TRIBUTE: THE VISION AND DREAM
Create a work of public art sponsored by Hellenes and Philhellenes from around the world and
present it to the host city of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
Discussions on this plan by Atlanta AHEPA visionaries began in 1989, seven years before the
1996 Games, with the intent to commission a work of public art to be presented to the city of
Athens, Greece—the expected host of the Centennial Games. In September 1990, IOC
President Juan Antonio Samaranch announced, “The International Olympic Committee has
awarded the 1996 Olympic Games to the city of ... Atlanta." The focus of the project then
shifted to one of uniting Hellenes from around the world to honor, celebrate and
commemorate the beginning of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece.
At the 1993 Supreme Convention in Pittsburgh, the plans for the project were presented and
unanimously accepted by the Projects Committee and then received a unanimous endorsement
from the delegates when presented on the floor of the Convention. In 1994 the AHEPA
Centennial Foundation was established in Atlanta by eight Ahepans: Johnny Economy, Louis
Zakas, William Marianes, Dr. Pandeli Durbetaki and Dr. Victor Polizos of Atlanta, Tim Maniatis
of Washington, DC., Steve Manta of Chicago, and Tommy Rakas of Seattle. In 1995 at the
Supreme Convention in Miami, the entire AHEPA Family adopted TRIBUTE as their main national
The essential objectives of the Centennial Foundation were to:
1) create and donate TRIBUTE to Hellenism and Olympism, the principal piece of public art to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games, which would serve as a
permanent legacy in honor of the eternal spirit of amateur athletics.
2) provide an inspirational link between the generations of mankind and peoples of the world.
3) acknowledge the contributions of the Greeks and other Philhellenes to the birth and
perpetuation of the Olympic movement.
4) sponsor cultural and educational activities which would promote the spirit and ideals of
What started as an eight-person volunteer board soon grew to several hundred volunteers.
Eventually over 20,000 people from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Greece made
financial contributions to complete the project, many of whose names are inscribed on the
bricks of TRIBUTE’s plaza. Bricks in memory of each of the AHEPA founding members were
placed at the foot of the sculpture.
The bronze sculpture by artist Peter Calaboyias honors the three key cities and three main eras
in Olympic history. It features three running figures nine feet tall: the ancient runner represents
the birth of the Olympics in Greece in 776 BC; the middle figure represents the first games of the
Modern Olympic era in Athens, Greece in 1896; and the female athlete
represents the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. All of the runners are set in a bronze fan
element inspired by ancient Greek pottery designs which is 17 feet high and 24 feet wide. The
entire sculpture rests on a bronze arch representing the famous arched tunnel of Ancient
Olympia through which athletes entered the stadium. A gift to the project from the citizens of
Ancient Olympia, Greece, is the stone at the base of the sculpture. This stone, with its direct
connection and history to the ancient Olympic site, was collected, cleaned, cut, and shipped to
Atlanta so that TRIBUTE would justly stand on a stone foundation of Olympic proportions. The
sculpture weighs over eight tons and is anchored by 40-foot pilings.
THE DEDICATION AND THE GAMES
The eyes of the world turned to Atlanta in the summer of 1996. The global AHEPA Family
celebrated in the city of AHEPA’s birth with the dedication of this splendid sculpture. On the
morning of June 1, 1996, over a thousand people gathered at Centennial Olympic Park for the
dedication and unveiling of TRIBUTE. Music provided by the Georgia State University Wind
Orchestra filled the air. City, state, and national leaders attended, as well as local, regional, and
national officers of the AHEPA Family. The mayor, city council members, and the local stone
mason from Ancient Olympia were all present, as were officials of the Atlanta Olympic
Committee. After its unveiling by Archbishop Iakovos and Michael C. Carlos, honorary Chairmen
for the project, the sculpture was blessed by His Eminence.
Atlanta welcomed the world with the opening of the Centennial Olympic Games on July 19, and
Centennial Olympic Park became a gathering place where visitors could enjoy free concerts, cool
off in the Olympic Fountain, and participate in the cultural blend of people from around the
world. Just a little after midnight on Saturday morning, July 27, the eighth day of the Olympics
and less than two months after the sculpture’s dedication, TRIBUTE found itself forever in the
history of the Atlanta Olympic Games. A pipe bomb exploded less than three hundred feet from
its southern side. One person was killed and over a hundred people were injured. Fragments of
the bomb hit the sculpture and those standing behind it were protected from injury. Several
indentations of shrapnel from the bomb can still be seen in the bronze today.
After eight years of work, the last chapter was to document the project from beginning to end,
and a book was published outlining its history.
TRIBUTE stands today in Centennial Olympic Park as a magnificent Olympic dream come true
and a legacy for all. The AHEPA Centennial Weekend Committee invites you to visit this TRIBUTE
to Hellenism and Olympism.
Library of Congress entry