Olympian George Knott lines up to carry the Olympic torch

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Olympian George Knott lines up to carry the Olympic torch

June 20, 2019

Veteran walker George Knott was a frequent sight around Rushall Park village where he and his wife Judy lived. An Olympian, the then 89-year-old trudged the avenues at all hours as part of his preparations to carry the Olympic Torch at Sassafras on its way to Sydney in 2000.

The Knotts moved into Clarke Cottage, Rushall Park from a large house in Eaglemont. Clarke Cottage was built in 1880 and donated by Ernest Clarke in memory of his parents.

George Knott was a well-known figure in the area. A former mayor and councillor with the City of Collingwood, he was the proud owner of the Yorkshire Stingo Hotel, a keen support of the Pies,  and he trained with the Collingwood Harriers Athletic Club.

Knott excelled at walking events and over the years won a number of Victorian and Australian championships. In 1948 there was a large amount of debate over the inclusion of Knott in the 1948 Olympic Games team for Australia. Knott had set an Australian 10,000 metres walk record at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Knott encountered difficulties with his walking technique whilst in England before the 1948 Olympics. He was disqualified in his walking events at the British AAA’s Championships, requiring him to correct his style. At the Games, Knott finished last in his heat of the 10,000 metres walk.

George Knott died aged 90 years and 7 months in March 2001.

Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.

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