In a special event held yesterday in the headquarters of the ATHENS 2004, the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games honoured the volunteers who offered their services during the 3rd Sport Events Cluster (February to April 2004).
During the same event, the Organising Committee President, Gianna ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI, presented the uniforms of the volunteers who will be participating in the Olympic Games.
Mrs Angelopoulos extended a warm welcome to the volunteers, stressing that they contributed their time, strength and ideas to the third cluster of Sport Events and added: "We thank you because all of you together form now a group of skilled, trained and, most of all, enthusiastic people, who are ready to welcome all humanity in the Games to be held in Athens and help us organise magical Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004!"
Mrs Angelopoulos described the volunteers as "the heart, face and soul of the Games". Referring to the contribution of volunteers outside Athens, she said: "We are particularly proud because, through the Football Sport Events held in the Olympic Cities, all Greece made its presence felt in Volunteerism."
She also made special references to individual cases of volunteers that express the universality of volunteerism as a movement.
One such example is Transport Volunteer Nikolaos VOUGIOUKAS, who has taken part in many Sport Events and of whom Mrs Angelopoulos said that "he has indeed devoted a very important part of himself in our preparations for flawless Games".
She also referred to the offer of volunteer services from people of all ages -from the youngest ball boy (aged 11) to a 73-year old Baseball volunteer, the oldest of all- and to characteristic examples which in this Sport Events Cluster, as in the previous ones, highlight the universality of volunteerism as a movement. "People from the same families took part in the Events, brothers, parents and their children - united as one, committed to the common effort and the common goal",
said Mrs Gianna ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI.
The ATHENS 2004 President also made a special reference to people "who travelled from places very far in order to be here in Athens, with the most characteristic such example being that of Jure ABRAHAM from Argentina, who came to Greece just so that he could participate in the Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics Sport Events and offer to us his specialised knowledge".
"Jure and many others like him, prove"
-Mrs Gianna ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI added- "that with determination, zeal and commitment to goals people always find ways to overcome practical obstacles and realise their dreams and hopes - the little, personal ones and the big, grand, collective ones".
Mrs Gianna ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI also made a reference to the "first Olympic Record", that of individual volunteer applications for the Games exceeding the 160,000 mark at the conclusion of the volunteers recruitment programme and before the Games, a remarkable improvement on the corresponding figure for Sydney.
Mrs Gianna ANGELOPOULOS-DASKALAKI concluded with the following words: "We always believed that in Greece there is a very active volunteerism movement, which contributes to a great number of areas in social life, without seeking publicity. We consider that all of you here are part of this movement and we hope that you will continue to act in the same way after the Games, becoming in this way what perhaps would be the most important legacy to our society".
The ATHENS 2004 President then presented the uniforms for the men and women volunteers of the 2004 Athens Games, worn by actors Apostolos GLETSOS and Theofania PAPATHOMA and Olympic medallist Leonidas KOKKAS. The uniforms, which were presented for the first time, are part of the sponsorship of Adidas, Official Supporter of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.
A videotape with shots from the Sport Events and interviews of volunteers, athletes, top officials of International Federations and the Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, Denis OSWALD, was also shown during the event.
The projection was followed by the award of participation diplomas and souvenirs to the Sport Events volunteers. In the open area of the Organising Committee's headquarters where the event was held, a number of stands had been set up, corresponding to the sports of the Sport Events, together with one kiosk for ball persons, to honour junior volunteers.
In the stands, volunteers met the teams of people with whom they worked and received their personal commemorative diplomas, which certify their participation in the 3rd Sport Events Cluster, from the corresponding Venue Managers and volunteers Venue Managers.
Visit the Athens 2004 Website for more information about the 3rd Sports Event Cluster.