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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 17:22 GMT
Athens calls for Olympic volunteers
Organising Committee head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on right
Prime minister Costas Simitis (right) was at the launch
By sports correspondent, Harry Peart

Greek organisers of the 2004 Olympic Games have launched a world-wide campaign to recruit 60,000 volunteers.

At a special ceremony in Athens, Prime Minister Costas Simitas called on Greeks from all over the nation and the world to respond to the invitation.

Cathy Freeman holds Olympic torch at Sydney 2000's opening ceremony
Athens hopes to continue Sydney's success
The volunteer programme will cost almost $70m and the organisers are fully aware of its importance for assisting athletes and spectators, and in the general running of the Games.

The work of volunteers was widely regarded as a main reason for the success of last year's Olympic Games in Sydney.

Athens is expecting seven million spectators, together with 40,000 athletes, officials and media representatives.

Volunteer problem?

Mr Simitis said the programme was a big national challenge, and to meet it Greece needed a productive, positive and fertile climate - an obvious reference to the internal bickering which last year forced the International Olympic Committee to issue a stern warning.

Before he was sacked last year, the minister with responsibility for the Games, Theodoros Pangalos, said that volunteer recruitment was a serious problem. Other critics claim there is little tradition of volunteer work in Greece.

But the head of the Athens organising committee, Gianna Angelopolous, said that Olympic voluntary work was an opportunity for all Greeks to share in national progress, and that all Greeks, whatever country they live in, can and must offer their efforts, great or small, to the common vision.

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See also:

17 Nov 00 | SOL
Athens gets green light
08 Nov 00 | Other Sports
Greece will be 'ready' for Olympics
19 Nov 00 | Other Sports
Greek Olympics chief fired
25 Aug 00 | Europe
Greece faces Olympic race
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