SPORTS

Games were worth the cost,Athenians say a year later

One year after the 2004 Olympics, a vast majority of Athenians believe the Games helped the country and their high cost was worth it. But they also believe the skills of Olympics workers were not properly utilized after the Games and the government has no coherent plant to develop the costly Olympic venus. The above findings are from a phone poll among 1,052 households in the Athens area, carried out by Kapa Research and published on Sunday by newspaper To Vima. Three quarters of the respondents replied that holding the Games were «definitely» (42.3 percent) or «rather» (33.6 percent) beneficial for Greece. About one in five said that, on the contrary, the Games were «definitely detrimental» (10.3 percent) or «rather detrimental» (11 percent) to the country. When asked the same question in a different way, 67.5 percent agreed with the statement that «the Olympic Games were a success with long-term benefits for the country,» 11.9 percent said they were «a lost opportunity» and 19.4 percent replied «neither one nor the other.» The high cost of the Games – said by a government official last week to total 13 billion euros – was definitely worth the undertaking, said 48.8 percent of the respondents, with another 23.1 percent agreeing it was «probably» worth it. Only 16.2 percent declared it was definitely not worth it, with another 10.2 percent saying it was «probably not» worth it. Only a part of the survey was published; the rest will appear in tomorrow’s To Vima. Based on the published information, those surveyed were apparently not asked exactly what made the Games worth staging at all costs. Asked to evaluate, on a scale from 0 to 10, the contribution of various parties to the success of the Games, the respondents overwhelmingly chose the volunteers, who averaged 9.73. Athens 2004, the organizing committee, and its president, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, averaged 8.52 on the scale. The two main political parties – the Socialist PASOK, which governed through most of the period of preparation, and the conservative New Democracy, which gained power five months before the Games – got almost identical marks (6.92 and 6.91, respectively). Eight out of 10 respondents (80.2 percent) said the Olympic venues have not been adequately utilized, compared to 16.7 percent who supported the opposite view. Concerning the personnel and volunteers, more than half agree their experience and skills were not at all (28.8 percent) or very slightly (27.2 percent) utilized, while only 8.9 percent said they were satisfactorily utilized and 18.4 percent replied they were used «to some extent.» Who is to blame for the non-use of the venues? Half (51.9 percent) said the lack of a government plan, while 25.3 percent believe it is lack of business interest and 8.8 percent blamed local authorities. Asked if the government has taken advantage of the success of the Games, 51.5 percent said «no» and 40.6 percent «yes.»