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06 Feb 2004
IOC News

ATHENS 2004: Apollo and Dionysus inspire Opening Ceremony

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens will be inspired by Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. “The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will reflect two main aspects of Ancient Greek culture: the Apollonian and Dionysian”, Artistic Manager and Director of Ceremonies Dimitris Papaioannou stated at a press conference in Athens, and further explained: “The geographical physiognomy of Greece will be reflected in the programme, together with all forms of cultural expression in our country since ancient times.”

Myths of ancient Greek gods
Papaioannou said that the Opening Ceremony will draw from the myths of the ancient Greek god Apollo, best known as the mythical deity of the bow, music and for his power over oracles. The Closing Ceremony will represent ideas from Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the mythical god of wine.

Greek flavour
Papaioannou gave further details: “The flavour is very Greek. We are aiming to have one great star at our Opening Ceremony… and that is Greece.”

Opening Ceremony: three-and-a-half hours
ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki announced that the Ceremonies will be shorter than at past Olympic Games, with the Opening Ceremony lasting three-and-a-half hours, including the athletes’ parade, and the Closing Ceremony two-and-a-half hours.

8,000 volunteers
A total of 8,000 volunteer performers will take part in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, together with approximately 2,000 technical support volunteers. The first round of auditions, which took place over the last few months, resulted in the selection of some 6,000 volunteers, with another 4,000 interviews set to take place during the second and final round of auditions starting on 14 February 2004. Applications for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Volunteers Programme should be submitted electronically at the address

Learn more on Athens 2004

Official website of Athens 2004
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