Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Best of the Olympics!

Robin sips from the Olympic cycling bottle
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Yes, we're back in Blighty (happily we've brought the great Athens weather back with us) and, as promised, here's a list of some of the Best things about Athens 2004. In no particular order. More when we think of them!

Best comeback
Canada coming back from 5-2 down in the final quarter of their women''s water polo group game against USA to win 6-5. After that, we can almost forgive them for Bryan Adams. Almost.

Best 'can't buy it in the shops' souvenir
The Athens 2004 water bottle one of the cyclists threw at our feet in the road race. As the picture shows, it's ace.

Best 'can buy it in the shops' souvenir
Country flag temporary tattoos - as worn by many of the athletes during the Games and a bargain at 1 Euro 50 - no wonder the GBR ones became almost as hard to find as Greek yoghurt with honey at the food concessions.

Best-sounding items on food concessions menus that we never, ever saw for sale.
That would be a toss-up between meat balls, moussaka and various types of salad. If anyone ever managed to try any of these, we never met them.

Best fans
Ooh, that's a hard call. The Greeks, except for their behaviour at the men's 200m final (it seems to have passed into history that they stopped booing when Frankie Fredericks asked them to - they didn't). The Aussies, except it's easy to be that exuberant when you win so much. The Brits, apart from those folk at the hockey. Nope, it's going to have to go to the wholly unexpected choice of the Germans. Fully co-ordinated dance routines at the beach volley, grace in defeat at handball and all round chirpiness in the Olympic complex. Who'd have thunk it?

Best match
In the strictest sense of the word - Fish and Massu in the men's tennis final. Four hours, five sets and you couldn't split them. Massu got the gold but the winner that day (wait for it...) was Olympic tennis!

Best half time entertainment
No, not the dancing girls at the beach volley - the slam dunking acrobats on trampolines at the basketball. We'd pay to see them again (well, as long as it wasn't more than about 8 Euros).

Weirdest phenomenon
Pin badges. Literally thousands of different types. But why? And for what reason? It would've cost you literally about 30,000 Euros to buy all of them. And they're tiny - the only one we bought (an owl one for the man upstairs who's been feeding our plants who collects owls) seems to have disappeared somewhere in our luggage! Pah!

Best cheese pie (or tyropita to the locals)
The one at Helleniko complex before the handball final on the last day. Decreased number of spectators in complex is clearly directly proportional to increase in quality of pie. Mmmm.

Best cheesie radio show
Oh that would be the morning show on Athens International Radio. Over two days we heard the DJ say on four separate occasions that though the flame was going out, it would 'burn forever in the hearts of Athenians'. Yeuch.

Our best moment
The 4x100m mens' relay. Utterly unexpected win for GBR. Utterly thrilling.

Best flag
That would be Guam. Nice colours and a little drawing of a sailboat on a blue sea with a beach and a palm tree, and the word Guam written in the middle. Why couldn't more flags be that descriptive? Nigeria is way more exciting than just green, white, green.

Most confusing flags
Serbia and Russia - whose red, blue and white horizontal striped flags are exactly the same, only they're held different ways round. Which made it very hard to tell whose fans were which when we saw them play each other at volleyball.

Best game to play when you're killing time and have nothing to do
Flagpole baseball. In which one person with a Union Jack flag tries to hit the plastic bottle top pitched at him/her by the pitcher. It's a heck of a game (just ask the news-stand (or periptero) proprietor by Kifissia station who was our Number One spectator). Expect to see it as an exhibition event by the 2012 Olympics. Strrrrrike!

Actually whatever happened to exhibition events?
Do they still have them?


Anonymous said...

This "Best" section is a brilliant review of the whole experience. Keep looking, or should I say keep listening, for the owl, it'll be there somewhere.

What am I doing now the games have finished? Have just been looking up Tide Tables in hope of playing Beach Volleyball at the weekend. Bring on the dancing girls!!


noelle said...

Ah, I'm so envious of your experience!

I don't think they have exhibition events any longer because supposedly they can't add any new events unless they axe some of the existing ones...

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