submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 19.12.2007
Sydney Morning Herald
December 19, 2007
AUSTRALIAN Financial Review Midnight Rambler co-owners Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas were last night named ocean racers of the year 2006-07 for achieving the rare double of dominating the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's blue water pointscore and its short ocean pointscore.
Psaltis and Thomas attended last night's (Tuesday December 18th, 2007) awards at the CYCA at Rushcutters Bay to support their bowman and helmsman on AFR Midnight Rambler, Tom Barker, whom they knew had won the ocean racing crewperson of the year award. But they were unaware they were to be the stars of the night. Usually the award is given to a single sailor.
Psaltis and Thomas began their friendship in 1990, when the former was looking for a navigator for the Sydney-Hobart race that year and pulled a telephone number off the CYCA noticeboard. The duo won the Sydney to Hobart in 1998.
Rookie of the year went to West Australian businessman Alan Brierty, who re-injected himself into the sport after buying a yacht called Flirt and renaming it Limit.
Eighty-year-old Syd Fischer, now in his 45th season of ocean racing, was named veteran of the year.
submitted by Mick Georgas on 04.11.2007
Mick & Angela holds the Olympic torch 2004 just past my house 50 yards away at Camp Hill Brisbane. Very exciting.
A once in a life time experience.
submitted by Marina Dimitropoulos on 07.09.2007
RITA COMINO HANDS OVER OLYMPIC FLAME TO NICK POLITIS IN BAY STREET BRIGHTON LE SANDS JUNE 4 2004. SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
RITA COMINO TORCH BEARER BAY STREET BRIGHTON LE SANDS SYDNEY AUSTRALIA JUNE 4 2004.
Peter Comino with the Mayor of Gympie QLD, Olympic Torch relay 1956 (taken at 2am in the morning)
submitted by Marina Dimitropoulos on 08.09.2007
Con Comino carries Olympic Torch 1956
Pomona Queensland Australia
submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 04.03.2007
Making waves: Ian Thorpe is congratulated by legends of Australian swimming after the team for the Athens Olympics is announced on Saturday night at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre.
Sydney Morning Herald
April 5, 2004
The Manager of one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Australian Ian Thorpe, is a Kytherian; David Flaskas.
He is the international face of the pool deck and the nice guy of sport. But all is not well between Team Thorpe and Australian Swimming with the champion's manager believing his athlete has been treated poorly and is being isolated from his teammates. Roy Masters reports.
A letter that is highly critical of Ian Thorpe's treatment by senior officials of Australian Swimming highlights the pressure the world champion freestyler faces as he prepares for the Athens Olympics and a possible defence of his 400-metre crown.
David Flaskas, Thorpe's long-term manager, sent the letter to the national body one week before Thorpe was disqualified on the first day of the Australian titles that concluded on Saturday night.
Asked to describe the relationship between Team Thorpe and Australian Swimming Inc since the 21-year-old's false start in the 400m, Flaskas offered the neutral word "fine".
ASI president John Devitt said: "We will address it this week, now that the trials are over."
The Herald has learned the letter focuses on two areas in which Flaskas believes ASI failed his athlete, questioning Thorpe's unavailability for a race with American Michael Phelps in Indianapolis in April last year and embarrassing him at the launch of the official Speedo swimsuit last month.
Flaskas concedes he wrote the letter to ASI chief executive Glenn Tasker in frustration following failed discussions with the national body over its treatment of Thorpe, who won three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics.
"I had meetings with Australian Swimming over our disappointment with the way he had been treated over the Indianapolis thing and, after the swimsuit launch, I thought I'd put them on the record," Flaskas said.
"If they're disappointed, they'll put it on the record, too. There was bad judgement shown at the launch and it created pressure at a time no one wanted it."
Flaskas admitted Thorpe, unbeaten in the 400m since 1997, had been under pressure for almost a year, beginning with complaints from senior male swimmers about his unavailability for the "Duel in the Pool" meeting with Phelps.
In recent weeks, the pressure has intensified, with a photographer camped on the water outside Thorpe's new home in Sydney's southern suburbs and speculation over whether Thorpe wants to swim the 400m freestyle in Athens, should AIS swimmer Craig Stevens vacate his place.
