Monday, August 2, 2004

On August 13, the Games of the 2004 Summer Olympics will officially begin with the Opening Ceremonies in Athens, Greece and continue through August 29. And with all the hooplah surrounding security issues and rushed development of the Olympic venues, these Games will prove to be nothing short of spectacular. For better or for worse, the two weeks of Games (every two years) will be televised in the Hoedl abode by this fanatical Olympic fan.

In this spirit, I am using these next five days' reflections to provide you with a brief overview of what you are most likely to see, should be watching and know for at these Summer Olympic Games. To start off with, you should have a schedule of events. There are 28 sports at 35 venues over a period of 16 days - so that is a lot of which to keep track. You can find the schedule by clicking on 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

Who's Coming to Play?

Before you get too excited about watching the United States delegations compete, make a mental note that the US Baseball, Men's Soccer, Men's Cycling and Men's and Women's Field Hockey teams did not qualify for these Olympic Games In a 2-1 surprise upset by Mexico in the quarterfinals of the 2003 Americas Olympic Baseball Qualifying Tournament, the United States team was knocked out of an Olympic appearance this time around. Cuba and Canada will be representing the Americas in these Games. For a complete list of those events for which the United States has (and has not) qualified, click on Qualified.

The Flame Continues to Burn

The ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and Samsung, is the first to travel the globe and return to the country that gave birth to the Games and the city of their revival.

In a journey that will last some 78 days, the Olympic flame will cover a distance of more than 78.000 km, throughout the world and light every prefecture of Greece.

Beyond the borders of Greece the Flame, in the hands of 3.600 Torchbearers, traveled to Africa and Latin America for the first time and it finally returned to all the previous Olympic cities. A total of 260 million people had the opportunity to see the Flame in their city.

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