Graeme Jose was selected to represent Australia in the 1972 Munich Olympics and became Whyalla’s first Olympian.
The Munich Olympics ran from 28th August 1972 till 11th September 1972. Graeme was a member of Australia’s 168 competitors in 20 sports. He raced in the Individual Road Race with 162 other cyclists from 48 nations. Of the 163 starters, only 76 finished. Graeme finished a credible 29th place, with Australian rider, Clyde Sefton, winning the silver medal.
Graeme returned to Whyalla briefly, after competing in the Road Race at the Olympics, before leaving to race in the Peace Race in Europe as a member of the Australian Cycling Team, as leading up to the World Road Racing Championships. He was the South Australian and Australian Road Champion at the time.
Unfortunately a flat-bed truck had been left on the side of the alpine road in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg in Austria and Graeme had the misfortune to hit this truck, which resulted in him passing away on 23rd June 1973, aged 21 years, from his injuries while his parents were on a flight to be at his bedside.
A Committee of trustees were quickly got together, organised by the Mayor, Keith Wilson who became chairman, with Fred Ogg as secretary and Lyn Risborg as treasurer; plus John Murray, Graeme’s trainer; Harry Nicholson from the Adelaide News; and Beth and Bob Scroop.
Following this tragic event, all of Whyalla participated in a Radio 5AU and Whyalla News Public Appeal (from 6.00pm Friday evening till 6.00pm Sunday evening), which saw money donated from all over Australia. The Whyalla News went into overtime to print receipt books for people to go door-door collecting money. Lyn cannot recall the total, but Fred and Lyn went to the bank in a police car on Monday morning.
After all the expense connected with Graeme’s death and burial were met, the remaining money was divided between two organisations: The Whyalla Cycling Club, and to establish The Graeme Jose Memorial Youth Award, which later became known as the Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Award.
The Youth Award was first presented in 1973, with the winner being top local cyclist, Brenton Stutley [dec.]
The Memorial Gates project was led by Colin Flavel. Firstly they had to get official permission from the Australian Olympic Committee to use the “Olympic Rings” in the design. Club members employed at the Whyalla Shipyards, manufactured the gate during the first half of 1976.
The Gateway was officially opened by Whyalla’s Mayor, Mrs. Aileen Ekblom on Saturday 12th June 1976.
In August 2022, it was 50 years since GRAEME JOSE represented Australia.