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The preparation

Athens, Host City of the 2004 Olympic Games

Athens was selected as the host city of the 2004 Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland on 5 September 1997. On that same day, the Host City Contract for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad was signed.

These events marked the beginning of a unique journey in the history of Olympism that will culminate in Greece from 13 to 29 August 2004. The Games are returning home to the country that gave birth to the Olympic celebration more than 2,000 years ago and the city that staged the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Athletes from all nations will unite in Greece to engage in noble competition. The Athens Olympic Games will combine history, culture and peace with sports and Olympism. The people of Greece shall host unique Games on a human scale, inspiring the world to celebrate Olympic values.

Preparations Progress

In preparation for the 2004 Games, Athens is changing. New development and infrastructure projects are progressing quickly.

A new city will be welcoming the world in August 2004.

Sports competition will take place in clusters of venues close to the center of Athens. Existing competition venues are being completely renovated and new ones are being built with the aim of providing the athletes of the world with the best possible conditions in which to compete.

In parallel to constructing new venues, an extended plan to create contemporary landmarks in a city that is already known for its ancient heritage is underway. Santiago Calatrava, the renowned Spanish architect, is redesigning the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OCO), the venue that will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athletics, Aquatics, Tennis, Cycling, and the Basketball finals.

The city’s infrastructure and transport system are expected to prove a pleasant surprise: athletes and visitors will move with ease and comfort.

Some of the major projects that have been completed or are scheduled to be ready before 2004, are the following:

  • Europe’s most modern international airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) has been operating since 2001 and is to be linked to the city’s light rail and metro network.
  • 120 km of new highways and 90 km of upgraded highways will be ready by 2004. 
  • New suburban and light rail networks (a completely new 24 km tram network). 
  • Europe’s newest metro system, combining the latest in transport technology with stations that feature small museums and art exhibits. 
  • New sports and recreational complexes throughout the country. 
  • Landscaped pedestrian walkways unifying Athens’ archaeological and major cultural sites. 
  • Sidewalks and a modern transport system securing accessibility for people with a disability.

The Environment

Greece has embraced the unique opportunity of the 2004 Olympic Games, and is devoting the necessary resources to protect and enhance the natural environment and improve the quality of life for all citizens and visitors of Athens.

Environmental principles and practices are being adopted and promoted regarding every aspect of the Olympic Games, from planning to venue construction. The most important ones include:

  • The Olympic Green Spaces Programme, which aims to ensure the “greening” of Olympic competition venues, of the Athens city and surrounding areas. 
  • Waste management and recycling practices that minimize packaging and waste products from Olympic activities.
  • Environmentally-friendly transport vehicles that will improve the quality of air in Athens. 
  • Biodiversity initiatives and environmentally-friendly materials and practices.



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