A ceremony to deliver victor’s’ wreaths for the Boston Marathon, presented by the General Consulate of Greece in Boston and the Greek-American Council ‘Alpha Omega’, was held on Thursday.
The Boston Marathon, which will take place on Monday, is considered one of the world’s most-important races and underlines Boston’s common cultural bonds with Greece as the birthplace of the American Revolution, for which it is symbolically dubbed the “Athens of the U.S.A”.
Metropolitan of Boston Methodios, as well as state senators, diplomats and many other people attended the event.
Greek Consul Stratos Efthymiou presented the Boston Marathon Association with four olive wreaths, two for the winners of the men’s and women’s races and two for the winners of the special categories for athletes with disabilities.
The delivery of the wreaths started in 1984 when the governor of Massachusetts was Michael Dukakis. They are offered in honor of Greek runner Stelios Kyriakidis, winner of the 1946 Boston Marathon, who had travelled from war-ravaged Greece, still devastated in the aftermath of WWII and the Nazi occupation, to participate, prevailing over local champion John Kelly.
Referring to Kyriakidis, Kelly had said: “How could I ever beat such an athlete? I was running for myself and he ran for a whole country.”
After his victory, Kyriakidis raised awareness of Greece’s plight among Americans and Greek-Americans who collected and sent financial and humanitarian aid.
He is considered the first athlete to have run with the aim of raising public awareness about a specific cause.