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.
MY HAPPY FRIDAY 13th
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
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.
THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE
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.
END OF THE DREAM ... FOR NOW
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,
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!
Nicol David carries the torch