THE GREATEST OF ALL
WOOD CHOPPING: Max Krogh said the support has continued to pour in for his campaign to commemorate the achievements of the man he believed was Gympie's greatest athlete, world-beating wood chop champion Vic Summers.
"If he'd been a cricketer they'd have named streets after him,” Mr Krogh said.
But for Summers, world champion eight years in a row, there was nothing.
Mr Krogh, a Gympie historian, photographer and one-time wood chop and sawing winner himself, wanted the Gympie Show wood chop arena to be named after him.
It is, he said, the least we could do.
"They should do something,” Mr Krogh said.
"He was the greatest athlete we've ever had, maybe one of the greatest in the world.
"People don't realise until you explain it exactly how good he was.”
Mr Krogh said that was partly because of the unassuming attitude of the man himself.
"He'd just take it with a grain of salt,” he said.
"He couldn't read or write most of his life and he had two-thirds of his stomach removed by surgery in 1955.
"And he lost an eye in an accident unloading piles from a truck. A steel u-bolt caught him when one of them slipped.
"And he still won all the chopping events.
"He always thought he'd had a privileged life.
"I've had a lot of people ring me up supporting the idea of naming the wood chop arena after him.”
Mr Krogh said his campaign had taken on a life of its own since The Gympie Times article earlier this month.
"A lot of people were really impressed with his story,” he said.
Mr Krogh remembered Summers as a mentor and sporting partner.
He described a man who embodied all the qualities of courage, toughness, self-reliance and kindness that Australians like to think are part of our national character.
It was Gympie Show time many years ago when Summers taught Mr Krogh some of his competitive art.
"I was 14 years old in 1949 and he took me under his wing - asked me to chop with him,” he said.
"He was just a great bloke and a top athlete.”