submitted by George Poulos on 28.11.2004
As notified in a previous entry, and re-iterated in less detail at the conclusion of this entry - in the year 2000, the Greek -Australian Sports Hall of Fame was inaugurated.
Many athletes of the original 166 are obviously of Kytherian origin - Psaltis's, Samios, Zantiotis, Andronicus: but the place of origin in Greece of many others - particularly those born in Australia - has not been indicated in the biographies outlined in the original list. Determining how many Kytherians were inducted in the original list remains a matter for future research. To further complicate matters, some of the athletes may have had a parent, or grandparent of Kytherian origin. (A good example is Stephen Girdis, inducted for sailing prowess, whose mother is Kytherian.)
From Pinax, The Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame, Volume 1, reproduced with the permission of the editor, Steve Georgakis.
George Samios. Champion Wrestler
Samios was born in Kythera on 20 February 1916, and migrated to Australia in 1930, joining his father and elder brothers. He developed an interest in wrestling and eventually won the Western Australian Freestyle Wrestling Association Championship in 1935 in the Middleweight division.
Samios dominated WA wrestling for a long period thereafter. In 1936, he won the Middleweight and Heavyeight titles, in 1937 the Light-Heavyweight title and in 1938 the Australian Middleweight title.
During World War Two he was an instructor with the Army's WEstern Command Physical and Recreational Training School. Given the rank of corporal, his duties involved the preparation of troops for unarmed combat. He reamined the WA Light-Heavyweight champion throughout the war years.
Greek-American world professional wrestling champion Jim Londos tempted Samios to turn professional in 1946, but he declined.
In 1948 Samios wrestled at the London Olympics representing his country of origin, Greece. In the 1950's he continued wrestling and won the 1953 Light-Heavyweight title, and both the Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight titles in 1954, and the Light_heavyweight title in 1956 and 1957. In 1957 he represented Australia in a three week wrestling tour of New Zealand.
He acted as an official at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games wrestling competition, and as a judge in the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Games.
An active participant in the administration of wrestling, Samios was the wrestling team manager at the 1968 Mexico Games - the first West Australian to be selected for an Australian Olympic or Commonwealth Games wrestling team, and the first in Australia to represent two countries.
In 1970 he managed the Australian team at the 1970 Junior World Championships in Japan. In 1989, he lead the Australian team at the World Championships in Switzerland.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Greek Australian Sports Hall of fame.
For a more detailed biography, supplied by son, Steve Samios, see another entry for George Samios under People, subsection, High Achievers.
Background, Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame
In September 2000, through the initiative of the Millenium Heritage Council, the Church established the Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame in order to record the sporting achievements attained by Australians of Greek heritage who have distinguished themselves at either a National or International level.
The First Inductees
As a result, 166 sportspeople were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. John Howard, during the unforgettable Millenium Ball held on Saturday, 2nd September, 2000, at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.
The evening was a historic milestone that revealed how vast and truly astonishing the contribution to Australian and world sport by citizens of Helllenic descent is, in an amazing variety of disciplines. Sportspeople travelled from all over Australia to attend the memorable event and felt enormous pride and honour at their Induction.
The Commemorative Book
A thouroughly researched book entitled The Greek Australian Sports Hall of Fame - Pinax, Volume I, coordinated by the Millenium Heritage Sports Committee and edited by academic, Dr Steve Georgakis, was also launched on the evening with the most fascinating details about each Inductee's accomplishments.
Pinax is the Greek word for list. It was used in ancient times when referring to the record of the Olympic Games victors whose names were inscribed on a column at Olympia in Greece. This informative book was published with the generous assitance of the New South Wales government through the Office of the Premier, the Hon. Bob Carr. Only a small number of books remain, however, since the interest generated by the concept attracted the attention of Hellenes around the world. It was especially appreciated by athletes and officials during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The Committee is now looking forward to the second edition.
[Dr Steve Georgakis is also the author of Sport and the Australian Greek. A Historical Study of Ethnicity, Gender and Youth, as well as numerous other articles on the subject].
Note: The photograph above is the original photograph in Pinax.
Article on groundbreaking Greeks, NAA
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