THE 2012 Olympic Games in London will be tinged with sadness for Dubbo resident Hugh Treloar who on Wednesday will attend the funeral of his older brother John who died, aged 84, during the week.
Aged 15 in 1948, Hugh and his parents watched on with pride as his brother competed in the London Olympics, which was part of a wonderful career for the sprinter.
“It was just wonderful for all the family when John was selected in the Olympic team in 1948 and little did we know that he would eventually be recognised as the Australian sprinter who came closest to winning the Olympic men’s 100 metres,” Hugh said.
“He was highly regarded in athletics and was our top sprinter between 1947 and 1952.
“When he finally gave away athletics he worked as an engineer in the family business, while I came out to the bush and worked as a jackaroo. Eventually I had a property at Gilgandra and came into Dubbo in 1970.
“We both went to school in Sydney. We had our primary years at Roseville Public and when I went out to the country John went on to finish his schooling at North Sydney Boys High School.
“Only last year the high school named their refurbished gymnasium in John’s honour and that’s where the funeral will be held on Wednesday and then we’ll move on to New South Wales Golf Club, which was another of his favourite past times.”
While members of the 2012 Olympic squad have been arguing about whether they should have travelled to London first class or economy, John Treloar and his 1948 team went by sea.
“The team went on a cruise ship, but Mum and Dad and myself went over there in a cargo ship that carried no more than 20 passengers. It was a long trip,” Hugh Treloar said.
“For me as a young man that was a wonderful trip and we also went to different parts of Europe while we were away.”
But for John Treloar his career in athletics was to become folklore.
He was only the second Australian to qualify for the blue-riband Olympic final following bronze medallist Stan Rowley in Paris in 1900.
He reached the semi-finals of both the 100m and the 200m but there were high hopes he would medal four years later at Helsinki. In the 200m he won his heat and quarter-final but broke down in the semi-final.
But he did however have success in the Empire Games (Commonwealth Games) in Auckland in 1950, winning triple gold medals.
Australian Olympic president John Coates this week paid tribute to John Treloar and said the Olympic movement had lost a special individual.
“John Treloar was a wonderful athlete, but an even greater man,” Coates said in a statement earlier in the week. “As the 2012 team gathers in London, they do so with a heavy heart in the memory that one of the athletes who competed at the last London Games in 1948 has passed away.”