Mad Dash To the Start

YANNIS KONTOS/POLARIS for TIME

OLD AND NEW: A young tourist runs a lap in the 4th century B.C. Panathenaic Stadium

You might have to go as far back as the age of Pericles, in the 5th century B.C., to find a time of such frantic — and transforming — construction in Athens. Everywhere you turn, workers are digging roadbeds, throwing up scaffolding, building overpasses — all in anticipation of Aug. 13, 2004. That's when the Olympics come home for the first time since 1896, the year Athens hosted the first Games of the modern era. No one is suggesting that the new Nikaia Weightlifting Hall matches the Parthenon for elegance or grandeur. Nor is the new Olympic Village being carved out...

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