The young Greek Leonidas made it up on the highest peak of Olympus

The Power of Will: A Greek climbs Olympus in a wheelchair

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His name is Leonidas, like the Spartan King who confronted the Persians with his 300 fighters against all the odds. “Nomen est omen” said the Romans, the name is an omen, and this is true for the case of a 34 years old Greek called after the ancient King.

Until 2008, the young Greek was dedicating his life to the things he cherished the most: trekking, his favorite football team, Olympiakos, and his beloved music, punk. But in this this year Leonidas went through a terrible car accident that left him paraplegic, that means with a severe impairment of the function of the lower extremities.

However, Leonidas did not surrender himself into self-pity and distress. He went on enjoying punk concerts and the football matches. And he did not stop there: Leonidas participated in demonstrations and other social activities, turning his disability into a sign of courage and inspiration.

Back to the Top

Within this ambience of charming madness, Leonidas made one more “crazy decision”: To climb on the peak of the mountain Olympus, the highest mountain located in the Greek prefecture of Macedonia. Olympus was of course a holy mountain for the Ancient Greeks and the symbolism here is quite powerful. Young Leonidas wants to make it up to the residence of the Greek Gods.

A group of friends did not only vow to assist Leonidas in his courageous enterprise. They also filmed the accomplishment in a documentary called Back to the Top. The film was screened for the first time at the 20th Film Festival of Thessaloniki.

The producer of the film, Ioanna Petinaraki, referred to the fact that at the beginning everyone believed that Leonidas will fail to succeed. Yet, “when Leonidas got on the first peak, we all became so emotional. We knew inside us that we will make it! We saw that sometimes life demands us to be rude.”

“It’s hard to hear the doctor telling you “dude, you are not going to walk again. Got it?”. But I did not want to feel bad with myself. And somewhow I was lucky in my misfortune” Leonidas says.

The poster of the documentary “Back to the Post”.

Olympus: the beloved mountain

Leonidas had this accident after he was returning from an excursion on Olympus. Therefore, the place haunted him. But he never turned the back to the beloved mountain.

“Since my accident I went to Olympus, on lower heights. I made it up to the second highest peak. But my thought was on the highest one. Difficult, but maybe one day I could make it. The thought was always in my mind, it devoured me.”

And Leonidas fulfilled his goal! And along with his accomplishment, a documentary was produced in order to show the power of his will.

“This documentary refers to everyone that do not give up. The ones who keep on fighting, to people with or without handicap, to prisoners, to the impoverished ones, to refugees, to mentally ills. Generally, it is for all of them whom this f***ing society marginalized.”

Watch the trailer of the documentary of this amazing endeavor:

Phaethon

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