5th day

March 29, 1896

Fortunately this day, so anxiously awaited, dawned more serene. From the very early hours there is unusual movement and feverish expectation. The reason for all this turmoil and expectation is that during this day the Marathon race is being carried out. From the very first day that the idea of the Games was promoted, all Greece looked first to this out of all the other events. By degrees and little by little, the idea was cultivated and took root that the winner of the Marathon race should be a Greek. This idea was dictated by Greek pride, and the easily explained desire that it should not be a foreigner who should take the prize of this most important of events, which was the race of 40 kilometres. Hence many promises and awards started to be announced. Hotel keepers, tailors, hair-dressers and other tradesmen, published declarations in the newspapers, promising that they would provide free to the happy victor of the Marathon race, if he were Greek, the services of this trade, some for a certain duration, and some for life, while others undertook to give awards or presents.

In the morning at 10 a.m. they resume in the Stadium the two gymnastic events postponed from the previous day

The Parallel Bars - Individual
Eighteen participate in this event, and the winner is declared the German gymnast Flatow.

Climbing the rope
In this event which is more spectacular and more difficult, five contestants take part. The Greek Andriakopoulos, member of the Panathenaean Club, who climbed with a skill to be envied and with rapidity, is declared the winner.

The contestants were sixteen and the winner is the American captain on the army of the U.S., John Paine, who won using his own personnel arm which he brought with him.

Those who did not have the good fortune to see the Panathenian stadium on this historic day, missed a sight of unprecedented grandeur. It is estimated that 70 thousand entered the stadium on that day.

Final of the 100 Metres
Among the six contestants, the winner is the Americal Burke.

The High Jump
The contestants must jump over a horizontal bar without knocking it down. The Lowest height is 1.50 metres. The more the height is increased the more difficult the jumping becomes. The competitors gradually drop out ant the American Clark remains as victor, having jumped 1.81 m.

The 110 Metres Hurdles Race
The event consists of a duel between the American Curtis and the Englishman Goulding. The winner is the American Curtis.

Pole Vault
This contest, being spectacular and interesting, succeeds to hold the interest of the public. Towards the end, this contest was interrupted and was concluded later, because the competitors in the Marathon race arrived.

The Marathon Race
Many had registered for this most important event, but most withdrew at the last moment, not feeling that they had enough strength. The remainder, about twenty-five, went to Marathon from the previous day together with the special committee. Around 2 p.m., the race started. Along the route many of the inhabitants of the villages of Attica have taken up positions awaiting the contestants and greet them with encouragement without any discrimination as to nationality, offering them refreshments. After Pikermi, many begin to feel the strain through fatigue and withdraw and get into the carriages that are following. Louis from Amaroussi, passing by the inn close to Pikermi, asks for and drinks a glass full of wine. When, at the 33rd kilometre, Louis catches up with the American favorite Flack, his victory is assured.

Meanwhile in the stadium, there is an agony of expectation. Finally, a man, sun-burnt, wearing white and covered in perspiration, enters. It is Louis, the victor of the Marathon race. As he arrives running, the Crown Prince and Prince George run with him, one on either side.

What happened at that moment in the stadium cannot be described. The whole crowd in the state of excitement celebrates the victory. The public shouts and the bands play the national anthem.

They are four pairs of athletes, but as night came, the final contest is postponed for the next day.

Festival in Piraeus
This historic day, so full of emotions, is concluded by a grand festival in Piraeus: lights, music, parade and fireworks consist the festivities which came to an end around midnight.

Days: 1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | 7th | 8th | 9th | 10th