Chris Reminisces Olympic Honour
One Orange local who most certainly remembers the occasion is Chris Gryllis. Step into his McNamara Street real estate office and you are immediately greeted with walls adorned with photos, newspaper clippings and commemorative badges from the Sydney games.
“I bought everything I could purchase, memorabilia – including the torch! – and all the badges from the Sydney games. It is something that is once in a lifetime,” said Chris.
“It was a big event for Australia, and it was equally as big or bigger than any event I’d ever experienced at that time in Orange.”
Missing out on the first ballot for torch bearers, Chris was thrilled when he made the cut after additional numbers were added to the relay.
“I was lucky enough to be one of the 1000 people! It was nice a good feeling. I have good, fond memories” said Chris, fore whom the Olympics hold a special place due to his Greek heritage.
“There were a lot of thoughts that came to my mind, feeling privileged to live in Australia and because my connection with the Old Country…
“Carrying the torch, I had every intention to hold it and just more or less enjoy it as long as I could, but for some unknown reason as soon as I held the torch it was as if I had an outboard and I just ran! I have plenty of happy memories from that event!”
For some years after the relay, Chris and other town bearers would meet up annually for a cup of tea or coffee at a local venue.
“I believe the relay of the flame it really created some unification in the whole country. Everyone I spoke with during that time and ever since then, they are still talking about how good it was. It created some unification, it created sort of a lot of pride and privilege to be part of that big world-wide event.
“I was very lucky to experience that feeling carrying the torch and many people I know that carried the torch either here or elsewhere are of the same opinion… seriously, the feeling at the time was indescribable.”
CREDITS: Originally Published in Orange City Life 10-16 September. Written by Jonathan Roe