This true story of Gianna Angelopoulos describes her incredible life, from a young Greek girl in Crete, to a lawyer and a politician. Her determination to succeed at whatever she chose to accomplish is commendable. We read about her family, and how as a simple, young girl living on the island of Crete, she collected stones and caught crabs in the streams, and stomped on grapes in the vat with her sister, while dreaming of becoming an Ambassador one day. She did fulfill her dream, and much, much more.
Intent on broadening her horizons, Angelopoulos attended law school in Thessaloniki, and later became a sophisticated lawyer in Athens. Her persistence and hard work ultimately earned her a position as a member of the Greek Parliament. That position propelled her forward in the public eye, and gave her an opportunity to meet Theodore Angelopoulos, a very wealthy man whose magnate family was well known throughout the world.
They fell in love and married; and what a wonderful romantic tale. This union was to seal the fate of the future summer Greek Olympics. Mrs. Angelopoulos left the Greek Parliament and focused on her family in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, in 1997, an important matter was brought before her. She was asked by the Prime Minister of Greece to lead the bidding committee for the 2004 Olympics. With her husband’s financial backing and support, Mrs. Angelopoulos forged ahead, becoming a leader of the bidding committee for the 2004 Olympics in 1997. With Rome as a hot contender, Greece had to work exceedingly hard to convince the Olympics Committee of their commitment and ability to host the summer Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Athens won the bid, and the victory was priceless. However, when all was said and done, Mrs. Angelopoulos and her husband had spent millions to see this happen, without any financial support from the Greek government. Mrs. Angelopoulos endured insult after insult by the Greek government, and exhausted from all her work, left Greece to be with her family in England.
Three years later, this same woman was asked by the Greek Prime Minister to lead the organizational committee for the Olympics. Very little, if anything, had been done up until then to prepare Greece for the Olympics, and the IOC was threatening to give the Olympics to another country. Mrs. Angelopoulos rose to the challenge. With only four years, the amazing achievements accomplished by this woman were surely phenomenal. Of course, she gives credit to all the people who helped make the Olympics in Athens a memorable event, particularly her loving husband. The Greeks also rose to the occasion, and over 160,000 people volunteered for the Olympics, and 45,000 were chosen.
This is a story of a love-hate relationship with Greece, one that had Mrs. Angelopoulos achieving spectacular results for her country, and then leaving to nurse her family as well as her wounds, then returning to Greece to help with the Olympics. We learn about the extraordinary life of this woman who had to fight for everything she wanted, and who succeeded.
I highly recommend this book not only as a documentary of a unique woman’s life, but a story that depicts hope and promise for all the women who struggle to achieve their dreams. Mrs. Angelopoulos has written the blueprint for success in her book, and this will be treasured for years to come. In addition, the historical documentation, the delightful and entertaining moments that the author shares with the readers, and the many photographs that tell a story of their own, are all priceless. This story lifts the spirit to even higher heights and gives one hope that there are people like Mrs. Angelopoulos in this world of ours, making it a better place to live in.
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