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Lessons learned from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics.

Mayor Daley is compiling a list of lessons learned during his week-long trip to Greece. The mayor spent his second full day in Athens touring the Olympic Stadium, athlete housing and cultural attractions.

This week, the mayor of Los Angeles is in China. The mayor of San Francisco has already visited Beijing and London. They are joining Mayor Daley in racking up frequent flyer miles in an effort to make an impression on the world stage and learn from the successes and failures of other host cities.

Athens’ Olympic Stadium is a monument to civic pride and urban engineering. It’s also one of many reasons the 20004 Athens Olympic Games went $10 billion over budget. The covering is one of the heaviest coverings in the world, and most expensive! 
Greek politicians are said to have to tried to cram 50 years worth of infrastructure improvements in their ancient city into just 10 years, contributing to huge cost overruns. 

In 2004, Athens’ Olympic stadium was home to opening and closing ceremonies along with track and field and soccer matches. The stadium seats 72,000.

The mayor and his team learned Athens overbuilt some venues. The local population isn’t big enough to sustain events at all of the venues created for the Olympics. 

Daley’s delegation drove 30 miles from the center of Athens to the Olympic Village. They saw apartment buildings that were home to 22,000 athletes. They have now been converted to subsidized housing for 10,000. 

“We’ve been over to the Olympic Village. It’s very impressive, but it’s quite different than what we envision. Theirs is in the suburbs and it’s two and three story units,” said Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 chairman.

The mayor will meet Wednesday morning with the foreign minister of Greece. She was the mayor of Athens during the games. Mayor Daley will also present a slideshow about Chicago to local business leaders. 

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