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News of the Nemean Games

 

This page is intended to provide periodic updates on the activities that are going on at Nemea in preparation for the Games in June 2016. They will be displayed in chronological order with the most recent at the top of the list.

One may find additional information in the Society’s Newsletters of December 2011, 2012, 201320142015 and 2016.


Press Release #33 - 15/6/2016

A thank-you note to our volunteers

The Sixth Revival of the Nemean Games has already gone down in history. It is now recorded in the archives of our Society, but also engraved in our souls and hearts as a wonderful remembrance. We shall keep it wistfully with us, like a spark smouldering until the moment it will again ignite the altar of the Seventh Nemead, in 2020.
The Board of Directors of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games would like to thank most sincerely all of you who embraced and supported this enormous project. It would also like to point out that you, the volunteers, are the guiding light not only for the younger generations, but also for the continuation of our Society’s work. With your selfless acts, you strengthen everybody’s will and desire to help, so that volunteerism, that foremost way of achieving common goals in an altruistic way, may prevail in every aspect of human activity, to the benefit of the community.
May you all have health and prosper, so that we can meet again on the same soil of Ancient Nemea, and help the Seventh Nemead come true.

THANK YOU!!


Press Release #32 - 31/5/2016

 

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On Saturday, May 28, nineteen volunteers gathered to sweep the floor of the stadium, removing pebbles and gravel that would not feel good on bare feet. They swept the loose material into small piles which were subsequently removed. They were: Georgios Andrianakos, Athanasios Asimis, Dimitris Bakasetas, Basiliki Georgiou, Elisabeth Georgiou, Charoula Gkounta, Evangelos Grivakis, Theodoros Theodoropoulos, Konstantinos Kalousis, Christina Karabatsou, Spyros Kyriakos, Georgios Kostouros, Athanasios Malakos, Dimitra Malachia, Stephen Miller, Dimitris Nikolaou, Janine Nikolaou, Stavroula Panopoulou-Naki, and Athanasios Schoinochoritis. 


All deserve our thanks, but especially Ath. Asimis and Ath. Malakos who worked until 7:30 p.m. (i.e. about 8 hours after the others had left) to remove the small piles of earth.


Press Release #31 - 27/4/2016

Auspices

Our Society is pleased to announce that the Sixth Modern Nemead on June 10-12, 2016, will take place under the auspices of the following organizations:

- Ministry of Culture and Sports

- Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism 

- Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO

- Greek National Tourism Organization (G.N.T.O., E.O.T. in Greek)

- Prefecture of Peloponnesus

- International Olympic Truce Centre

- Hellenic Chapter of ICOMOS

- Hellenic Pangration Athlima Federation

- World Pangration Athlima Federation


Press Release #30 - 11/4/2016

Sixth Nemead, June 10-12, 2016 (tentative schedule)

Friday, June 10, 6:30 p.m.
at Temple of Nemean Zeus:
Greetings
Sacred Truce (Ekecheria) Crowns Nemea
Jelena Jovanovic Bakopoulou sings "Ode to Nemea"
Torch is lighted at the Altar of Zeus, and Truce and Nemea carry the torch in procession toward the stadium
Armed ancient troops "Leonidas" lay down weapons as the torch passes
at the Ancient Stadium:
The torch enters
Nemea Municipal Philharmonic and the New Choir of Nemea perform "You the Flame" and selections from "Ode to Nemea"
The stadium altar is lighted by Nemea with the torch
The opening of the Sixth Nemead is declared by H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos
National Anthem
8:30 p.m. at the Main Square in front of the City Hall of Nemea:
Performance of "Greece! The Musical" by students from the Primary School "Olga Milosevic" of Smederevska Palanka, Serbia

Saturday, June 11, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Footraces in the stadium in groups of twelve organized by age and gender
4:30 p.m. to Ancient Kleonai: the 7.5 km "Footsteps of Herakles" race
7: 30 p.m. In the stadium: Closing ceremonies
Concert by local choral groups
Entrance of Priestesses and Judges (Ambassadors)
Award of the official Sixth Nemead pin to all participants
Entrance of victors and award of crowns of wild celery
Speeches
Prayer to Earth
Extinguishing the Flame
Trumpet Farewell

Sunday, June 12
10:30 a.m. in the stadium: exhibition of the ancient Pankration
1 p.m. in the city hall of Nemea: presentation of two new Nemean books
7 p.m. in the stadium: performance of the "Nemeada" poem and music of Nemean myth and history


Press Release #29 - 7/10/2015

Crowd-Funding

A team of two members of the Society in Toronto (Magdalini Agrafioti and Constantine Zygouris) and two in California (Kelly Ilnicki and Steve de Laet) have begun a crowd-funding project with Indiegogo. The results of their hard work are to be seen at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-6th-revival-of-the-ancient-greek-nemean-games#/.


The purpose of this project is to raise the extra funds necessary to cover the expenses of the Sixth Nemead on June 10-12, 2016, and to spread the word and encourage new members to join the Society. Currently active members are asked to spread the word of the campaign to friends, but not necessarily to make contributions themselves if, by doing so, they would not continue their annual help. Our normal operating expenses still need their support.


As an extended part of this effort, the Society now has a Facebook site which provides another means of making our work available to a wider audience: https://www.facebook.com/The-Society-for-the-Revival-of-the-Nemean-Games-1896274657264988/timeline/.


Press Release #28 - 11/8/2015

Great Days of Nemea

As a part of the celebration of Nemea (see http://www.nemea.gr/news/news-category/politistiko-kalokairi-2015 ), our Society together with the community of Ancient Nemea is sponsoring an evening on Thursday, August 27, at 9:30. This will take place at the Tourist Pavilion on the eastern end of town, and begin with a showing of the documentary "Passage Into History" which tells the story of the Fifth Modern Nemead in 2012.
After the documentary wine and music will be provided, and there will be a booth with information about the Sixth Nemead in 2016 and copies of the documentary.


Press Release #27 - 21/5/2015

DVDs available

The Society is pleased to announce that the full-length documentary "Passage into History" is now available. This is a 67 minute-long story of the Fifth Nemead in 2012 the trailer for which is on our home page. Written and directed by Yiannis V. Lapatas and produced by IMAGINA Pictures, the DVD's can be acquired for a contribution of 12 euros each at our office, to which a shipping fee of 3 euros must be added for DVD's ordered through this site.
For an order form, click here.


