Critical distinctions

Faced with so much praise from visitors to the Athens Olympics and the foreign media, there seems to be little that we can add. The truth is that Greece underwent a critical test in front of the whole world and gave its best possible performance. The State invested a huge amount of money and many people worked long and hard to organize this massive-scale event. As a result, Greece surpassed preconceptions about its limitations – to the extent that it was showered with praise even by those who were hurling the worst abuse a few months ago. Never before (and probably never again) has Greece been the focus of such intense attention. It was an unprecedented challenge, a unique opportunity to «upgrade» its image and its influence on the international stage. And it achieved this, despite the shadow cast by the doping fiasco. Our reward is one that cannot be measured in euros but which could be the springboard for new development. The organization of the Olympics was so impressive because of the commitment shown by all those involved, including volunteers and Athenians in general, who displayed an unprecedented self-discipline. It is true that there were delays and that costs spiraled excessively, but these negative aspects are eclipsed by the final positive result, the legacy the Games have left for Greece…

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