ATHENS, February 11, 4:29 /ITAR-TASS/. Opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi was the best one throughout the history of Winter Olympics, Hellenic Olympic Committee official spokesman Tassos Papachristou said Tuesday in a conversation with Itar-Tass.
He said that the cultural aspect of the opening ceremony - delightful music, marvelously choreographed dances, good staging ideas, and majestic special effects - had been particularly impressive.
“To light the cauldron with the Olympic flame outside the stadium is believed to be a good idea,” Papachristou said. “I’ve seen many Olympic Games either being on the stadiums myself or watching them on television, and that’s why I’m confident the opening ceremony in Sochi was the best one in the history of winter Olympics and, quite probably, one of the best in the history of Olympic Games in general.”
Papachristou said he had always believed that the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 and in Athens in 2004 had been the best ones for objective reasons but the Sochi Games obviously joined them this year, although it was difficult enough to compare the Winter and Summer Games because the Winter Games would always bring together fewer athletes and would require smaller sports facilities.
“As for Sochi, a huge stadium has been built there and it has given an opportunity to show an impressive stage production involving a big number of athletes and performers,” he said. “I think we’ll scarcely ever forget the Sochi opening ceremony, including the parade of participants.”
Papachristou indicated that some of the past Olympic Games are hardly ever recalled today. He said he thought that the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994 had been the most captivating but it apparently moved to the second place after Sochi.
He pointed out a fair level of organization of sports events in Sochi and a fair level of security.
“The Greek team at these Games doesn’t have any problems and I haven’t heard any complaints from our guys.”
Greece, a country where warm climate has prevented a mass development of winter sports, has sent a delegation of seven athletes to Sochi.
“Quite naturally, it’s difficult for our athletes to take medals but the very fact we’re taking part in these Games is more important for us,” Papachristou said.
February 8, Nikos Polichronidis who took part in qualifications in jumping from the middle ski-jump, became the first Hellenic athlete to take part in the Sochi Olympic tournaments. The length of his jump of 83.5 meters and the 85.0 points he got for it put him to the 48th position in the ranking and did not allow him to get to the finals but he will nonetheless take part in competitions at the big ski-jump February 14.
Panagiota Tsakiri, the bearer of the Greek flag at the opening ceremony, and Apostolos Angelis will take part in cross-country sprint on Tuesday and the rest of the Greek team - alpine skiers Massimiliano Valkaregi, Konstantinos Sakaras and Sophia Ralli, as well as the skeleton athlete Alexandros Kefalas are entered in competitions due from February 13 through to February 22.
When Itar-Tass asked Papachristou why Greek TV channels showed only separate fragments of the Sochi Games, and mostly very late at night, he said he did not know what the cause of the situation might be but he thought it might have been caused by mess in the broadcasting rights that had been transferred from the Hellenic Radio and Television, now disbanded, to the Public Television that had replaced it.
He said that the coverage of the Sochi Games was mostly done by subscription channels that could be watched for fee only.
Papachristou pointed out the performance of the 15t-year-old Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaya, saying all of his friends and acquaintance were amazed by her presentation and would certainly like to learn more about her.
The long-standing star of the Russian figure skating team, Yevgeni Plushenko, also did a marvelous presentation, he said.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee, which is the governing Olympic agency of Greece, is one of the oldest National Olympic Committees in the world. It was set up in 1894 and received international recognition in 1895.