Takis Epitropoulos

August 12, 1960

Takis Epitropoulos was born in 1937 and was a member of Olympiacos Piraeus club. He was a champion in decathlon and took the 2nd place at the 1960 Balkan Games as member of the Greek national team. Greece’s three times champion Epitropoulos ranked 23rd at the Rome Games.

In 1968, a serious injury forced him to quit decathlon. He was a bank employee. He got married to Kyriaki and had two children, John and George.

“I don’t remember why they chose me. I suppose because I was a decathlon champion and 1.81 metres’ tall. I also remember that I didn’t want to participate (in the relay) because I was worried I would miss part of my training program ahead of the Rome Olympics. Fortunately, some friends talked me round and they were absolutely right. I was thrilled by the ceremony. I was very excited, the landscape was impressive and the crowd was very cheerful. I will never forget those moments. Tourists ask me for autographs. But my participation was nearly a fiasco when, I don’t know how, I found myself looking for the next torchbearer to pass him over the flame. For some time, I stood and gazed but, in the end, everything went fine.

When I travelled to Rome and saw the Olympic flame I first took to the country being lit at the stadium’s sanctuary, I felt I was part of the history. I also remember that a few days before the Olympic Games, in Rome, I came across an elderly couple of tourists-not Italians- who identified me as the first torchbearer and were so moved that they both kissed me.