Monday, August 27, 2012

Cross Words and Olympics


Crossword Puzzles – There is no way I could attempt to solve one from say The Times, The Sunday Times, or papers of that ilk. The clues in these are, as far as my limited imagination is concerned, pure gobbledygook. Even the Daily Mail on a Friday is beyond me. We get The Mail on a Friday for the film, theatre, and book reviews.  No, The Athens News is about my standard. Well, not even that actually as I share it with Douglas and, between us, we usually manage to finish it though lately there have been some clues so obscure we have had to wait for the following week to find the answer and even then we don’t understand it and cannot make the connection. Compilers of crosswords must have very devious minds.

Well, the 2012 Olympic Games are long time over. I have to admit to not taking very much interest in them. Lasted about fifteen minutes of the opening ceremony, same for the concluding ceremony and watched some of the diving; otherwise London 2012 came and went without a splash. So what happens now? The games practically if not altogether helped to bankrupt Greece and what is the legacy apart from that? Poor Greece managed two bronze medals in London and that is so sad.
In 2004, Greece quite magnificently hosted the summer Olympics, its athletes soaring, but today, the country is choked by the worst financial crisis in its modern history - and sport, too, has been hit hard. There is no longer the money to fix the air-conditioning inside the main track-and-field training facility in Athens. So Greece's athletes are left to swelter. The crash mats are torn - the stuffing bursting out - and the cushions on the equipment are fraying. The facilities have crumbled - all in the space of eight years. As the gloss of 2004 has worn off, reality has set in, the sporting legacy remains elusive and, for some, pride at hosting the Games has begun to fade. Many of the venues from the Athens games lie idle, locked up and empty, simply rusting under a baking summer sun. Attempts to sell the former Olympic buildings have failed. They're seen as representative of the short-term vision that got Greece into its financial mess in the first place. The hoped-for privatisation of many of the sites has been thwarted by a mix of bureaucracy and mismanagement.
"We have these facilities. What do you suggest we do? We try to rent them and we cannot", says Spiro Pollalis, who heads the company charged with selling the largest Olympic area - the Hellinikon complex south of Athens, containing the old city airport and many of the sports venues. He insists they should have been torn down immediately after the Games, leaving the six million square metre site free for possible private investors. Therein lies the problem, spending millions of euros for three weeks of sport before dismantling the buildings might not be the best use of a country’smoney.
Some estimates put the overall cost of the Athens Olympics at 10 billion euros.
 In London the estimated cost of £2.4billion resulted in a final amount of £9.3billion. What happens now?

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