A problem for all

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s declaration in early August that «We shall all together achieve the common goal of organizing a successful Games» could also be taken to mean that in case of failure, the blame will be on everyone’s shoulders. Indeed, the endeavor stretched the country’s economic, technical and administrative capabilities to the limits. Most importantly, we knew the long-term gains would barely compensate for the price tag, even if the Games were eventually a success. Needless to say, failure would equal no less than a catastrophe. Awareness of the risks prompted the public to embrace the Games and contribute to their success. Early apathy by a considerable section of the population gradually gave way to interest or excitement. People applaud anything that contributes to the Games’ success. Similarly, they snub anything that could harm the event. Their stance is not driven by opportunism or hypocrisy. The Games’ success will not depend on the number of doping incidents – which, besides, is an international rather than a Greek plague. Nor will success depend on the judgment of IOC officials, some of whom appear more inclined to moneymaking than fairness. Success will depend on the image we project to the world as a country, people and a civilization. We have until now lived up to the challenge. Hence, it is a cause for concern that, following the remarks by Greek politicians in the past couple of days, the drugs controversy has gained new intensity, becoming a source of friction between the government and the opposition. Those who think that they can capitalize on the doping fiascoes – a typical phenomenon in the modern Games – must keep in mind that in case of failure, we shall all bear the blame.