By Avery Van Reeth & Ross Wirthman
By Bredan Buckley
Today we woke up in the region of Peloponnese, the southern isthmus of Greece. We spent the night in Tripoli which is in the center of the region and about half way between Olympia, which we visited the day before and the north-east area of the region which we are scheduled to visit today. Our hotel in Tripoli was by far the most luxurious we stayed in yet and had the best selection of breakfast options as well.
Everyone grabbed all their bags and headed across the plaza to our tour bus, piled on and for the most part fell back asleep on the bus. We had a bit of a drive ahead of us, as well as a long day, so this was probably a good strategy. After about two hours we arrived at our first stop, the ancient city of Mycenaean.
This city was the home of Agamemnon who was considered most famous for winning the Trojan war. This period and the stories of the Illiad and the Odyssey by Homer were generally considered fables or legend until the late 19thcentury when the ruins were found here and determined to be the actual home of Agamemnon and Helen of Troy. The fact that the site was found so recently contributed to one grave site having over thirteen kilograms of gold still buried with the family which is now on display in the archeological museum in Athens.
What is generally believed to be the tomb of Agamemnon was not so fortunate and when archeologists entered, it was completely empty. Well mostly empty. In the tomb portion of the site there were bats. We also found out our tour guide Sjoerd is afraid of bats.
We met up with a group of Dutch senior citizens who were on a seven week RV tour of Europe. Meeting other travelers on our trip has been enjoyable and informative.
The gift shop was disappointing. The Greeks have a lot to learn from the Catholics. And Disneyland.
We were back on the bus around noon and heading toward Epidaurus. The real gem of Epidaurus is the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus which was built in the third century B.C. and the upper level was added in the second century B. C.
This theater is not the biggest example from ancient Greece, but it is the most well preserved. Even today there is an annual summer festival here and no audio enhancement is necessary because of the superior acoustics of the theater.
Our local guide had us clap from the center of the theater and we could hear the acoustics of the theater in action. Then Patch sang Maroon 5 “She Will Be Loved” from the center of the theater to test the acoustics. He did a great job.
An hour later and we were back on the bus to Corinth. The lack of sleep is catching up to many in the group. Every time we are on the bus, many people are asleep within 15 minutes.
They are missing some beautiful countryside and shore line views.
We stopped in Corinth for lunch.
At 3:00 we entered the ancient ruins, starting at the temple of Apollo.
It was unique because the columns are monolithic (made from one piece of marble) which we have not seen up until this point in the trip. Corinth was the first city in Greece to mint its own coins. Corinth has 2 ports, Agean sea and Ionian Sea. St Paul introduced Christianity to Greece. Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months and wrote two letters, First and Second Corinthians in the Bible.
Because Corinth is an isthmus, creating a canal has long been a goal of the Greek people. Construction started on the canal in 1884 and finished ten years later in 1894. The Canal separates Peloponnesus from main land Greece.
The canal is 6.5 KM long, 30 meters deep, and has 900 meter walls down to the water. It cost 80 Euro to bungee jump from the bridge.
The ride back there was much discussion of everyone’s favorite part of the trip so far. Everyone was on their own for dinner. Several folks went up to the roof top terrace of our hotel to enjoy the evening and the views. Everyone is looking forward to our free day in Athens tomorrow.
By Gabriela Paczko Bozko Cecchini & Nasra Hirsi
We started the day very early, as usual, so that we could have a good breakfast at the hotel in Athens and then take the bus to go to Olympia. The bus ride was about four hours, a fact that was very useful, because we could catch up on our sleep. We arrived at Olympia at around noon, and then had a quick lunch. The village was very charming, with many restaurants and souvenir shops. Most of us had a gyro, the famous Greek street food.
After lunch, we took the bus to the International Olympic Academy, which is the World Center for the Olympic Education. The institution, created in 1961 in a joint effort from the Hellenic Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, is the true heart of the Olympic Movement, as it unites both its components of Philosophy and Education. Once there, we could walk for a little bit in the facilities of the IOA, which comprise multiple rooms to accommodate the students, a restaurant, conference rooms and multiple classrooms. We were very impressed with the size of the institution and the beautiful disposition of the buildings, in a semicircular fashion.
