Olympias at the Olympics Scuttled

Ελληνικά: Η Τριήρης "Ολυμπιάς" Engli...
Ελληνικά: Η Τριήρης "Ολυμπιάς" English: Trireme Olympias of the Hellenic Navy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The incipit of a piece from the Financial Times (tip o’ the pileus to Adrian Murdoch for sending it our way):

It was supposed to be a glorious display of British pomp combined with a potent symbol of ancient Greek strength.

Under top secret plans, London Olympic organisers came up with the idea of carrying the Olympic flame aboard the replica of Olympias, an ancient Greek warship that showed its mettle at the Battle of Salamis against the Persian empire in 480BC.

The plan was for 170 of Putney’s finest rowers to ferry Olympias, a 70-ton wooden trireme, down the River Thames on July 27, the day of the opening ceremony.

The Olympias would start its journey from Tower Bridge, after receiving the flame from the Queen’s Jubilee barge, and meander down the river towards the packed Olympic stadium in Stratford.

From there, the world would watch the flame being carried into the stadium, then lit, to mark the start of the London Olympics.

But in a tale more fitting for the Olympic TV satire Twenty Twelve, the plan has been scuppered because organisers were worried the spectacle of Olympias along the Thames would prove too popular, causing a security risk that might even see people throw themselves off bridges.

And for good measure, the decision has sparked off a diplomatic row with the Greek government and enraged the Greek navy. […]

If you click through, they’ll require you to register … it’s free, though. Hopefully this story gets picked up in more detail by papers not behind registration … Whatever the case, I was kind of looking forward to seeing the Olympias row up the Thames with the flame; hopefully organizers will reconsider this — the spectacle’s the thing!