How the 2004 Olympics Triggered Greece's Decline

The cost of the games helped push Greece into a fiscal black hole
Athens: Aug. 13, 2004 Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

As they watch the London Olympics, many Greeks may wonder how their country went from the international glory of the Athens Games in 2004 to the recriminations of today’s crisis. Hosting the event cost almost €9 billion ($11 billion at today’s exchange rate), making the 2004 Games the most expensive ever at that point. Greek taxpayers were on the hook for €7 billion, which did not include the cost of extra projects such as a new airport and metro system.

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