ATHENS, Greece – ATHENS, Greece (AP) — When it comes to overspending, Greece gets the gold medal. Governments in the Greek capital of Athens haven't balanced a budget in nearly 40 years, and the country narrowly averted bankruptcy in May before panicky European partners grudgingly put up massive rescue loans. While many factors are behind the crippling debt crisis, the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens has drawn particular attention. If not the sole reason for this nation's financial mess, some point to the games as at least an illustration of what's gone wrong in Greece. Their argument starts with more than a dozen Olympic venues — now vacant, fenced off and patrolled by private security guards. Stella Alfieri, an outspoken anti-Games campaigner, says they marked the start of Greece's irresponsible spending binge. "I feel vindicated, but it's tragic for the country ... They exploited feelings of pride in the Greek people, and people profited from that," said Alfieri, a … [Read more...] about Did 2004 Olympics spark Greek financial crisis?
2004 olympics medal table
TOKYO -- Olympic medal-winning table tennis star Ai Fukuhara, a player defining a generation, ended her career in an unusual way: A group picture with reporters and photographers at a press conference in Tokyo announcing her departure on Oct. 23. The photo session was Fukuhara's proposal, and it was her way, as a caring person, of thanking the press, which helped many Japanese people connect emotionally with the 29-year-old star. Fukuhara debuted on the national sports stage as a little "crybaby" and grew up in the media spotlight. The sight of the young girl playing her best against a full-grown adult, and crying after losing, drew sympathy. The combination of familiarity among the people and success with the paddle led her to come to be known affectionately as "Ai-chan," a national icon. And this was partly made possible by table tennis itself, which allows anyone with outstanding technique to shine regardless of age. "When I was called 'crybaby Ai-chan,' I thought, 'I'm not a … [Read more...] about Retired table tennis star ‘crybaby Ai-chan’ beloved by fans throughout career
From the Prime Minister to the folk on the street, everyone has felt proud of the Indian contingent’s performance in the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang where it picked up an all-time high of 69 medals, including 15 gold. Not to be left behind, each State is feting its medallists the best way it can. Of course, the celebrations are called for. Yet, the immediate forecast of a vastly successful Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 is perhaps a tad misplaced as of now. It cannot be forgotten that the road to the Olympic Games gold is far less travelled. In fact, Abhinav Bindra is the only Indian who has tasted success in 38 years since the hockey team won a watered-down competition in the Moscow Games in 1980. The road ahead is not only littered with greater challenges than the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games held this year but also fragile, demanding more care in the preparation of the athletes. And there is not much time to lose to try and prepare the select bunch to be on that … [Read more...] about India’s outing in Asian Games deserves to be celebrated, but need to temper expectations from 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Thursday saw yet another teenage sensation striking gold for India. And he is just 15. Shardul Vihan became the new medal winner for India in men’s double trap event, finishing second with a score of 73 to take the legacy of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2006) and Ronjan Sodhi (gold in 2010) forward. And mind it, this new champion shooter studies in Class IX and hails from Meerut, which is emerging as the new powerhouse of GenX shooters. As he took the final shot on Thursday to finish second, one point behind South Korea’s Hyunwoo Shin (74), Vihan became India’s youngest competitor ever to win an Asiad medal. Shin, who finished fifth during the last Asian Games in Incheon, led till the end. Qatar’s Hamad Ali Al Marri was distant third with a score of 53 to win the bronze. Vihan is the third teenager after Saurabh Chaudhary (10m air pistol gold medallist) and Lakshay Sheoran (silver in trap event) to win a medal for India in Palembang. … [Read more...] about Asian Games 2018: Silver teen – Shardul Vihan wins medal in Double Trap shooting
Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer walk out onto the ground - AAP Image/Jenny Evans For many years, the first line that French school-children were to taught to recite at school was: “Our ancestors, the Gauls…” Children were taught that they, the modern French, were descended directly from the Gauls. It was a splendid notion in every respect apart from one: it wasn’t really true. In fact, the Franks, a Germanic tribe, had much more influence on the formation of modern France than the Gauls. “Our ancestors, the Gauls…” was merely an invention of 19th century romanticism. Now, every nation has its myths. Some are dangerous; some merely curious. In the case of Australian sport, we have one of the best of the type – the myth of Australianism. Deep in the soul of every red-blooded Australian male lurks the belief that Australia’s splendid recent sporting record is testament to the unique virtues of his compatriots: mateship, … [Read more...] about Myth of Australianism in sport: the have-a-go bravado