We then walked to the Archive of the 2004 Olympic Games, which is the only archive for an edition of the Olympic Games that exists in the world. There, our guide George, showed us a video that detailed the story of the organization and its aims. In the video, we learned more about the conception of IOA by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the Modern Olympic Games, who wanted to create an institution to support and encourage the development of the Olympic values around the world. Further, we could get more details about the current projects being held at IOA, like the Young Participants and the Masters Programme in Olympic Studies.
After the video, looked at the Archive for the 2004 Olympic Games. It had both a vastness of documents and publications about the event, and many original artifacts from it: posters, clothes worn by the volunteers, and even the Olympic medals! It was extremely special to be in that place and to be able to see objects from one edition of the biggest sports celebration of the world.
In the afternoon, we went to Olympia, the place where the Ancient Olympic Games were held. Having the opportunity to go to Olympia was an amazing experience. Olympia is as beautiful as we expected it to be and the people who reside there are really kind. During the tour of the archeological site and the museum it felt like we were transported back in time to the first Olympic games. The tour allowed us to get an in-depth idea into the rich history of Olympia and the games that occurred there. We were able to learn about the importance of sports during Olympia, and even how they were able to stop wars, due to a treaty created back then that prohibited all types of wars during the Olympic games.
During the tour, we were able to get a better grasp on how sports shaped ancient Greece and its people. We learned that the Olympic games were religious and sacred, played to honor Zeus. Only non-slave men who were from Greece could participate in them. Because of that, at the time, women decided to create their own games, where they honored the goddess Hera. A second interesting fact about the ancient Greeks was the belief that training your body allowed a person to have self-control and was the only way a person could achieve physical perfection. Finally, we also learned that the Olympic Games were created in a moment when Greece was not an united country, but several city-states, so the Games served to unite all Greeks and make them realize that they were stronger together.
After the tour, we took the bus and drove to Tripoli, a small city where we are going to spend the night. It was definitely an unforgettable day, in which we were able to engage in a deeper level with the Olympic movement, both in its roots, when we visited Olympia, and in its current actions, in the OIA. We are very grateful for having had the opportunity to visit these places and to learn in locoabout the importance of sports for humankind, from the ancient Olympic Games to nowadays.
By Patrick Butler & Tad Bogielski
Our first full day in Athens, Greece started off with some very informational lectures. The first lecture was from Mike Argyris. Mike was the Race Director of the very first Ironman Greece. This specific Ironman took place in Peloponnese and was a ½ Ironman or an Ironman 70.3. Peloponnese is a peninsula located in southern Greece. The Ironman Greece is a ½ Triathlon which consists of a 2km swim in the ocean, a 90km bike ride, and a ½ marathon all together. Last year was the very first Ironman Greece and in that first year of the race there were 1500 participants from 62 different countries. With such a high volume of participants the race required 1000 people working, 650 were volunteers and 350 were paid workers. In total the Ironman Greece was 700,000 Euros to put on, or about $800,000. On top of the background knowledge, we were learned about the importance of a brand association. Many people around the world understand the amazing feat it is to complete an Ironman or a ½ Ironman. Thus the association of companies with the Ironman Brand have improved their value, and their perception to the public. Brand association is something that can be extremely influential to a company’s success.
The 2nd lecture was from Tota Golfinopoulou and Eleftheria Petrides who work as event managers for the Athens Marathon. Our lecture covered a lot of the great history that is associated with the Athens Marathon. It is called “The Authentic” because Athens is the birthplace of the very first Marathon. In ancient times Grigoris Lobrakis ran from the city Marathon to Athens to inform the Athenians they had won the Persian War. The Authentic Marathon starts in Marathon and ends at the Panathenaic Stadium, which was the location of the 1st modern Olympic Games. This distance from Marathon to Athens is what is used for today’s race distances. In the past 10 years the race has increased its participants from 10,750 to 60,000+ registered for the 2019 race. With this exponential growth the race ranks 14th in the world in participants, as well as Top 5 in Europe. We also learned about the Marathon Flame that The Authentic Marathon created. This flame is lit before the Athens Marathon at the opening ceremony each year at the Marathon Tomb. The Marathon Tomb is the location of Athenians graves after the Persian war. The course is one of the most historic courses in the world and is a must run course that most marathon runners have on their bucket list.
