Greg Polychronidis: Protest, love and boccia

On the anniversary of his Paralympic gold, the Greek boccia player talks about how being a Paralympian allowed him to stand up for people with disabilities in Greece. 05 Sep 2014 By Greg Polychronidis

Two years have passed since the peak of my career! Two years since the ‘Big Win’ of the gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games!

What I can say for these two years of my life after winning the Paralympic gold medal is that I lived a period full of competitions in and out of courts.

The day after I came back to Greece from London, I was part of a huge demonstration for the economic rights of people with disabilities in my country. All the Greek media were on me as I was the winner of the only gold in London.

I achieved my goal: “Not to let the government reduce the economic benefits of people with disabilities”. Then, I realised once again the way that Paralympic sports can help people with disabilities in every aspect of life.

Next, it was time for me to live the greatest change of my life. I met the woman that I fell in love and felt all those feelings for the first time. I knew then, she is the love and woman of my life. Mostly I knew that Katerina and I shared the same feelings and we matched perfectly. No later than a year, we got engaged and we are now planning our wedding.

In February 2013, I had a film industry experience. The German Niko Von Glasow film about Paralympic Games, “My Way to Olympia”, where I was the protagonist, had its world premier at the Berlinale 2013 Film Festival.

After that, the Film received awards from World Film Festivals as BCN Sports Film 2014 and from EOP Festival. I was amazed and proud of the film’s success!

I felt that success, when during the IPC’s General Assembly in Athens in November 2013 I was congratulated by IPC members from all over the world. Especially, the President of the German Paralympic Committee gave me a magnet of his NPC, as he had seen in the film that I have magnets on my fridge at home.

The two greatest games I had during the last two years were in London on Great Britain’s National Paralympic Day. The Greek BC3 pairs, as the Paralympic Champions, had the honour of being invited to this amazing celebration, where we played a friendly game against GB in a full of crowd venue.

The experience was unique. When we were playing in Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, under the lights, in an amazing, well-organised and stylish venue, with the announcer helping the audience to understand the game during the match, I felt like a star.

I was thinking that this is the way that boccia should be played in order to show its beauty and attract the audience.

About the results? Last year we lost to GB, this year we won. The great winner though, was the sport of boccia and the Paralympic Movement.

You can follow Greg Polychronidis on Twitter @gregpoly and on Facebook.