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Olive branch wreaths from Greece to crown Boston Marathon winners

At the 36th Annual Wreath Ceremony, the Consul General of Greece, Stratos Efthymiou presented four olive branch wreaths to the Boston Athletic Association, which will be used to crown the winners of Monday’s 123rd running of the Boston Marathon.

The wreaths are offered in the name of Stylianos Kyriakides a true humanitarian, patriot, and marathon champion.  His 1946 Boston Marathon victory, over renowned marathoner Johnny Kelley, is still considered one of the most memorable in Boston Marathon history.  After his victory, Kyriakides stayed in the United States raising funds and medical supplies for his countrymen who were suffering from the aftermath of WW II.  Upon returning home he was met in the streets of Athens by a million people.

“We are very privileged to present these four gold wreaths, cut from the plains of Marathon, as a gift from the people of Greece.  These wreaths connect Boston and Greece with the Boston Marathon and the ideals of democracy and liberty,” says Efthymiou.

“Our own footrace owes its start to the 1896 revival of the Olympic Games in Athens,” said Boston Athletic Association President Dr. Michael O’Leary. “We are honored to continue the tradition of Apollo, crowning victors with olive wreaths, as we look to celebrate the 123rd year of Boston Marathon history. We graciously accept these wreaths both as an honor for Monday’s winners but also as a symbol of Boston’s bond with the people of Greece.”

“The Marathon is a time when the connection between our countries shines brightest,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “I’m very proud that we’ve been able to keep these beautiful traditions alive. And I thank you all for making this such a special event for the entire community. I look forward to presenting these wreaths to the champions on Monday!”

In a festive and multi-faceted ceremony, organized by Greek-American non-profit organization Alpha Omega Council, attended by over 400 people at Great Hall of Flags in the Massachusetts State House, the Consul General of Greece recognized 12 local student essayists chosen out of nearly 1,000 students from schools along the marathon route. The students are the winners of an essay contest on the historical significance of the Battle of Marathon, part of the “Boston Marathon educational initiative” which promotes classical education and civic responsibility through lectures, tours and educational visits.

Present at the ceremony were also representatives of the Boston Consular Corps, State Senators, elected dignitaries, former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis, the President of the Alpha Omega Council, Mr. Nick Ypsilantis, Mr. Tim Kilduff, Director 26.2 Foundation, and distinguished guests. CBS (WBZ-TV) Award-winning broadcast journalist and anchorwoman Paula Ebben served as the Ceremony’s Emcee.

The evening also honored WBZ TV for its ongoing dedication to covering the Boston Marathon and elevating awareness for the Wreath Ceremony’s importance and core values.  Mark Lund, President and GM of WBZ TV accepted the award.

The Consulate General of Greece in Boston represents Greece in New England. It is a bridge between Greece and the United States and the Greek-American Community, providing consular assistance and services and spearheading a series of initiatives for the promotion of business, cultural, scientific, sport and cultural ties between New England and Greece.

The Alpha Omega Council is a non-profit philanthropic organization based in Boston. Its mission is to promote loyalty and patriotism to the United States and to cultivate the ideals of Hellenism. -press release via prnewswires.

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