Press Release #26 - 12/1/2015  

At its first meeting after the elections of January 4 the Board of Directors elected the following officers:
President – Stephen G. Miller
Vice-President – Spyros Kyriakos
General-Secretary – Nikolaos Fenerlis
Treasurer – Ioannes Flessas

The other members are:
Maria Christara
George Kostourοs
Ioannis Nakis
George Nikitakos
Nikos Papadopoulos

Alternative members are:
Andreas Zavvos
Zanin Nikolaou

The office work is now being directed by Athanasios Schinohoritis who can be found at his desk on week-days from 9 am until 2 pm, at (30) 27460 24125 or by the Society’s electronic address.


Press Release #25 - 15/11/2014  

TO:  The Members of our Society 

INVITATION TO THE REGULAR ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOCIETY 

We invite you to the regular annual assembly of the Society on Saturday, January 3, at 6 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Room of the City Hall of Nemea, on Papakonstantinou Boulevard. 

In the event that the legally required quorum of a minimum of one-third of the members who have paid their dues  does not appear (which is likely given the distances from Nemea where so many of our members live), then the General Assembly will take place on Sunday, January 4, at 11 a.m. in the same place.


Press Release #24 - 27/8/2014

 

Web Site Upgrade

Our web site, www.nemeangames.org, has undergone three major changes.

The first change will not be noticeable to most users, but it is the most critical.    When our site was established in 2011, it used the Joomla Content Management System (version 1.5) as its platform, but over the years as new versions became available, it was clear that an upgrade would be necessary for a variety of reasons, and especially that of security.  The migration to Joomla 3 has now been completed, and we can feel a little more certain that tampering will not happen.

The second change has to do with organization and appearance.  The original site had ten tabs along the top of the page which seemed a little too “busy.”  Hence, for example, the Conservation” tab, which presented our conservation work on the entrance tunnel to the stadium, could logically be a subcategory of the “Stadium”.   The original “News” has been included under “About/Contact’, and “Memories” under “Revival.” 

In addition, a feature has been introduced that allows the viewer to pick out individual photographs from the slide show at the top of the page by the selection of a button in the series below the slides.  Thus, one is not forced to wait for the whole cycle to repeat in order to look at a favorite image.  Again, by mousing over a given slide, there will be a pause that allows for closer viewing of that image.

The third change is that the site is now responsive so that it will look good on tablets and smartphones.

We hope that these changes will make the site easier to use.  Comments and suggestions are welcome.


Press Release #23 - 25/8/2014

We are pleased and proud to announce our invitation to join the Honorary Committee of our Society has been accepted by two gentlemen with distinguished professional careers.

 

Tassoulas

 

Constantine An. Tassοulas is the new Minister of Culture in Greece and has already shown great interest in Nemea and its revived Games.  Indeed, he spent the whole day on July 8 at Nemea, including the offices of our Society, less than a month after becoming minister.   It should be noted that, due to a lack of guardian personnel, the stadium had closed on July 7.  Mr. Tassoulas’ direct intervention caused the stadium to reopen the next day, and we hope it can be kept open in the future so that our Sixth Nemead in 2016 can take place.

Mr. Tassoulas is a graduate of the University of Athens in Law and he worked for a firm of solicitors in London (1988-1989) on a fellowship from the British Council,  He visited the USA for two months in 1997 as a guest of the American government.

His elective career began as mayor of Kifissia (1994-1998) followed by his election to Parliament in 2000 and thereafter, representing  his birthplace, Ioannina.  Among his other duties in Parliament, Mr. Tassoulas is a member of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Social Order and Justice.

He is married with a son and a daughter.

We are pleased and honored that Minister Tassoulas has accepted our invitation to membership on the Honorary Committee of our Society.  We look forward to many years of productive association.  We are also proud that our guest book now has not only his signature, but also a very nice and flattering comment about Nemea.

 

26- LSU honors its own

 

Y.A. Tittle is a legendary American sports figure who starred as a quarterback for Lousiana State University, the San Francisco 49ers, and the New York Giants.  He was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1971, and had already appeared four times on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  Indeed, he was the first football player to ever appear there (1954).

A native of Marshall, Texas, Tittle now lives in Atherton, California, in retirement.  His progeny include two victors in the revival of the Nemean Games:  daughter Dianne de Laet, and great-granddaughter Ayla Jagerson.  We hope that he, too, will soon wear the crown of wild-celery.

In the meantime, like so many members of our Honorary Committee, Y.A. Tittle adds the luster of his accomplishments to our efforts.  We thank him.

 


Press Release #22 - 13/6/2014

 

Today saw the culmination of several efforts by our Society.

 

The first was the cleaning and maintenance of the ancient Stadium, with the approval of the Archaeological Service, which took place over the previous three weeks. It included cleaning dirt and weeds, in part to present a better picture to visitors, but especially to remove the potential of root damage to the ancient blocks.

 

news22-1 

 

The drainage system in the locker room was also cleaned out after a winter of particularly heavy rain had clogged it with silted earth. 

 

news22-2

The gates to the stadium had become very rusted over the years, and we scraped and gave them a fresh coat of paint. 

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Another problem was with several signs directing visitors to the site.  They had become faded and, in some cases, broken and illegible.  Some also exhibited unfortunate English translations of Greek.  Further, the usual color of signs for archaeological monuments has become yellow on brown.  Our blue signs confused visitors.

 

news22-4


The Society undertook the initiative to have these signs changed and, thanks to the great help of Angelos Papangelopoulos, Konstantinos Kalantzis, and Nikos Kostouros, replacement signs were finished today in less than a week – a veritable miracle.


The final event of this lucky Friday the 13th was a visit from ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) led by its President, Gustavo Araoz, and the President of the Greek Division of ICOMOS, Dr. Athanasios Nakasis.

 

After a tour of the museum, the site, and the stadium, the group went to lunch, hosted by the City of Nemea, and then to the office of our Society.  Their reactions were positive as can be seen, for example, in the comments in our guest book which included the following from Gideon Korren of the International group:  “Congratulations for this remarkable project. Best wishes for its continuation, from the ancient land of Israel to the ancient land of Greece.”  Kostas Katsigiannis of the Greek division said:  “Warmest congratulations!   May you have a good continuation in your work for the promotion of Nemea, and also of Greece.”

