Athens Travel

Athens Travel

HELLINIKON OLYMPIC COMPLEX (HCO). The Hellinikon should be the worldwide symbol of recycling. Once the site of the old airport, parts of many of its buildings are reconstructed using the skeleton of old aviation buildings; in July 2003, an International Flights sign still hung from an entrance. The Hellinikon will host 7 sports. The Olympic Baseball Centre’s two fields will accommodate 7000 and 12,000 baseball fans (Aug. 15-18, 20-22, and 24; finals Aug. 25). The venue for softball (Aug. 14-20 and 22; finals Aug. 23), the Olympic Softball Stadium has also been built from the ground up. The Olympic Hockey Centre (capacity 8000) will host field hockey events (Aug. 14-23; finals Aug. 24-27). The neighboring warm-up field (capacity 2000) will be completed in January 2004. The frames of the impressive, high-ceilinged Indoor Arena and Fencing Hall were modified from what were once the Olympic Airlines hangars of the former airport. The Indoor Arena (capacity 15,000) will host basketball preliminaries (Aug. 14-24) and then handball finals (Aug. 26-29). The two-roomed Fencing Hall (capacity 5000 and 3500) will host the age-old sport of fencing (Aug. 14-22). The sprawling Olympic Canoe Kayak Slalom Centre (capacity 5000), with winding, elevated canoe paths positioned on an incline toward its vast pool, will be used for four consecutive days during the Olympics for canoekayak slalom racing (Aug. 17 and 19; finals 18 and 20). The surface area of the enormous structure will be larger than almost anything else in the Hellinikon. It will be completed by February 2004. (Take tram line 1 from Zappeio to the last stop, Heliiniko.)

MARATHON START (MRS). Immediately after running 42km to spread word of the Athenian victory in the 490BC battle of Marathon, Phidippides collapsed and died. During the 2004 Olympics, participants in the marathon (women’s Aug. 22; men’s Aug. 29) will follow the path from Marathon to Athens, starting in a small, newly renovated stadium and ending in the enormous Ancient Pana-thenaic stadium of central Athens. (Take Metro green line 1 from Omonia to Neratzi-otissa and switch to the Olympic shuttle. Marathon is 26 mi42km from Athens’s center.)

PANATHENAICKALLIMARMARO STADIUM (PAN). Ancient aristocrat Herodius Atticus boasted that he could build a stadium entirely out of marble for the Panathenaic Games, and so the elliptical PanathenaicKallimarmaro Stadium was built. George Averof refurbished it for the 1896 revival of the Games. Archery events (Aug. 15-17; finals Aug. 19-21) will attract an estimated 5500 spectators. The women’s marathon finish will be attended by 45,000 spectators on the evening of August 22; the men’s on August 29. Renovations should be completed by November of 2003. (In Athens’s center, the Panathenaic is a 7-10min. walk from Syndagma, on the other side of the National Gardens. Stoll down Irodou Atikou to get there.)

GOUDI OLYMPIC COMPLEX (GOC). Built in the middle of an evergreen thicket of northeastern Athens, Goudi consists of a gymnasium and a modern pentathlon center. According to the Athens 2004 Committee, designing the complex was a structural challenge; its completion date is March 2004. In the Olympic Hall, the badminton competitions (Aug. 14-18; finals Aug. 19-21) will be held before 5000 spectators. The shooting and fencing disciplines of the modem pentathlon (Aug. 26-27) will take place here before a crowd of 4500. The remaining three disciplines of the modern pentathlon, swimming, riding, and running (Aug. 26-27), will be held at the Olympic Modern Pentathlon Centre. Two thousand fans witness the swimming leg of the pentathlon, while 5000 will watch the riding and mnning portions. (Take Metro blue line 3 from Syndagma; get off at Katehaki and catch the Olympic shuttle.)

V0ULIAGMENI OLYMPIC CENTRE (VOU). The triathlon (Aug. 25-26) will be held in the beautiful beachside region of Vouliagmeni, farther down the southern coast from most of Athens’s crowded summer 2004 chaos. Three thousand fans will behold world-class athletes striving to swim, cycle, and run faster than ever before. Road racetime trial cycling (Aug. 18) will use a venue next door called the Vouliagmeni-Agia Marina Route. (Take tram line 1 from Zappeio; switch to line 2 and ride toward Gylfada Sq. (the last stop) from where you can catch the Olympic shuttle.)

KARAISKAKI STADIUM (ATH). Used over 100 years ago at the Olympic revival games as the velodrome, Karaiskaki was renovated in the 1960s and has been transformed once again into an impressive soccer stadium (capacity 35,000). It is the second largest stadium in Athens proper, after the Kallimarmaro. Some of the most important soccer games will take place here (Aug. 14-15; quarterfinals 17-18, 21, and 23; semifinals Aug. 24; finals Aug. 28-29). The completion date for construction is August 2003. (Take Metro green line 1 from Omonia toward Piraeus and get off at the Faliro stop (in Nea Faliro, just before the Piraeus terminal). You can also take tram line 1 from Zappeio and switch to line 2 toward the terminal in Neo Faliro.)

PATRAS’S PAMPELOPONNISIAKO STADIUM. Known around the city as the Jewel of Patras, the new Olympic complex will host swimming and soccer (Aug. 11-12, 14, 17-18, and 20; quarterfinals Aug. 21 and 23; semifinals Aug. 26) events and also serve as the athletic training halls. Added demands from the city, the Greek Athletic Association, and the Athens 2004 Committee have pushed the projected date of completion to February 2004. (The Suburban Rail runs all the way from Athens to Patras. Trains and buses also run to Patras. When in Patras, take bus #7 (20min. ‚1) from the Europa Center.)

VOLOS’S PANTHESSILIKO STADIUM. The stadium (capacity 20,000) will host limited soccer (Aug. 11-12, 14-15, 17, and 20) competitions. Another smaller stadium is set next to the Panthessiliko. (To get to Volos from Athens, take intercity transportation. The stadium is 5km out of Volos’s city center, north of the suburb of Nea lonio.)

THESSALONIKI’S KAFTANSOGLIO STADIUM. This technologically enhanced stadium (capacity 28,000) will host a smattering of preliminary and semifinal soccer matches (Aug. 11-12, 14-15,17-18, and 20; quarterfinals Aug. 21, 23, and 26). (To get to Thessaloniki from Athens, take intercity transportation.)

IRAKLION’S PANKRITIO STADIUM. This venue, seating up to 27,000, will play host to a variety of soccer matches (Aug. 11-12, 14-15, 17-18, and 20; quarterfinals Aug. 21 and 23). (The stadium is located 2km outside Iraklion; follow Kalokerinou through the center of town and the stadium will be on your right.)

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