Winner of the first modern-day Olympic marathon in the 1896 Summer Olympics; he was forever regarded by his countrymen as a national hero.
He was accompanied to the finish line at the 1896 Olympics by Crown Prince Constantine and Prince George who feted him with wine, milk, beer, orange juice, and an Easter egg, virtually anything that would give him the endurance to win the race.
He served time in prison in 1926 after being accused of falsifying military documents; he was later acquitted and declared not guilty.
His father was a mineral-water salesman in Athens, and his son assisted him.
He was a guest of honor at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, where he bestowed Adolf Hitler with an olive branch from Olympia.