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 (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 (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.
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.
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.