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Smiling sun Garry carries Olympic torch for MS


At 18:35 Australian Eastern Standard time on Thursday 17th August, Jooly's Joint member Garry Starr took up the Olympic torch for people with MS around the world. Garry was specially chosen to be a torchbearer at the opening of the 2000 World Olympics Games in Sydney.

Garry carried the Olympic torch with the aid of his electric scooter.


Garry carries the Olympic torch

Garry's story:

"Once upon a time there was a little lad who grew up in central NSW, Australia, nursing an ambition to be just like the premier sportsman who competed in the Olympic Games.

"Unfortunately, he was too short on talent to become a sportsman of any note. He represented his school in tennis and swimming and won a few grandfinals in the lower grades of indoor cricket, but that was the sum total of his personal sporting achievements. He also gained great satisfaction and moderate success coaching kids in Rugby League, Rugby Union, T-Ball, Cricket and Athletics.

"Despite this, he still wanted to be part of the Olympic games. Even with the onset of MS, the flame continued to flicker in his heart.

"The president of the International Olympic Federation thrilled all of Australia when he announced that Sydney had won the right to host the 2000 Olympic Games. This was to involve a huge Torch Relay covering some 27,000km leading to the opening of the games in Sydney on September 15th.

"By now, our middle aged fellow surmised he wouldn't be able to run out of sight on a moonless night, let alone run a kilometre with a torch held aloft.

"However, all was not lost. It was announced that the ability to run was not a requirement of torchbearers. The criteria were simple:

  • each would be chosen because s/he had made a special contribution to others
  • each would be nominated by their community.

"On 25th January 2000, the once young but now middle aged lad learned he had fulfilled his ambition despite having to use an electric scooter to make the distance. He was chosen to bear the torch in his adopted home town of Cowra where he carried the torch for his family and friends and all the disabled people in the world, especially those with MS!

"How do I know all this... because the little boy was me, Garry Starr, as is the middle aged man with MS. I don't recall ever being as thrilled and as proud as I am about this honour, and I sincerely hope my story will be an inspiration to other disabled people. Your dreams can come true, so have a go and look outside the square you live in."

Garry Starr

Contact Garry Starr at starrg@ozemail.com.au

Garry with fellow Jooly's Joint
member Graham
(note Graham's Jooly's Joint baseball cap!).

Graham and Garry

Betty Cuthbert

Former Olympic gold medal winner Betty Cuthbert is now living with MS. Betty was another torch barer at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Born in Merrylands, NSW, in 1938, Betty Cuthbert was known to Australians as 'The Golden Girl'. Setting her first world record in 1956, she then took 3 gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics (100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay), establishing one world and 3 games records. After retiring in 1962, she returned in 1963 to set world records in the 440 yards and 400 metres. She won a gold medal in the 400 metres at the 1964 Olympics, becoming only the second woman to win 4 gold track medals. In her career, Betty set 16 world records. She was awarded an MBE in 1965 and became the first woman member of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. Since being diagnosed with MS, Betty has been a campaigner for funds for research into the disease.


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