 

 


Press Release #21 - 1/10 and 2/2/14

The first (1/10/14) and the second general meeting (2/2/14) of the Board of Directors took place in the offices of the Society in Ancient Nemea. The main subjects of discussion of the first meeting were the following:

  1. Computer
  2. Story-telling Contract
  3. Closing of the Museum
  4. UNESCO and Ancient Nemea
  5. Selling the Nemea brief guide book

And for the second meeting

  1. Th. Pagkalos letter
  2. Donation of D. de Laet/Arete Fund
  3. Participation in the traditional Vasilopitta-cutting of the New Year at the Town Hall of Nemea
  4. Briefing about the Papalexopoulos Square
  5. Internet connection

     President                                                                              Secretary

     Stephen Miller                                                                    Spyros Kyriakos

 


Press Release #20 - December 27, 2013

On Friday, December 20, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., the 13th regular meeting of the Board of Directors took place in the offices of the Society in Ancient Nemea.  The main subjects of discussion were the following:

            1.        Validation of the minutes of the 12th regular meeting

            2.        Economic report.  In the treasury of the Society there is 9816.28 euros

            3.        Report of the members about the progress of the nomination of the archaeological site for the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

            4.        Approval of the amendments to the by-laws.

            5.        Printing of 2000 copies of the pamphlet for the Column of Opheltes in Papalexopoulos Square.

            6.        Discussion of the subjects for the Regular Assembly of the Society on Saturday, January 4, 2013, or – in case of a lack of a quorum, on Sunday, January 5, 2014, at 11 am in the lecture hall of the City Hall.

            7.        Discussion about the signing of a contract with Mrs. Papanikolaou.

 

                                  President                                                                              Secretary

                              Stephen Miller                                                                    Spyros Kyriakos

 

 

 


Press Release #19 - 4 December 2013

 

TO:  The Members of our Society

 

INVITATION TO THE REGULAR ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOCIETY

 

We invite you to the regular annual assembly of the Society on Saturday, January 4, at 6 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Room of the City Hall of Nemea, on Papakonstantinou Boulevard.

In the event that the legally required quorum of a minimum of one-third of the members who have paid their dues[1] does not appear (which is likely given the distances from Nemea where so many of our members live), then the General Assembly will take place on Sunday, January 5, at 11 a.m. in the same place.

The Agenda:

1. Report on the status of projects undertaken in 2013.

2. Report on the economic status of the Society

3. Suggestions and ideas from the membership.

 

At the conclusion of the meeting there will be a private showing exclusively for our members of the documentary by IMAGINA “Passage into History”, the story of the Fifth Nemead.  

 

   The President                                                                        The Secretary

of the Board of Directors                                                    of the Board of Directors

     Stephen Miller                                                                   Spiros Kyriakos

 


[1] The constitution of the Society specifies that participants in the General Assembly must be “economically in order”  (εντάξει οικονομικά = Articles 20 and 21).  Article 8 further specifies that members are obliged to pay their dues in a timely manner (να πληρώνουν έγκαιρα τις συνδρομές τους).  Dues paid within the previous twelve (12) months of the General Assembly are considered “timely”.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Press Release #18 - 8 October 2013

Announcement

The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games is pleased to announce that on Saturday, 12 October 2013 the World Pangration Athlema Federation will organize a Pangration competition at the ancient stadium of Nemea.The ancient Pangration was an integral part of the Ancient Nemean Games.

The events will start at 12.00 p.m. and will finish at 14.00 p.m.

The program will include:

1. Shadow-boxing (fight against imaginary opponents)
2. Palaismata
3. Polydamas  (A Pangratiast neutralizes three opponents armed with knife, sword and spear)
4. Pangration Games.

 

Fig.: Hercules against Nemea Lion. Stone relief, 2nd c. A.D. (Olympic Games Museum, Olympia).

Fig.: Hercules against Nemea Lion. Stone relief, 2nd c. A.D. (Olympic Games Museum, Olympia).


Feel free to bring family and friends so that none of us will lose the chance to get to know this ancient sport!


From the Board of Directors

 

 

 

 


 

Press Release #17 - 3 June 2013

 

On June 2 our Society, together with the City of Nemea, paid tribute to Theodore Papalexopoulos for his many years of support of our efforts and of Nemea in general.  Specifically, Mr. Papalexopoulos founded the Association “Opheltes – the Friend of Nemea” in 2004 and served as its president until last September (ph.1).  The stated purpose of “Opheltes” is “to promote the cultural heritage of the archaeological site at Nemea.”

Papalexopoulos

The physical manifestation of the Papalexopoulos tribute consists of the erection of the “Opheltes Column” at the entrance to the town of Ancient Nemea (ph.2).  The octagonal column and capital are modeled on ancient examples discovered in the excavations of Nemea and now on display in the museum.  So too is the original bronze statuette which served as the prototype for the Opheltes who sits on top of the column.  And three inscriptions of the 6th century B.C., which are also on display, provided the forms of the letters for the inscription on the front of the column.

OphColFinal-

This is to be read from the top to the bottom (left to right) in the first line, but the second reverses the order of the letters to read from right to left in a style called boustrophedon (“as the ox ploughs”) which is documented by inscriptions of the 6th century from Kleonai.   The forms of the letters are taken from inscriptions from Nemea and the ancient city of Phlious to the west.  Thus the whole of the letters are those used in the area of the modern city of Nemea 2,600 years ago.  They state that the column marks “The Square of Theodore Papalexopoulos , First President of the Association Opheltes”.  (This information is also given in Modern Greek and English on the back of the column.)

The ceremonies included remarks by Pelopidas Kallires, General Secretary of the Ministry of Health, who was representing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.  Also in attendance were former Minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis, MP for Korinthia Christos Dimas, former MP for the Argolid George Tsournos, Vice-Governor or the Peloponnesos Apostolos Papafotiou,  the Ambassadors of Cuba and Japan to Greece Osvaldo Cobacho and Hiroshi Toda respectively,  the President of the “Citizens Movement for an Open Society Professor Stephanos Geroulanos, and the new President of Opheltes, Vasilis Fourlis.

Following the proclamation of Theodore Papalexopoulos as an Honorary Citizen of Nemea, Mayor Evangelos Andrianakos said, among other things, “I want to express my pleasure and satisfaction because the City of Nemea, in co-operation with the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, today fulfills its obligation toward a man who has done so much for Nemea.  And this has a special significance because it occurs at a time when the Hellenic Community has a great need of shining examples and positive precedents, like Mr. Theodore Papalexopoulos, who is set apart by his character and quality, by his clear thought and speech . . . .   We have an enormous obligation to our country and to Mr. Papalexopoulos to continue and build upon his vision and his achievements something that will guarantee both our hopes as well as the presence and positions of the new President of “Opheltes”, Mr. Vasilis Fourlis.”


