STATUE OF FAMED GREEK RUNNERS TO BE UNVEILED

IN HOPKINTON IN APRIL 2006 AS GIFT FROM NEW BALANCE

 

Hopkinton and Marathon, Greece Joined By Magical Marathon Moment

 

BOSTON, April 12, 2005 -- New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. announced today that it has commissioned a second bronze statue, entitled “The Spirit of the Marathon,” of 1946 Boston Marathon winner Stylianos Kyriakides, the champion Greek runner whose victory helped bring food, medicine and world-wide attention to his famine-wracked country after World War II, and Spiridon Louis, his mentor and winner of the 1896 Olympic Marathon.  The 10-foot high statue will be unveiled in Hopkinton in April 2006, the 50th anniversary of Kyriakides’ victory, and will be located at the Mile One marker of the Boston Marathon route. 

 

“The Spirit of the Marathon” statue will be identical to the one commissioned by New Balance last summer for Marathon, Greece which was the starting point of the marathon event during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.  The statue was created by legendary sculptor Mico Kaufman of Tewksbury, Mass.

 

The winner of the 50th Boston Marathon, Kyriakides used his victory as a call to action to aid his war and famine-ravaged homeland.  Kyriakides, who narrowly escaped execution during World War II during the Nazi occupation of Greece, hadn’t run in six years when he came to Boston in 1946, with the help of Greek-American benefactors.  He was emaciated from the lack of food in war-ravaged Greece, and at one point was told by doctors in Boston he wouldn’t be allowed to run because they were afraid he would die in the streets.  That backdrop only added to the almost mythic race performance, in which Kyriakides came on at the end to defeat the defending champion and set the best time in the world for 1946. 

 

“Hopkinton and Marathon may be separated by 4700 miles, but they will now each have a unique symbol that unites them by 26.2,” says Jim Davis, Chairman and CEO of New Balance and a Greek-American.  “The modern marathon was birthed as the epitome of elite athletic achievement in Greece and New Balance is proud to highlight its  popularization and appeal today as part of our Boston-based love of the event.”

 

The bronze monument captures the spirit of Kyriakides and his mentor, marathon champion Louis, and will be cast by New England Sculpture Service in Chelsea, Mass.  It will be located at Mile One of the Boston Marathon route on land donated by Hopkinton-based Weston Nurseries within several hundred yards of ‘Lucky Rock’, where the 1946 race began.

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“To the marathoner, Hopkinton is hallowed ground,” said Tim Kilduff, founder and president of the Hopkinton Athletic Association, which will be the official recipient and caretaker of the statue when it is completed.  “The statue symbolizes the magnitude of the event and the twin-city link between Marathon and Hopkinton, where both races begin.  Not only does it recognize the strength of the human spirit that Kyriakides and Spyridon Louis embodied, but also the worldwide respect for the race and the people who run it.  As an international emblem, it will greatly enhance the image and development of our community.”

 

Mico Kaufman, a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, has ties to Boston and the Greek communities, including portrait busts of former U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts and American General Costas Caraganis.  The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) commissioned him to create the Aristotelian Award as well as the Order of AHEPA award. 

 

“I hope this sculpture will symbolize the friendship between Hopkinton and Marathon, as well as the spirit of the 2004 Olympic Marathon,” says Kaufman.

 

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