-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

It was a clear evening of June 2013
when we arrived in Olympia,
a small Greek city (in the Peloponez Peninsula)
with a decisive historical load.

On the next morning,
before starting to the seat of the antique Olympic Games
(which took place in between the 8th century BC and the 4th century AC,
when they were forbidden by the Roman Emperor Theodosius
in the name of Christianity)
I was happy to see the Sun and the Moon at the same time in the sky.

It is wonderful to visit Olympia,
Seat of original Olympic Games
Dedicated to the gods Zeus and Hera
Through intense and complex human flames.

It is wonderful to visit Olympia
And to be accompanied by the Sun and the Moon
Both as a great terrestrial achievement
And a usual heavenly boon.

Olympian and Olympic.
Olympian comes from Olympus,
the sacred mountain of the main twelve gods in antique Greece.
Olympic comes from Olympia,
the seat of the Olympic Games.
The two have in common even the supreme god Zeus,
patron of both Mount Olympus and Olympic Games.

Maybe Evangelos Zappas thought of these
when he admired the antique Temple of Zeus Olympion in Athens
and wanted to re-create the Olympic Games after 15 centuries,
changing their place from Olympia to the Capital of modern Greece.

Evangelos Zappas was morally a Greek man
born in 1800 in the Ottoman Empire (Albanese zone),
in a family of Vlach (Aromanian) origin.
He fought in the war for the independence of Greece,
and then he emigrated to Romania,
where he became very rich through his business in agriculture.
From this position he sponsored the first modern Olympic Games
(only with Greek participants,
after the antique model)
on the streets of Athens in 1859.

After his death in 1865,
the Romanian state broke it own laws
and renounced to keep Evangelos Zappas’ riches,
so the “Romanian” money was used by Greece for continuing his ideas
through his cousin, Konstantinos Zappas.

As a consequence,
the ruins of the ancient Panathenaic Stadium
were rehabilitated and transformed into the Olympic Stadium,
which hosted the (Greek) Olympics in 1870, 1875 and 1888,
then the international Olympic Games (initiated by a committee
led by the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin) in 1896,
the Intercaled Games (jubilee Olympics) in 1906
and the marathon finish at the Olympic Games in 2004.

At the same time,
part of the money made in Romania by Evangelos Zappas
was used for the creation of a symbolic Olympic Building
in the National Garden of Athens (close to the Temple of Zeus Olympion),
the Zappeion.

Now, nostalgically,
I must say that it is amazing that Romania,
the 58th country by population and the 83rd by area,
obtained, until today, 301 medals (from which 88 of gold) at the Summer Olympics,
that means the 13th place in the world in a specialized ranking.

And I feel indebted to formulate
my own conclusion.

Before throwing to Romania
More or less incorrect blames
Think that this country was co-founder
Of modern Olympic Games.

Finally I have to return to the Olympia Stadium,
where I dressed a gala t-shirt with the emblem of Romanian rugby.
Just because the first Olympic medal conquered by Romanians
(a bronze one in 1924 at Paris)
was the opera of the Romanian national rugby team.


© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)