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Call for EU Flag in Next Olympics

August 31, 2004

Romano Prodi has called for athletes from the EU member states to display the EU flag as well as their own national flag in the next Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing in 2008.

"In 2008 I hope to see the EU member state teams in Beijing carry the flag of the European Union alongside their own national flag as a symbol of our unity," Prodi said in a statement. In a tongue-in-cheek press conference, Prodi's spokesman claimed that the EU had "swept the floor" in the Games, which ended Sunday. Brussels calculated that the 25 EU member states between them carried off 286 medals, with 82 golds. "For the sake of comparison, the United States of America won 35 gold medals and 103 medals in total, with China and Russia behind them (the United States)," the spokesman said. Germany topped the EU "medals table" with 14 golds and 48 medals in total. The Germans were in sixth place in the overall table, just ahead of fellow EU members France and Italy (seventh and eighth respectively). Britain was 10th, with 30 medals including nine gold medals. However, if taking into account the relative size of the Olympic teams, the EU maybe has fewer grounds to celebrate. The US team comprised 1,418 athletes in the various disciplines, according to the official Athens 2004 website. This is less than a quarter of the combined total of the EU 25, who sent 6,298 athletes to compete in the games. (EUobserver.com)