The 3rd lecture was from Panthinaikos BC, a very well-known basketball team in Greece. The lecture was from the General Manager, Themistocles Karvountzis. Panthinaikos BC is a professional team in Greece that competes in the Euroleague, The Greek League and The Greek Cup. They have a very rich history, and are one of the most successful European teams of the last 100 years. Due to this success they have been able to regularly fill their 18.5k capacity stadium and average around 10,000 season tickets sold in recent years. On top of ticket sales they attract big name players to their team; they have featured many former NBA Players like Dominque Wilkins, Kosta Koufos and Kostas Antetokounmpo. The team is currently coached by former Louisville head coach, Rick Pitino. On top of being a very successful team Panthinaikos is doing amazing things for the city. They recently started an Autism Spectrum Disorder Program. This program allows for local children with ASD to come together to learn sport, be active and have fun.
After our speakers, we headed over to the site of the 2004 Olympics. It was a massive complex full of the stadiums used for the games. The first arena we visited with our tour guide was the Main Olympic Stadium. Events like Track and Field and Soccer were the main use of this stadium. This is also the location used for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2004 Olympic Games. Our tour guide told us how the stadium’s roof was made, 25,000 square meters with a capacity of 72,000 seats. Now, after the games are said and done, the stadium is used primarily for soccer games for AEK Athens and the Panathinaikos F.C. She also stated how it is a great venue for concerts.
Our next stop was the indoor and outdoor swimming pools used for the games. The bleacher seats used for the outdoor pool looked to be a little run down and not in use. However, the outdoor pool is used daily! Adults like to use the pool for recreational swimming. On the inside, the pool is always busy with action. The indoor facility receives 60,000 swimmers annually and the ages range from 6 months old all they way into older adults. After the non-permanent seating for the Olympics was removed, the stands can fill an audience of 5,506. This indoor stadium is also the home of where Michael Phelps broke and set the Olympic Record.
We ended our day with a bike tour around the city center of Athens. The big group split into two smaller ones, however, we received the same tour. One group set off going clockwise around the Acropolis why the other group went counterclockwise. The first stop on the tour was atop the Filopappou Hill. It is a park within the city limit where you can get a fantastic view of the Parthenon and the rest of the Acropolis. The hill is about the same height as the Acropolis so you are able to take in all its glory from afar before visiting the Acropolis itself. The word “acropolis” comes from “acro” and “polis” which translates to “high or heights” and “city.” Most Greek city-states have their own acropolis but this is the most famous one. The Parthenon was an important temple to the ancient Athenians since it was dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena, who is their patron. Unfortunately we were not able to make it atop the Acropolis by bike so we are climbing the hill Sunday.
Later in the tour we visited the first stadium of the modern Olympics, the Panathenaic Stadium. It is here where the events of the 1896 Summer Olympics were held. The stadium is shaped similarly to that of an amphitheater. It is completely made out of marble and when it was created it held 50,000 spectators. Due to erosion, it has lost 5,000 seats over the course of time but it is still quite impressive for being built in the 6th century B.C. Today, the stadium is the finish point for the Athens Marathon (which starts in Marathon Town). Marathon Town is a small city outside of Athens which is exactly 42.2 km away.
By Brennon Davis & Dan Frank
After finishing our tour, we headed back to the hotel because of a late check out time. People were scrambling trying to get packed but were locked out because we missed our check out window. Immediately after we headed to the airport to hop on a flight to Athens, Greece. After waiting for about an hour to board, we finally took off and headed to our second country, Greece. We met our guide and hopped on the bus to finally check into the hotel and complete our long and adventurous day. We cannot wait to explore the city tomorrow!
