Four years after Athens Greeks have Olympics blues

ATHENS (AFP) — A world of fans and an army of critics are counting the days before China’s long-awaited launch of the Beijing Olympics on August 8 but for previous hosts Athens, Games’ indifference is the rule.

A lingering hangover from the 2004 Olympics, low medal expectations in Beijing and a spate of demoralising doping scandals in recent months have combined to sap interest in the event, observers say.

“I doubt many Greeks would know when the Games start in Beijing if we asked them,” says Thomas Gerakis, a pollster at opinion company Marc SA.

“It makes sense that spirits are lower this time round,” says Serafeim Kotrotsos, the former spokesman of the Athens 2004 organising committee who now works for Greek daily Eleftheros Typos.

“These are not our Games…and the recent doping cases have cooled interest among the Greek public,” he told AFP.
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