Vol. 2, Issue 30, August 10, 2004
Athens, Georgia Despairs over Loss of Olympics
With the Olympics rapidly approaching, the city of Athens has been making careful preparations, investing substantial time and money in beefing up security, paving roads, working to make sure the giant coliseum would be ready in time.
The only trouble is, apparently, that the Olympics won't be coming after all.
"I am outraged at this insult to us and to all Americans," said Athens mayor Heidi Davison. "We have been reading about the Olympics coming to Athens for months and no one has had the common decency to clue us in that it was all a hoax. The International Olympic Committee ought to be ashamed of itself."
The Olympics will be held in Athens, Greece, confirmed representatives of the IOC, and not Athens, Georgia as was thought throughout much of this southern state.
"Georgia had its chance," said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "And frankly, what do people remember from the 1996 Olympics? Richard Jewel, that's what. Do you really think the IOC would bring the Olympics back within the span of a single decade after that?"
The confusion apparently arose from a commissioner in Clarke County, Georgia, where the city of Athens (population 105,000) is located.
"Commissioner Heeley is a pack rat," said Tom Clary of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He has newspapers in his living room going back twenty years. So during a meeting at his house one day, someone picked up a paper with the headline "Olympics Coming to Georgia" and failed to notice that the paper was eight years old."
The news spread like wildfire, and eager Georgia residents tuning into the news heard all about how the Olympics were coming to Athens. "No one checked into it too carefully," said Clary, "and now they've gone and built themselves a stadium that can seat twice the population of the city. It's kind of funny, actually."
Mayor Davison has not indicated what course of action the city will be taking against the IOC or Greece, but a solution may be at hand. Greece, sinking hundreds of millions into security and frantically laboring to finish a crumbling infrastructure in time for the start of the games, is considering giving the Olympics to Georgia.
"Can you imagine an Olympic Games with the steel structure unfinished on top of the stadium?" says Leonidas Kikiras, project coordinator for the Greek stadium complex's architect, Santiago Calatrava. "It's a nightmare. If someone's going to embarrass themselves, let it be the Americans. They're more used to it than we are."