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Posted: Sunday August 29, 2004 11:35AM; Updated: Sunday August 29, 2004 3:20PM
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  Smells like Olympic spirit

For 22 Euros, you can smell like Argentina's Emanuel Ginobli.
AP
What does victory smell like?

Try 22 Euros.

For those who dream of smelling like the Argentinean basketball team -- and what man doesn't -- the Olympic Superstore is the place for you. The store is located at the Athens Olympic Complex, which houses the Olympic Stadium and sells every Olympic-related item you can imagine, including the official Olympic Spirit celebration perfume for men for a cool 22 Euros. (I'd invite you to swing by, but they're closing it down on Monday).

You want Olympic flip-flops? Fork up 14 Euros. An Olympic baby blue bathrobe? 73 Euros. There's an Olympic calendar (18.50 Euros), an Olympic backgammon set (20 Euros), and even an Olympic Playstation game (60 Euros), though it was hard to tell if the geniuses at Sony had included a doping element where you get more points if you evade the testers.

Unlike the Salt Lake City Games, where the world went ballistic over those fancy-boy Roots berets (more than a million were sold at $19.95, which begs the question: Uh, why?), no item has captured the imagination at these Olympics. One of the biggest sellers, according to Superstore sales clerk Christos Kousos, a 25-year-old college student from Halkidiki, was a beach towel that featured a circle design with Olympia 776 BC on the top and Athens 2004 AD on the bottom. Why? "Because it has Olympia on it, for the first Games," Christos explained.

Christos said he was studying economics, and that the Superstore was the perfect petri dish for his studies. Actually, he never used the expression "petri dish," but he did say he was being paid 8 euros an hour.

The Superstore had one thing I really liked and it wasn't the Greek rap group on the loud speaker that sounded like Zorba DMC: Old-time Olympic posters from previous Games. Just one problem. Everyone was sold out except Montreal and Atlanta, which is like finally landing a lead in a movie and learning your director is Renny Harlin.

The coolest thing at the store were the free tattoo artists. Maria Prodromou, a makeup artist who works for a modeling agency in Athens, said she had painted about 250 arms every day, the most popular choice being the blue and white Greek flag.

The portrait of this artist was an exhausted one. "My back aches," she said. "I'm just too tired."

Uh, but not too tired to do one more paint job, on the semi-flabby biceps of an American journalist.

  Faster, Higher, Stronger
The final word on the final SI party: It was still going at 6:30AM ... As the Games conclude, we offer a performance-enhancing bit of thanks to SI technology czar Mike Wolf, tagged "M-Dogg" by senior writer Jack McCallum. M-Dogg handled any and all computer problems the writers and editors experienced at our offices in Athens including this blogger's panic when Google suddenly appeared in Greek. The M-Dogg is simply a pro.
 
  Greek Tragedy
This should make you feel better about your credit card bill: The Greeks will foot a bill for the Games that will rise over $8.5 billion and whether the sporting venues can become profitable after the Games or serve a public need is anyone's guess. Here's what Greece's Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia told a gathering of real estate agents, sport federation officials and journalists: "Large sums of money have been spent on the venues' construction, but no economic viability studies were drawn up for them." ... After listening to Atlanta Games 100-meter champion Donovan Bailey interview athletes for Eurosport over the past two weeks, it will be hard for me to take shots at former ex-jocks from the States. (Hard, but not impossible, mind you). Let's just say Eric Dickerson was Harry Reasoner in comparison.
 

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