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Austerity wins Gold in Greece

April 27th, 2012 · No Comments

While many Sports fans are busy salivating over their respective teams draft picks in this year’s NFL Draft, with Stanford’s Andrew Luck going No. 1 to Indianapolis and “Superman RG3,” nee Baylor’s Robert Griffin III going No. 2 to Washington; YAWN! This cavalcade of multiple years, multi-million dollars contracts surely is the polar opposite of what’s currently occurring in cash strapped Greece… And NO! I’m not talking about their economy either.

Thus, how many of you recall that just eight years ago, during the summer of 2004 that Athens was playing host to the Summer Olympics.

As recently the Greek Athletics Federation was forced to suspend indefinitely all domestic competitions due to its perilous financial status due to deep funding cuts, with the country set to celebrate - hardly the right word, the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch.

As Greece will send only 75 athletes to this year’s Summer Olympics in London, half the number of participants from the 2008 Beijing games and a paltry one-sixth competitors from its home games eight years ago; as prior to the Beijing games, Greece’s government provided $30m (Euros) for its athletes preparations and pledged the same amount for this summer’s games; yet, with the country’s flagging economy not a single Euro was provided in either 2010 or 2011 - with the deep financial cuts seeing a reduction in funding by two-thirds to a paltry $6.5m provided this year which isn’t even enough to pay for training.

Adding insult to injury - Greece’s weight lifting, sailing, gymnastics - of which its women’s squad are the defending world champions and the water polo teams were all left high ‘N dry without any money to pay their way to their respective Olympic qualifying meets - forcing the sports governing body, the IOC to save the day by providing emergency funding! As Greece will send its smallest Olympic contingent to London 2012 since the Barcelona games a decade ago…

Meanwhile athletes have been routinely forced to train in austere conditions, without heated training facilities during the winter and lack of AC in the summer, not to mention lack of indoor lighting. Along with reportedly the Indoor training facility of the Olympic Stadium built for the ’04 games roof now leaking - as athletes must navigate a multitude of buckets lining the facilities floor to collect the dripping water.

As Spyros Kapralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee describes the Greek Olympics legacy as “Heaven & Hell,” as the ’04 facilities sit unwanted, unused, vacant and crumbling… As can you imagine such travesty occurring at your local National Football League stadium?

As the Minnesota Vikings wrestle with legislators over the funding of a proposed $975m Hubert Humphrey Dome replacement, while the St Louis Rams have a contract clause stating their stadium must remain in the upper one-fourth echelon of top stadiums or else they’re free to walk. And then there’s the Atlanta Falcons who didn’t even have a first round pick this year - yet were supposedly shoveling the first scoops of Georgia clay in order to begin construction on a new one billion dollar facility!

Which surely makes you have to ponder even further the plight of Greece’s amateur athletes who didn’t even get paid all of last year while toiling for their country’s pride - which should perhaps leave Y’all with something to ponder as you order your Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck Pro-team official replica jersey…

Tags: Misc

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