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2004 Summer Olympics

Games of the XXVIII Olympiad

Ancient victors were crowned with olive
wreaths (Gk. kotinos) — a tradition echoed
with this games' medalists. The colours of
the logo come from the Flag of Greece.

Nations participating 202
Athletes participating 11,099
Events 301 in 28 sports
Opening ceremony August 13, 2004
Closing ceremony August 29, 2004
Officially opened by Costis Stephanopoulos
Athlete's Oath Zoi Dimoschaki
Judge's Oath Lazaros Voreadis
Olympic Torch Nikolaos Kaklamanakis

The Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, commonly known as the 2004 Summer Olympics were the 28th Summer Olympic Games. The Games were held in Athens over 17 days, from August 13 to August 29, 2004. Planners expected 10,500 athletes (in fact 11,099 at the end) and 5,500 team officials from 202 countries. There were a total of 301 medal events from 28 different sports.


Medal count and country performance ranking

2004 Summer Olympics medal count
Rank NOC Name  Gold   Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 35 39 29 103
2 China 32 17 14 63
3 Russia 27 27 38 92
4 Australia 17 16 16 49
5 Japan 16 9 12 37
6 Germany 14 16 18 48
7 France 11 9 13 33
8 Italy 10 11 11 32
9 Korea 9 12 9 30
10 Great Britain 9 9 12 30
For the full list, see 2004 Summer Olympics medal count

Bid and preparations

The USPS issued a stamp to honor the 2004 Summer Olympics.
The USPS issued a stamp to honor the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Athens was chosen as the host city in 1997, after surprisingly losing the bid to organize the 1996 Summer Olympics. Athens bid on the games based largely on an appeal to Olympic history, since 1996 would be the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games. In the last round of voting, Athens defeated Rome, 66 votes to 41. Before this, Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Cape Town and San Juan had already been eliminated from consideration after receiving only a few votes.

NBC Universal paid the IOC $793 million for U.S. broadcast rights [1], the most paid by any country. It was the first Olympics since NBC had merged with Vivendi Universal Entertainment; the merger made it possible for the network to broadcast over 1200 hours of coverage during the games, triple what was broadcast in the U.S. four years earlier.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, concerns about terrorism were much higher. Greece increased the budget for security at the Olympics to €970 million (US$1.2 billion). Approximately 70,000 police officers patrolled Athens and the Olympic venues during the Olympics. NATO and the European Union also provided support, after Athens asked for assistance.

When International Olympic Committee expressed its concern over the progress of construction work of the new Olympic venues, a new Organizing Committee was formed under President Gianna Angelopoulos–Daskalaki. Athens was transformed into a city that uses state-of-the-art technology in transportation and urban development. Some of the most modern sporting venues in the world were built to host the 2004 Olympic Games.

By late March 2004, many Olympic projects were severely behind schedule, and Greek authorities announced that a roof would no longer be constructed over the main swimming venue. Olympic Stadium, the designated facility for the opening and closing ceremonies, was completed — without roof — shortly before the games opened. The current pace of preparation made the rush to finish the Athens venues one of the tightest in Olympics history.

The lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame took place on March 25 in Ancient Olympia. The flame travelled around the world in a relay to former Olympic cities and other large cities, before returning to Greece.

EMI released Unity, the official pop album of the Athens Olympics, in the leadup to the Olympics. It features contributions from Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Moby, Destiny's Child and Avril Lavigne. EMI has pledged to donate US$180,000 from the album to UNICEF's HIV/AIDS program in Sub-Saharan Africa. [2]

At least 19 people died during the work on the facilities. Most of these people were not from Greece.[3]

Before the games, Greek hotel staff staged a series of one-day strikes over wage disputes. They have been asking for a significant raise for the period covering the event being staged. Paramedics and ambulance drivers have also been protesting, as they want the same Olympic bonuses promised to their security force counterparts.


Since the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France it has been the tradition to have a mascot for the games; for 2004, the official mascots are sister and brother, Athiná and Phévos (pronounced in Greek, Athina and Fivos), named after the goddess of wisdom, strategy and war and Phoebos the god of light and music, respectively. They are inspired by the ancient daidala which were dolls that had religious links as well as being toys.

