Commemorating the 120th Anniversary of the First Modern Olympic Games
Made possible by the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece
Ended September 2016
2016 is an Olympic year. And, like 2,792 years ago in 776 BC, when the first Olympics were held in ancient Olympia, thousands of disciplined and highly trained athletes, as well as spectators, will come together in the spirit of fair competition, the pursuit of excellence, and the potential of a peaceful and better world through sport.
2016 also marks 120 years since the revival of this uniquely Greek tradition in Athens in 1896, more than 1,500 years after Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great banned all such “pagan cults”. Without it, the Olympic Games and the Greek ideal of balance between mind and body, may have forever passed into the realm of obscure myth and legend.
On loan from the renowned Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece), a leading Hellenic cultural institution, the exhibit showcases a series of photographs by the official photographer of the 1896 Olympic Games, Albert Meyer. It provides an intimate glimpse of the first modern Olympic events and first Olympic victors. We are grateful to have this mutually beneficial working alliance with the Benaki Museum, the oldest and one of the most significant cultural centers in Greece. The Benaki Museum is the only museum in the world that covers the history and art of Greek Civilization from pre-historic times until today. The mission of the Benaki is to safeguard and promote Greek culture, to study the links between periods of Hellenism and their interaction with neighboring cultures, and to provide visitors, students, and scholars with a comprehensive narrative of the Greek impact on world history.
Remembered is also the first American Olympic team who went to Athens amid complete indifference from the U.S., some even expelled from Harvard; fourteen pioneers, who stunned the world with 11 Olympic championships, essentially creating the U.S. Olympic movement.
A digital section will take the visitor through a journey that traces the Games to their beginning in Olympia, highlighting the ancient athletic events and ceremonies. It will feature ancient athletes and their modern counterparts, who embody the Greek ideal of a sound mind and body, including some of our very own Greek American athletes.
The Benaki Museum, Athens Greece
Dr. George and Penny Korkos
John and Martha Cannis
Phil Bouzeos, President, National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament