Off the track

Deserted stadia

What do archery, softball, hockey and tennis have in common? The answer is that no one is watching. Termed by some as ‘Athens apathy’, the phenomenon is responsible for top athletes competing in front of empty grandstands. Two million tickets remain unsold and authorities have resorted to giving them away – but it seems that there is no one to give them to, as most Athenians traditionally flee from the capital in August, visiting their holiday homes on islands such as Aegina, where the climate is more tolerable. The ruling inertia has also been attributed to the drug scandal surrounding Greece’s top two athletes.

Gianna’s hot party

Olympic Games chief Gianna Angelopoulos could be in hot water over a party she threw for foreign dignitaries that was also attended by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Prosecutors are investigating after a fireworks display at the bash set a nearby park on fire. Flames threatened homes in the posh Filothei district and razed one hectare of pine trees before being brought under control by the fire brigade. One local newspaper exclaimed: “Let’s not burn ancient Olympia just because the ruling class is possessed by this uncontrollable euphoria, if not vanity!”

Life and death

Danish Olympic sailing team member Nicklas Holm faces a manslaughter charge after mowing down British caterer Errol Strachan in a specially designed Olympic traffic lane with his car. Holm was arrested, but will be allowed to compete, pending a court hearing. Strachan, from London, was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

Naked ambition

An unnamed 31-year-old Canadian spectator leapt into the Olympic diving pool completely nude in an attempt to gain some publicity for his budding career as a music producer – this is now on hold as he has been sentenced to five months in prison.