Flaskas maintains his only motive in protesting to ASI was to stall a process whereby Thorpe was being "highlighted as bigger than the sport" and "isolated from the rest of the Australian team".
However, ASI sources claim Flaskas's attitude is counter-productive and promotes Thorpe as "arrogant and precious".
It is understood Thorpe initially gained approval not to make the trip to Indianapolis but senior swimmers in the then-male-dominated national team protested this would be the first time a dispensation had been granted to anyone to withdraw.
Following complaints that Thorpe was not perceived to be one of the leaders of the team and under the threat that other swimmers would also withdraw, ASI insisted on a medical certificate from Thorpe.
"I know Thorpe versus Phelps was going to be a big issue at the meet but Ian had a viral infection when he swam in the Australian trials in late March last year," Flaskas said.
"The Indianapolis meet was in early April and he needed a big break in between. In the end, we provided four medical reports that he was too ill to compete.
"Some of the other swimmers thought he should have made the trip and there were suggestions from Australian Swimming he should go.
"Seven or eight other swimmers pulled out. We thought we did it in a professional and dignified way but one swimmer was being portrayed as the whole swim team. It was disappointing and seemed unfair."
Flaskas also cited discriminatory treatment at the world launch of the Speedo Fastskin FS II swimsuit at Fox Studios on March 9. ASI media manager Ian Hanson, acting as compere, asked a question of the American designer of the suit, David Pease, which Flaskas judged a set-up.
Insofar as Thorpe wears a rival adidas suit, the question, "Would Ian Thorpe swim faster in this suit?", did appear to be a Dorothy Dixer on behalf of the sponsor. Predictably, Pease answered "yes" and, although Thorpe was not present, Flaskas was incensed.
Flaskas said yesterday the swimsuit incident was a further example of a process whereby Thorpe, desperate to be seen as part of the team, was being excluded. Last night, a 60 Minutes segment on Channel Nine involving the high-profile members of the Olympic team did not include Thorpe, who is on a contract to Channel Seven, further increasing the perception he is isolated from the rest of the squad.
"Ian doesn't want to be isolated," Flaskas said. "There were four other people who had been nominated for the protocol to be put in place for swimmers to use their own suits but Ian's was the only name thrown up."
AOC president John Coates, anxious to avoid a humiliating process whereby Thorpe could be forced to jump in a pool in front of a squadron of lawyers to demonstrate his suit was "specialist equipment", fast-tracked the protocol.
Coates took the "competitive testing" procedure from the protocol and Speedo objected to his ruling.
The strain on Thorpe is such that his close friends say he may retire from the sport after the Athens Olympics.
Flaskas rejected this, saying: "Things happen in a sporting career but all of our intentions at this stage are to compete in Beijing [in 2008]."
Sensitive to suggestions Thorpe's sponsorship obligations are undermining his training, Flaskas volunteered: "His sponsorship requirements were finalised last October. He has done three appearances in six months."
However, observers at the Sydney trials claim Grant Hackett was pushing Thorpe in the 200m, something they had never seen before.
Some people still have reservations about the wisdom of Thorpe having Tracey Menzies as his coach.
Former head men's coach Brian Sutton, left off the team for Athens, has been lobbying the AOC for inclusion, arguing Thorpe needs an experienced sprint coach in Greece. Sutton has positioned himself as a Thorpe ally, walking from the Speedo launch in protest.
Of the possibility of Sutton coaching in Athens, Flaskas said: "I have no knowledge of this."
The implication is Thorpe has not done the work in training to swim the gruelling 400m and, should FINA require Thorpe to provide a time in an event in which he has won an Olympic gold medal, three world championships and two Commonwealth Games gold medals, he would be forced to cite his time in Barcelona in July.
Of Thorpe's recent form, Flaskas said: "Ian swam faster in the 200 metres in Sydney than he did against [Dutchman Pieter] van den Hoogenband in Barcelona [at last year's world championships]."
Still, Thorpe's critics predict Hackett would beat him in the 400m in Athens and suggest the world record-holder may have even been relieved he was disqualified from an event he has called his own.
