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Spyros Louis Cup

Short film on the history of the 1896 Olympic Games that took place in Athens, Spyros Louis’s victory in the Marathon Race, and Michel Breal’s Silver Cup awarded to the winner.

On April 18, 2024, the Spyros Louis Cup began its journey to Paris to appear in the exhibition Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy.

On April 18, 2012, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) announced that it had acquired Bréal’s Silver Cup, the prize presented to Spyros Louis as the winner of the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. SNF acquired the cup at auction at Christie’s, where it was being offered for sale for the first time by the runner’s grandson.

SNF’s decision to participate in the auction was motivated by the Cup’s historical significance as both an Olympic artifact and an object of national significance for Greece. SNF simultaneously announced its commitment to make the Cup freely accessible to the public by putting it on display at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), where it has appeared since the SNFCC’s opening in 2016.

In the interim, more than 3.5 million visitors had the opportunity to view the Cup while it was on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens from September 2012 to August 2014 and April 2015 to January 2016. The Cup was also on view for six months from September 2014 to March 2015 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, coinciding with the International Marathon of Lausanne, which drew some 3,000 runners from around the world and gave them a chance to see this piece of Olympic and running history up close. Τhe Spyros Louis Cup was also temporarily on display at the Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games in Olympia in celebration of the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, which were ultimately postponed due to the pandemic.

From April to September 2024, the Cup will be on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris as one of the main exhibits of the temporary exhibition Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy, organized in collaboration with the French School at Athens to mark the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Until its return, the specially commissioned shadow sculpture Louis in the Louvre by artist Triantafyllos Vaitsis, which reveals images symbolic of the Cup's journey and history as it rotates, took the Cup's usual place at the SNFCC.

Booklet on the Spyros Louis’s Bréal Cup