 

Press Release #16 - 2 April 2013

 

It is with deep regret that we note the passing of Nicholas C. Petris, an original member of the Honorary Committee of our Society, on March 20.

Petris was born on February 25, 1923, of Greek parents in Oakland, California. After earning his degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and service in the Second World War, Petris went on to earn a law degree at Stanford University. He entered politics in 1966 when he was elected to the California State Senate, a position he held until his retirement in 1996, winning every election during those 38 years.

Known for his principled positions, especially concerning education, Petris was a pillar of the Greek-American community of California. It was within that context that he led the effort to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Temple of Nemean Zeus, and to make Nemea better known in California by, among other things, bringing 30 lawmakers to us in 1980. That trip culminated with Petris at the Temple announcing to the Town Council a grant of $30,000 for the preliminary study of the work.

 

one

Petris came back to us in 1984, this time leading a group of University of California alumni to celebrate the dedication of the museum. Again, his acquaintance with Greek officials, such as the Minister of Culture, Melina Merkouri, was very helpful to us.

 

two

In later years, after retiring from the California State Senate, Petris was afflicted with Alzheimer's, but he continued for the next decade to appear every year at "Nemea Night" at Berkeley, wearing his Nemea t-shirt. He was a true and loyal friend of Nemea, the reconstruction of the Temple, and the revival of the Games. We were lucky to have him with us.

 

 


Press Release #15 - 15 January 2013

            About 100 members of the Society gathered on January 5 for the annual General Assembly to hear the report of activities, and especially the successful execution of the Fifth Modern Nemead (see the Newsletter 2012 for details).

            Two new members of the Honorary Committee were selected:  Elias Clis, long-time friend of Nemea, and retired Greek Ambassador to Paris and Moscow;  and Vasilis Fourlis, new President of the Association “Opheltes, the Friend of Nemea.”  Each appears in the Newsletter for 2012.

            The dates for the Sixth Nemead were discussed, and June 10-12, 2016, was selected.  Several ideas were presented for activities during the next two years.  These are to be reviewed by the new Board of Directors.

            That Board for 2013 & 2014 was elected unanimously.  The members are the same as for 2011 & 2012 with one change. Konstantinos Niteros has retired, and in his place was elected Spyros Kyriakos.

            The meeting concluded with a showing of the Imagina trailer for the documentary “Passage into History.”

            The first meeting of the new Board of Directors followed on January 14 and resulted in the election of officers, who are the same as the previous two years except that Spiros Kyriakos will serve as General-Secretary with technical assistance from Nikos Fenerlis.

            Assignments of specific responsibilities were made, and Dinos Niteros was thanked for his work and presented with a framed commemorative Nemean Runner.

 

 

KSNSGM_14-1-13-_1

 


Press Release #14 - 11 December 2012

The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games is pleased to announce that its Regular Annual General Assembly for our members will take place on Saturday, January 5, at 11 a.m. at the Town Hall of the City of Nemea.  The Agenda is:

1. Report on the Fifth Nemead

2. Report on the economic status of the Society

3. Report on membership

4. Report of the auditing committee

5. Release of the Board of Directors from its responsibilities

6. Suggestions and ideas

                        a) from the Governing Board

                                    Date of the 6th Nemead - June 3-5, 2016  or June 10-12, 2016

                        b) from the Membership.

7. Elections of  Governing Board and Audit Committee for 2013 and 2014.

            We are also pleased to announce that editing for the documentary “Passage into History” by the company IMAGINA is underway. An article about that work by Johanna Tachmintzis is on pages 31-32 of the Newsletter, and a trailer that gives a taste of what is being prepared is on our home page.

 


 

Press Release #13 - 4 September 2012

 

            The Fifth Nemead ended more than two months ago, and the delay in presenting this release is a reflection of its great success.  It has taken this long to process records and photographs which are necessary to present the results of the games.  Now the data is in hand. 

            There were 1,018 runners from 87 countries (out of 1,297 registrations from 106 countries).  In 2008 there were about half that number of runners from 19 different countries.  The non-Greek participants were nearly a third (32%) of the total.             

            Some 240 volunteers, mostly from Nemea, plus others from around Greece and around the world, helped with the preparations and as the staff at the games themselves.

            A photographic record of parts of the Fifth Nemead is now available at memories - 2012

The following links will give motion to those memories:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/video/2012/jul/06/greece-alternative-olympics-nemean-games-video?newsfeed=true

http://www.athensliving.net/apps/videos/videos/show/16704232-the-nemean-games-2012

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2012-07-27/back-to-the-olympic-roots/

            We are preparing all of the 1,699 photographs currently in our possession and will make them available soon.  Watch this space.

            Finally, personal views of the 2012 Nemead can be found in the essay “A Spark of Hope” @ http://nemeangames.org/en/nemean-games-revival/spark-hope.html

 


Press Release #12 - 19 June 2012

Click here to download the Nemea 2012 program : Nemea 2012 program.


Press Release #11 - 15 June 2012

As announced in Press Release #7, the past seven months have seen the slow and careful conservation work in the tunnel entrance to the stadium.  The final phase was the replacement of the missing blocks which had been stolen out at the east end in the 6th century after Christ.

66_Tunnel_11-5-12 

Finishing the new technical stone blocks at the east end of the tunnel, May 11, 2012

 67_TunEastB25-5-12

The east end of the tunnel with the new replacement blocks, May 25, 2012

 By late May all details had been finished and the site cleaned. Today the monument was returned to the Ministry of Culture in its newly conserved condition.  A committee investigated the work, posed a variety of questions, and decided that the final product was more than acceptable.  Or, in the words of the Ephor, Dinos Kissas, ‘It’s a doll!”

 TunDone25-5-12A   Interior of the tunnel, looking east, May 25, 2012.  New technical stone replacements are discernible to the left of the keystone, for example, but all agree that they are not emphatically intrusive.

                             TunnelDonorStelex

In anticipation of the official opening of the tunnel next week, a simple stone plaque was set outside the western end with the names of the institutions that had supported the work economically.  The base is a chunk of the artificial stone forced into the position of the fallen keystone in 1995.  This was removed in 2012 so that the original keystone could be replaced.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

The association “Opheltes, the Friend of Nemea”

The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation

The John S. Latsis Foundation

 

 


Press Release #10 - 21 March 2012

            Today the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games announced the program for the Fifth Modern Nemead on June 22-24.

