Archive for August, 2004

Successful Olympics

Congrats to the Greeks for pulling off some very successful and near-perfect Olympic games.

I just didn’t quite like the closing ceremony, because it was extremely greek-oriented. Some of the singers and their songs were ok and “easily listenable” by foreigners (e.g. Rouvas, Vissi, the first song of Arvanitaki, Marinella, some traditional songs), but that crap from Antonis Remos and that cheap pop-bouzouki-music songs that were used at some point, sucked big time. Gyftiaaaa kai malakiiiies…

Regarding Doping

So, I was reading a few things about the history of doping, and apparently, ancient greek athletes were also doping themselves, according to a new book (by greek authors), using natural stimultants and some other not so natural, including narcotics (~opium).

In the modern sport history, the first known doping scandal is as old as 1886, when a bicyclist of the era died of an overdose of a doping drug, during a race.

Today, IAAF says that about 10% of its athletes are dopping (and that’s probably all their big names, I don’t imagine most athletes/coaches from Pakistan or Kongo having money to buy such things). I would personally say that more than 35% of the big names in athletics are doping today.

Watching today the american Jeremy Wariner winning the 400m with such ease, at the age of 19, it just didn’t smell right. The guy is thin, white and too young to have the physical maturity to be able to yield such times. Yet, he finishes in 44 seconds and he showed that he could easily do below 44 seconds if he wanted to. People say that it’s all about the coach (the same person behind Michael Johnson), but I find it highly unlikely that the same coach had the luck to have under his supervision two extra-super-talents during his coaching career. The global statistics just don’t add up.

And then, you got East Germany (pre-1990), Russia, China etc, where their governments would give dangerous steroids to their athletes even if the atheletes didn’t wanted to. Sometimes, to 14 and 15 year old kids. But I give them credit for this: their coaches knew how and when to give the drugs. No East German athlete was ever caught cheating, yet, it was a common secret about the drugs that was spread out among 10,000 of their athletes!

IAAF should suspend the greek sprinters Kenteris and Thanou without a second thought. But that won’t make the global sport scene any cleaner. Nevertheless, two down, 4,000+ more to go.

RE: Is Greece really that small, or a coincidence?

Apparently, the 11th winner of the 20km Walk, Athina Papagianni, is also from Preveza. I don’t know her (or at least, I think I don’t), but it is a surprise for me to see two people from Preveza’s Track & Field Club (named “Asteras”), have two big athletes.

When I was living in the area, I knew of only one person who was a good athlete (not international quality, but among the first 8 greek people in Decathlon, back in 1992-3). But I haven’t heard of anything else of Preveza people bring up other talents through the years. Preveza was a very “dead” place for track & field athletes. It was nice to see two of them now in Olympic games, on the same race, no less.

I guess things have changed there since I left Greece in 1997. When I was doing some 100m sprint and (mostly) javellin in 1989, we didn’t have much support from anyone. In fact, my father was not even happy with me training because he is an old fashioned man (“women should not do that stuff, they should just be respected housewives”), and back then not many women was training in general, especially in my area. I defied him of course, as I always had, but with the little support I had for my training effort and my… lazyness (yes, I am very lazy and always has been ;-), I didn’t go very far with javellin. Also, back then Greece was in the bottom of the international pile in Track&Field, so it just didn’t inspire me enough to try harder. Things have changed though, glad to see this.

Is Greece really that small, or a coincidence?

As I wrote a few days ago, I grew up just a few kms away from the village that Katerina Thanou greek sprinter is from (and i have met her parents and grantparents, but not herself).

Today, Athanasia Tzoumeleka took the gold in 20 Km Walk in Olympics. What’s weird is that I have met her and her parents (she is from Preveza, the capital of the district of 35,000 people that I am coming from). In fact, her father is a good friend of my father’s and they have collaborated at work in the past.

I _remember_ my mother telling me YEARS ago (when Athanasia was still a young teenager and promising greek champion for under 18 years olds) how her father supported her and helped her with her training in any way he could and how proud he was of her. Back then, Athanasia was doing 3,000 Km running IIRC, but she now seems to have changed to 20km Walk (didn’t know that).

So, out of the biggest athletics names in Greece, I have some sort of connection with two of them. Is Greece really that small, or is this just a coincidence? Makes you wonder. 😀

athletics stadium

This time, the second day of the games, it seems that the stadium is full. Good to see.

