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Ep.168: L’olimpionico più anziano d’Australia celebra 100 anni

Australia's oldest Olympian, Frank Prihoda. Source: Frank Prihoda

Frank Prihoda è l’atleta olimpico più anziano in vita e sta celebrando 100 anni.

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.     

Italian

Nel 1948 Frank Prihoda fuggì dalla Cecoslovacchia comunista del dopo guerra verso l’Austria su un paio di sci, attraverso un lago ghiacciato nel sud del suo Paese. 

Nel 1950 insieme alla sua famiglia si imbarcò verso l’Australia, insieme ai suoi sci, perché sapeva che avrebbe trovato la neve nella sua nuova madrepatria. 

Otto anni dopo rappresentava l’Australia, il suo nuovo Paese d’adozione, alle Olimipadi Invernali in Italia. 

"Very happy that I could become an Olympian in 1956 in Cortina d' Ampezzo representing Australia.  I think I was a bit of a trailblazer in those days and no migrant of my vintage, so to speak, has done it before me." 

A 35 anni, Prihoda era il membro più anziano della squadra di 10 persone a Cortina D’Ampezzo – un numero ben lontano dagli oltre 400 atleti che gareggeranno per l’Australia a Tokyo. 

Geoff Henke è stato il capo missione dell’Australia dal 1976 al 1998 ed è stato riconosciuto come l’uomo che ha reso famosi gli sport invernali. 

Ma ha dichiarato che stava seguendo il sentiero tracciato da Prihoda. 

"Frank didn't receive the amenities the athletes received today, nowhere near it - Frank was a pioneer for sure." 

E nel giorno del 100esimo compleanno di Prihoda – Henke ha offerto questo messaggio, da un pioniere all’altro. 

"I hope you get many more years thinking about how good skiing was and how good it will be in the future." 

Il presidente dell’Australian Olympic Committee Matt Carroll gli ha reso omaggio con queste parole: 

"Frank is a true pioneer of winter sport. He's paved the way for many Winter Olympians, and the truly amazing winter team we have today. His decision to represent Australia in the 1956 Winter Olympic Games, and solidifying his connection with our nation, was a great milestone for the Australian Olympic movement, and a tremendous step for the sport in Australia." 

Con lo sci sempre nel cuore, nel 1974 Frank Prihoda si trasferì con la sorella a Thredbo, dove iniziò ad occuparsi di un negozio di souvenir per i seguenti 27 anni. 

"I would put a little sticker on the door...gone skiing...back in an hour." 

Prihoda portò la torcia olimpica per i Giochi Olimpici di Sydney del 2000, accendendo il calderone al Village Green di Thredbo. 

È uno dei membri fondatori della Thredbo Historical Society e ancora sciava sulle piste di Thredbo a 90 anni. 

E non importa quanti compleanni ha celebrato – c’è sempre qualcosa da godersi per la quale non sarà mai troppo vecchio. 

"Birthday cake is the highlight and the pleasure of cutting it up and dividing it amongst people, it’s a great pleasure yes." 

English

In 1948 Frank Prihoda fled post-war communist Czechoslovakia on a pair of skis across a frozen lake in the south of the country into Austria. 

In 1950 he and his family boarded a ship to Australia - along with his skis, because he knew there was snow to be found in his new homeland. 

Eight years later he was representing his adopted country, Australia, at the Winter Olympics in Italy. 

"Very happy that I could become an Olympian in 1956 in Cortina d'Ampezzo representing Australia.  I think I was a bit of a trailblazer in those days and no migrant of my vintage, so to speak, has done it before me." 

At 35 years old, Mr Prihoda was the oldest member of the 10-person team in Cortina D'Ampezzo - a far cry from the more than 400 who will compete for Australia in Tokyo. 

Geoff Henke was Australia's Chef de Mission from 1976 to 1998 and is credited with putting winter sports on the map. 

But he says he was continuing a trail blazed by Mr Prihoda. 

"Frank didn't receive the amenities the athletes received today, nowhere near it - Frank was a pioneer for sure." 

And on Mr Prihoda's 100th birthday - Mr Henke offered this message, from one pioneer to another. 

"I hope you get many more years thinking about how good skiing was and how good it will be in the future." 

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll paid this tribute: 

"Frank is a true pioneer of winter sport. He's paved the way for many Winter Olympians, and the truly amazing winter team we have today. His decision to represent Australia in the 1956 Winter Olympic Games, and solidifying his connection with our nation, was a great milestone for the Australian Olympic movement, and a tremendous step for the sport in Australia." 

Skiing was always in the blood and in 1974, Frank Prihoda moved to Thredbo with his sister, where he ran a gift shop, which he subsequently ran for the following 27 years. 

"I would put a little sticker on the door...gone skiing...back in an hour." 

Mr Prihoda carried the Olympic Torch ahead of the Sydney 2000 games, lighting the cauldron on Thredbo's Village Green.  

He is a foundation member of the Thredbo Historical Society and was still skiing the Thredbo slopes until he turned 90. 

And no matter how many birthdays he's celebrated - there's something he'll never be too old to enjoy. 

"Birthday cake is the highlight and the pleasure of cutting it up and dividing it amongst people, it’s a great pleasure yes."

Report by Matt Connellan

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