Greek runner Sylianos Kyriakides has been a national legend since he won the 50th Boston Marathon for Greece in 1946.
On that day, April 20, Kyriakides had come from his civil war-ravaged homeland and had even sold his furniture beforehand to afford a single plane ticket from Greece.
Needless to say, few expected him to emerge victorious in the race.
Kyriakides’ subsequent triumph is stuff of legends. His final time of 2:29:27 was the fastest marathon time of 1946 — and 14 minutes faster than his previous personal best.
Following the race, Kyriakides stayed in the United States for close to a month to raise funds and awareness about the plight of the Greek people. His victory increased American sympathy for Greece and led to massive publicity about the country’s post-war economic struggles.
When Kyriakides returned to Greece on May 23, 1946 he arrived with 25,000 tons of supplies in American aid — including $250,000 in cash. Approximately one million Greeks greeted him as a hero and the Athens Acropolis was illuminated in his honor.
During coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, NBC aired a mini documentary about the life of Kyriakides.
See the full documentary
Will you Support The Pappas Post for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee per month?
Is The Pappas Post worth $5 a month for all of the content you read? On any given month, we publish dozens of articles that educate, inform, entertain, inspire and enrich thousands who read The Pappas Post. I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep the quality of our content high — and free. Visit our Patreon page and start your monthly support today.