March 26, 1940 - Spyridon Louis died on this day. In 1896 he became a national hero in Greece by winning the first modern-day Olympic marathon.
The Greek people were very excited about the return of the Olympic games to Athens, but they were disappointed that no Greek athletes had won major events in track and field. So on the day of the marathon, the crowd erupted when local water carrier Spyridon Louis was the first runner to appear inside the stadium.
The young members of the Greek royal family joined Louis on his final lap as the spectators chanted, "Hellene, Hellene!"
After his thrilling victory, Louis was asked by King George I to name whatever gift he wished as a reward. Louis replied that all he wanted was a donkey cart to use in his water-carrying business.