FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
Statue of Famed Greek Runners to be Unveiled in Greece
as Gift from Boston's New Balance
BOSTON, July 14/PRNewswire/ --- Two Cities to be Reunited by Magical
New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. announced today that it has commissioned a
bronze statue, entitled "The Spirit of the Marathon," of 1946 Boston
Marathon winner Stylianos Kyriakides, the champion Greek runner whose
victory helped bring food, medicine and world-wide attention to his
famine-wracked country after World War II, and Spiridon Louis, winner of
the 1896 Olympic Marathon. The 10-foot high statue will be unveiled August
9th in the Greek city of Marathon which is the starting point of the
marathon event during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The statue was
created by legendary sculptor Mico Kaufman of Tewksbury, Mass.
The winner of the 50th Boston Marathon, Kyriakides used his victory as a
call to action to aid his war and famine-ravaged homeland. Kyriakides, who
narrowly escaped execution during World War II during the Nazi occupation
of Greece, hadn't run in six years when he came to Boston in 1946, with the
help of Greek-American benefactors. He was emaciated from the lack of food
in war-ravaged Greece, and at one point was told by doctors in Boston he
wouldn't be allowed to run because they were afraid he would die in the
streets. That backdrop only added to the almost mythic race performance, in
which Kyriakides came on at the end to defeat the defending champion and
set the best time in the world for 1946. Nearly a million people greeted
him on his return to Athens in May of 1946, when he came back with boat
loads of food, medicine, clothing and other essentials donated by Americans
who read of his victory.
"These two cities may be separated by 4700 miles, but they will now have a
symbol that unites them by 26.2," says Jim Davis, Chairman and CEO of New
Balance and a Greek-American. "The modern marathon was birthed as the
epitome of elite athletic achievement in Greece and New Balance is proud to
highlight its popularization and appeal today as part of our Boston-based
love of the event."
The bronze monument, which was cast by New England Sculpture Service in
Chelsea, Mass., captures the spirit of Kyriakides and his mentor, marathon
champion Louis. Kaufman has "the great ability to humanize the official and
universalize the person," as was noted when he received the American
Numismatic Society Award. Kaufman has said, "If you should notice one of my
public sculptures, I would like you to stop and ponder on its subject. The
pause might refresh, inform and even inspire. My work reflects on the bonds
that substantiate our humanity."
Kaufman, a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, has ties to Boston and
the Greek communities, including portrait busts of former U.S. Senator Paul
Tsongas of Massachusetts and American General Costas Caraganis. The
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) commissioned
him to create the Aristotelian Award as well as the Order of AHEPA award.
"I hope this sculpture for Marathon will symbolize the friendship between
Boston and Athens, as well as the spirit of the 2004 Olympic Marathon,"
New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., headquartered in Boston, MA, is a leading
manufacturer of technologically innovative width-sized performance footwear
and athletic apparel for women, men, and children. The range of product
categories includes running, walking, cross training, basketball, tennis,
adventure, and kids. Dunham joined the New Balance family in Fall 1998.
Dunham an outdoor performance brand known for its technologies, innovations
and development of footwear that is lightweight, comfortable and inspired
by the world outside. New Balance acquired the rights to the PF Flyers
brand in February 2000. First introduced in 1937 by the B.F. Goodrich
Company, PF Flyers was re-launched in Spring 2003 as an authentic brand of
active casual footwear. Aravon(R) comfort performance brand footwear
debuted in January 2004 as an unsurpassed blend of fit, comfort, support
and style. In early 2004, New Balance acquired Warrior Lacrosse, widely
recognized as the world's most cutting edge manufacturer of lacrosse
equipment, after introducing the Warrior "Burn" by New Balance lacrosse
shoe. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. employs more than 2,600 people around
the globe, and in 2003 reported worldwide sales of USD$1.3 billion. For
more information please visit http://www.newbalance.com.
Source: New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.