OPINION

August 2004

There were some striking findings in the Olympic Barometer poll released by the Athens 2004 organizers Tuesday and which focused on the impact of Olympic preparations on the Greek public and their degree of citizen mobilization regarding the national goal: 45 percent of Greeks keep a close eye on Olympic-related developments, nearly one in four Athenians say they wish to offer their home for rent during the Games, and 70 percent can recognize and name Athena and Phevos, the two mascots of the Games. The number of those prepared to volunteer their services to «contribute to Greece’s success» has jumped from 35 to 45 percent. Some 26 percent wish to volunteer so as to «know how it feels to be a part of an event like the Games.» Finally, the percentage of those who see the improvement of infrastructure and the construction of new works as a positive effect of the Olympiad has climbed from 14 to 18.5 percent. Most strikingly, over two thirds (67.6 percent) of Athenians plan to stay in the capital in order to watch the Games, while 52.5 percent of Greeks say they wish to attend an athletic event or ceremony. But every silver lining has a cloud. The desire of Athenians to remain in their city will solve one major issue: ticket sales. Even that, however, entails some collateral damage: Issues of traffic, transportation of athletes, and even electricity have all been considered on the assumption that a large percentage of Athenians will go on holiday during the Games to avoid heavy traffic and security measures…