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ATHENS | 2004 Opening Ceremony, Tonight, 8 PDT, Channel

Home at Last

After much anticipation, the Games return to their ancient birthplace

August 13, 2004|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

The final bill for the construction, initially fixed at $5.4 billion at current exchange rates, could climb to $10 billion, perhaps higher, officials have said. Such post-Games concerns, however, were pushed aside Thursday.

"We rejoice rightfully today for the completion of the preparations," IOC President Jacques Rogge said.

Alex Gilady of Israel, a member of the IOC team that supervised preparations in Athens, plagued by years of construction delays, added, "I think you have saved Greece and saved the IOC from great humiliation."

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of the Athens 2004 organizing committee, said, "Our city is painted in Olympic colors. Our venues are modern, tested and ready for competition. Our security strategy is in place....

"Many have been surprised by the Athens they have discovered this month. But the whole world will discover that modern Greeks have the same ambitions and abilities as the ancients who gave us the Olympic Games. And they will see that when Greeks make a promise, we keep it."

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