[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Press awards Athens 'gold'
Members of the Greek delegation parade
The ceremony was a lavish affair

The Greek press is in raptures on Saturday after the opening ceremony for the Athens Olympics.

Many papers splash the event right across their front page, crowning their photos with a single, simple headline.

But for a few, the doping controversy which has engulfed the country's two brightest sprinting stars is proving hard to shake off.

For the leftist Eleftherotypia, the ceremony was "a hymn to beauty and the variety of human existence".

What Greece gave the world on Friday, it says, was "magic moments, dream-like moments and unique images".

And so "the first gold medal of the Games", it insists, must go to the ceremony's artistic director, Dhimitris Papaioannou.

It was a night scattered with magic
O Kosmos tou Ependhiti

The independent daily I Kathimerini says it was "all wonderful".

"The opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium was a super-spectacle of high aesthetics," according to the paper.

For the centre-left Ta Nea too, the event was an unquestionable success.

"We entranced, we taught, we stirred emotions. WE DID IT!" the paper says. "The flaming circles entranced them all!"

Meanwhile, O Kosmos tou Ependhiti, an independent economic weekly, hails "a night scattered with magic", a ceremony that was "triumphant".

National pride

But Rizospastis, mouthpiece of the Greek Communist Party, found the whole affair rather too patrician in tone.

"The ceremony echoed the view the ruling class takes of Greek history," it complains.

As a result, it adds, the role ordinary Greeks played in shaping their nation was ignored.

For other papers, politics entered the proceedings as the national teams paraded through the stadium.

"The Americans passed unnoticed," points out Eleftherotypia. But there were "cheers for the children of wars", as the Iraqi and Palestinian teams were given a warm reception.

The rightist Eleftheros Tipos picks up on the same theme.

"Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine were deified," it says.

Time to act

But while the mood of jubilation in the press is undeniable, anxiety over the doping drama involving Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou persists.

An editorial in Ta Nea urges Greece's Olympic officials to stop dragging their feet and reveal whether the two athletes are guilty of doping offences.

And a commentary in I Kathimerini warns that only swift action to resolve the issue can safeguard the country's reputation.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific