Back for the Games: Volunteer comes out of retirement at 93
DON Robertson thought he was done with volunteering after 30 years but, when Gold Coast was announced as the next Commonwealth Games host, he knew he had to come out of retirement, at 93.
No stranger to elite sporting events, Don has been a starter for swimming at numerous Australian Championships and the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games.
"I'd been starting all Australian championships all round, every state, for 30 years," he said.
"After the '82 Games I'd been at it over 30 years, I retired.
"When on television it was announced the Gold Coast got the 2018 Games, my first thought was 'great, you're going to have to volunteer'.
"Then I sat down and thought, you silly old bugger, you'll be 93 before that happens.
"But I did anyhow."
Don has been selected as a spectator assistant at the swimming events, held at the Optus Aquatic Centre.
And the Runaway Bay resident couldn't be happier, especially being involved in the sport that he's so passionate about.
"It had to be at the swimming," he said.
Reflecting on his time volunteering at the Brisbane Games, Robertson recalls nearly every detail on the only race where a Games record was broken, a race he started.
"There was only one world record broken at the Commonwealth Games, in Brisbane, in swimming," he said.
"I started that race and I remember that really well because, as the results came out, they'd said world record, Australian record, Games record.
"And there was only one world record swimmer and I started him.
"He was an Englishman; I know he was an Englishman but don't ask me his name."
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, from April 4-15, Don is hoping to receive a different kind of experience, one from the sidelines.
But he also wants to see another record, even if he won't be starting the race.
"I just want to get in, see and experience everything," he said.
"I didn't get much of that when I was a starter.
"If that means they win or it means they come second or third, it doesn't matter; they've done their best.
"That's all you can ask from them."