Post-Games hangover

Top government officials, including Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, convened on Tuesday for yet another discussion about the post-Olympic use of venues and facilities created to serve the needs of the Athens Games – venues which were the pride and joy of Olympic organizers but which today represent a massive headache. They need to be exploited, first and foremost, in order to recoup the cost of the Games but also because otherwise they will fall into disrepair and billions of euros will go to waste. Common sense dictates that a serious and responsible government would have considered the post-Olympic use of venues as part of the initial planning phase for their construction so that the plans could be tailored to post-Games requirements for the buildings. Indeed, there had been doubts about the viability of building permanent – and expensive – venues for the Olympics instead of prefabricated constructions that would have allowed us to present the Games in an equally professional way but at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, responsible officials failed to sound out local authorities as well as private individuals for potential interest in buying or renting venues after the Games. However, this kind of logic did not prevail… And the current government – which, admittedly, inherited a chaotic state of affairs – is doing nothing more than tossing to and fro vague ideas, which are not quite proposals and not decisions either.