Firm plays part in Olympic ceremony

IN just over one week millions of people will be glued to their television sets for the opening ceremony of the greatest sporting event on the planet.The three-hour show to mark the beginning of the 2004 Athens Olympics has been four years in the planning, and will probably go down in history books as the biggest ceremony of its kind in the world.

IN just over one week millions of people will be glued to their television sets for the opening ceremony of the greatest sporting event on the planet.

The three-hour show to mark the beginning of the 2004 Athens Olympics has been four years in the planning, and will probably go down in history books as the biggest ceremony of its kind in the world.

So closely guarded are plans for the event, that few people outside Greece know what to expect from the extravaganza.

Few, that is, except a group of workers from a Suffolk company who spent five weeks helping to build one of the most crucial elements to the main feature of the ceremony.


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Family-run firm Geosynthetic Technology Limited (GT), based in Nayland, was chosen by the designers of the Olympic show to install the lining for a giant lake inside the Athens stadium.

The company, which specialises in waterproof sheet linings with machine welded seams - known as geomembranes - worked for up to 10 hours a day constructing the massive base which will act as the centrepiece for a series of spectacular, largely pyrotechnic, displays.

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Yesterday GT chairman John Alexander, who started the business in 1990 with his son Duncan, said he was thrilled his company has been able to play a part in what would be a truly “awesome” display.

“The ceremony organisers visited us here in Nayland around nine months ago and explained what they had in mind for the show and what they would need us for,” said Mr Alexander.

“We have done a lot of prestigious jobs in the past but we were still very flattered to be chosen to carry out the work.”

A team of six men travelled to Athens earlier in the year where they worked on installing the lining for the lake, which covers the whole of the Greek stadium.

Because of the heat they had to start work at 4pm every day, and worked through to around 2am.

“It was a massive job it and one that has to be done properly because it is critical there are no leaks in the lining,” said Mr Alexander.

“The job was finished a few weeks ago but unfortunately no photographs of the work have been released because the whole project is so secret.

“We have all been made to sign confidentiality agreements and it is even an imprisonable offence if a contractor is caught taking pictures on the site.”

The secret will finally be unveiled on Friday, August 13 when the ceremony is shown across the world.

Mr Alexander said: “We will be making a recording of the whole show so we are able to use it in the future to promote the company, and as a record of the work that was carried out.

“I can obviously not give anything away about the show but it will be absolutely spectacular, and all I will say is that half of the lake will actually be drained as part of the ceremony.

“The lake is only around one metre deep, and once the ceremony is finished the remaining water will be emptied out into underground tanks and the structure will be dismantled, ready for the games to begin.

“The show is going to be amazing and we are really looking forward to it, and we will probably have a big party afterwards.”

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