In 2004 the Olympic Games finally returned home to Greece. Athens, the birthplace of the antique and modern Olympic Games assumed the role of hosting the 2004 Summer Olympic games from 13 to 29 August. Slovenia brought its largest Olympic delegation to date and won 4 Olympic medals.
Time and Place: Athens (Greece): 13 – 29 August 2004
Other candidates: Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Rome, Stockholm
Participation: 201 država, 10. 625 športnikov
Number of sports: 28 sports, 301 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 79 in 10 different sports
Fire lit by: Nikolaos Kaklamanakis (sailor)
Games opened by: Konstantinos Stephanopoulos (President of Greece)
Olympic oath: Zoi Dimoschaki (swimmer)
Motto: Welcome home
Trivia from the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games
The Olympic movement received a substantial injection of its primal spirit and a strong reminder of how and why it all began. Nevertheless, everybody in Athens 2004 understood that Olympic evolution, be it positive or negative, cannot be stopped. Yet the leaders of the International Olympic Committee agreed that it can be influenced to a certain extent. Many feared the Greek easygoing manner and warned of rather less than stellar organization. Athens were indeed quite late with the construction of Olympic facilities and often gave in to improvisation, but the system was far from falling apart. The Greeks surprised many people and organized an excellent Olympics which were in fact very difficult to manage due to their size.
Oldest swimming world record finally broken
The most prominent male athlete at the Games was certainly the incredible American swimmer Michael Phelps. The undisputed ruler of the Olympic pool won eight medals, six of which were gold. Olympic heroes included the fastest sprinter Justin Gatlin, the relentless Dutch cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel and canoeist Birgit Fischer who won two medals and became the first athlete with gold medals from six different games. And there was also Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj with wins at 1500 and 5000 meters.
The Argentinians also stirred up plenty of interest. They "only" won six medals, two of which were gold. But these two were won by the football and basketball squads. The latter ended the reign of American basketball players who finally saw that the "Dream Team" name is no longer appropriate.