On This Day in 1912: Konstantinos Tsiklitiras wins gold at the Olympics


By Ilektra Takuridu

Konstantinos Tsiklitiras was a well-known Greek athlete who rose to prominence after winning a gold medal in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, in the event standing long jump.

Konstantinos was born in Pylos on the 30th October 1888 and moved to Athens early in his adult life to study.

Standing at 1.89m tall, Konstantinos was exceptionally tall and athletic. He participated in many sports, including playing football for Panathinaikos, water polo and standing long jump and standing high jump.  He was most known as a track and field athlete who belonged to the Panhellenic Gymnastic Society. He won the Greek championship 19 times.

During his Olympic career, Konstantinos earned one gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal. In the 1908 London Olympics he competed in the standing long jump and standing high jump, winning silver medals in both events. 

(Left: Olympedia.org) (Right: iEllada.gr)

Konstantinos wins gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics

On July 8, 1912, Konstantinos made history when he won the gold medal in the long jump at the Stockholm Olympics, he jumped 3.37 meters to secure first place and win gold for Greece. In the same Olympic games, Konstantinos won the bronze medal in the high jump by clearing 1.55 meters.

The Stockholm Olympics was Konstantinos greatest sporting achievement and was made more special as he was the official flag bearer for the Greek nation. It was also the last Olympics where the standing long jump was performed, making Konstantinos the last ever gold medal winner of this particular event.

When he returned to Athens, he was greeted by hundreds of people, and the Panhellenic Gymnastics Association awarded him with a gold watch bearing the date of his win. 

Following his triumphs in Stockholm, he decided to volunteer to participate in the Balkan Wars. He was offered a position in the Athens Guard, but he declined, wanting to be on the front lines of the war so he wouldn’t be accused of favouritism. Even a family friend, Benakis, had urged that he work in his Egyptian company to keep him out of the conflict.

Despite being able to avoid conscription during the war, he persisted in fighting for his country. When he decided to fight in the First Balkan War in 1913, his athletic career ended. During the war, he quickly rose through the ranks of the Greek Army, serving as a sergeant on the front lines of Epirus.


Konstantinos Tsiklitiras rests in Patras A Cemetery (Source: Tony Esopi via Wikipedia)

Konstantinos suffered meningitis during First Balkan War and tragically died at the age of 24 on February 10, 1913. 

In honour of Tsiklitiras’ life and Olympic achievements, the Panhellenic Gymnastics Association launched the annual track and field competitions at the Panathenaic Stadium. The event was named the Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria, in memory of Konstantinos and was first organized in 1963, 50 years after his death.




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