Maroussi bids to keep hold of 1896 marathon winner's cup

The Municipality of Maroussi, the birthplace of Spyros Louis who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1896 Olympics, is collecting donations to prevent the cup awarded to the athlete at the first modern Games being auctioned.

Speaking to Skai radio on Tuesday, Maroussi Mayor Giorgos Patoulis said the local authority had opened a bank account to collect donations. He thinks that up to 190,000 euros would be needed to ensure that the cup is not auctioned.

Spyros Louis was presented with the cup, a silver medal, an antique vase, an olive branch and a diploma by Greece's King George I for winning the race in Athens. Louis was the only Greek athlete to win at the games and was hailed as a national hero.

Auction house Christie's says the engraved 15-centimeter cup had been in Louis's family for 116 years but will be sold by his grandson on April 18.

Louis's grandson, also called Spyros, said he would give proceeds to his children.

Patoulis criticized the Greek Culture Ministry for giving Louis permission to auction the cup. He said the ministry could have deemed the trophy a national treasure and prevented its sale.

“We are in contact with Christie’s so we can agree on a sum and prevent the cup going on auction,” said Patoulis.

The account opened by the municipality is GR2104314190000410300214464. For further details, donors are advised to call (+ 30) 

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