Press conference with the Mayor of Athens

After obtaining the tickets for the ceremony tomorrow, we head back to the Centre for the press conference with the Mayor. We arrive an hour before, though cannot receive the press packs until 45 minutes before. We take our seats early, a few other journalists are there, though many cameras are already set-up. We speak with a presenter from US television in Colorado, who has a Greek advisor with her. They are both busy constructing the ‘track’ for her recording later.

As time goes on, the room fills up, until eventually the Mayor, Dora Bakoyannis, is escorted in. She is an impressive woman, tall and attractive, with a distinct presence. She is dressed in white with a Greek blue Athens 2004 t-shirt. Her hair is immaculate and she is accompanied by an adviser.

The conference lasts for one hour, with first questions from the main media companies, who seem to receive special attention from the chair, though this might just be an impression. Most of the questions are banal; we really wonder what journalists think they are doing. Is Athens ready? Of course. Do Athenians want it? Of course. Is everything wonderful? Of course. No surprises here, though she does still have a way with people that is playful and yet authoritative and uncompromising.

Afterwards, a cocktail reception is held and the Mayor stays for 15minutes or so. The Centre is quite busy now, not much room to find a computer. We check email a few more times and then sit for a while in the massage chairs that are provided by one of the sponsors. Andy receives a phone call from BBC Five Live about his book. Then we head out for some lunch at around 430pm. We don’t seem to get hungry, despite the messy eating times.