Monday 25 April 2016

Olymplc flame - from Ancient Olympia to Rio

The flame which will burn all through the 2016 summer games in Rio was lit from the rays of the sun in the ruins of the arena at ancient Olympia.  In a solemn ceremony the torch was lit by a greek actress dressed as a high priestess and handed to a greek male athlete.   The flame will travel through Greece for a week, going up north to Alexandropouli and then back to Athens where a Syrian migrant will carry it for a short distance through a refugee camp.

From Athens the flame goes briefly to the Olympic capital of Lausanne and then onto Brazil where it will be carried on a 95 day journey all through the country.  The games start in the Maracana stadium on 5th August.

Poros is proud to have an Olympic silver medal winner, Dimitris Mougios.  He won his silver medal for rowing in the 2008 games in Pekino (known to you as Beijing).  Dimitris was one of the runners who carried the flame from Olympia this week. Nice young lad, went to school with my girls.  Was given the license for a lotto shop after his win and has a coast road on Poros named after him.

Brazil has a lot of problems to contend with, the Zika virus, terrorism, mosquitoes, aligators,  corruption.  Well, many thought Athens would not be ready or have the necessary security but we held some awesome games so lets wait and see what marvels Brazil has in store for us.

And then, 'Apres moi le deluge'.  Bankruptcy, International Monetary Fund and Capital Controls.

Future Olympic Champions

My granddaughter Nels in the single skiff

Grandson George, in the rear, in the double skiff

They recently took place in the races for all teams in the wider Athens area of Attiki  and after only 6 months training came in third and fourth.  In July they will be rowing in the National competition up north on the lake of Kastoria.

ANZAC day 25th April (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) and the Battle of Greece.

17,000 Australians and 16,700 New Zealand soldiers fought in the Battle of Greece and then in the Battle for Crete resisting the invasion of an overwhelming number of german troops.   1,686 of those brave men are buried on the island of Lemnos, in the Commonwealth cemetery at Kalamaki just outside Athens and in the war cemetery on Crete at Souda Bay.  Dawn services are held at these locations every year.

The Allied forces were hugely outnumbered when the german forces invaded in April 1941 and soon retreated to the island of Crete.  There they fought a ten day offensive against german paratroopers.  15,000 were evacuated to Egypt but many were left behind.  Some became prisoners of war and some were sheltered by the Cretan people at great risk to their lives.

The Chairman of the Commemoration Committee recently said "The Greeks are displaying the same 'filoxenia' (hospitality) they showed towards the ANZACs by looking after the Syrian refugees'.

2016 is the 75th anniversary of the battle of Crete. There will be special commemorations with many visitors not only from down-under but also from Germany.  Ceremonies will take place from 15th May to 22nd May with wreath laying at both the Commonwealth and the German military cemeteries.

Both my father, Harry Creasy and my Uncle, George Perry took part in the greek campaign. 
Harry was a Captain in the British Navy.  He commanded  a motor launch, ML1252,  helping Greek patrols as they ousted the last of the retreating Germans.  In his memoirs he writes with great affection about the welcome and the antics of the locals.

George Ernest Perry trained with the New Zealand brigade in Egypt and then fought in Greece where he was captured at the end of the campaign and spent four years as prisoner of war in

And a special mention to my Uncle, Frank Edward Creasy who was killed in Italy in the attack by the NZ forces on Cassino Railway Station.   Many of the family have travelled to Italy and visited his grave.  The Cassino war cemetery is huge, with the graves of over 4,000 commonwealth soldiers.  

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