At the 40th Boston Marathon Wreath Ceremony, held at the Consulate General of Greece in Boston, Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, Greece, presented four olive branch wreaths from Greece to the Boston Athletic Association, which will be used to crown the winners of Monday’s 126th running of the Boston Marathon.
“I am honored to present these four gold wreaths, cut from the plains of Marathon, as a gift from Greece. These wreaths connect Athens with the Boston Marathon and the ideals of democracy and peace,” said Bakoyannis.
“It is an honor for us to be here at the Boston Marathon Wreath ceremony,” said BAA President Dr. Michael O’Leary. “Boston is the Athens of America. This describes our cultural, and intellectual traditions and our legacy of democracy.”
Also present at the ceremony as a special guest was the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen A. Theoharides, the first female Greek-American Secretary in Massachusetts.
The wreath presentation was cosponsored by the Consulate General of Greece in Boston and the Alpha Omega Council of Boston, a Greek-American philanthropic group. “The Marathon is a time when the connection between our countries shines brightest.” said Alpha Omega President Costa Sideridis. “I’m very proud that we’ve been able to keep these beautiful traditions alive and help remind all of the Boston Marathon’s roots in Ancient Greece.”
The wreaths are offered in the name of Stylianos Kyriakides, a true humanitarian, patriot, and marathon champion. His 1946 Boston Marathon victory, over renowned marathoner Johnny Kelley, is still considered one of the most memorable in Boston Marathon history. After his victory, Kyriakides toured the United States raising funds and medical supplies for his countrymen who were suffering from the aftermath of WW II and their heroic resistance to Nazism. Upon returning home he was met in the streets of Athens by a million people.
The following day, at the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Boston Marathon, the Mayor of Athens presented the BAA with the gold-plated wreaths. The event took place in Boston’s Copley Square, steps away from the famous marathon finish line.