By Lexi Miller & Lauren Tischer
We began our day early as we left the hotel around 8:00 am for our lecture of the day. After two bus rides we arrived at CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committee, where we heard our speaker Giovanni Malagò, the president of CONI.
During our lecture Giovanni Malagò discussed the Milano and Cortina Olympic candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. These two cities offer such different advantages for the games, they are both being bidded, which is the first time ever for this to happen. Milano is a more modern capital which is better for hosting families, and its location is better suited for the necessary indoor facilities. While, Cortina on the other hand is made up of mountains and what not which makes it better suited for the outdoor events such as snowboarding and alpine skiing. He also mentioned that there was going to be a large focus on their values which included flexibility, efficiency and sustainability.
After this lecture, we all made our way back to the hotel to grab lunch. We had to fuel up in order to make it through the bike tour we had coming up. The other day we did a city bike tour of Rome, while this time was a country-side bike tour of the outskirts of Rome, more specifically along the ancient Appian Way. Let me just say, this was an adventure. Definitley not what anyone was expecting and completley different from the previous bike tour. So the Appian Way is one of Romes ancient roads that connected Rome to Brindisis, southeast Italy, consturcted about 2000 years ago. Along this trail we saw several historical sights including the Villa Di Massenzio, Mausoleum of Romulus, Mausoleum of Cecillia Metellia and lastly Capo di Bove.
The bike tour started out pretty slow as it took us a decent amount of time to bike out of the city and get to the backroads. By the time we got to backroads, we immediately began biking up long steep hills that would eventually lead us to where we were going (which coincidently, incorporated only more hills to bike up). The beginning of the bike tour was made up of beautiful picture taking, historical sight-seeing, great city views; meanwhile the end was more so revolved around dodging large rocks and riding bumpy gravel roads attempting to not fly off the bike just to make it out alive. Safe to say, it was not easy – but we did indeed make it!
Once we reached about half way through the bike trip, we landed at this stone water hole that allowed us to refresh and quench our thirst with fresh spring water from the castle. Here is a picture of the stone watering fountain along with the two tour guides who led us around.
Getting to this point seemed like it was a lot simpler than getting back from this spot. The tour guide even said, “don’t ride on this part of the street because it’s not healthy because how bumpy it is,” which should have been the firest warning sign! The way back seemed to be steeper, bumpier and filled with more rocks and ditches. After being brutually tortured by these gravel roads and bumps, we thought we were close to th end. But next thing we knew we are sprinting across the road to get to a grassy area, with again, more hills. Another warning sign we should have taken in to account was then the guide warned us about making sure we stay single file in order to make it up the hill and emphasizing the idea of a need for speed. Here is a picture of the trail we began blazing at this time.
At this point, everyone was already wondreing how we got on this bike tour in the first place and questioned if we are going to make it out alive. Chains were falling off, people were falling off, there were overgrown plants, gravel, mud, sandy paths and who knows what else; we even passed a chicken coup.
Even though everyone emerged unscathed, everyone experienced sour bums, tired legs and scratches and bruises, but all of that came along with good pictures, fun stories and memories (and a different view on country bike tours) which made all the troubles worth it.
By this time, everyone was a little hangry. It’s been a while since we last ate and we just biked through rocks and gravel, so everyone was ready to settle down. When we landed at the bike stop everyone eargerly dispursed to different places for food. Before we got food, we stopped by Vaticain City to see the St. Peters Square. The building and area were gorgeous and we couldn’t help but capture the moment. Here is what we got.
We carried on with more picture taking and slowly made our way to a highly recommended pizza place, PizzaZizza. This has to be my favorite restaurant thus far. The atmosphere was so enjoyable and the pizza was even more enjoyable. They serve you a platter of several different pizzas for you to “sample”. Along with the pizza, we all got drinks that we desperately needed after the long bike ride we participated in.
After enjoying the end of our day at this cute little place, we made our back to the hotel. This was not as easy as we planned and took us quite some time to figure out. But all is good cause we made it back alive and well and continued to carry on with the rest of our night. When we got back to the hotel we all joined in one room and hung out for the rest of the night. Times like these are what we will appreciate coming out of the trip as these are friendships we will cherish forever.
