Athens opens Olympics museum ahead of Tokyo Games

Athens opens Olympics museum ahead of Tokyo Games

It's been a long time coming -- around 3,000 years by some reckoning. But Athens finally has a museum to celebrate that most famous of Greek sporting achievements.

The Olympic Games trace their origins to Greek athletic contests so ancient their history is lost in myth. The country has been at the heart of their revival too: Athens hosted the first games of the modern era in 1896, and held them again in 2004.

Visitors to the newly opened Olympic museum in the Greek capital -- housed in the renovated TV centre for the 2004 event -- can take in the mix of myth and modern magic.

Opened in time for the pandemic-blighted Tokyo Games, the museum blends displays from the ancient world with more modern memorabilia -- with many items donated by the nation's leading sportspeople, along with historical pieces charting the movement's modern foundation.

Part of the Olympic museum network in nearly 30 countries, it opened on May 14 after several postponements due to the coronavirus.

Alongside video screens and wall-to-wall displays on the history of the ancient and modern Games, the museum showcases all of the torches used in the flame relay, starting with the one used in Berlin in 1936.

Among several Greek Olympic and Paralympic athletes who donated personal items to the museum is former Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou -- who launched Greece's #MeToo movement this year with a harrowing tale of sex abuse, allegedly at the hands of a sailing federation official.

"We've been waiting for several years for this possibility," the double Olympic medallist, who offered one of her sails, told AFP.