18 September 2003
The volunteers who served in the August Sport Events were honoured at a ceremony held at the Athens 2004 Conference Centre.
Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki addressed the hundreds of volunteers who had taken part in the seven Sport Events from 6 to 28 August.
"We have 1,500 separate reasons for being here today, that is, as many as you who participated and worked in the August events. That is how many happy faces there were, as people unselfishly, eagerly, and energetically made their contribution, and went on duty for one of the most important rehearsals for the coming Games. Your enthusiastic response to our ceremony today is proof positive of your dedication to our common goal: to hold magical Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004! And believe me, volunteers make the Games happen."
Athens 2004 President lauded the quality, as well as the dedication, of volunteers. She gave two examples: a beach volleyball volunteer who made the 200-mile journey every day from Kalamata, and a lady in advanced pregnancy who did not miss a single day of the Sailing Event.
After thanking the volunteers for the understanding they displayed towards difficulties and minor problems, she went on, "We are happy to say that today, just 330 days ahead of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the number of candidate volunteers has topped the 110,000 mark, a big advance on Sydney. The Australians relied on a total of 75,000 volunteers, and they eventually accredited 45,500."
"Today, Athens is a long way ahead of that, with international volunteer response to the Games. And people said Greece has no tradition of volunteer service! We are still getting many applications from our fellow-Greeks abroad. Interest from other countries accounts for a total of 25% of the applications. For us the Games have already started!."