Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy makes unique connection during The World Games
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The World Games 2022 brought together people from all around the world, some of whom built connections that will last a lifetime.
Almost at random, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy spotted an athlete from his second home of Greece.
They both were connected by their Greek heritage and Deputy Michael Theros says meeting Dimos Asimakopoulos was exciting.
“That’s my home just like this is my home,” said Deputy Theros. “You know, I got two homes!”
Though Deputy Michael Theros was born in Birmingham, he grew up overseas.
“My family, we’re all from the Aigio area,” he explained. “You know, my family name. Of course, I lived there for -- since 1980. I came back to America in 1993, I believe.”
He says his entire family is from three area, very near to each other: Patras, Aigio, and Mamousia. He says the three places are the origin of his family name, which has been around for about 2300 years.
In around 29 years, Theros says he hasn’t been able to speak Greek until he met Muay Thai competitor, Dimos Asimakopoulos. It happened while they were both inside the Boutwell Auditorium.
“That happened randomly,” said the athlete. “I just came the first day to walking in the stadium. He saw my t-shirt that says Hilas. Hilas means Greece in Greek language.”
Theros says he approached Asimakopoulos and began speaking to him in Greek.
“I turned around,” said Asimakopoulos. “I was shocked because no one here is from Greece.”
They quickly found out they are both from the same area of Greece. The athlete is from Patras, which is about 30 minutes from Aigio.
“Mr. Mike is a very special person,” said Asimakopoulos. “From the first time we met, I felt him like my person.”
Asimakopoulos was set to compete on Friday, but Theros was scheduled to be working somewhere else during the match. When the deputy asked to go watch his new friend in the competition, Theros says his boss agreed.
“Glad to see one of my people from my culture doing very good,” said Theros. “I was very proud of him. I told him that. He was like, ‘Man, I lost!’ and I was like, ‘You won in my book man.’ He went up against the best and represented Greece very well.”
Deputy Theros says there is a strong possibility the two are cousins since his family name has been around for thousands of years.
They both say meeting each other was like finding home away from home.
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