ATHENS.- ANA – Tributes have poured in from Greeks in all four corners of the earth on Saturday for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens on Friday night, using adjectives such as ‘magical’, ‘unique’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘beautiful’ to describe the event viewed by billions worldwide. Greece received the thumbs up from foreign media as well, which at various times in the past had been highly critical of preparations and had questioned the country’s capability to stage the Olympic Games.
The nearly four-hour long ceremony had it all: spectacle, imagination, originality, history, song and dance, love and war, modern technology with computer animated images and last but not least the feature that is Greece – its crystal clear waters.
Constantinos Demetris, a Greek American teacher in New York, said “now we have been vindicated, nobody can turn round and accuse Greece of being incapable. Everybody was impressed and NBC commentators admitted that they had unduly criticized Greece.”
NBC commentators said “the Olympic Games really returned home” and noted that “security is now in the hands of the Greek gods” but did not fail to add that “we still have another two weeks togo”.
One NBC commentator noted that anti-American feeling in Greece is focused on objections to US administration policy and is not directed at all against the American public.
At the end of the ceremony, US news bulletins pointed out the return of the Games to their birth place and said the opening ceremony “was impressive and worthy of Greek history, with prevalent features from ancient Greece and mythology”.
Another Greek living in New York said the opening ceremony of the Games signaled a “new era” for Greece which should make Greek-American children feel very proud.
The state television network in FYROM said Greece presented ?an excellent and unique? opening ceremony which enchanted billions of people while the secretary general of the FYROM Olympic Committee said he was sure the Games would be a success and better than the Sydney Games.
In Cyprus, people were glued to their television sets on Friday night and the state TV network RIK described the opening as “magical” while Saturday’s press was full of praise using words like “Olympic renewal”, “A hymn to man”, “Fantastic opening – let the Games begin” with big front page photographs.