"If anyone had been in the room when the appeal was turned down and could have seen the disappointment on his face . . . the suggestion is offensive," Flaskas said. "The hurt has really cut deep. To go to Athens as defending Olympic champion in the 400 metres is something everyone would aspire to."
submitted by Jean Michaelides on 22.12.2006
Nicholas Laurantus is suited, in the middle row, far left.
In 1918, Nicholas and George Laurantus sold the Railway Hotel in Koorawatha, and returned to Grenfell.
They had bought the Albion Hotel, an imposing building on a corner block in Main Street, almost opposite the Thermopylae Cafe. Nicholas was pleased to leave Koorawatha, for some of his customers — in the main, shearers — drank too heavily with unpleasant results.
Going back to Grenfell was like going home again. Nicholas knew the people and they knew him, welcoming him back as an old friend. He began to borrow books again from the Literary Institute library in the School of Arts and resumed his support for the town’s athletic clubs.
He became patron of the football club whose members made the Albion Hotel their regular drinking place. A contemporary photograph shows the team in their striped jerseys, having successfully defended the Albion Cup — possibly donated by Nicholas — posing with their solemn coach and, seated beside them, one leg crossed above the other, their no-less serious patron. Nicholas is a short, slim man in a dark, three-piece suit with watch-chain and bow tie. The face is full, the mouth wide and set firmly, with a full underlip, and the eyes are looking straight ahead at the camera. It is the face of an intelligent, responsible young businessman, the licensee of the best hotel in Grenfell.
Pages 23-24, Jean Michaelides. Portrait of Uncle Nick. A Biography of Sir Nicholas Laurantus MBE. Sydney University Press, Sydney. 1987.
submitted by Robyn Florance on 15.10.2006
John Calopedis showing his batting expertise on Illawarra Oval
"The Calopedis children attended Nowra Public School and Nowra Intermediate High School. Mary and Helen were often called upon to work in the cafe when short staffed and Joan Monaghan also volunteered at times seated behind the cash register.
John Calopedis was captain of the school and proved to be quite a sportsman. He and Nicholas were good swimmers, and won several school swimming events.
John played cricket at school and was a member of the Nowra Cricket Club and also represented the State in the under 17 side on several occasions".
You can discover more about the lives of the Greeks and Kytherians in Nowra (NSW) and Districts by reading the book - A Touch of Greece in Junction Street. Greek Cafe Owners of Nowra.
To order a copy of the book, contact
Shoalhaven Historical Society
Phone: 44293564 (BH)
<b>Email Robyn Florance</b>
<b>Email President of SHS, Lynne Allen</b>
Shoalhaven Historical Society Inc.,
PO Box 301
Nowra, NSW. 2541.
Price: $17.50 including postage & handling, within Australia.
To view and/or download .pdf reports about the book launch event from the South Coast Register, Nowra.
Article; Historical Happenings with Alan Clark, Wednesday, August 23, 2006, page 17, Greek Presence in Junction Street.
Article; A Great Greek Story. By Alan Clark. Photograph by Dayle Latham. Wednesday, August 23, 2006, page 17.
submitted by George Vardas on 04.09.2006
The victorious Kytherian football (soccer) team which won its grand final on 3 September 2006 in Sydney with a nail-biting 3-2 victory over the minor premiers, Queens Park.
submitted by Epsilon Magazine on 21.06.2006
Set in Gold. Stephanie Magiros works magic for NSW
Volume 1, Issue 5, Epsilon (Magazine), 31st May, 2006; pages 1, & 34-39
Epsilon is a new Greek-Australian magazine, which is published bi-weekly.
Volume 1, Issue 1, was launched on April 1, 2006.
It is available at all newstands in Australia, which sell the O Kosmos newspaper.
Contact <b>Epsilon</b> here
Epsilon, more details
Stephanie Magiros is not used to giving up easily. She might be small and young - she is barely fifteen - but after twelve long years living and breathing gymnastics she has learned that the harder the fall, the quicker you need to get back on your feet, a broad smile plastered all over your face as you bravely march on to your next apparatus. And to be quite frank, her never-give-up attitude couldn't have come handier at a better time. Not for her sake, that is, but for mine.
