LONDON — The last time George Avery appeared at the Summer Olympics in London was in 1948, when the Australian captured the silver medal in the triple jump — which was then known as the hop, step and jump.
When he found out London was again getting the Games for 2012, he desperately wanted to return to the site of his Olympic glory. Alas, Avery died in 2006 at 81 years old; but his family was still determined to have him attend the London Olympics, if only in spirit.
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His daughter, Robyn Glynn, told ABC Radio that she took his cremated remains to the triple jump final at Olympic Stadium on Thursday night — and then honored his legacy by spreading his ashes on the triple jump track.
(Now how did they get that through security?)
"Actually, we did more than sneak him in, we snuck ourselves down to the edge of the track and in the breeze we let his ashes go and they went right over the triple jump run-up," she said, in a call from the London stadium where she had just witnessed Usain Bolt win the 200m.
"So we just said, 'Well, dad's there, he was on the run-up and he was in the pit'."
Wonder if 2012 U.S. triple jump gold medalist Christian Taylor would either be really inspired or totally creeped out by this news.
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The 1948 Games in which Avery competed were the first after a 12-year hiatus due to World War II. They were known as the "Austerity Olympics," as post-war economics didn't allow for new facilities to be built to house events. Which leads us to believe that Avery would have suffered quite a culture shock in London 2012, in which $14.6 billion was spent on the Games, including construction of new venues.
So 64 years after his Olympic glory, Avery returned to the London Games posthumously. As Glynn told ABC Radio: "We decided that this is where he would have wanted to come back to."
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