ROMA! ROMA! ROMA!
By Jyvel Tolbert & Frank Liu
Day 3 was a busy day for our group. Over the course of the day we attended the Italian Open (a.k.a., The Internazionali BNL d’Italia) at the Foro Italico venue, had free time, attended our first lecture on the trip, and attended the AS Roma vs. Juventus soccer match.
Our day began with a 9am breakfast at the hotel, then we left the hotel and made our way to the Foro Italico venue for the Italian Open. Upon arrival, people were just beginning to file in. We received our tickets, checked in, and began to explore. As a group we went to the first court and took a glimpse at the match that was going on. One thing that surprised me about the courts is that most of the seats are made of marble. It was pretty cool. After we took a glimpse of the match that was going on, we split our different ways and explored the venue. Some people went to get food, while others went and checked out the apparel stores. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any big name tennis players while we were there, but we all had fun, took some great pictures, and enjoyed our time there!
After we left the Italian Open, we went back to the hotel and relaxed until we had lecture. Our lecture went over the European Multi Sport Club Association and within this association, we focused on the Lazio SS organization. This lecture was given by Gabriella Bascelli. Through the lecture we learned some important facts about Lazio SS and the European Multi Sport Club Association. We learned when they were founded (Lazio SS:Jan. 9th, 1900, European Multi Sport Club Association: Jan. 8th, 2013), we learned that Lazio SS has over 70 clubs ranging from Ballet to Soccer to Cricket. We also learned that athletes start club sports around the age of 3 and they could potentially go professional around the age of 14 to 15 years of age. The lecture was very informative. Overall, we learned a great deal about Lazio SS and the European Multi Sport Club Association.
As night falls we began to make our way back to the Foro Italico, where the city turns its focus on the marquee matchup between AS Roma and Juventus. Roma was struggling for a champions league spot so this match had great importance, especially because Juventus is dominating league performance.
Our gameday experience started with a long bus ride. There were countless fans waiting at almost every stop since we got on and unfortunately for them, we filled up the entire bus.
Stadio Olimpico, the home stadium for AS Roma, also did not disappoint. The fans built up a great atmosphere from miles away from the stadium right up to the gate itself. Our tickets were also at the very top of the stadium so the view was also stunning.
The game itself was full of excitements and had all the elements of a great soccer game. Juventus came out strong in the first half and controlled most possessions. Even without half of their normal starting lineup, they still managed to create many lethal chances. However, Roma goalkeeper Mirante was actually having his game of the season and saved three one on one attempts that would have put Juventus ahead. Roma being dominated by Juventus helped build up this tension for most of the game that actually made the game so much more interesting. In fact, it wasn’t until the 79th minute that Roma finally capitalized on a Juventus turnover and captain Alessandro Florenzi managed to chip it over Juventus Goalkeeper Szczesny to take the lead in the game. From that point Juventus started to panic a bit and eventually gave up a second goal to another Roma counter attack in the 92nd minute. Overall, it was just a great experience as Roma is one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs and has that rich history. It was such a great evening to witness top tier European soccer inside this amazing venue.
The biking was a lot of fun, but it was quite the experience. We were riding on the bumpy cobblestone roads and it was really hard weaving through all of the crowds on the thin streets. We saw lots of vendors trying to sell selfies sticks and phone charges to all of the tourists. But riding the bikes gave us such a cool experience, being able to see eveyrthing in such a short amout of time and really feeling the wind blow as we flew around the historic city.
Both groups met back up to drop off their bikes and we were planning on taking the bus back but there was a demonstration that was occurring that shut down a lot of the busses, so we made the three mile hike back to the hotel.
After arrriving at the hotel, everyone was ready for a break and another meal. We grabbed a quick dinner down the street and hit the hay to rest up for our longest and busiest day tomorrow.
From May 10th-20th, KNSISM 3798 (European Model of Sports) will be traveling to Italy and Greece. Visit this site for daily updates on our trip (written by students in the class).
Interviews with some of our students about our trip to Germany and the Czech Republic in May.