Thing is, we have just finished our interview, when to my horror I realise that my trusty old recorder has given up on me, capturing for prosperity only the first minutes of our almost hour-long conversation.
"No need to panic" she offers, as thick drops of sweat start running down my face, warm as baby tears. "You'll just have to do it again, won't we"? Problem is, can you trust the damn recorder? Again, Stephanie has the solution. Within a matter of minutes, she has come with a more viable solution than my old companion. She sets up her computer as a make shift recorder and we off we go, to (re) capture the essence of the pocket sized dynamo that is Stephanie Magiros.
In the hour that follows we talk about her gold and bronze medal performances during this year's recent National Gymnastics Championships, the sacrifices she had to make to reach the dizzy heights of success, her dreams and aspirations, occasionally posing to discuss the nature of the sport and the effect it can have on a young girl's life.
And if you think success has gone to her head, then think again. Bright and articulate, she answers my questions with the bravado of someone that knows how much ground they have covered in the long and often thorny road to glory, but somehow manages to exude the humbleness of a novice, her feet firmly stuck to the ground. And rather than having a good old whine about the small pleasures of life denied to her by her chosen path, Stephanie takes it all in her stride, showing a maturity not usually associated with her age.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of one very determined young lady.
Tell me a little bit more about the competition you recently excelled in.
It was a national championship where I had the chance to represent my state. NSW made history books by winning levels seven to nine in team events. I was a part of the level eight team. In these types of competition an athlete competes in four different apparatus: floor, vault, beams and bar. During the competition every team is made up of six girls. Out of the six girls, the four best results count towards the team's overall score. All my four scores counted for the team total. I suppose if I wasn't part of the NSW team and if I hadn't performed as well as I did, my team probably wouldn't have won the gold. A couple of days later I won bronze in the individual vault competition. What basically happens is that they get your score from the team competition and add it to the individual competition. The competition was held at Homebush Bay at the State Sports Centre. Sydney has held the event for the last three years in a row. Apparently it's supposed to change next year but nothing is certain.
From what your parents have been telling me, during competitions, you have to leave home and stay with the rest of the team.
That’s right. This time we stayed in a hotel at Ryde. What this means is that you don't get to see your family or your school friends for a week. The only people you see are your coaches, your chaperons and your fellow team members. Usually all six girls stay together in a room, which is good for the team morale as we get to know each other better and learn to work as a team. Everyday we have to drive to the venue. You get one day of competition, followed by a day of training and then you go back to compete again. When you are not competing, you usually stay at the venue to see your teammates and cheer them on.
Is the gold medal you have just won the highlight of your career so far?
There have been other success stories. Last year I won the NSW State Championships in level 7, and I had the chance to represent my state in last year's national competition as well.
You talk a lot about levels. How are these measured? By age or ability?
It's all down to the individual's ability and skills, by what everyone is capable of doing. It's pretty pointless to compete at level eight when I do not have the necessary skills required at that level.
How long have you been doing this?
For about twelve years now. I started gymnastics when I was two and a half years old. Not that I remember anything from that time. But from what my parents were telling me, the reason they enrolled my in gymnastics was simply because I was a jumping jellybean. I was almost teaching myself somersaults on my bed. She thought that if she enrolled me, I would stop jumping around and being so hyperactive at home. Of course, her plan never worked. It actually had the opposite effect. I would come home from the gym and practice everything I had learned on my bed.
Who has been the biggest influence of our career so far?
Apart from m parents, I have to say my coach Bill Parsons. He has been my coach since I walked through the doors of the NSW Academy of Gymnastics as a three year old. He has been with me all the way, and he is more than a coach, he is my mentor and a friend.
At what stage did gymnastics stop being what you parents enrolled you in and become what you wanted to do?
I thing I must have been four or five. I remember I was also doing ballet at the time, which I completely hated. I found it really boring, not something that consumed a lot of my energy. Ballet is all about looking pretty and elegant and I have always been more the jumpy, hyperactive type. I know from then on that gymnastics was more suited to me. As I grew older, I realised that my body wasn't suited for ballet, so I suppose I made the right choice.
