Once in a lifetime
George Dafoulas looks at volunteer culture and explains how medical students can get involved in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens
This year saw two important global sporting events: the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and football's World Cup in Japan and South Korea. At first glance there may not be many similarities between them, but neither could have taken place without the help of thousands of volunteers.
Volunteers are the people who make the most amazing sporting events in the world happen, supporting every athlete, spectator, and visitor: there were 34 548 at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, 60 422 at Atlanta in 1996, and 47 000 at Sydney in 2000.1 Every volunteer can take personal credit for the success of these games.
In 2004 the Olympic Games are returning to Greece, where they were born, and to Athens, the city where they were revived in 1896. According to the Athens 2004 organising committee for the Olympic Games, the objective in Athens is to offer a festive