A fruitful experiment

The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) should be distinguished as a model to be imitated – by state-run but also private enterprises – for its absolute success in organizing last year’s Olympics. The Games were staged without any hiccups despite the extremely demanding nature of the project – especially for a country of Greece’s size – and the committee still succeeded in making a 7-million-euro overall profit. The actual size of the profit is not that significant. What counts is that the firm in question – a public interest enterprise – did not «go under,» and succeeded in getting its job done in an exemplary way. Certain commentators have pointed out that the profit announced by ATHOC is «provocatively» insignificant when compared to the total cost of organizing the Games – just under 9 billion euros, nearly double the original budget. But such a comparison is prejudiced and completely unfair. The committee undertook the organization of the Games on the basis of a specific budget – which it not only balanced but also made a profit upon – and had no involvement whatsoever in the construction of costly sports venues and other infrastructure works, which were the sole responsibility of the state. And whether the government wants to accept it officially or not, this successful «experiment» should be used as a guide for future activities in the public sector.