BBC News takes a look at the struggles that Greek Olympic athletes have had to face since Athens last held the Games in 2004. Since the Athens Games, the economy has declined significantly, the Greek economy faces significant problems, including rapidly rising unemployment levels, an inefficient public sector bureaucracy, tax evasion, corruption and low global competitiveness. After 14 consecutive years of economic growth, Greece went into recession in 2008. Former Olympic venues lay idle, rusting from Greece’s hot sunshine.
The recession has affected sports badly. Greece’ top female gymnast Vasiliki Millousi told BBC news:
“We don’t have the money to pay for medicines, doctors or physiotherapists. We can’t invest in training facilities or afford to train abroad. The federation tries its hardest, but everything is difficult now.”
Youngsters who train alongside Millousi and aspire to like her, competing in the future in the Olympic Games, are driven home by their coach Anastasia Dondy as their parents cannot afford to spend money on petrol to drive them to gymnastics.
Pole vaulter Stella Ledaki questions holding the Olympics in Athens:
“Maybe the reason why we don’t have much money now is that we had the Olympic Games in 2004, so I’m not sure if we had the economic stability to have the Olympics here; maybe we shouldn’t have had them at all.”
It’s an interesting read. Wishing Millousi the best for the Olympic Games.