Athens Wins a Laurel

Article excerpt

By Zeus, Greece did it! With the Olympic flame now snuffed out after burning brightly for two weeks, the 28th Summer Games should be remembered for those amazing Greeks who pulled together at the last minute to finish the sports venue, spiff up their capital, and genially host a multitude of visitors.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge heaped praise on Greece's Olympic organizers, terming the Games "splendid."

That victory, however, wasn't cheap. Unlike most previous host nations, Greece is a small country of modest wealth. It spent $8.5 billion to get everything ready, including $1.5 billion on unprecedented security. (Athletes were outnumbered by guards 7 to 1.) The government now must pay some hefty bills.

Still, holding the Games in the land where they originated (and were revived in 1896) added to the drama as highly skilled athletes competed with patriotic pride. These Games were watched by 15 percent more global viewers than those in Sydney four years ago. …