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Monday, June 18, 2012

Olympic history was the talk at the Embassy of Greece

One of the photographs at the"Olympic Memorabilia" exhibit at the Embassy of Greece is this one of the 1896 100 meters semifinal race.  American Thomas Burke, second from left, was the winner.  Note the different starting positions.  His was controversial because it was deemed uncomfortable and unfair, but the Olympic Committee allowed it/International Olympic Committee

Last week at the Embassy of Greece in Washington, there was no mention of the critical vote Sunday in the homeland; the talk was all Olympics at the opening of a new embassy exhibit, "Olympic Memorabilia."

Photographs dating from 1894 of Olympic athletes and artifacts make up the exhibit. The pictures and some of the original items featured in the photographs were included in an exhibition last month in Athens at the World Olympics Collectors Fair, an embassy official said.

Artist Yoshiko Oishi Weick holds a replica of an Olympic torch at the Embassy of Greece/Patricia Leslie


Welcoming visitors to the opening of the Washington event were embassy and Olympic Committee officials, and an Olympic basketball star, Tom McMillen, who later became a Democratic congressman from Maryland.  Mr. McMillen was a team member for the U.S. in 1972 which ended in a highly controversial ruling in the contest versus the Soviet Union.

Tom McMillen at the Embassy of Greece/Patricia Leslie

Because officials kept re-setting the clock to favor the Soviet athletes, Mr. McMillen said, they collected the gold medal.  The U.S. team voted unanimously to boycott the medal ceremony and refused to accept their silver medals which are in a vault in Lausanne, Switzerland.  (Read the Wikipedia account of the game and the controversy.)

Before he talked about the game, Mr. McMillan recalled the horror of the murders of the 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic site in Munich.

On July 27 the 2012 Summer Olympics shall begin in London.

What: "Olympic Memorabilia" pictorial exhibition

When: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. until August 31, 2012

Where: The Embassy of Greece, 2217 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Cost:  No charge

Metro station:  Dupont Circle  (Connecticut Avenue and Q Street exit) and walk .25 mile to the embassy or ride the L2 bus towards Chevy Chase Circle after you get off Metro

For more information: 202-939-1300

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