Greece’s newest museum, the Olympic Museum of Athens, opened to the public on Friday. The Museum is housed on the premises of the Golden Hall shopping center in the northern Athenian suburb of Maroussi.
It invites visitors to a unique time journey through the long and glorious history of the Olympic Games, through a chronological narrative, during which the three great main pillars of the Olympic Ideal are highlighted:
The birth of the Olympic games in ancient Olympia, in the Peloponnesian peninsula of ancient Greece; the revival of the contemporary games in Athens in 1896, and the return of the games to their homeland, with the Olympic Games of Athens in 2004.
“We believe that it will support Greece’s contribution in the modern Games. The Athens Olympic Museum is an international museum that showcases the history of the Games highlighting the Hellenic Influence in the formation of the Olympic Movement,” said IOC member and Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos recently on the occasion of the opening of the latest museum addition in Greece.
“There is a special space dedicated to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and of course the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. It will be really worth a visit.”
According to the International Society of Olympic Historians, the museum ”is within walking distance of the 2004 Olympic stadium which was named in honor of Louis. It occupies buildings used by television and radio broadcasters during Athens 2004 on a site known as the “Golden Hall”. This complex now also includes a shopping center and an aquarium.”
The museum was built after a government agreement with the Lamda development company, which operates the Golden Hall complex. The Olympic Museum of Athens now forms part of a renovation project of the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens (OAKA) which formed the main Olympic park in 2004.
The Athens 2004 Summer Olympics
The Olympic Games of Athens in 2004 saw 10,625 athletes compete from 201 countries across the globe. There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports. Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance — and also saw the return of the Olympic Games to the city where they began.
Having previously hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, Athens became one of only four cities at the time to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games on two occasions together with Paris, London, and Los Angeles.
The 2004 Olympic Games were hailed as “unforgettable, dream games” by IOC President Jacques Rogge, and left Athens with a significantly improved infrastructure, including a new airport, ring road, and subway system.
There have been arguments regarding the cost of the 2004 Summer Games and their possible contribution to the 2010–18 Greek government-debt crisis; however, there is little or no evidence for such a correlation.