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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 August, 2004, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Athens gets Olympics report card
Matthew Davis
By Matthew Davis
BBC News Online in Athens

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge has been giving his verdict on the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, saying that overall Greece had done an "outstanding job".

BBC News Online considers his assessment of Athens 2004's key areas.

Sporting spectacle

Forget the last-minute rush to get things ready and the scandals over doping - the great drama and emotion of 300 events are what the Olympics are remembered for first.

The Olympic opening ceremony in Athens
The Games opened with a truly spectacular ceremony

As a former Olympian, Mr Rogge said he had been moved by athletes' tears of joy and of despair, which he said summed up the "magic of the Games".

He singled out fourth consecutive gold medals for British rower Matthew Pinsent and Polish race walker Robert Korzeniowski as his personal highlights.

But he also said he had been stirred by the despair of Paula Radcliffe's marathon failure, and as a Belgian, applauded Justine Henin-Hardenne's semi-final comeback and eventual gold medal in the women's tennis.

He conceded there had been "difficulties" with early ticket sales, while Greeks were on their traditional August holidays. More than 3.3 million tickets were bought, but some 2 million remained unsold.

Television viewing figures are being hailed as a huge success, however, with broadcasters reporting audience increases of about 15% on Sydney 2000.

War on drugs

Athens has seen an Olympic record in anti-doping violations at 22, and more could follow as stored samples are tested after the Games. But the increase is down to a greatly expanded testing regime, the IOC says.

Greek national sporting hero and doping suspect Katerina Thanou (left) leaves the Hilton Hotel in Athens
Greek national hero Thanou (left) failed to show for testing

Before the Games began, Mr Rogge said it would be a "victory" if the number of tests went up. Post-Olympics he said the IOC was "pleased" with the progress in the fight against doping.

About 3,000 drugs tests were carried out from the opening of the athletes' village on 30 July. The top four finishers in every event were tested. There has been a great expansion in out-of-competition testing.

But the controversy over Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou - who failed to show up for testing - caused great embarrassment for the host nation.


The IOC president says he "never doubted" that Greece would have the Games ready on time, but plenty of other experts did. So Greeks have taken great pride in the fact that they produced a fully-functional Olympics.

We will never be able to avoid any controversy in judging, because there is always a human element to it
Jacques Rogge, IOC president

Mr Rogge, who stayed at the Olympic Village, said athletes had told him the facilities were the "best ever". He described the Olympic stadia as "state-of-the-art".

But there have been complaints that the buildings are not all spectator-friendly. Some have criticised a lack of access for the disabled, inadequate catering facilities and a lack of final touches, like landscaping.

There is also the problem of what will happen to them now. The Greek government has set up a commission to decide what will be done with them. There are fears that it will be hard to get companies to buy or lease the buildings.

But the sports facilities are a legacy for the future - as is Athens' sparkling new transport system.


Mr Rogge said security had been "flawless" and that Greece had done a fantastic job in making the first post-9/11 Games safe.

Russia's gymnast Alexei Nemov tries to quiet the crowd angry with low marking given for his high bar routine during the finals
Russia's gymnast Alexei Nemov was the "people's champion"

It was one of the major concerns before the Olympics began, and Greece had to spend heavily to bring security measures up to date. Estimates put the bill at more than $1.5bn.

The hosts revamped their coastguard service and overhauled their police command-and-control structures. Thousands of officers have been on the streets of Athens throughout the Games.

"This has been an investment for the future of Greece," Mr Rogge said. "The systems that have been put in place for the Olympics will still be there on Monday morning."

But some Athenians complained about what they see as over-intrusive arrangements, and say the IOC and other nations should have contributed to the costs.

Judging controversies

Disputes over judging in gymnastics, fencing and swimming - to name but three - have soured some competitions and the IOC is not happy.

Mr Rogge said his organisation would sit down with the federations of the Olympic sports to work out what went wrong.

"The difficulties in judging in some sports are going to be something we will continue to work on," he said.

"But we will never be able to avoid any controversy in judging, because there is always a human element to it," the president added.

Signs for the future

These were the Games when Asian nations came to the fore, Mr Rogge said, with an eye to the Beijing Olympics of 2008. He hailed the major progress of China and the "extraordinary success" of Japan.

The traditionally strong Olympic nations had a new fight on their hands to maintain their dominance, a fact that could only be good for the future of the Olympics, Mr Rogge added.

There is still a huge divide between the Olympics haves and have-nots, however, with developing nations struggling to make any impression on the Olympic medals table.

Next year, the IOC is also expected to review the Olympic sports. Mr Rogge said it was likely that "one or two" would be replaced by 2012, but promised there would be no "major revolution".

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