January 25, 2003

Olympic medalists back the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens

Posted at 1:16 pm in Elgin Marbles, Parthenon 2004

Various former Olympic medal winners from Britain have expressed their support for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.


Medallists back return of marbles to Parthenon
David Hencke
Saturday January 25, 2003

Ten British Olympic medal winners are backing the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece for next year’s Olympic Games, it will be announced on Monday.

The move – which will be a big fillip for the campaign to base the sculptures removed by Lord Elgin in a new purpose-built museum at the Parthenon – comes after the British Museum insisted that they must remain as major attraction in Britain.

Tony Blair and Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, have been supporting the museum’s case.

The medal winners behind the move are the 100m gold medallist Linford Christie; triple jumper Jonathan Edwards; ice skating champions, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean; javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson; hurdler David Hemery; sprinter Allan Wells; cyclist Jason Queally; runner Mark Richardson and sprint cyclist Chris Hoy.

Sanderson said yesterday: “This is Britain’s ideal opportunity to showcase its cultural commitment to the international community amidst the backdrop of the world’s truly uniting sports celebration – the Olympic Games.”

Wells added: “The Parthenon marble stones should be reunited and reinstated with the remaining originals in the Temple on the Acropolis.

“This is their rightful and original resting home, in Athens.

“It is comparable with the Stone of Scone/the Stone of Destiny that had been in Westminster for 700 years and is now back in Scotland.”

The campaign is also being supported by Will Carling, the former England rugby captain and Julius Francis, the former Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion.

The sportsmen and women will announce their backing for the return of the antiquities at a reception in Portcullis House, Westminster, organised by Richard Allen, the Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield, Hallam.

The reception will provide an opportunity to show off the new museum to MPs and celebrity guests, including the longtime campaigners Vanessa Redgrave and Janet Suzman.

The reception will include a computer simulated walk around the New Acropolis Museum and show the marbles returned to Athens.

The New Acropolis Museum has received planning permission. The excavation of the site has been finished and the plans for the exhibiting of the antiquities are going ahead.

The latest survey of public opinion – a Mori poll conducted in September 2002 – showed a clear majority of people in favour of the return of the marbles.

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