• 500 Drachmes 2000, KM# 179, Greece, Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, Spyridon Louis
  • 500 Drachmes 2000, KM# 179, Greece, Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, Spyridon Louis
Description

The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad and commonly known as Athens 2004, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004 with the motto Welcome Home.

2004 marked the return of the games to the city where they began. Having previously hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1896, Athens became one of only four cities to have hosted the Summer Games on two separate occasions.

A new medal obverse was introduced at these Games, replacing the design by Giuseppe Cassioli that had been used since the 1928 Games. This rectified the long-lasting mistake of using a depiction of the Roman Colosseum rather than a Greek venue. The new design features the Panathenaic Stadium.

There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports. The final medal tally was led by the United States, followed by China and Russia with host Greece at 15th place.

Obverse

Depicts a standing figure of Spyros Louis between two rows of trees, the Tomb of Marathon in the background and the words "Olympic Champion Spyros Louis".

Spyridon "Spyros" Louis (1873–1940) was a Greek water-carrier who won the first modern-day Olympic marathon at the 1896 Summer Olympics, thereby becoming a national hero.

In Marathon, Colonel Papadiamantopoulos gave the starting signal for the small field, consisting of thirteen athletes from Greece and four from other nations. The early leader of the race, which led over dusty dirt roads along which throngs of Greeks had gathered to watch, was the Frenchman Albin Lermusiaux, who had earlier placed third in the 1500 metres. In the town of Pikermi, Louis made a stop at a local inn to drink a glass of wine. After asking for the advantage of the other runners, he confidently declared he would overtake them all before the end.

After 32 km, Lermusiaux was exhausted and abandoned the race. The lead was taken over by Edwin Flack, an Australian who won the 800 and 1500 m races. Louis slowly closed in on Flack. The Australian, not used to running long distances, collapsed a few kilometers onwards, giving Louis the lead.

In the stadium, the atmosphere was tense, especially after a cyclist brought the news that the Australian was in the lead. But another messenger was sent out by the police as soon as Louis moved into the lead, and as the word spread that it was a Greek that led the race, the cry "Hellene, Hellene!" was taken up by thousands of rapturous spectators. When Louis finally arrived in a stadium erupting with joy, two Greek princes – Crown Prince Constantine and Prince George – rushed to meet him and accompanied him on his final lap for a finishing time of 2:58:50.

2000
Γ.Στ. ΙΓρ.
Ο ΟΛΥΜΠΙΟΝΙΚΗΣ ΣΠΥΡΟΣ ΛΟΥΗΣ

Reverse

Depicts the official emblem of the Olympic games, surrounded by the inscription, value below, a palmette (the mint mark of the Greek Mint) on the left bottom.

The emblem of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games is a simple and timeless olive wreath. Representing Athens and athletic supremacy, it is the 'circle of life'.

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ
ΤΜΟ
ΑΘΗΝΑ 2004
500
ΔΡΑΧΜΕΣ

Edge
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Copper Nickel
Weight 9.54 g
Diameter 28.5 mm
Thickness 1.98 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Bank of Greece

Related coins

Crypt of Olympia

Athens 2004 Summer Olympics

Copper Nickel, 9.54 g, ⌀ 28 mm