            The celebration will begin with the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. on Friday the 22nd.  These will be highlighted by the lighting of the flame at the Altar of Nemean Zeus and the crowning of Nemea by Ekecheiria (Sacred Truce).  As in Ancient Greece, the Sacred Truce both protected and symbolized the spirit of peaceful competitions.

            Saturday, June 23 will be a full day of footraces for all who have registered to run no later than May 15.  There will be “stadion” races of 100 m. on the ancient track, and a 7.5 km “Footsteps of Herakles” race from the ancient temple of Herakles at Kleonai back to the Nemea stadium.  At the end of the day all the winners will be crowned with the traditional wild celery, followed by a buffet at the local school hosted by the Cultural Society of Ancient Nemea.

            On the final day, Sunday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. there will be presented in the ancient stadium the “Nemeada” a poetically framed story of the ancient mythology and history of Nemea and the Nemean Games written by George Kostouros, the vice-president of the Society.  This piece was first presented at the Fourth Nemead in 2008 and proved to be very popular with the local people.

            A detailed program will be found on our web site soon.

            For now we can say that the preparations for the games are progressing with the acquisition of additional ancient garments for the participants, and especially with the conservation work on the stadium entrance tunnel.  Falling fragments of ancient blocks had necessitated the erection of scaffolding in 2008 to prevent injuries to those passing through the tunnel.  The effect was safe, but, in the words of one visitor, “I thought I was going to go back to ancient Greece, but the scaffolding made me think I was in the Metro.”  Athletes in the Fifth Nemead will once again pass through the ancient tunnel and be transformed into ancient Greeks.

            The tunnel conservation, which is nearing completion, has already made the Fifth Nemead the most expensive.  The games are supported entirely by private contributions and volunteer labor, and the determination to hold the games in 2012 has been difficult in the middle of the economic difficulties of the world, and especially Greece. 

            “We debated very hard whether we should cancel the Fifth Nemead,” said Professor Stephen Miller, President of the Society,  “but a number of considerations played a role in our final decision to go ahead.  First was the enthusiasm and support of our members - now over 1200 active, dues-paying people from 19 different countries.  Next was the willingness of the local people to give of themselves, and especially the Board of Directors who are working constantly to make the Fifth Nemead the biggest and best yet.  Then there was the major support that we needed, and which has been forthcoming from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Opheltes Association, and the John S. Latsis Foundation.  We have also been motivated by the thought that if we cancelled the Fifth Nemead, the whole project might never come back to life,”  Miller continued. 

            “Perhaps the most important consideration, however, was that we want to show the world that Greece, through its antiquities and ancient history, has valuable lessons for today’s world community, and that we are doing all we can to preserve those antiquities and to make those lessons universally available.”


Press Release #9 – 9 December 2011

TO:  The Members of our Society

INVITATION TO THE REGULAR ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOCIETY

We invite you to the regular annual assembly of the Society on Saturday, January 7, at 6 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Room of the City Hall of Nemea, on Papakonstantinou Boulevard.

In the event that the legally required quorum of a minimum of one-third of the members who have paid their dues[1] does not appear (which is likely given the distances from Nemea where so many of our members live), then the General Assembly will take place on Sunday, January 8, at 11 a.m. in the same place.

The Agenda:

1. Report on the status of projects undertaken in 2011.

2. Report on the economic status of the Society

3.  Organization of projects necessary for the revival of the Games on June 23, 2012.

4.  Suggestions and ideas from the membership.

            The President                                                The Secretary

              of the Board of Directors                           of the Board of Directors

                 Stephen Miller                                                            Nikos Fenerlis



[1] The constitution of the Society specifies that participants in the General Assembly must be “economically in order”  (εντάξει οικονομικά = Articles 20 and 21).  Article 8 further specifies that members are obliged to pay their dues in a timely manner (να πληρώνουν έγκαιρα τις συνδρομές τους).  Dues paid within the previous twelve (12) months of the General Assembly are considered “timely”.


Press Release #8 – 18 November 2011

More Visitors

            The numbers and diversity of visitors to our offices continues unabated despite the cold weather.  In addition to the individuals, there have been several groups that deserve specific mention.

October 25 - A group of Russian reporters came to see us, including one who lives in Athens and writes for a newspaper “Russian Courier” and a magazine “Our Greece.”

October 27 - A Chinese cultural delegation from the city of Anqing in Anhui province added their language to our guestbook, and were delighted to see their national flag greeting them outside the office.

China271011E

November 6 - Two groups came to us:

            1 - About 30 members of the cultural society “Konon” from the Piraeus peninsula.

            2) - Another 30 members of  the Lawyers’ Society of Corinth who had received a lecture from Stephen Miller two days earlier in Corinth.  At the lecture and again during the visit 13 new members joined our Society.

November 13 - A large group of 91 visitors in two buses (and two groups) came to us.  These people had been brought together earlier (October 14) for a lecture about the stadium and the revival of the games at the new Akropolis Museum which had a successful attendance of about 120 people even though Athens was that evening crippled by a transportation strike.

            That lecture and this visit were the result of a concerted effort by several groups:  The Hellenic Electronic Center,  AHEPA of Athens (Chapter HJ1), Daughters of Penelope, Karyatids, Esperos, Union of Women of Thessaloniki and Macedonia, Organization for the Dissemination of the Greek Language, and the Greek Women of Wine.  Many of the visitors were already members, but twenty-four new members of our Society joined on that day. See  http://www.greece.org/main/index.phpoption=com_content&view=article&id=946&Itemid=960).

 

 


 

 Press Release #7 – 22 October 2011

It is a great joy and relief to announce that, after protracted negotiations involving the American School of Classical Studies, the University of California at Berkeley, the Ephoreia of Antiquities of Corinth, and our Society for the various necessary permissions, work actually began on the tunnel restoration on Monday, October 17.

Before that could happen, however, the drainage system of the locker room had to be repaired so that the tunnel crew could approach their work.  Heavy rains the previous week had created several areas of standing water and mud in the direct line of traffic.

 StadCon15-10-11C-_copy

View over the locker room on October 15 from above the tunnel.  The opening in the excavation scarp at the far side of the area marks the bottom of the ramp leading from the entrance.

