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Saturday, 11 May 2013 09:50

A tribute to Giorgos Kalafatis

On February 19th is a day of mourning for Panathinaikos. On this day 49 years ago in 1964, the founder of Panathinaikos passed away at the age of 74. 

An exceptional man, one worth following, he was raised with the values and ideals of the ancient Greeks. He would go on to write his name in golden letters in the pages of not only greek sport but greek history itself!

He was born in 1890 in Exarchia, a suburb of Athens and from a very young age he distinguished himself for his intelligence, character and athletic ability. Multitalented, he studies medicine and athletics. He graduated from both the "Athens School of Medicine" and "The School of Athletics". A man of bravery and honor, he served his country in the Balkan Wars and the First World War rising to the rank of Admiral. Thriving in many sports, he received honors in track and field in the height jump and shotput. He was a leading figure of one of the athletes of the Panhellenic Athletic Club. In the year 1900 he would be introduced to soccer from the crews of foreign ships that would dock at the port of Pireas. He would eventually become a member of the first greek national soccer team. When the Panhellenic Athletic Club refused to include soccer in its competing sports (the game had very little support in Athenian society at the time), after a meeting near where our future home would be build, he would form the Podosfairikos Omilos Athinon (P.O.A., the original name of our club P.A.O.). That day was the 3rd of February 1908! At Panathinaikos Giorgos Kalafatis would serve the club at many posts. At first as a soccer player and afterwards as a coach. He would organize and build the club to later include many other sports, teams and athletes that would go on to glory in Greece, the Balkans and all of Europe. In 1919 during the Ally Games in Paris he would discover the sport of basketball and he would eventually play a major role in founding the first Panathinaikos Basketball team! An innovative thinker, well ahead of his time, he would give PAO a home in the heart of Athens, building our first Stadium at Leoforos! On a national level he would bring the rules and regulations of the european soccer to his country, something that put Greece on the map in world soccer! He would serve the national team as both a player and coach. A true pioneer, Giorgos Kalafatis founded Panathinaikos during a very difficult period based on the principles and ideals of the ancient immortal greek spirit. He founded a club based on sportsmanship and fair play. A club that would compete for the greater good without malice trying to promote a culture of true sportsmanship. Α modern, innovative club, that would serve as a flag bearer for the glory of Greece in team and individual sport. A club that would be loved like no other by its supporters and would give them many glorious and wonderful moments to enjoy! Panathinaikos is without a doubt the most successful club in greek history, known through every corner of the earth, a respected ambassador for its country, synonymous with true greek spirit! 105 years later, the flame that Giorgos Kalafatis lit in our hearts on that glorious day in February 1908, today burns brighter than ever and lights the road during this difficult period for Greece and all Greeks. All our titles and medals, all our awards and accomplishments are dedicated to you, the Great Giorgos Kalafatis! May God bless his soul. Panathinaikos Supporters Abroad

Last modified on Sunday, 10 May 2015 22:14
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