82 percent say Games were worth trouble

Updated: September 4, 2004, 6:50 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- One week after the closing ceremony, 82 percent of Athenians say the Olympics were worth the years of sacrifice, according to a poll published Saturday.

The survey, in the daily newspaper Ta Nea, also found 54 percent of those polled believe living conditions will improve in the Greek capital after the games.

No margin of error was given in the Global Link poll conducted Aug. 30-31. It involved phone interviews with 400 people over age 18.

Aside from Olympic venues, the government constructed a suburban railway system linking the capital with its international airport and a tram network connecting the center of Athens with several seaside suburbs. New roads and subway stations also were built.

According to the poll, 61 percent of Athenians believe the Olympics will help the country long term while 27 percent say the cost will be far greater than any benefits. The overall price tag is expected to exceed $8.5 billion because of massive security and overruns on delayed projects.

Seventy percent were pleased with the security and said it was tolerable while 21 percent of those polled found the measures excessive.

On Friday, hundreds of Greek protesters from leftist groups and labor unions demonstrated in Athens, opposing plans for the post-Olympic use of surveillance cameras. In one instance they sprayed a camera with black paint and covered it with a sack.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press