The Art of the Olympics; There's a Lot More to See Than Swimming and Sprinting

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Byline: Toula Vlahou

You don't have to be a sports fan to find thrills in Athens this summer. The Greeks are putting on quite a cultural show to go along with the Aug. 13-29 Summer Games.

Not surprisingly, much of the art on display is designed to celebrate Greece's key role in Olympic history. Among the most impressive exhibits is "The Athletic Spirit of Ancient Greece" at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, which showcases ancient Greek art on the subject of the Games. The Frissiras Museum, in the heart of the ancient district of Plaka, presents "Olympic Cities: Gods Becoming Men" (July 14-Sept. 12). The digital-art exhibition explores the beauty of the body, including a striking discus thrower by Sui Jianguo. And the Gaia Center of the Natural History Museum examines the myth of the world's strongest man with "Hercules: The Greatest Hero."

Not all the art is old. At the Cultural Center of Athens, 57 Greek artists present their interpretation of Olympic values in the specially commissioned exhibition "The Olympic Spirit and Contemporary Greek Art." And Alekos Fassianos, Greece's best-known contemporary artist, blends ancient philosophy with modern life in "Feats, Myth, Love" at the Benaki Museum (through June 27). …