Spyros Louis’s Bréal Cup

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012 - Sunday, 31 August, 2014

The marathon, the most popular and revered of all events on the sporting calendar, owes its existence to Michel Bréal. It was Bréal, who suggested this race be included in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896, and created a special cup to be awarded to the winner. The race was held on the last day of the first Olympics, and it turned out to be the most anticipated and dramatic of all the events. The victory of a Greek runner, Spyros Louis, moreover, triggered a wave of enthusiasm in Athens and it provided a fitting climax to the successful revival of the Olympic Games.

Commencing Tuesday 28 August 2012, the Acropolis Museum presents the historic ‘Bréal Cup’ awarded to Spyros Louis, the winner of the marathon race at the inaugural Modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896.

The Silver Cup, trophy donated by the famous philhellene and linguist Michel Bréal, was acquired in an auction held at Christie’s on 18 April 2012 by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The Cup will be displayed in the Acropolis Museum foyer until December 2015, with free entry during Museum opening hours.

Related resources:

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

The Bréal Cup Booklet