I suppose it's fair to presume, that you have never considered trying rhythmic gymnastics?
No. Definitely not. And even if I had, I don't think I would have been able to do it. Again, my body is not suited to that. With rhythmic gymnastics you need to be flexible and tall and skinny, which I am not. And it's too much like ballet, which I still can't stand.
What's an average day in the life of Stephanie Magiros like?
I get up at seven o clock, get to school by eight thirty, come back just after three o'clock in the afternoon. After a quick lunch I get ready for the gym. I have to be there by four and I finish training at eight thirty at night. I have my dinner, then do a bit of homework and go to sleep around eleven - eleven thirty. I suppose I'm lucky to be one of those people that can get by with only five to six hours of sleep. It's the same routine four times a week. I train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is my day off, which gives me the chance to spend some time with my family. On Saturdays I train from ten o'clock in the morning till two in the afternoon and the rest of my weekend is free.
Is that too hard, physically as well as mentally, on a young person like yourself?
I do get tired sometimes, but that depends on what training season we are in, if there is a competition coming up or if we are learning new techniques and skills. I believe that I handle it very well, though. I never think that I don't want to do it anymore or something.
How do you manage to fit your schoolwork into your schedule?
I do my school work when ever I can, which is pretty much during free days, weekends and after the gym when I get home. I've learned not to waste time in order to fit everything in.
What did you have to sacrifice to get to the level you are today?
I don't look at it as being a sacrifice. But I had to miss out on my school life with my friends. Sometimes they might be going out shopping on a Saturday morning and I always have to turn them down and say "Sorry, I can't do this, I have to train". Sometimes they will pressure me telling me "just skip a day, it's only one day, you train all year", but they don't understand that missing a day of training adds up in the end. For example, if I skip training on a Saturday, when I go back on Monday my muscles are sore. Plus one day away from the gym might mean that I will miss out on learning a new skill. When it's competition season I have to sacrifice all the other sports I enjoy. I am not allowed to do things like ice-skating, rollerblading and all the other sports you can injure yourself. I really love water skiing and when I'm in competition season I have to stay away from it in case I have a wipe out and hurt myself. If that happens at the gym, I'd understand. If it happens elsewhere I'd be really disappointed with myself.
What about missing out on social events, like a friend's birthday or yiayia's name day? Does that have a negative effect on you?
Not really. If it's a friend's birthday I just tell them I can't go because I'm training. At first they are upset but then they understand that my life at this stage is dedicated to gymnastics.
What drives you to dedicate so much of your life to gymnastics? Wouldn't it be easier to quit, for example?
I wouldn't quit gymnastics. Apart from my love for the sport, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I did. I would have twenty spare hours that I would have to fill with something else. Also, I haven't achieved all the goals I have set for myself.
What else would you like to achieve?
I would love to represent Australia at some point. To do that, I first have to reach level 10, and compete at that level at the nationals.
How far away is that dream?
Two years I would say.
What does it take to get to level 10? How many more hours of training do you have to put in?
It's not only the hours. You have to be more consistent with your training and work hard all the time.
What's the major difference between the life you are leading now, and that of a girl your age that represents her country at Olympics level?
Olympians on an average, train between 38 to 46 hours per week. They pretty much don't have a reasonably normal life like I do. They have three hours of school and six hours of gym everyday.
Has it ever crossed your mind to put more hours in and get to that level or are you happy where you are now?
I'm happy with how my gymnastics career is going and how it has been in the past. It's probably a bit late now anyway. You have to make that decision when you are ten or eleven. I have chosen not to go that way, and I am happy with it. I think I have a nice balance: a good gymnastics career, a great family, and some very good friends.
Is it hard being away from your family? How often do you have to do that?
It's good to get away from my two brothers every now and then. I usually go away two to three times a year. I had to go away from home and compete in Queensland, Victoria, and Canberra and recently in Hawaii. I am not normally totally away from my family. My mum always comes with my as a chaperon of the squad and it's good to have her there with me. I don't really miss my school friends or my family because I see them every day. Sometimes it's fun going away and concentrating on a competition with your gymnastic friends. And anyway, there are times that I feel I am closer to the friends I have made in gymnastics. They do the same hours of training as me, they have the same routine, and we know the sacrifices we have to make.
