Mon, Aug 30, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Team Taiwan satisfied as 2004 Athens Olympics end

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER IN ATHENS

Team Taiwan will come away from the 2004 Athens Olympics with five medals -- two gold, two silver and one bronze -- having at last realized its dream of joining the ranks of the world's athletic champions.

The team secured the biggest medal tally in the nation's Olympic history, ranking 31st in the final medals table out of a total of 202 countries participating -- an improvement of 28 places from its standing of 58th following the Sydney Games in 2000.

"My dream has come true, and we are satisfied with the result of the nation's first gold medals. I will feel no regrets, even though I have to retire," said Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from Taiwan.

In addition to the taekwondo athletes Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎) and Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣), who each won a gold medal, Taiwan's archers won the Women's Team bronze and the Men's Team silver medals. The fifth medal, a silver, was won by another taekwondo star, Huang Chih-hsiung (黃志雄).

The 17-day Athens Olympics was to end with a glorious closing ceremony last night, in which some 40 Taiwanese athletes were to represent the country's delegation. The event was to be festive, cosmopolitan and stylish.

Unlike the opening ceremony, the details of the closing ceremony were not kept secret. From Aug. 24, for three successive days, dress rehearsals were underway in a small area next to where the opening ceremony was held. A single spotlight was used in these proceedings, which otherwise took place in pitch darkness, so that photographers could not take pictures of them.

The ceremony was to begin at 2:15am Taiwan time.

Weather forecasters were predicting a clear evening in Athens, with the moon visible in the sky.

The closing ceremony's designer, Dimitris Papaioannou told a news conference that he wanted to enable the whole world to experience the happiness of a Greek festival and to take part in a Greek feast, before declaring that although the Athens Olympics is now over, the excitement of the event will always remain in the hearts of the people of the world.

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