After months of bad press over construction delays at Olympic sites, Greece got a bit of good news this week: Its beaches are rated among the cleanest in Europe.
Greece topped the list of the cleanest beaches in an annual European Commission report on the state of bathing waters. Beaches in Greece and the Netherlands were rated the best, with 99.9 percent of all coastal and fresh water bathing sites in the two countries fully meeting European Union environmental and quality standards.
In a separate report, a European nonprofit group said Greece, Spain and France headed a list of clean and safe beaches.
The Foundation of Environmental Education said many beaches in the three countries met all 27 criteria, showing they complied with EU directives, including having lifeguards, waste management, bans on vehicle access and regulations protecting flora and fauna.
Athens will get back one of its ancient entrances -- at least for the duration of the Summer Olympics.
The scaffolding wrapped around Hadrian's Arch since October 2002 will be removed for the games, an archaeologist said Thursday.
Archaeologists have managed to clean only half of the monument discolored by soot and pollution. And like other projects around Athens, the other half will be finished after the games.
"There was no way the monument would have scaffolding during the Olympic Games," said Nicolleta Valakou, the archaeologist in charge of cleaning the monument.
The arch stands alone near the archaeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and overlooks one of Athens's main roads used by tens of thousands of cars each day. Millions of tourists pass it each year on their way to the Acropolis.
The 59-foot-high arch takes its name from the Roman emperor Hadrian, who built it to mark the limits of the ancient city of Athens. To this day, it remains the official entrance to the city.
Looking for a Comeback
Al Joyner isn't making a formal announcement. But the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump is quietly coming out of retirement in hopes of qualifying for next month's U.S. track and field trials in Sacramento.
At 44, Joyner knows it's a long shot.
"This is something personal for me," Joyner said. "Just making the Olympic trials would be like winning an Olympic medal."
Joyner is a member of U.S. track's best-known family. His sister, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, won six Olympic medals and his late wife, Florence Griffith Joyner, holds the world records in the 100 and 200 meters.
To guarantee a berth at the trials, he needs a jump of 54.66 feet before the July 1 deadline.