IOC recovers original Olympic marathon footage

Spyridon Louis

Spyridon Louis

The International Olympic Committee has uncovered nearly 120-year-old footage of the 1896 Olympic marathon.

After a 2012 flood at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, threatened to ruin many of the old footage and photography in their basement archives, the organization began a conservation project, costing a reported US$33 million.

From the tens of thousands of hours of footage and half-million photographs combed through, one of the most impressive findings was footage of Spyridon Louis, a Greek water carrier turned marathon champion, running a victory lap after his win at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens.

“It is incumbent upon us to carry on the cultural heritage of more than a century of Olympic history left to us by our ancestors,” IOC Director-General Christophe De Kepper told AFP.¬†“The legacy of the IOC can now withstand the test of time.”

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The team was recovering between 40 and 125 photos each day and as many as 20 hours of audio and video recording during the restorations. They estimate total man hours pass 100,000.