First Olympic marathon champion Spyridon Louis on €2 coin
Spyridon Louis, the first modern-day Olympic champion in the marathon, will soon be featured on a €2 coin from Greece, according to The Pappas Post.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of his death in 1940 at the age of 67.
The coin displays Louis and Bréal’s Silver Cup that was sold for $860,000 in 2012, which he was awarded. The Panathenaic Stadium can be seen behind him along with Greek legends that state the country of issue and “In Memoriam of Spyros Louis.” The stars on the outer ring represent the 12 stars of the European flag.
Greece will release 750,000 coins featuring Louis.
Louis was the first across the finish line after covering the estimated 40-kilometer distance in 2:58:50. The 26.2-mile distance would not be contested until the 1908 Summer Games.
The first Olympic marathon was thought up by France’s Michel Bréal, who looked to re-create the route run by Pheidippides, a running messenger that traveled from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of an invading Persian army back in 490 B.C.
Pheidippides died after his run.
Louis grew up assisting his father by selling and transporting mineral water in Athens, which lacked a central water supply. He was relatively unknown before becoming a national hero with his victory.
Louis made his final public appearance at the 1936 Summer Olympics, where he was welcomed by Adolf Hitler and received an olive branch from Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics Games, to signal peace.
- Christopher Chavez