The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, were celebrated in Athens, Greece, from August 13 to August 29, 2004. It was the year where the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the home of both the ancient Olympics and the first modern Olympics.
11,099 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 202 countries. Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance (201 NOCs). There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports. The overall tally for events on the programme was 301 (one more than in Sydney 2000). Popularity in the Games reached soared to new highs as 3.9 billion people had access to the television coverage compared to 3.6 billion for Sydney 2000.
The widely praised Opening Ceremony by avant garde choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou held on August 13, 2004 began with a twenty eight (the number of the Olympiads up to then) second countdown paced by the sounds of an amplified heartbeat. The Opening Ceremony was mainly a pageant of traditional Greek culture and history hearkening back to its mythological beginnings chronicling Greek history from the ancient Minoan civilization to modern times.