Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Save the turtles!

Oh dear, oh dear. The Greek endangered turtles are in trouble. Apparently they're nesting on the beaches in August and there isn't going to be enough protection from tourists for them. Which is a terrible thing. Someone call Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello ond Raphael!

CBBC Newsround: Greek turtles lose to Olympics

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

How it looks from outta space!

Hey up folks

Spent the weekend at Glastonbury Festival. Now somewhat dazed and confused. But happy.

Check this out - amazing views of the Olympics from space (go to the link then click on the Athens Olympics link).

BBC SPORT: In Pictures

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sad news

According to reports, an Albanian electrician has been killed during construction work at the journalists' village for the Games, taking the total number of workers killed to 19 in Games-related construction since 2001.

I really hope the organisers make some effort during the Games to pay tribute to these 19 men. It really is a tragedy that so many have died and they deserve to be recognised at the very event they lost their lives for.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Back, back, back!

Hey up. Yup, I'm back from Portugal, where I had a marvellous time watching Croatia v Switzerland, Bulgaria v Sweden, Czech v Latvia and England v Switzerland at Euro 2004. Great to see Greece doing so well too.

So what's happening on the Olympic front? Well, if I'm totally honest I'm not completely back up to speed yet. I believe the torch has just left Canada and flown to Europe and that various trials have been happening and that an Aussie cyclist has been banned from the games (or something). But no one seems to be talking much about security at the moment and, with the roof now on, there isn't so much worrying about things being ready (well, apart from the marathon route).

This may, then, officially be The Calm Before The Storm. The little bit of time where everyone's attention is diverted by Wimbledon and Euro 2004 before we all get really excited/anxious/worried/cynical about the games once July comes and we're just a few weeks away.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Muchos news

So I haven't posted for a couple of days and so very much has happened. Yes folks, it's time for another quick-fire Olympics catch up.

Sean Connery met Athens 2004 president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki today. And in a nice pro-Olympics love-in, announced, 'I definitely want to come. I am sure the Games are going to be a huge success because they will be different, because Greece is different. For example, see how successful the Games were for Australia and even Los Angeles, its also great that it is here in Europe.' Which is nice.

After some talk last month that the football competition might be postponed because of arguments between the IOC and FIFA over doping policy, it seems it must be on, cos they made the draw yesterday. In the men's 16-team draw, Greece were drawn in a group against South Korea, Mali and Mexico. Which is also nice.

Apparently the plane carrying it is called ‘Dias’, which may or may not be Greek for fire-proof aircraft. The torch relay began yesterday in Tiananmen Square - presumably the Chinese were hoping for some rather more positive coverage for the square than it had 15 years ago last week.

A couple of people have posted in comments that I was harsh in what I said about the Australian government warning people not to travel to Greece for the Olympics. I've got absolutely no problem with them warning people if they think/know there are definite risks, it just seems odd to me that no other country (as far as I know) has followed suit. But glad to hear from the Aussie correspondents that the torch relay went well.

That's happening today. But only a few thousand people are watching the athletics because there are only a few thousand seats ready. Still, at least they've got a roof.

Which I'm looking forward to. Although it may mean I don't have too much access to the net for updates.

Which doesn't happen as often as it should.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Steve and Jo's Olympic volunteering adventure...

Hey up. Got a nice e-mail from a British fella called Steve, who lives in Athens with his wife Jo - in a flat within sight of the Olympic stadium. They're volunteering to be, well, volunteers at the Games and they've set up a weblog to recount their experiences. Judging by their postings so far it's shaping up to be an entertaining and enlightening read.

I've added it to the links over yonder there on the left - tis well worth a look.

More Opening Ceremony news...

...apparently a certain kooky and extremely talented Icelandic songstress is playing the opening ceremony too (as well as the sitar player mentioned below).

We're giving you Olympic exclusives and everything!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Ladies and gents the torch is on the move...

Yup, it started in Sydney this morning and will now go to 33 cities in 34 days (hmm, so which favoured city is staying for a couple of days in?). Apparently the flame's going on planes in a lantern. Are they really letting a lit lantern on a plane? Seems unlikely somehow. But I guess we'll have to take their word for it.

Apparently Sydney folk got very excited when the flame turned up from Athens this morning - so it seems, their government may not think it's safe for Aussies to go to Greece for the Games, but they're fine about a plane turning up with a fire on it.

The other odd thing is that the flame gets back to Athens on July 9 and then waits around until the opening ceremony on August 13. I guess after all that rushing about the globe the flame needs to chill for a while. Y'know, get over its jetlag before the big day.

We have a roof!

By the time you read this (well, assuming you haven't built a time machine out of a DeLorean - no, hang on, if you had and you went back in time, I wouldn't have already typed this, anyway...) the roof will have been finished on the main Olympic Stadium.

So, hurrah! Huzzah! And well done you Greek builders!

All you doomsayers that said it would never be done should glance humbly down at the floor and feel a little silly.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Torch songs

Apparently when the Olympic torch comes to London this month, it'll be the first time it's been here since 1948. So London has decided to throw a party. And quite a big party at that. On June 26 there's a massive free concert for 70,000 on the Mall headlined by Rod Stewart and also featuring the likes of Will Young, Jamelia, James Brown and Emma Bunton. Full story at...

No doubt with the bid to host the 2012 Games shaping up, the British Olympic Committee will be hoping the IOC are impressed (presumably they'll be allowed front row seats!).

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Just the tickets

So the Olympics tickets went back on sale yesterday to residents of the European Union with the news that of the total 5.3 million tickets (3 million for the public and 2.3 million for International Olympic Committee officials, sponsors and others) only 1.83 million had been sold so far.

Clearly word got around, because having made my online 'shopping list' for some tickets on the very swanky site last night, the website couldn't let you go to the check out because of the high demand. They've done this thing where once you go through to the check out you get three minutes to complete the order or those tickets get released and you have to start again. Problem was it kept telling you your time had run out before the order page even came up. After about an hour they replaced that with an internal error message page saying demand was too high, but it still couldn't get through.

So, got up bright and breezy this morning and made it through to the check out first time. At which point - with three minutes remaining to get the order in - we discover that the only credit card they're accepting is Visa, presumably because they're a sponsor, which seems very bizarre. The Euro2004 football tournament is sponsored by MasterCard and they make it clear that that's the preferred card, but you can still use Visa and others. So, being as I don't have a Visa I had to holler for my girlfriend to bring hers in and the application went through. Then we had a bit of a panic that as the order wasn't in her name but the card was we might have a problem so we rang the Olympics Tickets Customer Service number in Greece, where after some initial doubt they assured us that it would definitely be fine. Let's hope so.

We already had tickets for football, tennis and track and field and we bought some more football, badminton, beach volley, volleyball, basketball (amazingly there were still tickets left for a session in which both Greece and the USA play matches) and archery (ten euros a ticket to get to see one of the events happening in the old 1896 Olympic Stadium). It's a very easy to navigate website and there do seem to be tickets available for most events - quite reasonably priced too (most around 20 Euros), until you get to the finals.

Feel quite excited now. Really loooking forward to seeing so many different sports. If you include cycling (no tickets needed for the races around Athens on Sunday Aug 14) and hockey (we're waiting for the fixtures so that we can see GB play) we're going to see nine different events! Can't wait.