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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-09-14

Antenna Radio News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English 14/09/97


  • The Athens 2004 Committee gets a welcome home fit for Olympic champions.
  • Maria Kallas remembered 20 years after her death.
  • And, Isavella DAra is Europe's most beautiful woman.


The announcement in Switzerland just over a week ago that Athens will be hosting the 2004 Olympics touched offa wave of euphoria in Greece. Later in our report, we'll hear about the boom on the Athens stock exchange that followed the news.

But first, we look back at the welcome the members of the Athens 2004 Committee received on their triumphant return to Athens.

In a speech preceding a concert in the capital to mark the victory, the prime minister said Athens' success shows that Greece can compete in the international arena.


Athens has landed the Olympics. The next task, by far the bigger one, is preparing for them. The question on everyone's lips last week was whether or not the government would choose Ianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki to head the organising committee.

- Ianna Angelopoulou- Daskalaki and the other members of the Athens 2004 committee returned from Switzerland heroes.

Prime minister Kostas Simitis held a banquet in their honour Thursday night. But after all the toasts of the week were over, no one knew whether Daskalaki would be heading up the 2004 organising committee or not.

All the government members and Pasok MPs asked had only the highest praise for her. But few committed themselves in advance.

Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos indicated after a luncheon tribute to Daskalaki that she would be the right choice.

Alternate foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou would say only "The prime minister will decide" who'll be on the organising committee, and in what capacity.

Sports minister Andreas Fouras said there are many people qualified for the job of heading the committee. An opinion seconded by MPs Dinos Vrettos, and Panagiotis Sgourides. Sgourides says though that Daskalaki is up to the task of heading the organisational matters.

Asked for his view, Justice minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said Friday, "I congratulate Mrs Angelopoulou Daskalaki for saying her efforts on behalf of the 2004 committee were made for the COUNTRY, and NOT with a view to gaining any further posts".

Indeed, throughout the week, Daskalaki repeatedly said she has no further ambitions.

Appearing live on Antenna's nightly news, she told Terence Quick, "My mission is accomplished. We brought the games here. That's a victory for all Greeks. Organising the games is a much different matter from bidding for them. It's a huge task, and means a lot of people doing a lot of work".

How much work is hard to overstate. On tap are new stadiums, new roads, a new airport, an Olympic village, and even a programme to enhance some 70 archeological sites around the country in anticipation of the influx of tourists with the Olympics.

At a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Finance minister Iannos Papantoniou says there will be no new taxes hoisted on Greeks to foot the bill.

The International Olympic Committee will channel an estimated 630 million dollars in broadcasting rights to Greece to help defray the costs of the Olympiad. After it's all over, it is expected that one billion 890 million dollars in revenue will have been generated by the 2004 games. Hopefully, that figure will match the total amount spent.

In coming weeks, the government, working with the Athens city council, is expected to announce the members of the organising committee. Until then, the speculation about what Daskalaki's role will be will continue. She says she expects nothing, but will help out in any way she can in making sure the 2004 games are the best ever.


There is no mascot for the 2004 Olympics yet, but the bull was very much in appearance at the Athens stock exchange at the start of the week.

The interest of domestic and international investors in listed shares reached a frenzy on the crest of enthusiasm generated by the successful Athens Olympic bid.

Within minutes of opening on Monday, the big board was flashing, as 264 of the 271 listed stocks reached the one-day maximum rise of 8 per cent.

Tuesday's gains were a more modest 1.5 per cent, after further spectacular gains early in the trading day.

Investors were plaesed that the dizzying rise didn't continue a second day. Many even expressed satisfaction with the slight drops that ensued on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, saying that a stable upward trend is the healthiest thing for the market and investors.

At closing Friday, the Athens stock market average was up six per cent overall on the week. In some sectors, those which will benefit directly from the Olylmpic preparations, like construction firms, gains were much higher. And investors were optimistic about the future.


