Grenda relives golden days

=Michael Grenda with his Olympic gold medal form 1984. Picture: Scott Gelston
=Michael Grenda with his Olympic gold medal form 1984. Picture: Scott Gelston

LAUNCESTON'S Michael Grenda can put his name to at least two firsts.

He was the first Tasmanian to win an Olympic gold medal in 1984 and for that achievement, featured on The Sunday Examiner's inaugural front cover three decades ago.

As an amateur cyclist, Grenda won gold in the men's 4000-metre team pursuit at the Los Angeles Olympics with Dean Woods, Kevin Nichols and Michael Turtur.

Grenda said the support and fanfare when he returned home was overwhelming.

"I was 22 at the time and it probably had a significant impact on things that I did and choices I made in years to come," Grenda said.

"Cycling was my whole life then and it was just huge - I have really fond memories of it.

"I was part of the national track squad in the years prior to that, I had been travelling overseas since 1980.

"Going to the Olympics was an exciting adventure . . . [and] prior to the games I hadn't really considered it [winning gold]."

Grenda, who was one of 24 Tasmania Police recruits to graduate earlier this year, said he did not realise the significance of the feat until he arrived back in Launceston from the US.

"It is a little box ticked against my name that no one else is going to have," he said.

"It was a result of years of hard work and training."

Grenda said his victory has helped Tasmania athletes realise that anything is possible.

He keeps the medal in the cupboard and said he gets it out every couple of years when someone asks to have a look.


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