The Nea Kallikratia district of Chalkidiki is located about 45 km from Thessaloniki. It was founded by refugees, after the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922. It is like the refugees’ difficulties formed the whole area. Their legacy and way of life was passed down to the inhabitants, who learned that you cannot lose a fight before giving it.
Odysseas Mouzenidis was raised in Nea Kalikratia and continues to live there, so he bequeathed the values of his ancestors. He possesses a great mental and physical strength and he is always ready to give the fight, no matter the difficulties or the obstacles. He is determined to endure every hardship on his way to success. And the combination of his strength is really decisive, the moment he’s ready to throw the shot.
The domestic record holder -as a teen- was initiated to shot put by his brother. He loved it and never looked back. He begun with the small ball and gradually the shot put became part of his life. He is always humble and with a high-level work ethic. Top-class sport became the goal of his life and he is fully devoted to the cause. Odysseas does not have a role model. He wants to become a role model for the future generation, not only in track and field, but also in life.
His first tournament with the national team was the children’s championship in Colombia, in which he finished in the 13th position. He traveled to South America without his coach and he decided that he will not do that alone ever again. This trip was his baptism of fire, it was the initiation of his sporting career. Then, he managed to win the third position in the world in World Teen Championship of Grosseto and he was introduced to the world of sports as one of the greatest talents around the globe. At the same time, he celebrated a lot of success in Greece. He won the silver medal at the Panhellenic Track and Field Championship of 2019 and at the Indoor Panhellenic Track and Field Championship of 2020.
When the public watches his progress, it is difficult to understand the obstacles he managed to surpass and the sacrifices he made. Mouzenidis met his coach George Boskariov and the team of Kentavros Chalkidikis and together they composed a group that is unstoppable. Odysseas and the other members of the team created everything from scratch. They built themselves a makeshift gym at the ground floor of a condo, to facilitate their everyday training. When the time to train outdoors comes, he does it under unsuitable conditions. He throws the shot into the fields and then runs to take it back. The mayor of Nea Propontida, after the current year’s Panhellenic Tournament, admitted all the adversities and even though he was committed to upgrade the training facilities of the city, everything remains the same. The coach managed to insulate their makeshift gym by his own, but despite all promises, the training facility was shut down due to neighbors complains. Thus, the most promising athlete of Greece in shot put has no other option, than training in his house.
But there is no obstacle that can stop him. Odysseas is used to fight. He returned in a better condition after a shoulder injury back in 2018, while he made it to the pedestal of the European Championship, although he was competing with a second-degree sprain. At the moment, he keeps up with home training and he has already started his preparation for the Olympic Games.
For an athlete like Mouzenidis, who has the talent and the vision, but is obliged to train in a worse context than his competitors, the dream would have been gone without the support of bwin. Bwin believed in his talent from a very early stage and decided to boost his efforts. He stated that «I hope that every athlete could have a sponsor like bwin». Mouzenidis managed, with the support of his sponsor, to renew his equipment, while bwin offered him everything he needs for his daily rehabilitation. His inclusion to the sponsoring scheme “We support the new generation of Olympic Athletes” helped him to compete in more tournaments and gain valuable experience. “Dreams never stop. We just need to keep our feet in the ground, and everything can happen”, says Mouzenidis, who has high expectations for the Tokyo Olympic Games and for the European Championship under 23. His dream seems to be closer to fulfillment than ever…