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Theodosios Balafas

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameTheodosios•Balafas
Used nameTheodosios•Balafas
Original nameΘεοδόσιος•Μπαλάφας
Born27 August 1923 in Karditsa (GRE)
Died6 April 2015 in West Kendall, Florida (USA)
Measurements175 cm
AffiliationsPanellinios GS, Athina (GRE)
NOC Greece


Saki Balafas was a pole vaulter at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics but is far better known later in his life for his involvement in tennis. While in the Greek military, Saki, who lost both of his parents before he was 20, joined Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos (PGS). He was invited by coaches at UCLA to come to Los Angeles so they could learn from his training techniques, which they had admired. Balafas stopped in Miami, Florida on the trip, however, and never really left that city. He settled in West Kendall, Florida, near Miami, and became a tennis coach at the local public courts at Moore Park. Balafas coached until he turned 90, mentoring many young men and women who earned tennis college scholarships and often became teaching pros themselves.

Personal Best: PV – 4.10 (1952).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics GRE Theodosios Balafas
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) =14 r1/2
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics GRE Theodosios Balafas
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Greece DNS
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) 17

Special Notes