StadCon15-10-11B-_copy

Bottom of the ramp showing the impassable conditions on the only route to the tunnel.

Fortunately, permission was granted on October 13 by the local Ephoreia of Antiquities for us to repair the drainage system and as the rains came to a halt on October 16, we were able to confront the problems on the 17th.   Thanks to the hard work of a crew of local men consisting of Athanasios Asimis, Dimitrios Karaiskos, Athanasios Malakos, and Elias Skazas, and to the loan of tools by various local citizens, the situation was corrected so that the essential parts of the route to the tunnel were ready by the end of the day.

 Stad17-10-2011A-

Removing the mud and water before reaching the drainage gravel and pipe at the foot of the entrance ramp.

Stad17-10-2011C-

Replacing the silt-filled gravel with freshly cleaned gravel so that water can seep through to the drain pipe.

Stad18-10-2011D_copy

The situation after repairing the drain at the entrance and placing new (white) gravel. 

Work next began on the system which runs through the robbed-out walls of the locker room, and that was completed today.  The old drainage gravel, which had been clogged with silt, was removed and replaced with new and much larger gravel generously provided by the city of Nemea.  Although very difficult to move with shovels, the perseverance of the drainage crew was rewarded and the winter rains can be anticipated without fear of more erosion of the floor of the locker room, or of blocking access of the conservation crew to the tunnel.

 Stad22-10-11M

The situation after the locker room drainage system was repaired.

Stad22-10-11P

The drainage crew, from left:  Nikos Papadopoulos (member of the Board of Directors responsible for cleaning and maintaining the stadium), Athanasios Asimis, Dimitrios Karaïskos, Athanasios Malakos, and Elias Skazas.

**************

The tunnel crew spent October 17 assembling supplies and equipment, and it was on Tuesday, October 18, that actual work began.  The supervising engineer, Dr. Costas Zambas, came to lay out the procedures for the two types of repairs.  By the end of the day Ioanna Dogani with the assistance of conservator Amerimni Galanou and technicians Dimitris Karvelas and Alexis Saphloki, had made several injections in the process of consolidating the stone where it is splitting off. 

 Tunnel18-10-2011F-

Costas Zambas explains cleaning techniques to Dimitris Karvelas (left) and Alexis Saphloki

 Tunnel18-10-2011G-

Amerimni Galanou (foreground) studies the Zambas report while Ioanna Dogani (red sleeve) prepares stone surface for injection. 

Tunnel18-10-2011K-Detail of stone injected with hydraulic lime.

Tunnel21-10-2011A

Work in the tunnel is difficult because of the breeze blowing through it – a problem that had been encountered in the excavations of 1978 and 1979 when workmen in the tunnel during June and July caught colds.  It is even worse in October,  Thus a temporary light wall with a lockable door has been installed at each end.  This also provides some privacy from the visitors who come to the stadium every day.  Once the wind was blocked, the injections of hydraulic lime to consolidate cracked stone could continue.

Tunnel21-10-2011F

Ioanna Dogani, assisted by Kalliope Iessai, performs an injection in a block of the tunnel wall.

The long road to having the stadium ready for the Games (and for everyday visitors) has begun, and we can begin to believe that the world will have a welcome sight and a well-maintained site next June.

For more details of the conservation work and the history of the tunnel, see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCtx8e_ALwo&feature=related


 

Press Release #6 – 16 October 2011

We are pleased and proud to announce the decision of Professor Konstantinos Georgiades to join the Honorary Committee of our Society.  Our ties to the Olympic movement, and our credibility as a viable supplementary part of modern Olympism, are thereby strengthened.

Professor Georgiades earned his doctorate in Athletic Science at Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany and has taught since 2003 at the University of the Peloponnese where, in 2010, he became Vice-Chancellor.

For many years he served as the Scientific Director, and then as Rector, and now as Honorary Rector of the International Olympic Academy.

Since 2009 he has been Director of the Masters Program in Olympic Studies at the University of the Peloponnese and the International Olympic Academy.

He is a member of many committees of the International Olympic Committee, especially in the field of Olympic Education, and was made Honorary Professor of the Capital Institute of Physical Education of Peking in 2006.

His published works include:

Die Ideengeschichliche Grundlange der Erneurung der Olympischen Spielen im 19. Jahrhundert in Griechenland und     Ihre Umstetzung 1896 in Athen (Kassel 2000).

The Revival of the Olympic Games (Athens 2003)

The International Olympic Academy – History of an Olympic Institution  (ed, with Ch.Koulouri, Athens 2007)


 

Press Release #5 – 8 October 2011

VISITORS

During the past few weeks there have been several groups of visitors who toured the museum, site, and stadium, and then were informed about the Nemean Games.

September 9 -  The German Olympic Academy, led by Achim Bueble (Managing Director) and Prof. Dr. Manfred Lämmer, brought about 85 high school teachers to Nemea. 

September 20 – The Estonian Olympic Academy, led by Reele Remmelkoor (Director), brought 20 of its members for a visit, including half an hour in the Society’s exhibition room.

 

Estonia20911

 

September 25 – Nineteen members of the Damaris “Journey through Ancient Greece” group from Britain, led by the sisters Jane Maw Cornish and Mary Kehoe, came back to Nemea again, but now their visit included time in the exhibition.

September 26 – We received a surprise visit from the Venezuelan Ambassador to Greece, the honorable Rodrigo Oswaldo Chaves Samudio.  He had another surprise for us – the diary (in Greek translation) of Francisco de Miranda, a native of Caracas and a freedom fighter in many parts of the world, including the USA, France, and his own Venezuela. 

                                       MirandaCov

Cover of Miranda's diary, in Greek

In 1786, on his way to Constantinople and while waiting for a boat from Corinth to Athens, Miranda decided to walk to a site with three columns which was four hours distant.  We read that, on the morning of June 9, he “descended into a lovely valley in the center of which are the three columns that I mentioned, of the Doric order with very beautiful proportions . . .  and nearby it is believed was the forest of Nemea . . . “   This is a wonderful addition to our collection of early visitors to Nemea, and we thank Ambassador Chaves warmly.

 

Chaves26811

Ambassador Chaves signs the guest book at the Society Office

 

October 5 – Steve Thurlow brought 13 members of his “Wine for Life” group from Toronto, Canada.  The guards at the site were on strike, so the view of Nemea was from the top of the Evangelistria Hill, but it was nicely supplemented by the Society’s displays showing details of the stadium and its excavation which otherwise would not have been seen by this group.


