Olympic marathon cup goes on sale

A silver cup awarded to Spyros Louis, the Greek runner who won the first Olympic marathon in 1896, is set to be sold at a London auction on Wednesday.

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 his Athens victory over 25 miles (40 kilometers) -- slightly shorter than the modern marathon.

Auction house Christie's says the engraved 6-inch (15-centimeter) cup had been in Louis's family for 116 years.

Louis's grandson, also called Spyros, has said he will give proceeds estimated at 143,000-190,000 euros to his children.

“I have two children and the most important thing for me is to ensure that they are looked after as well as possible. It is always going to be impossible to split a cup,” he told AP in a recent interview.

Louis's grandfather qualified for the marathon in the inaugural 14-nation Olympics by finishing fifth in a qualifier.

He took the lead a few kilometers from the end after a competitor ahead of him collapsed and was cheered across the line by more than 80,000 spectators at the Panatheneic Stadium.

Louis was the only Greek athlete to win at the games and was hailed as a national hero.

The Municipality of Maroussi, the birthplace of the legendary runner, had been collecting donations to prevent the cup awarded to the athlete at the first modern Games being auctioned. Some 300 thousand euros were collected. [AP/Kathimerini]

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