Memories of past OlympicsBy: Tony Fraser (Sep 19 2022)
Tony Fraser, has had three careers in his working life: first as an Olympic swimmer and coach, then a second career as a restauranteur from 1982 to 1992, and these days, a third career as a Sydney lawyer.
Tony was also inaugural Chairperson of the Metropolitan Community Church’s welfare program, which is especially for people living with problems associated with HIV and Aids.
At the age of nine in 1956, Tony’s grandfather took him to the Olympics in Melbourne and he then decided that one day, he would represent Australia. He began serious swimming training and eight years later, while a student at Melbourne University, he qualified for the Australian Swim Team at the 1964 Games in Tokyo.
Although his namesake and friend, Dawn Fraser, did well, Tony got sick during the Games (every athlete’s nightmare) and so failed to win the gold medal he so fervently coveted.
The result was that he became a professional Olympic Swimming Coach, first in Australia and then, from 1972 to 1982, in Canada. Several of his swimmers have won gold and Tony has been at every Olympic Games since 1964, either as coach or swimming team manager.
Tony described the excitement of the Munich Olympics when one of his swimmers won his first gold medal. It was also the Games when terrorists invaded the Olympic Village and some of the Israeli athletes were taken hostage and then massacred.
At the end of the swimming competition, Tony just happened to be talking to Mark Spitz, the world’s most successful swimmer. Mark confided that he would not be attending the party to celebrate the end of the swimming competitions, but was being flown out that night. Tony could not understand why. It seems that American intelligence had twigged that some terrible thing was about to take place, and decided that Mark Spitz was to be the target. He was secretly flown to London where he was placed under security in a rather seedy hotel. Of course it was not Mark Spitz that the terrorists were after. The next day the terrorists took over part of the village, the Games were stopped for two days, and very sadly, the rest is history.