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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August 2004, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Athens Venues Guide
Athens Olympics Sports Complex Helliniko Olympic ComplexMarathonKaraskaiki Football StadiumOlympic VillageSchinias Canoeing & Rowing CentreAthens International Airport

The Olympics marked the finishing line for a massive building programme in Athens.

There were some anxious moments along the way, but the International Olympic Committee's warnings to speed up work were heeded.

Here we look at the major venues.

1. ATHENS OLYMPIC SPORTS COMPLEX

  • Olympic Stadium
    The 16,000 ton, 80m glass-and-steel dome over the main Olympic stadium, designed by the internationally renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was the most serious worry. There were delays in putting the two roof arches into place, and final preparations continued into the week before the opening ceremony.

  • Aquatic Centre
    This has been one of the most controversial venues. Following an argument over whether to build a roof over the pool it was decided that a plastic-coated tarpaulin would be hung over the arena as a permanent structure could not be made in time, but that idea was scrapped. For the first time since Barcelona in 1992 the swimming events will take place out of doors.

  • Tennis Centre
    Repair work was carried out to get the 11,000-seater main court and two semi-final courts ready for the world's top stars.

  • Velodrome
    The 3,500-seater track cycling venue was one of several key venues declared ready by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on a personal tour of the facilities.

  • Indoor Hall
    The basketball and gymnastics venue suffered delays before being declared ready.

  • Media centres
    The main press centre and the International Broadcast Centre were the first Olympic building projects to open for business on 13 July.

    2. HELLINIKO OLYMPIC COMPLEX

    Work was carried out to get the centre ready for fencing, handball and basketball preliminaries by the end of May. The complex also has baseball, softball, canoe/kayak slalom, hockey and baseball venues.

    3. MARATHON ROUTE

    Renovation work on the historic ancient marathon route has been one of the most criticised Olympic projects. It suffered major delays, but is now ready for the women's marathon on 22 August and the men's race on 29 August. The troubled road widening project had originally been due for completion in 2003 but was thrown into disarray earlier this year when the original road contractor went into bankruptcy.

    4. KARAISKAKI STADIUM

    One of four Olympic football stadiums, the venue has been constructed in under eight months, ahead of its first match on 14 August.

    5. OLYMPIC VILLAGE

    The competitors' accommodation, which cost 160m and will host 16,000 athletes and officials, came through a major trial as long ago as last October. It opened for business on 29 July, with the Greek canoe and kayak team the first to arrive.

    6. SCHINIAS ROWING/CANOEING CENTRE

    There was embarrassment during last year's test event when high winds caused several boats to sink. Organisers also had to battle conservationists and archaelogists for the site, which is close to where the Battle of Marathon was fought in 490 BC.

    7. TRANSPORT

    The metro line from the city centre to the airport has opened, along with the tram line to link the centre of Athens with seaside sporting venues. A newly-widened road to Marathon is ready and a road connecting seaside venues to the airport is already in use. The suburban railway is also up and running, although the plans had to be scaled down.





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  • ATHENS 2004 VENUES GUIDE
     


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