Robin with the Dream Team
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
Yes, last night we went to our second Olympic event - the basketball. It took place in a hall at the extremely impressive Helliniko Olympic Complex - where baseball, softball, handball and hockey are also taking place. The place looks like a cross between Disneyworld ('ooh look, the hockey zone!') and a top class sporting venue.
So, to the game. As you'll see from the pic, we managed to grab some empty seats right down by the court (think they may have been reserved for officials, but we stayed there the whole time).
The first game was Puerto Rico v USA and, as you may have heard, the USA got spanked 92-73! A 'huge shock' according to the BBC. It was amazing to see such big-name athletes as Iverson (number 4 behind Robin) so desperately trying to claw it back. They looked like they might do it too until a late burst by the amazing Puerto Ricans (who virtually the entire crowd were cheering for). Proper celebrations at the end. And, in fairness, the US players were very gracious in defeat.
During breaks in the games there was an amazing array of dancers (who were actually very good at dancing) and folks throwing out T-shirts (they had a massive catapult to fire them into the upper tier!). And at half time in the US game there was an amazing display with trampolines that combined acrobatics with basketball. The Greeks are proving they absolutely know how to put on a show.
And then the Greece game - which most of the crowd had come to see. The place was alive with singing and chanting and the Greeks didn't disappoint, easily beating Australia 76-54.
It was my first live basketball game and I must say I really enjoyed it. Greece play USA tomorrow night. Now that will be a game. We might see if this Visa programme we're on for a couple of days means we can get tickets!
For now, though, we're off to the archery in the old Panathinaiko Stadium which staged the 1896 Games...