Randall's Island Park

Discus Thrower Statue

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

The Discus Thrower statue was created by Greek sculptor Kostas Dimitriadis. Dimitriadis, who also studied and worked in Paris and London, was inspired by models from classical antiquity, and was influenced by more modern sculptors such as Auguste Rodin.

This sculpture was awarded a prize at the 1924 Olympic Games held in France. Commissioned by Ery Kehaya, the bronze sculpture was installed in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum in 1926. The noted architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White designed the statue’s granite pedestal and a twin or replica stands in the Zappeion gardens facing the Panathinic Stadium in Athens, Greece.

In 1936 when Municipal Stadium (also known as Triborough and later renamed Downing Stadium) was erected on Randall’s Island, the sculpture was placed in front. The stadium opened in July 1936, and was host to the American Olympic track and field trials. Over the years the sculpture was assaulted by acid rain and graffiti, and vandals stole the discus and amputated the arm. In 1970 the statue was removed to storage for safekeeping. In 1999 the sculpture was conserved, and missing components replicated under a project sponsored by the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, and funded by Michael Bloomberg.

The restored monument was placed at a new, prominent landscaped triangle at the entrance of Randall’s Island. A rededication ceremony held on July 21, 1999 included four-time Olympic gold medalist discus thrower Al Oerter and nine-time New York City Marathon victor Grete Waitz. The Discus Thrower, now the logo of the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, has also become a symbol of the renaissance of this municipal park and athletic facility.

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