(Greek source text taken from: https://el.wikipedia.org )
Tinia was a sport tournament that took place in Tinos from 15 to 17 August 1895, with the participation of more than 100 athletes from all over Greece, and served as the forerunner for the 1896 Olympic Games.
In June 1894, the international congress “Reflections on and Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism and the Revival of the Olympic Games” took place in Paris and resulted in the decision to revive the ancient Olympic Games and assign the organization of the first modern Olympic Games to Athens, Greece. Since this assignment though, no sport events had taken place in Greece, so Greece was not athletically competitive enough for the tournament.
For this reason, on 15 August 1895, the “Tinia” three-day tournament was organized by the newly founded National General Council –founded in 1893-, with the collaboration of the Panhellenic Holy Foundation of Evangelistria of Tinos, the Tinian Brotherhood and the municipality of Tinos. The tournament featured various sports and served as the forerunner for the Athens Olympic Games, which took place in the spring of 1896. At the same time, it served as a connector between the revival of the Olympic Games and “Olympics”, also known as “Zappas Olympics”, conducted in Athens four times during the second half of the 19th century -the last one being in 1889.
Young sports fan Ksenofon Sohos from Isternia village in Tinos, who was a member of the Panhellenic General Council, was a fervent advocate of the tournament; nevertheless, the president of the Panhellenic General Council did not embrace the idea. So, Sohos, as representative of the Tinian Brotherhood, addressed the board of directors of the National General Council, who accepted his proposal. Part of the expenses for the organization of the tournament was taken on by the Panhellenic Holy Foundation of Evangelistria of Tinos, presided by doctor N. Armakolas back then. The foundation first contributed 2,000 drachmas for the tournament, supplemented later by 1,000 more. The municipality of Tinos offered 70 drachmas. The total cost was 10,000 drachmas, which was covered through fundraisers among expatriates.
In Tinia, the new international sporting rules were implemented for the first time, medals were awarded to the two best athletes in every sport -a silver and a bronze one respectively, similar to the 1896 Olympic Games- and a lot of innovations were tried out, like the use of a starting pistol during races. There was also a festive opening ceremony that featured a torch relay and a musical performance by the local philharmonic orchestra. The athletes were offered free accommodation and a banquet was held to honor them. Even though strong winds did not allow for a smooth and uneventful tournament, the organization of this event was of great importance for the preparation for the first modern Olympic Games and the development of the Greek sportsmanship.
The Greek Government was conspicuous by its absence, something that was commented upon the Greek Press: “The tournament on Tinos was a success and the support of the royal family contributed to this result. It has been reported that prince Nikolaos sent a letter expressing his best wishes. During this tournament, Mr. Levidis, the Greek minister of shipping won… the oration medal.” (“Skrip” newspaper, 08/20/1895, p.2)
The Tinia tournament held a Panhellenic appeal, with the participation of athletes from sporting organizations from numerous Greek cities. Many of the athletes that participated in Tinia qualified for the Olympics the following year, while others became professional athletes and advocates of good sportsmanship. According to records of that time, nine sporting organizations participated, coming from Athens, Piraeus, Smyrna, Patras and Syros.
The tournament included 30 different sport disciplines, pertaining to the most popular sports of the time:
- Athletics (7): track races, jumps, throws
- Gymnastics (5): vault, horizontal bar, parallel bars, rings, pommel horse
- Wrestling (1)
- Weightlifting (2): one-hand and two-hand lift
- Climbing (2): rope climbing, pole climbing
- Rowing: cancelled due to sea storm – only an impromptu boat race took place.