Spent Saturday in hospital

So, I spent 3 hours in ER today. I woke up with terrible stomach pain this morning: the pain was unbearable. So, the firefighters came, then an ambulance came, then they got me to ER.

They did tests on me (blood, urine, x-ray), and they found an infection. I am now on antibiotics, but hopefully that pain won’t come back. I thought my chest was to be teared apart.

I was able to eat normal food when I came back though, and my beloved husband is going to cook a marble cake for me tonight, and we will also have a fruit salad. 🙂

Athletics stadium in Olympics also not full

I was very unhappy seeing tonight the Olympic Stadium in Greece on TV, not being full (I didn’t expect that). About 20,000 seats were empty (out of 72,000). I mean, I have never seen any olympic athletic games or world championship not being full in the evening happenings.

Again, the problem is the price:
Euro 90-A (ticket level)
70-B
40-C

The cheapest ticket is 40, about $50 bucks. Well, this is the price of two-three days of work in Greece. That’s just too much.

What a shame. Whoever from IOC/greek-government asked for such pricing, is a jerk.

On Communion, Part II

My husband, after reading my blog, told me the following over IM:

I mean, honestly, can you imagine Christ saying ‘you are not worthy of being one of my followers if you can’t digest gluten’?”

Haha, great quote! 😀

Church, Justice: losing grip with reality

Here’s another good example of how our “holy church[es]” are not that wise or really holy.

Basically, they declared invalid the communion of a little girl that can’t digest wheat because of a medical condition. She had to use a rice-based communion, but that was named invalid.

That’s just crap. I mean, the communion itself is SYMBOLIC. Whoever says otherwise, is an idiot. In the first days of the Christian Church there were no such stuff, it was a simple gathering. All the politicalities and what the vicars should wear and all other etiquetes etc etc, were all established 300 years after the death of Christ, where the one Church back then wanted a stabler foot in people’s lives.

So, from the moment a communion is being blessed, no matter if it’s spinach or wheat or… pasta bolognese, it’s good enough to be valid. It is SYMBOLIC people, the communion has an allegoric nature, it does NOT have to be exact.

I am really appalled seeing the Churches losing their grip with reality: Orthodoxs as well as Catholics still can’t agree on how communion should be, a testament that it’s all bullshit and all staged by humans — Catholics changed it 800 years after the original Church, the Orthodoxs, used ‘bread and wine’. All these Churches lose themselves into particular etiquetes instead of following christianity in its heart (and they keep forking and forking instead of staying united). They have lost the original message. They don’t deserve my loyalty (I still believe in God, I was raised as an Orthodox, but I won’t be a fanatic about it — instead I will critisize Christianity’s misteps at all levels and for all Churches).

And then, I read about the person who spent 40 years in prison, while he was 100% innocent all these years.

How much more fucked up this planet can be? I am personally very dissapointed.

Olympic ticket whining

Journalists are whining about the Olympic Games in Athens that the stadiums are not full of people.

Well, I checked the prices of tickets at the athens2004.com official site. Basically, for most games the ticket prices are between 10 and 20 Euros (with 20 euros being a borderline price that a normal Greek person would pay for 2-hours of pleasure).

However, for gymnastics and some other sports the prices start at 50 Euros and go as high as 200 Euros! WTF? What is IOC and Greek Olympic Committee is thinking? There is no “normal” Greek person that would be able to pay such high prices! My mother or my brother need to work TEN DAYS to be able to pay such a ticket!

This is madness! Of course and there aren’t enough spectators on all of the games. And there won’t be any more! Not as long as the salaries are so low in Greece or the ticket pricing is that crazy high!

And there’s another problem too: Greeks have a short span of “sport acceptance”. For example, don’t expect greeks to go watch Baseball, or Softball or even tennis or horse-riding. Greeks prefer basket-ball, soccer, some track&field, some swimming. Because of this reality, the gymnastic tickets should have never costed more than $20-25 if they wanted to see full[er] stadiums.

Oh, and the other thing: August is really the month of holidays for Greeks. 50% of Athenians leave town on August to visit their cities/villages they grew up at. The city is literally empty at that time. I believe that the best dates for these Olympic Games should have been between August 20th and Sep 5th. That’s the time that:
1. People are starting to come back from vacations (schools start on Sep 10th, so people have to be back by then).
2. Weather gets better after August 20th (not as crazy hot as it is now).