Greek athletes may have to abandon training and start looking for jobs as the financial crisis slashes sports funding in the birthplace of the Olympics.
"Athletes are being forced to stop because they can't get by financially," said Stella Lazarou Tigka, the president of a sports club in a seaside resort south of Athens.
Eight of its members were on the 13- strong national women's water polo team that won the gold medal last week at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai.
Greece can no longer afford to support athletes while they train. With the country in its third year of recession, state spending on sports has been slashed.
Greece spent more than $15 billion to host the Olympic Games of 2004 double its initial budget building gleaming stadiums and sports arenas at more than a dozen sites and sowing the seeds of the current financial crisis.