One hundred and eight years after their revival the Olympic
Games returned to their birthplace, Greece. Athens,
as the city organizing the Games, hosted the 28th Olympiad,
a celebration full of symbolic meaning. Its relation to the
ancient Olympic Games and to their revival in the 19th century
was obvious, particularly in the ritual of the Games (opening
and closing ceremonies, torch relay).
However, the joy of the great celebration was reduced by the
fear for a potential terrorist attack. In the light of the
terrorist attack of September 11th 2001 in New York, there
was intense anxiety, on international level, regarding the
safe conduct of the Games. Therefore, the success of the Games
was one of the greatest challenges that Greece had to face.
For this reason, the Athens Olympic Games became famous for
the increased safety measures that had been taken.
It was generally agreed, that it was one of the most successful
Olympiads, both regarding the infrastructure and the athletic
performances. At the same time, the promotion of the commercial-advertising
element took second place compared with the symbolic content
of the organization. However, despite the unquestionable success,
there were some instances of the use of anabolic steroids,
like in Sidney, that obscured, even temporarily, the joy of
the great celebration.