Memories - 2004
The Third Modern Nemead
2 On March 25, 2004, a group of Nemeans travelled to Olympia to observe the lighting of the Olympic flame and the start of the Olympic Torch relay. Dressed in their blue Nemea T-shirts and equipped with information kits, their hope was to attract the attention of the international press.
3 On the floor of the ancient Olympic stadium, the flame was passed from the Priestess of Hera to the first runner in the relay on its way around the world and then back to Athens for the summer games.
4 The Olympic flame enters the Nemea stadium on its way to the Athens Olympics, March 30, 2004. The torch is carried by Valery Borzov, winner of the 100 meter and 200 meter races at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
5 Valery Borzov has lighted the flame on the Nemean Altar. It will later be transferred to the local church and kept alive there until the Nemean Games at the end of July.
6 The Cover of the Program for The Third Nemead, 2004.
7 Early morning on July 31, 2004, with the Nemean Altar being prepared by Slaves Elias Skazas, Nikos Benekos, Panayiotes Soteropoulos, and Matthew Kimball. They are overseen by former Governor of the Korinthia, Angelos Manolakis, who will light the altar later.
8 The ceremonies begin with a trumpet fanfare by members of the Nemea Philharmonic Band supplemented by three members of the University of California Band (and two photographers).
9 The Ephor of Antiquities for the Corinthia, Alexandros Mantis, gives some words of welcoming while former Governor Manolakis watches.
10 George Korkas has just handed the torch over to 96 year old La Grand Nielsen, back for his third Nemean Games, who will pass it on to Angelos Manolakis at the Altar.
11 Tent over the locker room is open for business.
12 The aryballoi, filled with oil, await the athletes.
13 Athletes prepare for the first race. From left: Bill Taylor, ??, ??, George Korkas.
14 Theodosios Zavitsas, who had discovered the starting line of the stadium in 1974 and the tunnel four years later, walks through that tunnel to take his place as the starter at that line.
15 The start of the first race with 96-year-old LaGrand Nielsen (with cap) in the second lane from the left. In the background the starter, Theodosios Zavitsas, has fallen.
16 The victor in the first race, Antonis Michailides ?, has his ribbon and his palm branch, and the others have caught their breathes as LaGrand Nielsen crosses the finish line. Of course, he was 25 years older than the victor.
17 In the third race of the day, U.K. Ambassador David Madden, who finished second in 2000, leads. Stephen Miller who finished last in 2000 is about to repeat four years later.
18 U.K. Ambassador, David Madden, celebrates his victory with the other athletes in his race who included Angelos Manolakis, Stephen Miller, George Katsoulis, Ioannes Nikolaou, and Fred Voorde (Miller’s friend from high school in Indiana 44 years earlier).
19 Angelos Manolakis and Stephen Miller make the long walk of the losers back to the locker room.
20 Kostas Georgiades, Rector of the International Olympic Academy, enters from the tunnel to the stadium.
21 Angelos Tsakopoulos, a long-time friend of Nemea, enters the stadium just in front of George Kostouros and Demetri Charalambous.
22 Nikos Makris, Professor of Seismic Engineering at the University of Patras and then Director of the Reconstruction of the Temple of Nemean Zeus, broke his collarbone because of a misstep in his race. At other Nemeads two participants broke their forearms. All have mended nicely.
23 Because of the Athens Olympics which took place two weeks after the Nemean Games in 2004, the media were particularly interested and omnipresent on July 31. Here Slave Stephen Miller answers questions while his fellow Slave Georgios Nikitakos looks for an escape route.
24 Dorie Klissas, a long-time Nemea friend and participant in earlier Nemeads, here interviews Miller in preparation for a live broadcast at Athens two weeks later on the American NBC “Today” show. Before that telecast, Miller will be forced to trim his beard which makes him look “too much like the unibomber.”
25 Slaves George Katsoulis and Stephen Miller prepare the awards table for the next group of runners, the women.
26 The trumpeter, Alexandros Basantiotes, signals the change of group and of judges.
27 The new judges for the women’s races: Niki Pritzi, Eirene Mouschoura, Gogo Papaioannou, and Georgia Malakou.
28 Herald Konstantina Kalkounia.
29 Herald Konstantina Kalkounia announces, in Greek, the name of the next runner from the list held by Slave George Nikitakos while Herald ?? waits to make the announcement in English. Trumpeter Alexandros Basaniotes and “mastigophoros” (peace keeper) Apostolos Delis watch the crowd.
30 Effie Miller’s dirty chiton betrays the spill she took during her race.
31 Another group has a problem when the starting mechanism malfunctions. The athletes at the left get a good start, but those at the right have to jump over the barrier cord, if they can get past it at all.
32 Herald Konstantina Kalkounia and Peace Officer Panayiotes Tsiros discuss the false start.
33 The next group gets off to a good start, and Barbara Rieger, a Nemea staff member, in the third lane has the early lead.
34 Barbara Rieger wins her race, and is led off by Judges Gogo Papaioannou and Georgia Malakou to collect her prizes.
35 Beribboned Barbara Rieger with her palm of victory, and her fellow runners.
36 Another group of young ladies begin to fill the lanes under the watchful eye of the Starter, Athanasios Karantases, and a Slave, Kostas Krasopoulakos.
37 Slave Kostas Krasopoulakos places athlete’s toes in proper position.
38 The judges check toe positions while Slave Christos Saisanas watches.
39 Slave Christos Saisanas cocks the arm of the starting mechanism.
40 The arm of the starting mechanism has been released and begins to throw the barrier cords to the ground.
41 The race is on!
42 A very young athlete leaves the locker room to go into the tunnel.
43 Judge Gogo Papaioannou collects a winner, but Judge Niki Pritzi (right) signals that there was a second winner – we have a tie!
