On Friday, November 18, The American College of Greece had the honor of welcoming the Greek Paralympic team on campus.
Pierce students warmly received the winning team in a packed theater, and Principal Olga E. Julius presented a symbolic gift to the President of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee and the Hellenic Sports Club for Physically Disabled People, George Fountoulakis. He in turn presented the College with a sculpture depicting two hands joined together, saying, “From now on, the Greek Paralympic Team and the American College of Greece move forward together!”
Fountoulakis addressed the students, and spoke to them about the strength shown by the national team, the unique relationship that has developed between the athletes, and the team’s excellent performance at the recent 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.
The Paralympic athletes were each presented with a symbolic gift, and in a surprise ending, Dr. Dimitris Andreou, Vice President of Enrollment and Administration, announced the establishment of two academic scholarships for members of the National Paralympic Team of Greece. The scholarships will fully cover tuition costs for studying a Bachelor of Science degree program in Sports Management, giving the athletes the opportunity to combine their athletic development with university studies in an academic institution that offers supreme sport facilities.
In the inspiring conversation that followed, students had the chance to listen to powerful life advice from the Olympic medalists. In answer to a student’s question, gold medalist in powerlifting, Pavlos Mamalos said, “My love for the sport gives me strength… The more weight you put on me, the more I’ll lift.” Dimitra Korokida, who won a bronze medal for Greece in shotput, spoke to the students about fulfilling their dreams, urging them to set goals and believe in themselves. Vasilis Christoforou, Paralympic athlete in sailing, said that “Athleticism teaches us to fight. Never give up, no matter what difficulties you face.”
The event came to a close after incredible athletic demonstrations by the team, and a game between the students and the Paralympic athletes.
The American College of Greece, an organization with a long tradition in athletics, will continue to support the team at every step of the way, and in every way possible!