra-institutional and largely secretive planning for the Olympics – carried out by the organizing committee and a single ministry (okay, maybe two) – is largely to blame for the detachment of the general public and the profits gained by those who clinched Olympic deals… Now is the time for the substance. Those who wanted to see the Olympics take place in Athens did so because they believed in the power of celebration and fraternization…