SPORTS

Chief organizer on 2004 challenge and volunteers

The 2004 Athens Olympics will be a major challenge for Greece to showcase not only its traditions but also its contemporary achievements, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of Games organizers Athens 2004 said in an interview to Foreign Policy magazine’s Greek edition. Asked about her cooperation with the government, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki chose to emphasize her «excellent» rapport with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Simitis appointed Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who had led Athens’s successful bid for the Olympics in 1996-97, as head of Athens 2004 in May 2000, shortly after a severe warning by Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee, that preparations were dangerously behind schedule. Simitis’s personal involvement from then on helped Angelopoulos-Daskalaki in several confrontations with ministers, angry with her interventionist manner and forthright appeals to them to move faster. One minister who expressed reservations about her leadership, Theodoros Pangalos, was sacked as culture minister in November 2000, after failing to show up at the Sydney Olympics. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said that organizers had received more than 50,000 applications from prospective volunteers, many of them from Greek expatriates. The organizers want at least 100,000 more applications to select 60,000 people.