More belt-tightening overall, coupled with more money for health, education, and welfare - that's the government's budgetary game plan for 1998.

Prime minister Kostas Simitis gave his annual speech at the outset of the international trade fair in Thessaloniki last weekend. The speech is Greece's equivalent of the state of the union address.


Thursday marked the 1st International Congress dedicated to Maria Callas, marking the twentieth anniversary of her death.

Thousands of admirers gathered for the three day congress in Zappio paying tribute to the legendary opera singer.

Born Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulou, Maria Callas took the operatic world by storm.

The uniqueness of her voice and strength of character set a precedent for all opera singers. The range of her voice was staggering. She could sing as softly as a cat walking across a carpet or thunder like a storm.

In a special tribute to Callas, Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos opened the 1st international congress dedicated, noting opera's and Callas's common roots: "Opera", he said, "was born at the end of the renaissance period in an attempt to imitate and revive ancient Greek tragedy."

The unique operatic voice of Maria Callas reached the depths of drama so exquisitely expressed in ancient Greek tragedy.

Reminiscing on her career, close friend Stelios GalatOpoulos recalls her debut performance at the ancient theater in Epidavros in 1959: "I saw see Maria walk toward the stage all alone. She looked very dejected and frightened. I thought to myself, she might not make it tonight. But the moment she came on stage, the first words of the song came out of her mouth like thunder!".

Many Well-known musicians and singers attended the event in Athens, paying tribute to the memory of Callas. Maestro Nicolao Resinio was there. Mezzo soprano Kiki Morfoniou, full of emotion, recalled how Callas had helped her during her first performance.

Bassist Paolo Mondarsolo and Nikos Zahariou, accompanied by soprano Vasso Papantoniou, also stopped by to honour her memory.

The voice of Callas was not confined to the stage, it made it on to the big screen.

"There's an aria of hers in the film Philadelphia' starring Tom Hanks", points out John Ardoyn who writes books on Callas. He remembers fondly: "Her voice, she spoke directly to the hearts of people".

Callas was so adored by her fans that upon her death someone actually stole her ashes. They were eventually restored to her family, and then scattered in the Aegean near Epidavros.

On Saturday, September 13th, a vessel will sail the same route, enabling fans to toss wreathes into the sea her memory.

Callas' natural talent was combined with instinct and intuition, but her main virtue was her honesty. She led a very lonely life but will forever remain in the hearts and minds of all who loved and admired her.

If Maria Callas were alive today, she would be 74 years old.


David Rivers was named Greece's top basketball player for the 1996-97 season last week. Rivers, is the speedy ball-handling guard who helped Olympiakos win the European and Greek championships, and the Greek cupship, last season.

The former Los Angeles Laker was one of many players honoured for their league-leading performances last year, at the annual pro basketball award ceremony, broadcast live and organised by Antenna television.

David Rivers is the 1996-97 MVP, well-deserved for his contribution to Olympiakos's spectacular season, in which in dominated opponents in Greece and all over Europe.

Alfonso Ford was honoured for leading the league in scoring; Samir Gounta, the top rebounder; and assist leader Nikos Vetoulas.

Basketball greats Jose Ortith, Angelos Koronios, and Nikos Kaouridis were singled out for some of the unforgettable moments they gave the fans last season.

In recent years, the Greek league has developed into Europe's strongest. Greek teams have won the European title the last two years running, and Greek basketball players' union president Thodoros Karatzas promises that Greece will stay on top.

The man who has given Greeks in the US and in Australia the chance to watch Greek basketball is Antenna president Minos Kyriakou. Attending the award ceremony said his only desire is that this season is as good as the last, and that the number one station, Antenna, which succeeded in getting Greek games out to Greeks around the globe, continues to carry the games of Europe's number one league.


The Miss Europe crown came to Greece last week. 19 year old Isavella Dara won the title in Kiev. Earlier in the year, Dara won the Greek Woman title, at the Star Hellas pageant, sponsored by Antenna.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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