The historic Cup, which is a symbol of the Olympic ideal and is inextricably associated with the First Olympic Games, will remain at the Olympic Museum for six months, allowing visitors from all around the world to admire this important artifact and learn about its history.
The Cup won by Spyros Louis was designed by Michel Bréal and was awarded to the Marathon Winner at the inaugural Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. In 2012, the Cup was acquired by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at an international auction. In doing this, the Foundation wanted to contribute to the repatriation of an extremely significant artifact for the history of Greece, with the sole aim of making it accessible to the Greek people in perpetuity. Keeping its original commitment of September 2012, the Foundation arranged for the public’s free access to the Silver Cup, by hosting it at the Acropolis Museum. During the last two years (September 2012-August 2014), more than two million people of all ages and nationalities visited the Acropolis Museum and had the opportunity to see the exhibit up close and be inspired by its symbolism. It is worth mentioning that, among those visitors, at least 300,000 were students from Greece and abroad.
Following its highly successful and popular residence in the Acropolis Museum for two consecutive years, the Silver Cup will now move for a limited time period to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, which boasts the largest Olympic Games archive in the world, and is one the most important tourist attractions in Lausanne with thousands of visitors every year. In this context, the Olympic Museum offers the ideal environment in terms of content, accessibility due to its geographic location, but also in terms of security, in order for the Cup to have a rightful place temporarily among the other commemorative artifacts of the Modern Olympics, promoting through its symbolism, the power of Greek history and the Olympic ideals.
In order for visitors to be better informed about its history and significance, the Cup will be accompanied by audiovisual and printed information material, during its stay at the Olympic Museum.
Following this six-month period, during which the Cup will be on display at the Olympic Museum, it will return to Greece; and, more specifically, be exhibited at the Acropolis Museum once again; in an area accessible without ticket purchase. From 2016 onwards, when the construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) will be completed, the historic Cup will be on permanent display at the SNFCC.
Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Board of Directors, said: “We are delighted that such an important part of Greek history will travel across borders, thus allowing the international community to get to know the Cup’s history and, through this, to experience the fortitude of the Greek Spirit. We hope that the Cup will inspire the visitors of the Olympic Museum and it is our sincere wish that, once this unique artifact finds its permanent place in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, it will continue to be a source of strength, pride and optimism for all of us.”