Guide to SKOPJE

The games can begin

The race for the most valuable sports medals is about to start. On Friday, the Olympic torch will ignate the cauldron that will burn throughout the  games and that will mark the beginning of the thirtieth summer Olympics, which will be held in London. For 17 days the “The cradle of the football” will be an arena for over 10,000 athletes that will compete in 26 diciplines.

The whole organization of the Olympics, has cost Great Britain about ten billion euros. The host country expects a sale of 6.5 million tickets. And during this countdown to the start of one of the most prestigious sporting events this year, Balkon 3 tells you the Olympic history of Greece, Turkey and Macedonia.

Greece is the homeland of the Olympic Games because the first modern Olympic games were held in Athens in 1896. The Greek capital was host of the Olympics in 2004 too. Greece is also one of the four countries that has participated in all the summer Olympics which were held so far. Also, Greece has always been the leading country on the parade of nations at the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. In the Olympic history, the Greek athletes have won 109 medals (30 gold, 43 silver and 36 bronze), 47 of which were won on the first Olympics in 1896. In that time the marathon was won by one of the most famous Olympian Greek, Spyridon Louis, a shepherd from the village of Marousi. This year in London, a total number of 107 athletes will defend the colors of Greece and they will compete in 16 sports. The Greeks have highest expectations from their competitors in athletics, archery, wrestling and weight lifting.

Turkey debuted at the Olympics in1912 in Stockholm, when the colors of the country were defended by two athletes. The sport that has gained most of the Olympic medals for Turkey is the wrestling. Out of 82 won medals (37 gold, 23 silver and 22 bronze), 57 were of the martial disciplines. In the the Olympics in 1948 which were also held in London, the sparkling gold medals were seen on the chests of six wrestlers from Turkey. This year, the country of the Bosphorus will represented by a record number of 114 contestants and the curiosity is that most of them are women. The whole sports public in Turkey expects that they will break the record of the number of medals and its normal that the biggest hopes go to the wrestlers.

Macedonia has a short tradition in the participation in the Olympic Games as an independent state and the first time was for the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Since then the country has representatives in all the Olympic games. The only medal, a bronze one for Macedonia was won by the wrestler Mohammed Ibragimov in the Games in Sydney in 2000. However in the past the Macedonian athletes have won another 12 Olympic medals, but under the flag of Former Yugoslavia. Gold medals were won by the football goalkeeper BlagojeVidinic and the wrestler Shaban Trstena. Four athletes will perform under the Macedonian flag in London- two swimmers and two athletes. The Macedonian teams in basketball and handball were presented with an opportunity for participation, but they were defeated in the qualifications tournaments for the Olympics.

We wish for all the athletes from the three countries to have a successful performance and more medals and let’s not forget the Olympic motto of Pierre de Coubertin: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part“.

Mirko Trajanovski