A reason to be proud

Greece’s undertaking to organize the Olympic Games signifies neither the «return of the Games to their birthplace» nor the «rebirth of the ancient spirit» of the Games (which unfortunately has proven to be anything but «immortal» during our times). I belong to the small group of people who, from early on, had described these arguments as inappropriate but also disorienting to the Greek people. But since we undertook the challenge to host the Olympics, we are all obliged to contribute to this joint effort to ensure that the benefits of the Games are fully exploited, as well as make sure that the negative aspects of these reformed and internationalized Games are minimized. And we have achieved this – as a country and as a people. If the Olympics had not stood before us as a motive – and had we not been fearful of failing to be prepared for them – we surely would have had to wait a few more decades for the completion of crucial new infrastructure works that have almost solved Attica’s huge transport problems. We also succeeded in creating functionally exemplary and visually stunning Olympic sports venues which have attracted international praise. And our original and inspiring Olympic opening ceremony will not be forgotten by billions of viewers. So Greeks have had every reason to feel satisfaction, joy and pride over these past few days. And indeed, the successful organization of the Games has boosted our national confidence…

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