 

Press Release #4 –18 September 2011

Today the International Olympic Academy visited us, once again under the leadership of Professor Kostas Georgiades.  The student members were on their way to Olympia for the fall semester of the Master's program in Olympic Studies.  This time there were 28 students from 22 different countries, and they will be at Olympia through the second semester and thus in a position to participate in the 5th Nemead on their way home from their studies in June.  It was a particular pleasure that their program co-ordinator is Evi (Paraskevi) Salepi who ran with us in 2000 and we hope she will be back again next year.

 IOA18911

Students from the IOA watch slides in the Society's exhibition room and learn about the revival of the Nemean Games

from Professor Stephen Miller.

 


 

5 September 2011

George-Alexander Mangkakis

The past few months have seen significant losses from the Nemean Games family.  The most recent was on September 5, 2011, when George-Alexander Mangkakis passed away.

Born in Athens in 1922, he studied Law in Athens and then at the University of Munich where he earned a Ph.D. in penal law in 1953.  A knowledgeable and principled man, Mangkakis was imprisoned from 1969 until 1972 when the University of Heidelberg elected him to a professorship which resulted in his release from prison and his exile from Greece.

Returning to Greece in 1974, Mangkakis resumed the professorship in the Law School of Athens University to which he had been elected in 1968, and he was elected to parliament and served in a number of ministerial posts (Public Works, Justice, Health) over the next 15 years, and also served as the Director of the National Bank of Greece in 1981-82.

His involvement with Nemea began in 1982 when he and his archaeologist wife visited the site, and was followed the next April when he, together with Melina Merkouri and Margarita Papandreou, sponsored the Benaki Museum’s exhibition on the Temple of Nemean Zeus.

 GAMag-83-Benak

Mangkakis was a charter member of the Honorary Committee of our Society, and frequently came to help when problems emerged.  His loss leaves a gaping hole in our foundations.

 

 GAMag-Peop99-9

 


 

Press Release #3 – 4 September 2011

Dedication of the Exhibition Space

 

On the 4th of September in the former Town Hall of Ancient Nemea, at 7 p.m., there was inaugurated the exhibition hall with memorabilia from the previous revivals of the Nemean Games as a part of the celebration of the “Big Days of Nemea, 2011.”

The celebration was honored by the presence of the Mayor of Nemea, Evangelos Andrianakos, the Vice-Mayors of the City Vasilis Papaioannou and Evangelos Limniates, the President of the Town Council of Nemea Ioannes Sellas, the President of the local town of Nemea Konstantinos Karayiannopoulos, and the President of the local community of Ancient Nemea, Georgios Kakouros.  In addtion, many members and friends of the Society were present for the occasion.

After the sanctification and blessing by the Reverend Father Anastasios Benekos, the President of the Society, Professor Stephen Miller welcomed the guests.  Ioannes Nakes, member of the Board of Directors spoke about the past and the present, and the plans for the future of the Society.

The Mayor with his colleagues uncovered the sign with the emblem of the Society on the front of the building.

SocDedRibbonW

The President of the Cultural Society of Ancient Nemea, Mrs. Aglaia Argyropoulou, cut the cord at the entrance door.

There will always be in the exhibition room a person ready to give information about us every working day from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. to anyone who is interested, and with a smile that cannot be imitated by our new web site http://www.nemeangames.org

The visitor will see photographic and published material from the excavations of the stadium and the revivals of the Nemean Games in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

SocDedMayorSignW

The visitor will also have the opportunity to sign the guest book, as the Mayor of Nemea is doing in the photograph while Maestro Alexander Papayiannopoulos waits his turn to sign.  To date, interested people from 29 different countries have visited the exhibition and signed the book.

It is worth noting that the location of this new exhibition room is convenient for visitors to the ancient stadium since it is easy for them to visit and learn about the goals of the Society, and to decide to participate in the Games on June 23, 2012.  Thus the Nemean Games will assume the character of a high level international cultural and athletic touristic event.  It is in this direction that the leadership of the Society is working energetically with the firm and warm support of the City of Nemea as its Mayor, Evangelos  Andrianakos, confirmed once again during his brief but full remarks at the inauguration.

At the end of the inauguration select wines from the earth of Phliasia were served thanks to the generosity of the Alliance of Greek Women of Wine, and sweets and soft drinks were provided by the Corinthian Women Friends of the Revival.

The Society invites anyone who would like to register to participate in the games or to offer volunteer work for the Games, to visit our web site or to communicate with us by telephone at 27460 24125 on working days between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.


 

Press Release #2 – 4 September 2011

The International Olympic Academy in Nemea

Thirty-six student members of the International Olympic Academy (IOA) from 28 different countries of every continent, led by Kostas Georgiades, Professor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Peloponnesos and Emeritus Dean of the IOA, and by Evangelos Albanides, Professor at the Demokritos University of Thrace, visited the offices of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games in Ancient Nemea today,  There they had the opportunity to learn in depth from the President of the Society, Stephen Miller, both about the previous four Nemeads in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008, as well as about the next Nemead which will take place on June 23, 2012.  The favorable impressions taken away by the members of the IOA, who were also led extensively around the ancient stadium and the archaeological site, leave no doubt that the International Olympia Academy, ambassador of the spirit of the ancient Greek games to the world-wide education community, is adopting enthusiastically the Revival of the Nemean Games and will participate extensively in the 5th Nemead in 2012, as was confirmed to Miller during the visit.

 

International Olympic Academy in Nemea

 


 

Press Release #1 - 30 May 2011

The Revival Revived

On Sunday, May 15, in the Cultural Center of Nemea, a new Board of Directors was elected for the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games.  The new president of the board is Stephen G. Miller, emeritus Director of the Nemea Excavations and emeritus Professor of the University of California at Berkeley.  It was Miller’s discoveries at Nemea that led to the founding of the Society in 1995 and the celebration of the first revival – the First Modern Nemead – in 1996.  Now he has been called upon to prepare for and execute the Fifth Nemead.  The goal is, once again, to provide an opportunity to people from around the world to become ancient Greek athletes in the ancient stadium of Nemea.

“Our founding principles were and are to recreate ancient games that are as authentic as possible, and to allow anyone and everyone to participate in them,” said Miller.  “To enter the ancient locker room, disrobe and don an ancient chiton, and then go barefoot through the ancient tunnel has put chills up the spines of the 2400 people from 45 countries who have participated in the past.  Nowhere else in the world can one sense what it meant to participate in the ancient Games.”

