The authentic medal awarded to Stelios Kyriakidis after his victory in the 50th Boston International Marathon on April 20, 1946, was handed over to the Cyprus Olympic Committee on Friday, March 18. Three books by the same Cypriot athlete took the same path. The delivery was made, with tears in his eyes, by Dimitris Kyriakidis, son of Stelios. The historical objects were received by the Chairman of the Committee George Chrysostomou and will now adorn the Sports Museum of KOE at the Olympic Palace in Nicosia.
In his short speech during the ceremony, Mr. Kyriakidis did not hide his emotion and expressed his joy for the fact of the delivery of his father's medal as well as other items. “I bring with me the authentic medal that Stelios Kyriakidis won in Boston because he must be here, this is his home,” he said, noting that in 1986 the great runner had given the first items from his very large collection, such as the jersey, the number and the shoes he ran in Boston, at the Olympic Museum of Cyprus.
Video from the delivery event:
Dimitris Kyriakidis said that he has other items that he intends to bring to KOE, so that it becomes a place for his father. “He was a great patriot and a great humanist, a man of low tones who brought out a warmth from within him,” he said, stressing that in order to realize his greatness one must reflect on the time he had acted in the difficult 1930s. , that is, the interwar period, then the World War and the civil war in Greece.
“He always had us, never the ego. It is a good example for all of us, especially for young children “, he said and added that he will deliver to the museum digital material which can be the subject of research. “All these things will come here, to my father's house”, said Dimitris Kyriakidis, deeply moved, and handed over the medal to the President of KOE, George Chrysostomou.
Receiving the medal, Mr. Chrysostomou said to Dimitris Kyriakidis that his father, with his victory in the Boston Marathon, became an ambassador of the principles and values of Olympism. “Values that are a heritage for all of us in Cyprus, Greece and the world, because Stelios Kyriakidis ran in the historic Boston Marathon for humanity and the dignity of every human life and this timeless role in the history of sports “We will highlight him even more effectively with a series of actions”, he said and stressed that Stelios Kyriakidis was fair to the place where he was born, to the GSO club, to Hellenism, to Olympism. Concluding, he assured Dimitris Kyriakidis that this space, which is now his own home, will add to your knowledge and respect for the life and sports activities of Stelios Kyriakidis.
The course of Stelios Kyriakidis
Stelios Kyriakidis was a very important figure in Cypriot sports, with international successes and distinctions. He was born in the village of Statos in the province of Paphos on May 4, 1910 and died in Greece on December 9, 1987. He took his first steps in his athletic career after his adolescence. Initially he fought by taking part in agricultural struggles with the colors of his village. Later, he competed as an athlete of the Gymnastics Association “Olympia” of Limassol, with whose colors he continued to & # 8217; fights to the end of his glorious athletic career.
The Paphos champion, whose name was also given to the city stadium, distinguished himself in the semi-endurance and endurance road races, especially in the marathon. According to Polignosi, from 1933 to 1945 he won 14 first victories in the annual Pancyprian Games. He held all the Cypriot performances on the roads, from 1,500 meters up to the marathon. He also had Greek performance on the 5 and 10 km roads, on the 3,4, 6, 8, 15, 20 and 30 km roads, on the 3 and 6 mile roads and on the half and one hour roads.
From 1934 to 1938 he won 10 first victories in Panhellenic races and from 1934 to 1939 he climbed 6 times on the podium of the first Balkan: He won the marathon in 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1939, and the 10 km route in 1934 and 1936.
Kyriakidis also competed in the Greek national colors at the 1936 and 1948 Olympic Games in Berlin and London respectively, and became world-famous for his victory in the Boston International Marathon (United States of America) on April 20, 1946 with time 2 hours, 29 first minutes and 27 seconds. This time was, for decades, the best in the marathon race. His victory in the Boston Marathon is considered one of the most important successes of Greek sports of all time.
For his athletic success, Stelios Kyriakidis was honored with the Grand Cross of the Phoenix by the King of the Greeks and with other distinctions by the Governor of the State of Massachusetts (USA), by the Olympic Committee, by the Municipalities of Athens, Piraeus, Patras, Philotheis etc.
The Boston feat
In 1946, at the age of 36, the runner was invited by the organizers to take part in the 50th Boston International Marathon. On April 4, 1946 he took off for Paris and then the USA, while when he arrived he said the historic phrase: “I came to run for 7,000,000 hungry Greeks”. The doctors who examined him advised him not to fight, for fear that he would collapse due to exhaustion. In fact, on the day of the Marathon he signed a responsible statement, through which he took full responsibility for his health. The “bony Greek”, as he was originally called by the American newspapers, managed to gain five kilos in a few days thanks to the expatriate cook of the hotel where he was staying and, now, he was ready for the big fight of April 20th. The main contenders for the victory were Johnny Kelly from the USA (2 gold, 7 silver) and Gerard Cote from Canada (4 gold). Kyriakidis asked the Commission to compete with the number 7 (lucky number in Ancient Greece), but eventually ran with 77.
He arrived in Greece on May 23, 1946, while 1,000,000 Greeks took to the streets to welcome Kyriakidis. The journey from the airport to his home in Filothei lasted eight hours, while in the meantime an official ceremony was held at the Pillars of Olympian Zeus and in his honor the Acropolis was illuminated for the first time since the occupation.
Journalist Arthur Daffey of the Boston Sunday Post wrote the next day: “I have seen many athletes cry either out of joy for their triumph or out of sadness for their defeat. This Athenian with noble feelings really cried, with tears that came from his strong Greek heart. & # 8221;
“After the fight he said that he would give his life if he needed to win . Because, he would do it for his own people. “He felt obliged to give his best, in an effort to strengthen his compatriots,” said Bill Cunningham of the Boston Herald.
With information from KYPE and Polignosi >