Third Zappian Games
The third "Olympia" were organized by Ioannis Phokianos, director of the Public Gymnasium. Phokianos strongly believed that the ideal of gymnastics would soon expand to the upper classes, to the educated people. That is the reason why he was interested in the education of the Gymnasium pupils and the university students. All these studied in the Athens Public Gymnasium. Phokianos introduced a series of gymnastic exercises, inspired by the German gymnastics system.
The games took place at the Panathenaic Stadium in May 18th 1875. Despite the large number of athletes that trained in the Public Gymnasium for the games, finally only twenty-four took part. Some of them became famous both in the field of athletics and in the social and political life of the country, for example G. Orphanides, the Olympic victor of 1896, Spyros Merkouris, the future mayor of Athens and Mark Mindler, the future president of the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics.
The athlete's clothes were impressive: long trousers and white shirt with a large blue stripe. Until 1896, this was the official gymnastics costume.
Despite the preparations and the high expectations these games were not successful. The royal family did not attend the event. There was not enough space for the number of spectators that finally assembled in the Stadium. Discontent was evident and Phokianos was considered to be responsible, despite his efforts and the athletes' excellent training.