What gives you more pleasure: winning or learning new skills?
You do feel proud when you have learned a new skill, especially when you start putting it into your routine. Then you do your routine at a competition, knowing that if you do well, you will have the chance to win a medal. If that happens, you do feel proud for what you have achieved.
What about when an award doesn't come your way. How do you deal with the disappointment?
I do feel disappointed if something goes wrong in a competition. But that failure makes me go back to the gym and work harder to get it right the second time. When you go to a competition and you fall on your first attempt, you can't just think that everything is over. You have to put that behind you and focus on the next three apparatus and try to finish strong.
Have you considered your life away from gymnastics? What would you like to do once your career is over?
After I retire I might do a bit of diving. I already have some of the skills required, like aerial sense, the motion, all the twisting and somersaulting, and the speed I have learned from gymnastics. A sport like that would be easy for me to learn. I would also love to go into coaching. It would be much easier for me to be a coach than a person off the street. I have been there and done that, I know the sport and I know what it takes to coach and develop good gymnasts, as it was done to me.
What was the hardest competition you had to take part in?
During the competition in Hawaii, a teammate and me had to compete at level ten, three levels higher than what we were at the time. We went up against a girl who had just come fifth in the world championships. We really appreciated the opportunity to compete against someone who was almost at the top.
What is your favorite apparatus?
In competition my favorite is vault and floor. Vault because it is a fast apparatus, whereas bars and beam are much longer and much easier to fall down. If your last apparatus is floor, then you can let go, show off your skills, your routine, you can show off your expressions. But in training I really enjoy beam because you get to practice the skills you've learned on the floor on a piece of wood that's 10cm wide. When you pull it off, it's the best feeling. At the moment my strongest apparatus is vault because it required speed and strength, which are my best skills. Plus I have a good aerial sense and I know where my body is when I am twisting. At the moment I am really struggling with bars. It used to be my best apparatus, but as my body changes I find it difficult. With bars you need more technique and a longer body, and as you can see I am not the tallest person in the world.
Growing up, who were your idols?
I used to look up to a girl called Trudy Macintosh. She used to have a vault named after her. She was the first girl in the world to ever perform that vault and I thought it was really cool to have a vault named after you. I was hoping in the future to learn that vault and be as good as her. I got the chance to meet Trudy during the Sydney Olympics. I was part of the closing ceremony. I was dressed as a teddy bear, doing headstands and cartwheels around the stadium. We were part of the Bananas and Pajamas float. After you did your little bit you could go in the middle and party with all the Olympians. It was there that I met Trudy Macintosh and she signed my costume. I will never throw that teddy bear outfit away.
**The parents' point of view**
How much of your time does Stephanie's career take?
It does take a lot of time driving her to training everyday and then picking her up at night. I do have another two boys and I try to divide my time equally between my children. I don't want the boys to turn around in ten of fifteen years and say "we didn't do this; we couldn't do that because of Stephanie and her gym". Most afternoons I have three drop-offs and three pick ups, because I want to give the boys their opportunities as well. They have their soccer, their baseball, their ten pin bowling.
As a parent of an athlete, do you find that you have to sacrifice a lot of things as well?
I can't say that I miss out on a lot of things, but Stephanie's career does take a lot of my spare time. When you have a child that's so heavily involved into the sport, you usually have to do a lot of other things, like helping out in the fundraising committees. And then you have the other extra things that Stephanie needs like physio appointments and doctor appointments, she might need a massage and of course I have to drive her to all those places.
Shouldn't that be the club's responsibility? Isn't it ironic that the parents’ role is often played down; when in reality without the parents' dedication we would have had the likes of Ian Thorpe for example?
The parents are in the background but they are the ones that actually provide the foundation for the children to have these sporting career. It's not as if she could drive herself to the gym when she was five. The reality is that parents need to be just as dedicated as their children, Sure we do sacrifice a bit. We miss out on holidays, on long weekends etc because Stephanie needs to train.
submitted by Epsilon Magazine on 20.06.2006
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