posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 02:25 PM
Greece was the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in 776 BC and hosted the first modern Games in 1896 and Athenians showed their delight in welcoming
the Olympics back to their spiritual "home".
They gave the 9,000 performers a rousing reception as the theatrical show came to a close, before welcoming the procession of athletes.
However, several top names including American swimming star Michael Phelps and his Australian rival Ian Thorpe, chose not to attend.
They are in action on Saturday when a host of sports stage their first events, including swimming, cycling, rowing, sailing and boxing.