Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (Greek: Παναθηναϊκός Αθλητικός Όμιλος, Panathenaic Athletic Club) or in English Panathinaikos AC, is a major Greek multi-sport club based in the City of Athens. It has the trifolium (shamrock) as its official emblem, symbol of harmony, unity and good luck, and green and white as its colours (green for health, youth and nature and white for virtue). Panathinaikos is one of the most successful multi-sport club and one of the oldest clubs in Greece. The name “Panathinaikos” (which can literally be translated as “Panathenaic”, which means “of all Athens”) was inspired by the ancient work of Isocrates Panathenaicus, where the orator praise the Athenians for their democratic education and their military superiority, which use it for benefit of all Greeks.
It was founded by Giorgos Kalafatis in 1908 as a football club, when he and 40 other athletes decided to break away from Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos following the club’s decision to discontinue its football team. It is amongst the most popular clubs in the country and one of the biggest worldwide, based on the number of its sports departments. It is the club that introduced in Greece a number of sports, as it was the first, or amongst the first teams, in football, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, table tennis and handball, while they were also pioneer in the creation of women’s teams in basketball and football.
Panathinaikos’ teams and individual athletes have won numerous titles and have made notable participations in domestic and international competitions. The football team of Panathinaikos is the only Greek team that has reached the UEFA Champions League final (in 1971) and also the semi-finals twice (in 1985 and 1996). It is also the only Greek football team that has played for the Intercontinental Cup. The basketball team of the club is the most successful in Greece and one of the most successful in Europe, with six European championships, one Intercontinental Cup and two Triple Crowns. The teams of Panathinaikos have played overall in 15 European and international finals (in football, basketball, men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball).
In the individual sports, Panathinaikos has a remarkable tradition in the athletics, cycling, shooting, fencing and boxing departments. It has produced numerous athletes; World champions and European champions, winners at the Olympic, Mediterranean and Balkan Games.