The Greek Girl who Won Fame at Athens Olympics 16 Years Later



One of the most enduring memories of the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 was the young girl who blew out the Olympic Flame in the closing ceremony.

Fotini Papaleonidopoulou, the little girl with the green eyes and slightly sad look was engraved in the memory of all those who watched that spectacular ceremony.

Her dream was to become a doctor. “When I was little I wanted to be a doctor to save the children in Africa and find the cancer drug.”

Her plans changed later on. At high school, she liked Biology and she began to imagine herself as a successful scientist.

She is on the right track. Today Papaleonidopoulou is Research Assistant at the UCL Cancer Institute in London and waiting to start her Ph.D. at The Francis Crick Institute also in London.

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The 2004 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad and commonly known as Athens 2004, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004 with the motto Welcome Home.

The Games saw 10,625 athletes compete, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 201 countries.

2004 also marked the return of the Olympic Games to the city where they began. Having previously hosted the Olympics in 1896, Athens became one of only four cities to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games on two separate occasions at the time (together with Paris, London, and Los Angeles).

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