Athens: Acropolis Now

Inside the crazy and uniquely Greek marathon of preparations in Athens, where the Games will link ancient and modern Olympians in exquisite athleticism

On a sweltering morning in mid-July, several hundred Athenians gathered in the hope of defeating an old stereotype. The Athens tram--shut down in 1960 by a government that thought mass transit was obsolete--was being relaunched to help reduce gridlock at the 2004 Summer Olympics. With the first tram of the new era due to arrive at Syntagma Square at 10 a.m., people spontaneously assembled on the platform to celebrate. "Greeks love a party," explained Maikl Tzamaloukas, 78, before launching into a popular song from his youth--"Go, go/Get the last train!"--and dancing away down the platform.

By 10:45, Tzamaloukas had stopped dancing....

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