Eight Greeks to compete at Salt Lake City Games

Without any realistic hopes for medal-winning performances at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City between February 8 and 24, Greece, a country without a tradition in winter sports, will be sending a modestly sized eight-member team to the event, mainly for symbolic purposes. The country has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics or any other major international winter athletic tournament. But on the eve of the world’s biggest winter sporting event, the president of Greece’s skiing federation, Yiannis Pantelidis, appeared determined to lead efforts that would ultimately popularize winter sports in a country where the domain is restricted to an exclusive few. «We believe that now is the time to get organized so that by 2004, the requirements will have been met to host major international events at our ski centers,» Pantelidis said. «Skiing’s got to lose its ‘sport-for-the-chosen-few’ tag,» he added. The Greek team at Salt Lake City will be represented by Vassilis Dimitriadis and Tina Koutra in the downhill skiing events, Lefteris Fafalis and Katerina Balkaba in cross-country, Stavros Christoforidis and Despina Vavatsi in the biathlon, which combines rifle-shooting and cross-country skiing, and the duo of pilot John Andrew Kambanis and John Livaditis – a self-financed Greek expatriate team – in the two-man bobsled event.

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