Spiridon arrive !

Spiridon is coming!

Extract from the international running magazine SPIRIDON - February 1972

“April 1896. The first modern Olympic Games will end. 25 athletes gathered at Marathon…”

MARATHON is a small village with pretty white houses, crowded around the church. Erected in the public square, a monument speaks of those who fell during the war.
Downstream, a vast plain covered with olive and orange trees. This is where, according to
mythology, there lived a furious bull, the monster killed by the hero Theseus.
And in the plain, there is this tumulus raised in memory of the 192 Athenians (ironically: the helmet of Miltiades, their leader, is on display at the museum...of Olympia) who perished there around 490 BC.

“The runners are at the start. Mostly Greeks, but also the American Blake, the Australian Flack and the Frenchman Lermusiaux. The Greeks are driven by
implacable will to win. To win to “save the honor of the homeland”.
“The competitors are accompanied by riders responsible for controlling the regularity of the event. Flack, Lermusiaux and Blake lead in turn. No Greek in mind? Nervousness is growing among the 70,000 spectators who fill the stadium..."
It is the ancient Panathenaic stadium, designed by Lycurgus in 350 BC and for the occasion rebuilt in 18 months. Everything is made of magnificent Penthelic marble, this white hill which dominates the plain of Marathon.
“The first Olympic Games of the modern era are coming to an end. Not the least
Greek victory!..."
“But we learn that Blake abandoned on the plain of Spata. That Lermusiaux, then Flack also gave up.
A Greek would even be in the lead, the tall and slim SPIRIDON LOUIS.

For some, Louis was a shepherd; for others, he would have taken a job as a temporary postman to better prepare for this race. In any case, completely unknown at the start, SPIRIDON became a national hero in less than three hours (exactly 2 h. 58' 50").

“HE’S COMING…” The crowd stood up in one movement, in a thunderous cheer.
The crown prince and his brother rush to him, grab him and hoist him up
up to the marble steps, where the king stands, pale with emotion.
All Greeks want to celebrate SPIRIDON. A hotelier immediately signs him meal vouchers for every day of each of the next ten years…
“Seventeen runners reached the goal, seven Greeks among the first eight. No one had died, we would start again four years later, in Paris at the Croix-Catelan stadium.” (according to newspapers of the time)

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