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ZITIMATA EPIKINONIAS (COMMUNICATION ISSUES) | 1ο ISSUE

"THE OLYMPIC GAMES: THE MEGA SPORTS AND MEDIA EVENT"

ABSTRACTS

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE OLYMPICS: HISTORY AND CRITICAL THEORY IN THE MODERN GAMES
Michael R. Real
Royal Roads University, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Through a series of snapshots this essay seeks answers about the Olympics at specific moments in its modern history. Each snapshot is examined through a lens drawn from critical theory, with special attention to theories of political economy. The snapshots are chronological; the theoretical lenses are inter-related and cumulative. The essay claims that there is no more «polysemic» text in the modern world than the Olympic Games. The Games reveal layer upon layer of meaning, each one building on and qualifying what went before. At the most obvious surface level today, one finds athletic competition, world-class ability and effort, residing just above the layers of national competition and global surrogate politics. The infrastructure making this all possible is a global organization generally identified as the Olympic movement, centered in the formal institution of the International Olympic Committee. The financial means to continue and grow this project are television fees, corporate sponsorships, and related commercial activities. The piper calls the tune; that is the point of political economy. These configurations tell stories and reveal meta-narratives of force and power across the planet. They signify semiotically and influence symbolically.


OLYMPIC CITIES AND COMMUNICATION
Miquel de Moragas Spa and Chris Kennett
Centre d’Estudis Olίmpics, Universitat Autόnoma de Barcelona (UAB)

One of the main challenges for the Modern Olympic Games is the establishment of a communication model for City-Games relations. The Olympic Games as a mega media-event provide significant communication opportunities for the host, particularly in terms of promotion through the extensive media coverage the event receives. Analysis of the press coverage of the Games must include coverage during the entire Olympiad and in the period after the Games where the legacies are evaluated. In recent years, the subsequent growth of the Internet presents a new set of opportunities and challenges for the organisers of the Olympic Games. The IOC has adopted an ad hoc approach to dealing with the opportunities and challenges posed by the Internet. However, the speed of development in this area has affected the broadcast rights and demands the reformulation of the IOC’s communication strategy.


THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY OF ATHENS’ OLYMPICS 2004
Roy Panagiotopoulou
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

This paper focuses on the communication strategy of the Athens Olympic Games concerning its main message, i.e., the historically unique position of Greece with respect to the Ancient Olympic Games. The issues that the paper deals with are: a) the ways that modern Greece is connected to certain cultural values of antiquity, b) the extent to which in the era of globalization such a message with national roots but with a global reach might be accepted by the international public, c) the extent to which the Athens 2004 communication campaign has been successful in connecting the above goals in a conceivable and acceptable way, i.e., modern Greece and Olympic Games to the Antiquity and the Olympic Games in Olympia.
The communication campaign of Greece on the cause of the Olympic Games is certainly the largest and all-embracing that has ever been implemented in the recent years by the country. The paper comments on the phases of planning, the values, the messages, the activities, and the goods that compile the image and the identity of the Games. It also points out the positive and negative aspects of the communication campaign, as well the difficulties that a small country faces in order to successfully fulfil the organization of the Olympic Games in a highly competitive and globalised environment.


THE IMAGE OF GREECE DURING THE PREPARATION OF THE ATHENS’ OLYMPIC GAMES 2004
Nicolas Demertzis, Stelios Papathanassopoulos, Antonis Armenakis
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The country that hosts the Olympic Games attracts the attention of the international media long before the Games themselves. On the one hand, the host country exerts public diplomacy and aims to benefit from the international media attention, but on the other, it becomes the target of the media that monitor the developments of the whole preparation. This article is based on the results of a larger research project undertaken by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Athens. The project aims to monitor the image of Greece in the international press. The 2004 Olympic Games, in the examined period of January 2003 to March 2004, attracted the intense attention of the international press in various aspects. Most of the reports focused on the in-time preparation of the Olympic works as well as the security of the Games. A smaller number of reports related to the Greek civilization, the return of the Parthenon Marbles and the new museum of Acropolis. Other articles appeared on a less frequent rate and refered to the impact of the 2004 Olympic Games on the general conditions of the city of Athens and the Greek economy.


GREEK PUBLIC OPINION AND THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ATHENS’ OLYMPIC GAMES: NATIONAL CONSENSUS
AND DISAPPROVAL ASPECTS
Christoforos Vernardakis
Department of Political Science, University of Crete-V-PRC Institute

This article is based on data from subsequent opinion polls that were conducted exclusively for the Olympic Games of Athens during the period 2001-2003. It analyses the evolution of the main trends of Greek public opinion regarding the Olympic Games and their impact. It claims that Greek public opinion has been in favor of the Athens Olympic Games from the very beginning, and that the Olympics enjoy great social support. This stance of the public opinion has remained stable despite the serious and objective problems that have arisen in the organizing process and despite the sharp increase of economic cost of the 2004 Olympic Games. The Athens’ Olympics have obtained the form, the role, and the place of a new governmental and ideological apparatus where all the social and ideological constraints coexist and co-function. The great social support of the Games subordinates any criticism regarding the venture; it justifies the economic consequences, ignores the environmental implications, degrades the legal complications –when they arise– and legalizes to, a considerable extent, the daily inconvenience of people due to the extensive public works and their delays.


AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF THE OLYMPICS AND THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT
Thimios Zaharopoulos
Washburn University, Topeka, USA

This survey of American public opinion regarding the Olympic Games attempts to reveal relationships between people’s media use, awareness of the Olympics, and perceptions about the value of the Olympic Spirit. American respondents reveal their positions on three main dimensions of the Olympic Spirit: the Olympic Truce, friendly athletic competition, and world cohesion. Generally, respondents hold very positive attitudes toward such ideals. In fact, even those who measure the success of the Olympics by the performance of the US athletes tend to have very positive views about the Olympics in general and the Athens Olympics in particular. The study also reveals that those who tend to experience the Olympics on television tend to consume more news about the Olympics and have an overall more positive attitude toward the Olympic Spirit.


STUDYING THE WEB: LESSONS FROM THE SYDNEY OLYMPICS
Helen Wilson
Southern Cross University, Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 were the first to be significantly represented on the World Wide Web, both through the official site of the Olympic Movement and those of media organizations. So in conducting an analysis of the deluge of media content about the event, the web could not be ignored. This paper will use the Olympic Games as a case study of web coverage of a global event by host city based media with particular attention to the online versions of traditional media outlets. It will survey possible approaches to studying content in such a new media form, analyze aspects of a range of websites around the time of the Sydney Games, and raise some methodological issues about studying the web.


THE PRESS AND THE PROMOTION OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN THE 19TH CENTURY IN GREECE
Kostas Georgiadis
Dean of the International Olympic Academy, Member of the Board of Athens 2004 and
Associate Professor at the University of Peloponnesus.

This paper analyses the contribution of the Greek and international press with respect to the preparation and organization of the fist modern Olympic Games in Athens of 1896. It should be noted that the press well received the venture of the first O.G. Regardless the hard times of that period, the agencies and institutions that were involved in the organization of the O.G., quickly realized that they could promote, support and publicize their positions through the press. Moreover, the difficulties that the organizers of the Athens 1896 Olympic Games had to face, such as funding, infrastructure, sponsoring, visitors’ attraction resemble very much to the problems the organizers of the host cities face nowadays.