The 2004 Olympic Games is a meeting of the ancient and the modern.
The BBC's coverage, of an event which stretches back into antiquity,
will offer the very latest in 21st-century analysis and technology.
The long journey of the Olympic Games began more than 2,700 years ago.
In 1896 the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens and, since
that time, they have been on a journey around the world for more than
Now, at the dawn of the third millennium, the Games are returning to
the country of their birth.
Athens 2004 is a 16-day festival of live international sport – from
aquatics to athletics; boxing to badminton; football to handball; sailing
to softball; taekwondo to tennis; and weightlifting to wrestling – taking
place from 13 to 29 August.
The competition schedule involves 28 Olympic sports and 37 disciplines,
held throughout 35 venues.
BBC TV will broadcast over 1,200 hours of the 16-day event, bringing
British audiences the global stories of ambition, determination and
courage, while capturing the excitement, drama and magical moments of
the Olympic Games.
"The BBC is proud to have broadcast every Summer and Winter Olympic
Games since 1960," says BBC Director of Sport, Peter Salmon, "and,
this year, the BBC marks the Games' return to the country of their birth
by offering the first ever interactive Summer Olympics and live coverage
of the Olympics on bbc.co.uk.
"At the greatest sporting event in the world, legends will be
rewritten, heroes will be made and the BBC will tell every story and
capture every magical moment, on TV, interactive platforms, radio, online
and via broadband.
"The BBC is set to produce more hours of coverage than ever before
and more than any other world broadcaster.
"BBC ONE and BBC TWO are planning
250 hours of coverage of the Games, plus over 1,000 hours via the first
ever interactive Summer Olympics TV service offering a complementary
"Viewers with digital TV can access four additional streams of
coverage to see extended coverage of the 37 events.
"At bbc.co.uk/olympics, for the first time ever,
UK broadband users can access high-quality live coverage of the Olympics
direct to their desktop. The service includes live simulcast coverage
from BBC TV's five streams, as well as comprehensive daily round-ups,"
As Peter also points out, BBC Radio will also have a massive presence
at the Olympics.
"BBC Radio Five Live's comprehensive and complementary
coverage will broadcast 180 hours; BBC World Service
will bring the event to 45 million homes globally, on the English network;
and throughout the Nations and Regions, local and regional TV
and radio will relay the stories of local competitors – their
elation or disappointment, whether they are medal winners or not – to
their home audiences.
"The Olympics and Paralympics are sure to capture the public imagination
once again, but Athens is not only a challenge to Team GB but also to
"In 2000, BBC Television won an IOC Olympic Rings Award, a Bafta,
an RTS award and a Broadcast award for its coverage of the Sydney Olympics.
"This year the BBC is determined to be even 'higher, faster, stronger'.
"Our world class television production team is led by the Sydney
duo of Dave Gordon, Head of Major Events, and Martin Hopkins, Executive
"Once again, BBC Sport has been recognised at an international
level, as one of our top producers, Paul Davies, heads a team producing
the global coverage of the tennis competitions and some of the equestrian
events for the host broadcaster.
"BBC Sport is proud of its strong team of expert commentators
and analysts, including, for the first time this year, the world's greatest-ever
Olympian – Sir Steve Redgrave," Peter announces.
And, also for the first time, the Olympics and Paralympics are being
organised by a single committee following an IOC/IPC agreement.
The Paralympics take place from 17 to 28 September. Peter continues:
"There's another first at the Paralympics. It will also be covered
live on BBC Television.
"BBC TV will make sure the British public can share in the great
Paralympic moments as they happen and experience the triumph and tears
of Team GB's Paralympic stars."
On the evening of 13 August, the world will turn its eyes to the Olympic
Stadium for the spectacle and splendour of the Opening Ceremony.
Approximately four billion people worldwide will view this historic
event, which heralds 16 days of stunning competition.
BBC TV will have live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies,
presented by Barry Davies.
Steve Rider and Sue Barker head the
BBC's presentation team with live evening coverage from Athens.
On BBC ONE and BBC TWO Hazel Irvine and Steve
Cram start the mornings with Olympic Grandstand and Clare
Balding and Craig Doyle catch up on all the
day's highlights in Olympics Today.
A team of world-class presenters, commentators and analysts will provide
intelligent, informative and exclusive analysis. The BBC TV team comprises
some well-loved and respected faces, as well as some new names.
Michael Johnson, Colin Jackson, Jonathan
Edwards and Sally Gunnell will guide viewers
through the track and field events, with Brendan Foster,
Paul Dickenson and Stuart Storey;
Sharron Davies, Adrian Moorhouse and
Andy Jameson will be poolside; Garry Herbert,
Gillian Lindsay and Dan Topolski will
be joined by the greatest Olympian of all time – Sir Steve Redgrave
– at the water's edge; and Richie Woodhall and Jim
Neilly will be ringside.
One of Sydney's golden girls, Steph Cook, will bring
back the excitement of the modern pentathlon, and former Olympian Matthew
Syed will be covering the table tennis competition.
The BBC TV team of roving reporters – Garry Richardson,
Phil Jones, Suzi Perry, Jill
Douglas and Rishi Persad – will prove indispensable
as they get under the skin of the man or woman of the moment.