Gunnedah's Ruth Pope and John Hickey can still remember the crowds lining the streets of the CBD when they bore their Olympic torches on September 1, 2000.
It has been 20 years since the procession made its way through the shire, heralding the start of the Games just two weeks later.
Other torch bearers who pounded the pavement that day include Sarah Martin, Tokyo Olympian Paul Rizzuto, Nick Baird, John Lennan, Paddy Paul, Charmaine Johnston, Amber Gallen, Katie Commins, and Tokyo Olympian Bridget (Bud) Hyem on gold-medal mount and Gunnedah-bred horse Kibah Tic Toc.
Ruth Pope and John Hickey told the NVI that their memories of the day were still "vivid".
Ms Pope was just shy of her 57th birthday and was working as a community nurse, while Mr Hickey was 43, a realtor and heavily involved in the town's sports and athletics.
Both received letters notifying them that they'd been chosen as torch bearers, and to this day they don't know who put their names in the pot, but it made them feel "privileged", "honoured" and "excited".
The pair donned their official uniforms on the morning of September 1 and "passed the flame" on Marquis Street near The Co-op after Ms Pope ran from the tennis courts on Bloomfield Street, cheered on by onlookers and friends and family.
"It was packed," Ms Pope said.
"It was like the whole town was happy for us."
In 2000, she told NVI she "felt very humble" and "the friendship and support was overwhelming".
"I saw myself representing the average person in the community - the mothers, the wives, the full-time workers who contribute to the community in so many ways," she said at the time.
Mr Hickey remembers running along Marquis Street "surrounded by minders" who leapt into action when local, and now the late Jason Norman, "got so excited" that he ran out of the crowd and took hold of the torch.
"It's probably one of my fondest memories," Mr Hickey said.
"It doesn't feel like 20 years ago."
The local said he expected only a handful of residents to turn out for the event and this is reflected in his comments on that day 20 years ago: "It was bigger and better than I expected and a heap of fun. It was great to see so many school children involved. Unforgettable; something to remember forever".
The pair went on to attend the Olympics later that month, Ms Pope as a spectator and Mr Hickey as a photographer's assistant under the watchful eye of Paul Mathews.
"The build-up to the Olympics were really great times," he said.
"We were lucky to be around in that period ... it was a massive thing for me."
In the "photographer's pit", Mr Hickey had a front-row seat to all the action, including the mens' 10,000m race won by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie. He even wound up with the shirt from Gebrselassie's back.
"One of attendants looking after him, [Haile] gave it to him and I bought it off him," Mr Hickey said.
The shirt was framed and is still a treasured memory of Olympic glory.
Ms Pope's joined the throngs of Australians watching the swimming and athletics, and also caught the volleyball competitions at Bondi.
"It was alive and magic. People were united and standing on tables singing the national anthem," she said.
Ms Pope went to the Games with her daughter and said it was "such a joy" to share the experience with her.
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