Online coverage

For the first time, major broadcasters were allowed to serve video coverage of the Olympics over the Internet, provided that they restricted this service geographically, to protect broadcasting contracts in other areas. For instance, the BBC made their complete live coverage available to UK high-speed Internet customers for free; customers in the U.S. were only able to receive delayed excerpts. [4]

The International Olympic Committee forbade Olympic athletes, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from setting up specialized weblogs and/or other websites for covering their personal perspective of the games. They were not allowed to post audio, video, or photos that they had taken. An exception was made if an athlete already has a personal website that was not set up specifically for the Games. [5]

Opening ceremony

Main article: 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

The Opening Ceremony held on August 13, 2004 began with a thirty second countdown paced by the sounds of an amplified heartbeat. As the countdown was completed, fireworks rumbled and illuminated the skies overhead as fire erupted from a reflecting pool in the middle of the stadium creating a burning image of the Olympic rings. The Opening Ceremony was a pageant of traditional Greek culture and history harkening back to its mythological beginnings. The program began as a young Greek boy sailed into the stadium on a ship waving the host nation's flag and then various characters from ancient Greek myths appeared, followed by a float parade chronicling Greek history from the ancient Minoan civilization to modern times.

Following the artistic performances, a parade of nations entered the stadium with over 10,500 athletes walking under the banners of 202 nations. Based on audience reaction, the emotional high point of the parade was the entrance of the delegation from Afghanistan which had been absent from the Olympics and had female competitors for the first time. The Iraqi delegation also stirred emotions. Also recognized was the symbolic unified march of athletes from North Korea and South Korea under the Korean Unification Flag. The country of Kiribati made a debut appearance at these games and East Timor made a debut appearance under its own flag. Due to the perceived unpopularity of the American-led invasion of Iraq among Greeks, it had been expected that audience members would protest the war during the entrance of the American delegation into the stadium by booing; however, the roar of cheers and applause the Americans received was among the loudest of the evening.[6][7][8]After the Parade of Nations, during which the Dutch DJ Tiësto provided the music, the Icelandic singer Björk performed.

The Opening Ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron by 1996 Gold Medalist Windsurfer Nikolaos Kaklamanakis. The gigantic cauldron, which was styled after the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch, pivoted down to be lit by the 35 year-old, before slowly swinging up and lifting the flame high above the stadium. Following this, the stadium found itself at the centre of a rousing fireworks spectacular.

Closing ceremony

The Games were concluded on August 29, 2004. The closing ceremony was held at the Athens Olympic Stadium, where the Games had been opened 16 days earlier. Around 70,000 people gathered in the stadium to watch the ceremony.

The ceremony ended with a variety of musical performances by Greek singers, including George Dalaras , Dimitra Galani , and Haris Alexiou , as thousands of actors carried out humorous and symbolic displays on the stadium floor. Before, the medal ceremony for the last event of the Olympiad, the Men's Marathon, was conducted, with Stefano Baldini from Italy as the winner.

A flag-bearer from each nation's delegation then entered along the stage, followed by the competitors en masse on the floor.

After short speeches by Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, chief Greek organizer of the Games, and by President Dr. Jacques Rogge of the IOC, in which he describes the Athens Olympics as "unforgettable, dream Games", the national anthems of Greece and China were played in a handover ceremony as both nations' flags were raised. The Mayor of Athens , Dora Bakoyianni, passed the Olympic Flag to the Mayor of Beijing , Wang Qishan . After a short cultural performance by Chinese actors, dancers, and musicians directed by eminent Chinese director Zhang Yimou, Rogge declared the 2004 Olympic Games closed.

A young Greek girl, Fotini Papaleonidopoulou, lit a symbolic lantern with the Olympic Flame and passed it on to other children before "extinguishing" the flame in the cauldron by blowing a puff of air.


The official event categories are listed below. For the first time, the Wrestling category featured women's wrestling and in the Fencing competition women competed in the sabre. American Kristin Heaston , who led off the qualifying round of women's shotput became the first woman to compete at the ancient site of Olympia but Cuban Yumileidi Cumba became the first woman to win a gold medal there.

The demonstration sport of Wheelchair Racing marked a joint Olympics/Paralympics event, allowing a Paralympics event to occur within the Olympics, and for the future, opening up Wheelchair racing to the able-bodied. The 2004 Summer Paralympics were also held in Athens, from September 17 to 28.

Articles about Athens Summer Olympics by event:

See also: Category:Olympians at the 2004 Summer Olympics


Articles about Athens Summer Olympics by nation:


Competition venues

Football (soccer) venues

Non-competition venues

See also

External links

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* The 1906 Olympic were organised by the IOC, but are currently not officially recognised by the IOC, although most Olympic historians disagree.

Last updated: 11-05-2004 21:51:39