44 The two winners each receive the ribbon and the palm of victory under the supervision of Judge Eirene Mouschara.
45 Chaos reigns in the locker room as the groups shift from female to male.
46 A herald who did not appear on time is replaced by Stephen Miller.
47 A judge who did not appear is replaced by George Katsoulis who has given the palm of victory to a winner. Next to him is Demetri Touloupas, then Greek Consul-General in San Francisco.
48 In a race for young men, Yannis Lolos, Professor at the University of Thessalia and former student at Berkeley appears to be leading, but the real leaders are already out of the picture. To the left of Lolos is Apostolos Delis, long-time member of the Nemea excavation staff.
49 The real winners in Lolos’ race are Nikos Theodorou (left) and Evangelos Andrianakos, former mayor of Leontion (1996) and now (2011) mayor of Nemea.
50 The Herald calls his name, and a very young athlete enters the stadium from the tunnel.
51 Another very young athlete comes to compete in the ancient Stadium of Nemea.
52 Drawing lots for lane assignments just like the big athletes.
53 Another lane assignment is drawn.
54 Judge Yannis Nakis places toes while Slaves George Tourgelis and Fred Voorde supervise.
55 Starter Antonis Kalkounias signals that the race is ready to begin.
56 Starter Antonis Kalkounias has pulled the release cord, the barrier cords are down, and the race will soon begin.
57 The youngest runners are running down the track.
58 The youngest winner has crossed the finish line and the others are still running.
59 Judge George Katsoulis adjusts the ribbon on the head of the winner who clutches his palm of victory proudly
60 While runners in the Footsteps of Herakles gather at Kleonai, Athena Trakadas prepares crowns of wild celery for the victors in the closing ceremonies.
61 A runner in the Footsteps of Herakles comes into the Stadium Park and turns toward the locker room.
62 In the locker room the shoes come off with the hope that they will still be there at the end.
63 More shoes come off under the watchful eyes of Herald Leon Petrakis.
64 The collection grows.
65 Barefoot runners leave the locker room to enter the stadium and complete the last lap of the Footsteps of Herakles.
66 Out of the tunnel, through the passageway, and onto the stadium track.
67 Women and erstwhile photographers come out of the tunnel. Did he really carry that camera all the way from Kleonai?
68 What camera? I want water.
69 The final barefoot lap around the Stadium. New footsteps added to ancient ones.
70 Back in the locker room, the runners of the Footsteps of Herakles dress, recover, and admire the victory palm.
71 The flags of the countries represented by the athletes participating in the Third Nemead await the closing ceremonies.
72 As Stephen Miller and Leon Petrakis prepare for their roles in the closing ceremonies, judges-to-be Ambassador S.O. Agbi (Nigeria) and Ambassador Jaroslav Chlebo (Slovakia) engage in locker room diplomacy.
73 Herald Leon Petrakis, equipped with his messages, prepares to enter the tunnel for the closing ceremonies.
74 Judges from Brazil, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Ireland pass through the tunnel on their way to the closing ceremonies.
75 The President of the Society, Aristoteles Kalles, attended by Trumpeter Jamie Haletky and Heralds George Kostouros and Leon Petrakis, addresses the closing ceremony of the Third Nemead.
76 General view of the closing ceremonies during Kalles’ speech. He was interrupted by the appearance of 96-year-old LaGrand Nielsen (black cap) who ran into the Stadium at the finish of the Footsteps of Herakles race. The attendant car tried to bring him back, but he refused, determined to finish the race himself. He did.
77 At the conclusion of his Footsteps of Herakles run, 96-year-old LaGrand Nielsen is awarded a crown of wild celery by Priest Stephen Miller to the applause of the whole crowd, including the Ambassador-Judges from Ireland (Ruaidhri Dowling), Lithuania (Danius Junevicius), Slovakia (Jaroslav Chlebo), and Brazil (Roberto Cruz). The white-clad lady at the right is Nielsen’s 70-year-old daughter, Deon Nielsen Price.
78 The victors enter the stadium clad in their T-shirts of the Third Nemead and the ribbon of victory, and carrying their palm of victory. Note their flower-strewn path: the modern equivalent of the ancient “leaf-throwing” (phyllobolia).
79 The victors, arranged in the order of their competitions (generally from the oldest to the youngest) come forward as the herald calls their names. Here is Vangelis (Lakis) Vyrozis from Edessa who also won in 2000.
80 A winner receives her crown of wild celery from Judge S. O. Agbi (Ambassador of Nigeria) while Herald Leon Petrakis calls out her name.
81 As daylight fades and the flags fall limp, the winners of the Third Nemead have their crowns of wild celery.
82 The flame on the Nemean Altar is extinguished with Nemean Earth by the Judges (in black) and the Priestesses of Nemean Zeus (in white), from the left: S. O. Agbi (Nigeria), Pamela O’Donnell (Canada), Ruaidhri Dowling (Ireland), Jaroslav Chlebo (Slovakia), and Karen Decker (U.S.A). They are attended by Slaves George Nikitakos (center) and Matthew Kimball (right), and Priest Stephen Miller.
83 With the flame extinguished, Trumpeter (and Nemean victor) Jamie Haletky plays taps, echoed from the rim of the stadium by Eric Meyer and Alex Stewart. The Third Nemead has ended.