In 2004, Georgios was a member the Greek national mountaineering expedition “Hellas Everest 2004”, an expedition which attempted to summit Mount Everest from both the northern and southern side routes of the mountain, while at the same time, and in collaboration with the 2004 Olympic Games Committee, they aimed to take the Olympic Games flag for the first time ever to the summit of Mount Everest. During the expedition, in his role as the team's scientific advisor and medic during high altitude climbing, he was a member of the climbing team attempting to summit Everest from the notoriously hazardous northern side route in the Tibetan Himalayas. Georgios ascended to the summit and became the first Greek climber ever to do so from the northern side route, and successfully joined other Greek climbers who had already climbed Everest from the southern side route in Nepal, the first ever being Constantine Niarchos in 1999. Concurrent to the expedition, Georgios also researched elite climbers and their ability to survive and perform optimally under the combined extreme environmental conditions of severe hypoxia and cold.
Historical background: Mount Everest is located in the Himalayan mountain range in Asia. In Tibet, the mountain had always been called Chomolungma, 'Goddess Mother of the Earth'. It was first mapped in 1852 by the British topographer George Everest, and in 1855, it was officially named Everest. Its height is 8848m. The first ever serious attempt to climb Mount Everest was made in 1924, from the Northern Tibetan route, by George Malory and Andrew Irvine, who arrived very close to the summit, but were then lost. To this day, it remains unknown whether or not they successfully reached the summit. Nearly 30 years later, in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest from the Southern Nepalese route, and became the first climbers to return back safely and speak of their summit success and experience.
In October of 2011, Georgios fulfilled a lifelong aspiration to swim across the Aegean Sea in Greece. He swum non-stop from the edge of the Peloponnese in mainland Greece to the shores of the island of Crete, a distance of 101km, in 28 hours and 16 minutes. He became the first person in history to attempt swimming across the treacherous waters of the open Aegean Sea, while further, he is one of a handful of swimmers in the world to have ever swum non-stop for more than 100 km.
From the day Georgios first conceived the idea of the swim until the day he actually completed it, 11 years passed, thousands of kilometres were swum during training, 6 starts did not go ahead due to last minute weather unpredictability, and 1 attempt was abandoned a quarter of the way due to unfavourable sea conditions. The crossing of the Aegean Sea turned out to be a rollercoaster of emotions, and a true testament of commitment, passion and perseverance.
Through his swim, Georgios raised national awareness for one of Crete’s local philanthropic organizations, Orizodas, whose members’ voluntary work and fundraising efforts help support children and adults with health problems. The Aegean swim was captured on film by director Alexandros Grammatopoulos in hope to create an inspirational documentary; the documentary is currently in the process of being created.
One of the highlights of Georgios’ career in marathon swimming was the successful crossing of the English Channel, the 34km distance between England and France in the year 2000. The English Channel is widely accepted as the toughest open water swim in the world. Georgios completed the English Channel swim in 9 hours and 20 minutes, the world’s fastest time for the year 2000, a performance for which he was awarded the English Channel Swimming Association’s Rolex Award.
Historical Background: The British Captain, Matthew Webb, in 1875 was the first to complete the English Channel swim. Swimmers are only allowed to wear a regular swimsuit, a swimming cap and goggles, while further they are not allowed to touch the accompanying boat at any time. A swimming judge is present aboard throughout the swim to ensure that the rules and regulations of the English Channel Association are adhered to. In order to successfully swim the English Channel, one must face and overcome the challenges presented by the cold water, fast-moving and changing tides, unpredictable weather conditions, underwater marine life, as well as the unavoidable large waves created as a result of the Channel being one of the busiest shipping passages in the world.
In 2015, Georgios completed the ultra-marathon running race in the Sahara desert, the Marathon des Sables, dubbed by the Discovery Channel as the toughest foot race on earth. Through the Sahara challenge, and in line with his deeply rooted environmental awareness, Georgios supported the British non-profit environmental organization Opwall Trust and raised awareness of their on-going efforts towards global biodiversity conservation.
Marathon des Sables information: The Marathon des Sables takes place in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. It’s a 7-day, 250km multi-stage and self-sustained race where the participant has to carry all his equipment and food from the start to the end of the race. Challengers must face extreme conditions, including very high temperatures and severe heat waves during the day followed by low temperatures at night, sand storms, life threatening dehydration, skin damaging sun burns, heat stroke, knee and ankle injuries, foot blisters and toe nail injuries, in addition to running on sand, rocky terrain, mountains and sand dunes. Only by enduring and overcoming these hardships will one have a chance of completing this gruesome, but wonderful and awe inspiring adventure.
Georgios comes from the sporting world of swimming. Although he became involved in sports from an early age, he excelled in competitive pool swimming. He became a Greek national champion and record holder, and participated with the Greek national swim team in numerous international competitions. He subsequently made the transition to open water marathon swimming immediately after his first exposure with the sport in the icy waters surrounding the island-prison of Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay in California. He competes in open water marathon swimming races and completes open water swimming challenges around the world.
Selected Swimming Accomplishments:
-First Ever Aegean Sea Crossing, Peloponnese to Crete 101km, 28hrs16min
-English Channel Crossing, England to France, 34Km, 9hrs20min
-Member of the Greek National Swim Team
-Greek National Champion and Record Holder
-Participation in Pool and Open Water Swimming World Championships, European Championships and World Cup Races
-24-Hour Marathon Swim in a Pool, Greece, 80Km, competition record
-Winner of ‘Gulf of Toroneos Crossing’ 26Km, Greece
-‘Escape from Alcatraz’ Swim, San Francisco Bay, California
-Successful Swim Crossings Around the World in Oceans, Seas, Rivers, Lakes
In 2015, he was included amongst the Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History
In the year 2015, Georgios became the 1st Person in World History to Complete Three of the Most Demanding Challenges in Very Diverse and Extreme Environmental Conditions. This project was named Ice Water Fire, and involved climbing Mount Everest, swimming the English Channel, and running in the Sahara Desert.
For more details, visit http://icewaterfire.com