Trophy from 1896 Olympics on display in Greece

RENEE MALTEZOU
Last updated 16:59 29/08/2012
Marathon trophy
Reuters

The Breal's Silver Cup, which was awarded to Spyros Louis, winner of the marathon race at the 1896 Olympics in Athens on display at the Athens Acropolis Museum.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Coll completes triple crown in New Zealand squash Anthony Joshua floors Breazeale to retain IBF heavyweight title USA draw means no Champions Trophy medals for women's Black Sticks Joseph Parker's former amateur rival Junior Fa plots path for heavyweight success Team New Zealand start their game of America's Cup catch-up in new test boat Levi Sherwood reaches semifinals of Red Bull X-Fighters event in Madrid Kiwi Olympic official Barry Maister says golf faces cut if stars stay away from Rio Kiwi fighters Frank Jarrett and Marc Lelievre head to MMA world champs New Zealand junior cyclists pipped by Australia in Tasman Cup Joseph Parker ready to 'get it on' with Anthony Joshua despite champions comments

The trophy won by the marathon winner at the 1896 Olympics has gone on display for the first time in Greece, and the new owners and prime minister said they hoped it would help inspire Greeks to overcome economic crisis.

The Breal's Silver Cup, which stands just six inches tall, has been described as one of the most important pieces of memorabilia associated with the Games.

When it was sold in April by the grandson of the victor, Greek athlete Spyros Louis, it smashed the previous auction record for an Olympic artifact.

The Athens-based Stavros Niarchos Foundation paid more than 650,000 euros ($814,000)to acquire the cup. It said it wanted to keep it in Greece, which won it 116 years ago and is now in its deepest recession since World War Two.

"In these tough times, all Greeks must follow the bravery, resilience and fighting spirit that made Spyros Louis win," Andreas Dracopoulos, head of the foundation, said on Monday when the trophy went on display.

"We must work hard, this time not to win a cup but to stand, proud, on our feet again."

Athens' Acropolis museum will keep the cup, named after French philologist Michel Breal, until September 2013. It will eventually go on display in a planned new cultural centre.

Louis was the only Greek athlete to win at the 14-nation 1896 Games in Athens. He finished the 25-mile (40-km) race first after the previous leader, Australian Edwin Flack, collapsed in the final stages.

He was hailed as a national hero and presented with the cup, a silver medal, an antique vase, an olive branch and a diploma by Greece's King George I.

The marathon devised for the 1896 Games was inspired by the legendary run of Pheidippides to carry the news of victory by the ancient Greeks in battle over the Persians. He died moments after delivering the message, according to the story.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who visited the museum on Monday, said the trophy's purchase and return to Greece at a time of crisis was symbolic.

"We will win this marathon, we will overcome the hurdles," Samaras said.

"This cup is a symbol of the victory we owe to our history, ourselves and our children."

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content