Petros Tzamaloukas

Although squash wasn't involved in the Athens Olympics, Greece's number one squash player certainly was, carrying the Olympic Torch, parading at the opening ceremony, and, as he tells us here ...
living the Olympic Dream

The reason that I am writing this article is that I want to share with all the squash players around the world the unforgettable experience that I lived for a month. And I am talking about Athens 2004, the Olympic Games that returned back home in style.

Although squash is unfortunately not an Olympic sport, and I would have competed as Greek No 1 in my home land, I must say that I lived all this experience from the very inside as any other athlete. I was working as an NOC Assistant for Tonga which is situated north of New Zealand, in Oceania.


Many would say that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day but not for me! 13th of August 2004 was the best day in my life so far. Everything began in the morning as I was a torchbearer in the route of the Olympic flame to the stadium for the Opening ceremony. I carried the torch almost with tears in my eyes in a crowded centre of Athens.

With the same flame that was carried from 10,000 people in all five continents. The same flame that I was watching passing in front of me the same night at the Olympic stadium.

The same night came the second shock for me. I was going to parade with Tonga at the Opening ceremony. My head was going to break as I entered the stadium with 75,000 people screaming and waving at us when, at the same time, DJ Tiesto was at the decks. Sorry but I cannot fully describe all these moments. I was in the centre of the world and millions of people around the globe were watching me for a few seconds.

When I was going around the field I couldn't see faces, just a mass of people and light. And at that time I realised I was the only squashplayer parading and I then, oh God, I had that wish ... Squash at 2012 Olympics and me being there as an athlete parading with my country.


This August was the best of my life. I was staying at the Olympic Village with all these great athletes, meeting them, having a word with them talking about sports. I was glad to hear that some of them play squash and train with it. I was staying in the same Village that people from all the countries of the world were staying. Here was Great Britain and some meters away was Brazil. Oh there is New Zealand and in the next building South Africa! Oh no, I'll go mad. A trip round the world in a few meters, or yards if you prefer!

And of course what an experience going around the venues and watching a lot of sporting activity.

I also had the opportunity to meet Prince Albert of Monaco, telling me that he is a keen squash player but now not playing so often because of his work. He was very happy to hold a WISPA event annually and for that I think we must thank Mr Andrew Shelley and his fantastic team.


As with all good things, also this one, my dream, had to end.

When the flame stopped giving light at the Closing ceremony a tear passed down my face. All this humanity party was over and my homeland, Greece, gave the answer to the World. Great Games, unforgettable Games.

A friend of mine from abroad texted me : "Today there are two kinds of people in the world: People who are Greek and people who wish they were Greek!" .

I still have this big dream stronger than before.
Be part of this world party again ...

Squash at the Olympics 2012!

Petros Tzamaloukas


Nicol David carries the torch