 

nemea run 2000

Miller and his colleagues were elected by an overwhelming majority of the 250 members of the Society in attendance who want the Fifth Nemead to bring people from all over the world to Nemea on June 23, 2012.  And they want those people to return home with a new appreciation of what Greece still means to the world today.  They have their work cut out for them – it is estimated that it will cost about 260,000 euros to execute the Fifth Nemead, with the largest part of that amount going toward the conservation of the tunnel which is necessary to insure the safety of people passing through it.

The tunnel is structurally sound according to Miller who discovered and published it, but fragments of blocks can break off and fall on people.  A temporary scaffolding to protect visitors has to be removed and the vault – one of the earliest known from antiquity – consolidated.  “We have the study done by Kostas Zampas, the best conservation engineer in Greece if not the world,” said Miller.  “That study has been approved by the Ministry of Culture, and we intend to implement it working with Konstantinos Kissas, the Ephor of Antiquities in Corinth.  Next year hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors will be transformed into ancient Greek athletes as they walk through the 36 meter long tunnel past the ancient graffiti on its walls,” Miller stated.

Ambassador Nick Burns

The new Board of Directors has several members who, like Miller, have served in the revival of the Nemean Games in the past.  The Vice President is George Kostouros who not only has been working for the Society for many years, but who has also authored a book Νεμέων άθλων διήγησις which brings together –in poetic form – the evidence for the myths and history of ancient Nemea, and a newly revised list of victors in the ancient games.

Ioannes Flessas, a retired banker, is the Treasurer as he was for the First Nemead in 1996. Nikos Fenerlis returns after two years as the General-Secretary who will be responsible for the transformation of the Society’s archives to electronic form.  The other five members of the board – Maria Christara, Ioannes Nakes, Georgios Nikitakos,  Konstantinos Niteros, and Nikos Papadopoulos – all have extensive experience with previous Nemeads.

Each of the nine members of the board is chairing a committee to organize volunteers for a variety of tasks (e.g. fundraising, membership, stadium maintenance, program organization), based on decisions in common with the other board members.

Board of directors 2011

“But,” Miller emphasized, “the success of the Fifth Nemead will depend upon the support of hundreds of volunteers, and especially a co-operative effort with the present director of Berkeley’s continuing work at Nemea, Professor Kim Shelton, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

I shall never forget the excitement of the stadium coming back to life in 1996.  With our combined efforts we shall experience the excitement of that revival once again next year.”

 


 

17 April 2011

Today the General Assembly of the Society met in the Cultural Center of Nemea.  About 170 members were in attendance which is a marked increase over recent years.  In 2010, for example, less than 20 members attended the GA which was to elect a new Board of Directors.  Instead of elections, it was then decided that the previously existing board should remain in office.

A year later, today, the GA voted overwhelmingly (about 160 to 6) to hold new elections after proper notification of the membership.

It was also noted that two members of the Honorary Committee of the Society had passed away.

 

Walter Cronkite

 

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009), often called the most trusted man in America, was a journalist who was best known for breaking the news of the death of President Kennedy to the American public.  His interest in Nemea began in 1980 when he reported on the excavations for his television series “Universe” in the context of the boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow.  The archaeological evidence that showed a long-standing tradition of politics at the Games fascinated him.  When the Society was founded in 1995, Cronkite immediately joined the Honorary Committee and remained in communication, asking about the progress of the Society’s efforts, until the end of his life.

 

Payton Jordan 1996

 

Payton Jordan (1917-2009) was best known as a track coach, especially as the head coach of the 1968 United States track and field team and as head coach at Stanford University for 23 years.  He continued his own running career into his 80’s, setting world records for his age group.  Always a devotee of ancient Greek athletics, Jordan enthusiastically embraced the ideals and goals of our Society, and was the first modern victor in the ancient stadium of Nemea in 1996.  Although it was only one of many prizes in his collection, his crown of wild celery occupied a special place for him.

 Wolfgang Decker

 

Also on April 17, the General Assembly approved the invitation to Professor Wolfgang Decker to join the Honorary Committee of our Society.  Decker is Emeritus Professor of the History of Sport at the German School of Sport in Köln.  He has written extensively on ancient Greek athletics, but his Sports and Games of Ancient Egypt (Yale University Press 1992) is probably the best known of his work.  He has been for many years the co-editor of the ancient sport journal Nikephoros, where there has recently appeared a very positive review of our own George Kostouros’ two volume work on the ancient Nemean games Νεμέων άθλων διήγησις (2008).  But Decker’s associations with the Nemea games are even more personal for he has run in the modern games, and served as a judge.  It is a pleasure to announce that he has accepted our invitation.

 

Michales Velentsas

 

Finally, the passing of Michales Velentsas was noted.  Four times Mayor of Nemea, former vice-Governor of the Korinthia, and a founding member of our Society, Michales was always with us to help in whatever way asked of him.  The General Assembly voted that the Fifth Nemead be dedicated to his memory.

 


 

20 April 2010

The Society lost its oldest friend today.  W. LaGrand Nielsen was born on October 3, 1907, and became a U.S. Army Dental Surgeon until his retirement.  It was in that capacity that he treated, among many others, then Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who later would become General and then President of the United States of America.

After retirement, Nielsen’s passion for long-distance running played an increasing role in his life.  He came to the First Nemead in 1996 at the age of 89 (“almost 90” he often said) and competed both in the stadion race and the 7.5 km. Footsteps of Herakles race.

 

 

nielsen-kats

 

Seen here being congratulated by Slave George Katsoulis as he crossed the finish line for the Footsteps race in 2000, he was back with us in 2004, determined to finish the race which he did, refusing all offers of assistance, even though he entered the stadium only while the closing ceremonies were under way.  He was 97 years old, but again noted that his true age was “almost 98.”  It was his intention to return for the Fourth Nemead in 2008 at the age of “almost 102” but broke his leg during his daily exercising routine a few weeks before the games.

As noted already in 1996  (“A Day at the Races” ) at the conclusion of the Footsteps of Herakles “ . . . throughout the stadium during those few moments as Nielsen ran on toward that ancient stone line – as he embodied the indomitable spirit of our human race, of the Olympic idea – men and women and children clapped their hands and cheered and wept and jumped with the joy of life and hugged one another, and we were one people.” 

LaGrand Nielsen inspired us and touched the best part of us.  We shall miss him.